The Evolution of All-Inclusive

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Due to open in March, Secrets’ two new resorts will be familiar to clients who’ve stayed at the brand’s locations in Cancun. The brand’s Unlimited Luxury package still includes 24-hour concierge and room service, multiple dining options and premium liquors. Secrets St. James’ 350 suites are styled to match the island’s historic great houses, with British colonial architecture and decor, while Secrets Wild Orchid sports a more modern design in its 350 suites, some of which offer swim-out access to its freeform swimming pool.

Introductory rates at the two new Secrets properties start at $230 pp per night from March 20-July 31. Rates at Breezes Grand Negril start at $181 pp per night; at Breezes Rio Bueno, at $150 pp per night.

dominican republic As Jamaica’s main competitor for Caribbean all-inclusive travel dollars, the Dominican Republic faces many of the same challenges. But economies of scale are nothing new in the Dominican Republic, where mega-resort complexes like Punta Cana’s Barcelo or Iberostar properties combine several resorts into one massive playground for all-inclusive clients. To compete in this arena, says Wojciechowski, resorts have to play up the luxury angle.

“Latin American and Caribbean countries, in general, are re-branding themselves as luxury destinations to expand their appeal and capture a bigger audience,” he explains. “Luxury also attracts a more sophisticated traveler that can take and looks forward to a vacation every year.”

That’s why the newest AMResorts properties in the Dominican Republic are Zöetry properties: Zöetry Agua Punta Cana and Golden Bear Lodge & Spa Zöetry Collection. Both properties were originally built a few years ago as EP resorts; now that they’ve come into AMResorts ownership—and because of the trend towards luxury in the Dominican Republic—they’ve been branded Zöetry resorts, the company’s most upscale brand.

“Unlike [traditional] all-inclusives, Zöetry Agua is a very unique product, and provides a certain level of luxury that is unparalleled to others,” Wojciechowski says. “The brand goes above and beyond to exceed the guests’ needs to go beyond not having to carry your wallet or having all meals included. Zöetry vacations strive to be a meaningful vacation. This is something we’ve worked really hard to conceive and achieve throughout all our properties.”

It’s true; this isn’t your typical all-inclusive Dominican Republic resort. It comprises only 53 suites—a far cry from the 1,000-room properties throughout Punta Cana. And once they set foot on property, clients find that just about everything they want or need is available to them. And more than that, it’s included.

“The Zöetry Wellness & Spa Resorts brand was conceived with an updated kind of consummate luxury in mind,” Wojciechowski says. “Since launching the brand in late-2008 with marquee property and AAA five-diamond recipient Zöetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya, we have received encouraging feedback from members of the industry, travel agents and guests alike.” That’s largely because of Zöetry’s Endless Privileges program, he says, which starts by covering traditional all-inclusive options like dining and drinks, then improves on the concept by adding luxury touches like a minibar that’s restocked twice daily and a bottle of champagne left in the room each day. Guests also enjoy unlimited worldwide calling from the resort; 24-hour private room service; a 20-minute massage; access to the spa’s sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and plunge pool; and a complimentary wellness consultation with a specialist.

Plus, Wojciechowski explains, “In addition to Endless Privileges, vacations at Zöetry Wellness & Spa Resorts can be customized for an enhanced experience that fits the guests’ personality and their needs. The Experiences program, a selection of enhancement packages that can be added to the stay, plays on the brand’s key attributes: romance, wellness, gourmet cuisine, enrichment, culture, entertainment and soft adventure. This selection speaks to the variety of guests’ profiles.” Women traveling together, for example, can add the Girls Getaway, offering a manicure and pedicure with champagne and truffles; 10 percent off additional spa treatments; daily yoga sessions; a beach bag; and one morning of room service breakfast with mimosas, fruit and pastries. Couples, meanwhile, can select the Lover’s Experience with a sunset horseback ride on the beach, couple’s massage with champagne toast and private dinner by the beach. A Spa Experience, Cultural Experience, and Babymoon round out the options. “The common factor,” Wojciechowski says, “is [the packages’] search for outstanding service and effortless luxury.”