Anyone who’s taken a trip recently, knows that “traveling” and “vacationing” can be two very different things. Airport hassles can delay relaxation until one arrives at their destination, and even after one arrives, staying connected to e-mails or worrying about budgets can keep stress levels as high as they were before the vacation was booked. But Now Resorts & Spas is out to change all that.
“We felt that customers were going down [to Mexico] and having a vacation and sometimes taking a little bit more time to unwind,” explains Matt Mullen, senior director of sales. “They were bringing their stress, and bringing whatever they had on their shoulders from their homeland. So we designed a product where you’re living in the moment—living in the ‘now.’”
Now Resorts & Spas is the newest brand in the AMResorts collection of brands, which also includes Secrets, Sunscape, Dreams and Zoëtry. Like its sister products, Now operates as an all-inclusive, but the ambiance and style of the resorts, Mullen says, is all its own.
“It’s fresh, it’s vibrant, it’s a contemporary vacation experience,” he describes. “It’s youthful in design with contemporary accommodations…. The differences are mainly in the architecture of some of the resorts, and the activities and entertainment will be a little bit more exposed than they would be [at AMResorts’ other brands].”
At Now Jade Riviera Cancun, for example, features like hammocks hung above a shallow relaxation pool practically command clients to lay back and let go of the stresses of home. Its 550 suites are done up in modern, simple decor, accented but not overwhelmed with bright, tropical oranges and reds, and include luxurious amenities such as 2-person jacuzzis, marble floors and private balconies. The 496-room Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun offers similar accommodations, minus the jacuzzi tub (upgrade to an oceanfront Preferred Club jr. suite, however, and clients will enjoy a jacuzzi on their private balcony), as well as a more native feel to its surroundings, with thatched-roof huts mixed with colonial architecture. Both resorts offer full-service spas with hydrotherapy areas, as well as several dining options: seven a la carte restaurants at Jade and five at Sapphire, ranging from French fare to teppanyaki to seafood. And entertainment won’t be lacking either, Mullen says. “We do big-screen movies on the beach, themed evening shows, cooking classes. We have family fitness weekends, father and son golf excursions, and we’re developing yoga classes called ‘Mommy and Me.’”
In fact, he continues, family travelers are a big part of the target market for Now Resorts. AMResorts’ Explorer’s Club for kids ages 3 to 12, with activities like campout adventures on the beach, has outposts here. Plus, the brand’s teen clubs, available in both Now locations, are a relatively new innovation for any AMResorts property. “They give teenagers from 13 to 17 their own place where adults and parents are not allowed in. And they have foosball tables and pool tables, their own teen disco centers, their own lounges and own restaurants. It’s something that they can call their own,” Mullen describes. “From Xbox centers or mountain climbing walls—you name it, we have it for them.”
Though the ambiance and certain amenities set Now Resorts apart from AMResorts’ other brands, Mullen says, the properties will feel most comfortable to guests who’ve enjoyed stays at Dreams properties in the past. Like Dreams, he explains, “We are catering to the Unlimited Luxury market that wants a higher-end all-inclusive,” with 24-hour room service, premium liquors and mini-bars that are refreshed daily included in the cost of the stay. “The experience is congruent to the Dreams brand—on quality, on rate, on a lot of parallels. But it’s a different, spicier product, is what we’re initially hearing [from guests],” he says. This month marks one year since the opening of Now Jade, and according to the response from guests, Mullen continues, the brand’s selling points are clear. “The beach location—that’s for sure. And the fact that we’re an all-suite resort, with entertainment that’s not the traditional entertainment in any higher-end all-inclusive, not Dreams or Secrets.”
Next for Now is a resort already under development in Puerto Vallarta. In 2012, the brand will reach beyond Mexico’s borders to open two more properties in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. And that’s just the beginning, Mullen says.