The all-new Rooftop Terrace Suites at Excellence Riviera Cancun

A photo spread of the all-new Rooftop Terrace Suites at Excellence Riviera Cancun:

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Excellence Resorts now has Rooftop Terrace Suites in all three of their resorts…what do you think? A place you wouldn’t mind spending a week? 🙂

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Rafael Nadal Joins Alex Zozaya to Share Property Updates at Secrets Aura Cozumel and Sunscape Sabor Cozumel

Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group and Rafael Nadal

Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group and Rafael Nadal

See bottom of page for SPECIAL OFFER for Secrets Aura Cozumel!

MÉXICO, D.F. (March 7, 2013) – During championship tennis player Rafael Nadal’s recent stay at Secrets Aura Cozumel, he joined Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group, to discuss the latest updates Nadal’s properties have undergone since AMResorts assumed sales, marketing and management duties for the resorts.

As of December 15, 2012, adults-only Secrets Aura Cozumel completed the necessary renovations to bring the resort up to the Secrets Resorts & Spas’ brand standards. Guests of Secrets Aura Cozumel now enjoy 168 luxury rooms and suites with a balcony or terrace with Caribbean Sea and pool views. All benefits of the brand’s signature Unlimited-Luxury® concept are also available, including limitless access to four gourmet a la carte dining options and premium beverage brands; 24-hour room and concierge services; countless daytime activities; live evening entertainment; and more. Secrets Aura Cozumel features three main swimming pools, a newly revamped full service spa, a fitness center, non-motorized water sports, as well as suites with a private pool.

The 330-room Sunscape Sabor Cozumel is slated to begin operations under the Sunscape Resorts & Spas brand by April. Guests of that resort will enjoy the benefits of Sunscape Resorts & Spas’ signature Unlimited-Fun® vacation concept which provides limitless access to gourmet a la carte dining and top-shelf spirits, countless daytime activities, live evening entertainment, fitness facilities and more. Additionally, Sunscape Sabor will offer the brand’s signature Explorer’s Club for kids and Desires night club, along with diving and water sports centers, and three pools.

“The coming together of the Nadal family and Secrets Resorts & Spas is important for the brand, these resorts and the destination of Cozumel,” said Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group. “We have immediately seen its effects in guests’ positive reception to the rebranding and the high occupancy levels we are enjoying.”

“I have quickly seen the positive impact and improvements brought about by the recent rebranding of my resorts in Cozumel,” said Rafael Nadal. “I’m a person that travels significantly and can say that in AMResorts’ hands, my properties have turned into the kind of resorts I like to stay at.”

“Cozumel is my home away from home. Here, I feel comfortable, and am able to enjoy the beauty of the destination,” Nadal added.

SPECIAL OFFER for Secrets Aura Cozumel: Rates from $120 per person, per night!
Click here for our Secrets Aura Cozumel page for pricing and availability and a custom price request form. Offer subject to end at any time.aura_600x600

What would an American-US Airways merger mean for you?

The boards of US Airways and American parent AMR have voted to merge. The deal still has some hurdles to clear, but the deal would bring big changes to many U.S. travelers if it closes. Here are some things you can expect in a merger between American and US Airways.

Is it safe to buy tickets on these airlines?

Definitely. It will likely take the airlines months to win approvals and close on the merger. And, even once (if) that happens, it still will take many months to combine operations. During that time, each carrier would continue to operate normally. That includes selling their own tickets and operating their own flights. Once the airlines are ready to combine, the newly merged carrier would honor all future tickets sold on either one.

What name would the new carrier take?

American in all likelihood. Although US Airways’ management will have many of the top jobs in the merged airline, CEO Doug Parker and other US Airways executives are on record as saying that they will assume the American name and brand. They’ve also said they intend to move the company’s headquarters from Arizona to American’s current location in Texas.

Are my miles safe?

This is one of the top questions people want to know any time there’s a merger. Fortunately, the answer is “yes.” Mileage programs are a key perk airlines use to hold onto their top customers, and the new “merged” American won’t risk alienating any of those customers by not honoring the “other side’s” miles in a merger. It would take several months – maybe even a year – from the time a merger closes, but the carriers eventually will consolidate their frequent-flier programs and merge the accounts of fliers who have miles with both airlines.

Which frequent-flier alliance will the carrier be in?

oneworld. US Airways is currently in the Star Alliance, but CEO Parker has been clear that the merged airline would hitch its wagon to the oneworld group that American helped found. Even other members of oneworld – such as British Airways’ chief Willie Walsh – have openly said American would have more to offer oneworld if it merged with US Airways.

Would the merger be good or bad for frequent fliers?

As with any merger, there would be changes that cut both ways. One of the most obvious improvements would be an increased number of international destinations available to frequent fliers.

More broadly, American’s AAdvantage program is widely regarded as one of the best loyalty programs in the world. The program has many options to earn miles, and AA is considered to be among the easiest U.S. airlines for redeeming miles for award tickets. American also allows customers the option to redeem miles for one-way award tickets by using just half the miles needed for a one-way trip – an option that would surely be well-received by US Airways’ frequent fliers if that carries over to the merger carrier.

As for US Airways, its Dividend Miles frequent-flier program is solid — if not among the world’s best. It does have its perks, though, such as low-mileage off-peak award tickets that give members great deals for winter trips to Europe.

The biggest fear would be if the airline raised the miles needed for award tickets, but observers expect the airline won’t make such a move, at least early on, as it tries to placate customers worried about the merger.

Will fares go up?

Yes, that’s likely on some routes. However, one recent study by professional services firm PwC US suggests that the two previous big airline mergers (Delta-Northwest and United-Continental) have not produced the across-the-board price increases many had feared. And, proponents of “consolidation” argue that creating a third big “global” U.S. airline could actually help keep fares in check by preventing United and Delta from becoming a duopoly that can dictate fares.

Reprinted from USA Today

Sandals Resorts International Acquires the Veranda Resorts & Residences

Sandals Resorts International, parent company of Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts, has announced the purchase of The Veranda Resorts & Residences in Turks & Caicos, a luxury property with beautifully appointed suites and villas and spectacular oceanfront views along Grace Bay. The agreement to acquire the resort was successfully reached after ongoing negotiations with His Excellency the Governor, Damian Roderic Todd and the Government of the Turks & Caicos Islands.”We sincerely thank Governor Todd, Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing and the entire cabinet for their ongoing support of Beaches Resorts,” said Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts.  “We admire their vision and tireless efforts for the betterment of the Turks product and wish them ‘All That’s Good’ for the future.”The purchase will be an expansion of the award-winning Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa and introduced as the Key West Luxury Village.  The Key West Luxury Village will feature studios, multi-bedroom suites and villas, perfect for visiting families, and will be the first major addition to the property since the grand opening of the resort’s Italian Village in 2009.  In addition to the 16 restaurants currently at Beaches Turks & Caicos, guests will now have access to three new gourmet-dining establishments through the expansion, as well as a number of other luxurious amenities.Stewart commented, “It has been an exciting month for us and we are so pleased to continue the expansion of the Beaches Resorts brand in Turks & Caicos.  Everything here is expressly designed for the way today’s families live and travel and we have truly added upon what was already the Caribbean’s most comprehensive, Luxury Included® vacation for every member of the family.  We have so enjoyed sharing the beauty of Grace Bay over the last fifteen years and look forward to welcoming guests to this new piece of paradise.”

 Some of the Key West Luxury Village highlights include:

  • Excess of 150 rooms, suites and villas
  • The East & West Villages are composed of villas and two story buildings, reminiscent of Key West
  • The Veranda House is a four story building housing magnificent rooms, one bedroom and two bedroom loft suites.
  • Three and four bedroom villas on the beach with private pools that are as large as private homes
  • All concierge with butler villas and suites
  • Three additional restaurants
  • One additional bar
  • An additional state of the art fitness center
  • Three additional swimming pools
  • An additional kids center
  • Fire Pits

These rooms will be bookable immediately. Contact an agent for more information!

Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa Unveils Largest Dolphinarium in Riviera Maya

PHILADELPHIA, PA – October 15, 2012 – Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa has announced the opening of Dolphin Dreams, a new on-site dolphinarium managed by the experts of Dolphin Discovery. The dolphin aquarium will not only be the largest of its kind in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, but the first in the world to have dolphins and manatees born and raised in captivity exclusively.

Upon opening in November 2012, Dolphin Dreams will feature a world-class interactive and educational program allowing resort guests to observe and swim side by side with the dolphins, or participate in a “kayak with dolphins experience” – a first for the region. New room categories also will be introduced, including Deluxe Dolphin View Rooms and Preferred Club Dolphin View rooms, featuring private balconies offering a direct view of the show.

In celebration of the launch, Dreams Puerto Aventuras will offer a special promotion for the “Swim with Dolphin Experience” valid for travel through March 31, 2013:

• FREE access for children ages 1-7*
• HALF OFF pricing for children ages 8-12*

“Having convenient access to new and exciting experiences is more important than ever for families when choosing where to spend their money on vacation,” said Colette Baruth, Vice President of Sales & Marketing of AMResorts. “That is why we are continuously evolving the Dreams Resort & Spas family program to offer the best value for money and a memorable time.”

With both Dreams Puerto Aventuras and Dolphin Dreams recognized as socially responsible companies with the ESR designation by the Mexican Center of Philanthropy (CEMEFI), the opening of Dolphin Dreams and its educational offerings reinforce their commitment to the environment. In addition to defining a “Swim with Dolphin Experience” community project for local students hosted by the dolphinarium, a portion of the proceeds will also go towards helping locals.

Additionally, Dreams Puerto Aventuras has enhanced its Explorer’s Club for kids to offer eco-friendly and culturally-rich special programs like the Plant-a-Tree program, Corn Harvest program and the Dreaming of Freedom Turtle project (seasonal). Included as part of Dreams Resorts & Spas’ Unlimited-Luxury® privileges, the Explorer’s Club offers daily entertainment and supervision to children ages 3-12.

Dreams Puerto Aventuras also offers Unlimited Connectivity across the resort with the Dreams Resorts & Spas app, which is accessible for mobile download to iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android and Blackberry phones. The free app allows guests to stay connected and communicate with family and friends back home using the app-to-app calls feature to call local and international (U.S. and Canada) phones and send messages over the hotel’s Wi-Fi network without incurring any international cell phone roaming charges. Guests also can create user profiles using their email, Facebook or Twitter accounts to contact staff directly, tailor personal deal preferences, book spa appointments, reserve excursions and much more. Users can register the app with their room number to instantly view their folio and request hotel services.

*Children must be accompanied by a paying adult

Karisma Hotels & Resorts Expands to Jamaica

Karisma Hotels & Resorts today announced that they will be opening their first property in outside of Mexico by introducing Seashore Bay Beach Resort on Negril, Jamaica! For more info on this new resort, or to book a stay, call 866-278-8728 or email salesdepartment@berwicktravel.com

(October 4, 2012) – Karisma Hotels & Resorts, a premier collection of 11 Gourmet Inclusive properties comprised of El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels, El Dorado Generations, and Azul Hotels and Villas by Karisma, today announced its expansion beyond the Riviera Maya, Mexico to Jamaica. Karisma Hotels & Resorts has acquired majority and controlling interest in the former Sandy Bay Beach Resort in Negril, which will now operate under the new name, Seashore Bay Beach Resort.

“We are thrilled to expand to Jamaica and add Seashore Bay Beach Resort to our portfolio,” said Mandy Chomat, vice president of sales & marketing at Premier Worldwide Marketing, exclusive representatives of Karisma Hotels & Resorts. “There is something special about Jamaica, which affords guests a warm and welcoming destination replete with rich culture, renowned cuisine and a magnificent beachfront setting. We intend on continuing the tradition of excellence upheld by the previous ownership and are extremely appreciative of the exceptional stewardship of Poinciana Resorts Ltd.”

According to Chomat, investing in Jamaica was an easy decision. “Jamaica offers a strategic geographical location, exceptional infrastructure, and a talented pool of human resources combined with an instantly recognizable worldwide brand. Our expansion to Jamaica makes good business sense and meets the demands of our valued partners who have asked us to take our Gourmet Inclusive concept to other international market for years.”

Karisma Hotels & Resorts is renowned for revolutionizing the all-inclusive category with its award-winning Gourmet Inclusive concept, featuring world-renowned chefs, sommeliers, and high-end gourmet cuisine served a la carte.

This will be the first Gourmet Inclusive resort outside of Mexico. The directors of Poinciana Resorts Ltd. were confident in the partnership with the 12 year old Karisma Hotels & Resorts after visiting each of the group’s properties, saying, “The Gourmet Inclusive concept brings something unique to Jamaica. We feel that the philosophy of the management and staff at Karisma as well as their innovative approach to hospitality will be positive for Negril and Jamaica as a whole. We are excited that the resort will be elevated to a 5-star Gourmet Inclusive property.”

Following a 60 day transition period, the 128-room Seashore Bay Beach Resort will operate as an all-inclusive property for couples, singles and families. It will be ready to welcome guests as of December 1, 2012. Guests will enjoy an all-inclusive experience with nine categories of rooms and suites with garden and ocean views, two pools, four specialty restaurants, a spa, various activities and entertainment, and a kid’s club.

Chomat continued, “We are particularly excited to be in Negril, on the famous seven-mile stretch of beach, and we look forward to working with the dynamic group of staff and management at the resort.”

A multi-million U.S. dollar renovation is planned for Seashore Bay Beach Resort, after which it will be rebranded an Azul Hotel, operated by Karisma Hotels & Resorts and providing couples and families with a customized five star Gourmet Inclusive vacation experience focused on the best in food and service. According to Chomat, “We are currently determining property needs to transform to our recognized Gourmet Inclusive experience.”

Karisma Hotels & Resorts looks forward to a long and successful relationship with Jamaica, and eagerly anticipates introducing its respected partners and valued guests to Seashore Bay Beach Resort.

AMResorts Enters New Destination with Two New Resorts in Cozumel

PHILADELPHIA, PA – September 12, 2012 – AMResorts, provider of sales, marketing and brand management services for Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts and Secrets, Dreams, Now and Sunscape Resorts & Spas, announces the introduction of Secrets and Sunscape Resorts & Spas to the popular destination of Cozumel, Mexico.

AMResorts will assume sales, marketing and management duties of the Sabor Cozumel Resort & Spa, Sabor Cozumel Exclusive Resort & Spa, Aura Cozumel Grand and Regency Cozumel hotels while renovations take place to make the necessary adjustments and bring the four properties up to the brand’s Unlimited-Luxury® and Unlimited-Fun® standards.

Sabor Cozumel Exclusive Resort & Spa and Aura Cozumel Grand will be combined to become Secrets Aura Cozumel with updates including the addition of 15 room keys at corner Ocean Front or Ocean View locations for a total 174 redecorated rooms, restaurants modifications to include the brand’s signature Bordeaux, Oceana, and Windows restaurants, and a new shopping area set to open January 2013. The official rebranding will take place by December 2012. Guests of Secrets Aura Cozumel will enjoy the benefits of Secrets Resorts & Spas’ signature Unlimited-Luxury® vacation concept which offers limitless access to gourmet a la carte dining and premium beverage brands, 24-hour room and concierge services, countless daytime activities, live evening entertainment, and more. The resort also will feature three main swimming pools.

Sabor Cozumel and Regency Cozumel will be combined to become the 330 room Sunscape Sabor Cozumel. Modifications will include adding the brand’s signature Portofino, Da Mario, El Patio and Market Café restaurants and complete room remodels. The official rebranding is set for mid-January 2013 with enhancements done in phases and fully completed by April 2013. Sunscape Sabor Cozumel will offer its guests the benefits of Sunscape Resorts & Spas’ signature Unlimited-Fun® vacation concept which provides limitless access to gourmet a la carte dining and premium beverage brands, 24-hour dining options, countless daytime activities, live evening entertainment, fitness facilities and more. The resort also will feature the brand’s signature Explorer’s Club for Kids, Coco Café, and Desires, and diving and water sports centers, and three pools

Secrets Aura and Sunscape Sabor Cozumel will share a spa which will debut a signature hydrotherapy circuit and fitness center to be completed by mid-March 2013