You know this as well as I do: Most all-inclusive resort brands in the Caribbean have spent the last few years ratcheting up the wellness factor, from spas to aquarobics to gluten-free pasta. Moreover, this (muscular) arms race in health and fitness keeps growing stronger, so let’s look at four brands that serve wellness-oriented guests as well as the pool bar crowd.
Club Med—Toujours Sportif
Much as this pioneering company has changed, one thing is constant: Club Med has always been a great brand for sports and fitness. “We see a range of traveler types who are attracted to our wellness/spa/sports offerings, including guests that come specifically for in-depth sports training, whether they’re preparing for a marathon or trying to improve their game on the courts,” says Michelle Lardizabal, v.p. of sales. “They know that Club Med provides ‘something for everyone,’” she adds, “so they’re also able to select from wellness offerings that will help them relax, experience new activities, and bring back a healthy balance and wellness into their lives.”
Club Med has 68 resorts, “each with unique wellness offerings reflective of its location,” explains Lardizabal. “For example, Club Med Punta Cana, home to L’Occitane’s spa, recently unveiled Zen Oasis, an area exclusively for adults that lives up to its name with private cabanas and a lagoon pool.” I’ll add that the laps section of the pool just might be the best in the Caribbean.
She singles out Club Med Turkoise, too, because this adults-only Turks and Caicos property “is particularly good for people who want to leave behind their hectic schedules…and connect with people who are in similar places in their lives. Their days can be as full as they want with fun activities such as the flying trapeze… and they can finish their day with sunset yoga by the sea. We’ve also renovated the gym. Our guests leave the resort happier and healthier from the experience.”
At press time rates at Club Med Turkoise started at less than $300 (with two people in the room), or roughly $2,000 a week.
Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts—24/7 Wellness
Ten years ago I wouldn’t have guessed that a large, all-inclusive wellness brand could thrive, but now there are four Zoëtry resorts, and two more are being built. All six AMResorts brands offer fine fitness, spa, and sports facilities, yet Zoëtry’s are standouts. “Guests receive a personal, luxury and holistic wellness experience as part of our Endless Privileges concept,” says Erica Doyne, v.p. of marketing at AMResorts. “Options include a complimentary hydromassage or thalasso experience upon arrival, and organic, gluten-free and local food and beverage selections at award-winning restaurants. Personalized services such as 24-hour laundry service, worldwide calling, daily afternoon tea with fresh fruit, and other amenities provide guests with an all-inclusive wellness vacation that exceeds expectations.” Add yoga, pranayama and meditation, stretch, aqua spinning, water sports, and painting classes; the Punta Cana Zoëtry even offers complimentary horseback riding.
Zoëtry’s target market, says Doyne, consists of “discerning travelers with expectations that everything will be handled for them from the moment they arrive. They’re looking to discover a balance between holistic wellness and unrivaled luxury in intimate oceanfront settings and for a more personalized stay than they’d get at the typical all-inclusive.”
Each Zoëtry resort has a unique personality. For example? “Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana is ….fully integrated with nature, focusing on the property’s ecological surroundings and decorated with eco-friendly materials. Zoëtry Montego Bay Jamaica is for laid-back travelers who wish to unwind while enjoying the slow pace of Jamaica’s vibrant island life.”
Rates at Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana start at $514, or $3,600 per week, and at Montego Bay, $655, or $4,600 a week.
Palace Resorts—Awe Spa Plus
It’s not easy for hotel spas to impress me (my family was in the business), but Moon Palace Jamaica Grande’s spa impresses me mightily. “As the largest spa in Jamaica, this Awe Spa covers over 35,000 sq. ft.,” says Frank Corzo, v.p. of U.S. field service. They include a multiplicity of hydrotherapy facilities where the pre-massage guided Water Journey is, by itself, worth the price of the massage.
And there’s more to MPJG’s wellness scene: “Our 5,000-sq.-ft. fitness center offers guests everything from advanced training machines to private breakout areas where they can partake in an array of personalized classes such as TRX, Pilates, yoga, and spinning. Our in-house personal trainers can help guests get the best workout possible,” says Corzo. “We’ve incorporated exclusive quarters and wellness suites for personal training as well as a meditation area.”
Many of the guests get a good workout, whether they realize or not, on the FlowRider wave simulator, the water craft (kayaks, SUPs, Hobie-cats), tennis courts, and even the dance floor at Noir. But, warns Corzo, “Wellness is not only about what your body endures physically, but what you ingest daily. We offer an array of dietary options for health-conscious guests who want to stay aligned with their at-home eating habits. These include gluten-free menu items, juice bars, and chlorophyll- or mint-infused water stations throughout our facilities.”
From $465, or $3,260 a week dbl.
Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort—Sports Week Plus
Zumba Week in June may be a hard act to follow, but so is Sports Week at this Punta Cana complex. This Sept. 11-18 event is catnip for competitive people. It includes games and tournaments in tennis, football, volleyball, golf, and softball; footraces for children and for adults; and swimming and kayaking races.
“We want to highlight the infinite activities available to our guests,” says Edgar Uñera, activities manager at Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort. “To accommodate active travelers’ needs, we offer so many sports facilities, from a baseball diamond and professional soccer field to tennis courts and water polo. This is in addition to the fitness center, golf course and watersports.” On which subject, he adds that even Singles Week in October includes daily aerobics, Pilates and yoga classes.
Uñera also points out that Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort is not the only Barcelo property that fosters wellness. “Barcelo Hotels & Resorts’ all-inclusive properties all feature state-of-the-art fitness facilities and programming,” he says. “A great example would be Barcelo Aruba, where every morning guests can join a meditation and stretching session on the beach, and activities such as beach volleyball and water aerobics throughout the day.”
Instead of a 1-week stay, let’s assume this booking is for Sept. 10-19 in order to fit in
all Sports Week events. Rooms start at $235 dbl (Barcelo Bavaro Palace), or about $2,000 in all.