Where do you go to get active on an all-inclusive break? Katie McGonagle finds out
Tennis whites and trainers, or bikinis and beach towels? Knowing which items your clients pack first will tell you a lot about what they want from their annual break.
While some holidaymakers’ only activity involves walking from the sunlounger to the pool bar and back again, others dream of finally finding the time to play sport, discover a new hobby, or come back fitter than they were before.
Finding out which camp your clients fall into will help you work out where to send them, but first, make sure you’re up to speed with where to go for which sport, with our look at some of the most active all-inclusive resorts around.
BEST FOR... SCUBA DIVING
Our chilly British seas mean anyone with a penchant for diving craves warmer waters, turning it into a rather pricy pursuit, so opt for properties that offer diving as part of their all-inclusive package.
Sandals resorts offer up to two dives a day for Padi-certified divers, ranging from 20ft to 80ft deep and including colourful coral reefs, marine life, and wrecks that have featured in Jaws and Bond film Dr No.
Novices can have a go too: a Discover Scuba Diving course costs $90, while getting Padi-certified costs from $200 to $500, depending on the course. Kids over the age of eight can join in too at Beaches, where the Bubblemaker programme lets them take their first breath underwater using child-friendly equipment ($85), and the Seal Team challenge involves taking underwater photos, diving with torches and floating like an astronaut ($150 for two one-hour sessions) to learn the first principles of diving.
The BodyHoliday in Saint Lucia also includes one shore dive per day for certified divers, while Funway Holidays’ favourite The Royal in Cancun has an introductory diving lesson for each guest. Maritim Hotel in Mauritius also has its own diving school and offers one free lesson.
Don’t forget diving closer to home: Red Sea Holidays has pre-bookable diving packages that can be tagged onto an all-inclusive break so guests don’t have to worry about shelling out in-resort.
A single dive starts at £46 for beginners and £35 for qualified divers, but multiple dive packages are available along with Padi-certified courses from £200.
For family holidays, recommend the family dive package, which includes theory and pool time before progressing to open water dives and a Padi certificate (from £295 per person, open to children aged 12 and over.
BEST FOR... WATERSPORTS
Kayaks and snorkelling gear might be par for the course at many beach resorts, but some properties really go the extra mile. Mark Warner has invested £250,000 in new aquatic equipment this year, after seeing a 15% post-Olympic rise in sales of watersports courses.
Its Sea Garden resort in Bodrum, Turkey, offers free group sailing courses and windsurfing lessons within the all-inclusive package, with private tuition available at £50 per lesson.Across the waves in Rhodes, the Rodos Princess Beach includes canoeing and windsurfing, as well as land sports such as basketball.
Olympic Holidays commercial director Photis Lambrianides says: “Sporting action is a priority for many all-inclusive guests; the opportunity to try something new or engage in a favourite sporting activity at no extra cost while on holiday appeals strongly to many of our all-inclusive customers.”
Resort operator Club Med includes sailing, windsurfing and waterskiing academies at no extra charge, and guests can also try taster sessions of jetskiing, wakeboarding and big game fishing depending on the resort.
At Sandpiper Bay in Florida, give stand-up paddleboarding and aqua-zumba a go, or take to the pool to hone water polo skills.The Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso in Bali is a good choice for those who love water-based fun – the all-inclusive gold package includes ocean kayaking, catamaran sailing, and motorised watersports, when booked on the hotel’s website before departure.
Sandals and Beaches resorts also offer windsurfing, paddleboarding, sailing and aqua trikes as standard, plus Hobie Cats, waterskiing and glass-bottomed boats at most resorts.
BEST FOR... GOLF
Hit a hole in one by suggesting your golf-mad clients opt for a resort that includes green fees.
The Heritage Awali Golf & Spa Resort in Mauritius includes unlimited green fees at its 18-hole par-72 golf course, while Maritim in Mauritius also includes fees for its nine-hole course.
Superb views and great golf are in plentiful supply at the 18-hole course in Taba Heights, Egypt, which offers glimpses of three different countries as players complete the circuit.
There are free shuttle buses from resort hotels, and specialist golf operator Holiday Designers offers pre-bookable tee times with accommodation packages: three 18-hole rounds start at £125.
Olympic Holidays also highlights Letoonia Golf Resort Hotel in Belek, Turkey, which offers free golf tuition and tennis lessons for all-inclusive guests.
BEST FOR... TENNIS
If clients are feeling inspired by Wimbledon, there are plenty of resorts offering a chance to brush up on racquet skills, such as the group tennis lessons at Club Med resorts.
The InterContinental Aphrodite Hills has recently introduced an all-inclusive board basis, and offers pre-bookable packages at Annabel Croft Tennis Academy, with everything from individual lessons to five-day ‘Grand Slam’ packages (at a supplement).
The former British number one will also be passing on her skills at Curtain Bluff, Antigua, alongside fellow player-turned-presenter Andrew Castle. This all-inclusive resort is known for its tennis facilities, and is now expanding with its first Perfect Match: Tennis and Wellbeing Week, from November 16-23. There will be clinics and matches with the pros, yoga and pilates classes, water aerobics, a spa treatment, snorkelling and a catamaran sail to English Harbour.
If they want top-notch coaching, Buccament Bay in St Vincent also includes academies with training from high-profile sports stars at certain times of the year: Pat Cash leads the tennis lessons, Liverpool FC players pass on their footballing know-how, and former England cricketer Martin Bicknell can be found training at the nets, plus there’s free professional training even when the star players aren’t in-resort
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