The Travel Weekly team rounds up what's new to the all-inclusive market and tests two properties
When you’re booking an all-inclusive holiday there’s nothing more important than finding the right hotel, which is why it’s imperative to stay up to date with changes and developments.
We’re helping you keep your finger on the pulse with a short run-down of new properties, and first-hand reviews of the new all-inclusive packages from Cypriot luxury property Aphrodite Hills and the redeveloped Beaches Ocho Rios (pictured above).
TRIED AND TESTED
BEACHES OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA
Jo Cooke visited the property formerly known as Beaches Boscobel for Travel Weekly after its £20 million makeover.
There’s a Miami Beach-feel to Beaches Ocho Rios’ oceanfront accommodations. All white-washed with splashes of blue, the rooms of the Greek Village stack up in three tiers curving around the property’s bay. Interiors boast mahogany furnishings, sumptuous beds, contemporary rugs and paintings, while outside, smart sunloungers stand on wood-stained decks.
Italian and Caribbean-themed Villages cluster closer to the main building and kids’ club. The French Village stands in a more tranquil wing of the resort and has an ocean view pool deck as its centrepiece. Edged by sofas, it’s serviced by a new crêperie.
Organised activities and a ream of facilities await those who don’t want to lie around the resorts’ three pools. Pirates Island water park offers an alternative to the secluded, white-sand beach, and there are tennis courts, an Xbox games room, scuba diving, glass-bottomed boat rides and snorkel trips, and the chance for kids to try out golf at a championship course.
A disco for teenagers where no parents are allowed, and a sunset bar exclusively for adults, ensure everyone gets a private slice of paradise. The Kids’ Camp entertains 0-17-year-olds with movies, crafts, indoor and outdoor games from 9am to 9pm. The highlight is Sandals’ partnership with Sesame Street, with a stage show, character meet-and-greet sessions, and a weekly Disney-style parade through the resort’s gardens that the children absolutely love.
Dining options range from the new BBQ Park where a pizza is cooked to order, and you can serve yourself ice cream, popcorn, nachos and soft drinks all day. Speciality Caribbean, seafood and Italian à la carte restaurants contrast with the main buffet restaurant, which has a kids’ section with lowered counters.
The resort is two hours 15 minutes’ drive from Montego Bay airport, and, for those who want to get out of resort, a 30-minute drive from Dolphin Cove, Dunn’s River Falls and Mystic Mountain.
TRIED AND TESTED
APHRODITE HILLS, CYPRUS
Travel Weekly’s Flora Ioannou and 70 travel agents spent a long weekend at Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus to celebrate the launch of its all-inclusive package.
“I’ve eaten my own body weight in food”. This is the only complaint agents are likely to face after booking clients on an all-inclusive holiday to Aphrodite Hills.
The launch of the resort’s all-inclusive package was well received by more than 70 UK agents last month, who were the first to try out the product. Sales director Darren Eade says: “The all-inclusive was introduced not only on the recommendation of agents and operators, but after listening to customer feedback.”
If clients love great food, they need look no further. There’s a stunning range of restaurants, including Greek, Italian and Asian, but it doesn’t end there. Just lazing by the pool they’ll require the restraint of a nun to resist the pancakes and waffles, and come 4pm, it would seem rude to say no to tea and cakes. And if they want an ice cream, they can hire a Segway and zoom over to the Haagen-Dazs shop in the resort’s Village Square.
Children between three and 13 can attend the kids’ club as part of the package, but there is a charge for the crèche. Outside the all-inclusive package, activities on offer include the Retreat Spa, golf course and the Annabel Croft Tennis Academy.
Louella Cooper, product manager Europe and aviation, Destinology
“People are looking for a luxury all-inclusive option so they can keep to a budget. Turkey is the leader at the moment so Aphrodite Hills offers a Cyprus option. This is an excellent resort for the family market with good service and standards.”
Emma Pine, manager, agency support, Prestige
“This all-inclusive package offers not only a great buffet, but an amazing range of restaurants serving gourmet meals. It’s ideal for the family market, golfers and groups.”
Amanda Mathews, managing director, Designer Travel
“As Aphrodite is set on its own the introduction of the all-inclusive will give families and couples the option to relax and enjoy their holidays knowing what it will cost upfront. The product has so few restrictions it allows freedom and choice.”
Club Med has taken over the former LykiaWorld in Belek, which it reopened in April. Set on a 1.5-mile stretch of sandy beach the hotel has 433 rooms, four restaurants, and as part of the inclusive activities, academies teaching golf, sailing and even flying trapeze. clubmed.com
Iberostar has renovated and reopened the Iberostar Mojito in Cayo Coco, Cuba. The 352 rooms have been renovated and activities included in the price are windsurfing, kayaking, water polo, tennis and scuba diving. iberostar.com
Riu will open its fifth hotel in Jamaica in December. The 238-room five-star Riu Palace Jamaica will be adult-only and situated next to Riu Montego Bay. With an Ibizan chill-out feel, the hotel will have a swim-up bar and free Wi-Fi. riu.com
Sandals LaSource Grenada is set to open on December 12, with lead-in prices starting from £1,899. There are 231 rooms and suites set in three villages, nine dining options, including the first-ever Sandals steakhouse, five pools and a spa. sandals.co.uk
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