A Sensatori Experience
SELLING THE SENSATORI AZUL BEACH RESORT JAMAICA
story and photos by ANN RUPPENSTEIN
WITH ITS SANDY BEACHES, CLEAR BLUE WATERS AND LAID-BACK LIFESTYLE, JAMAICA HAS LONG BEEN A STAPLE DESTINATION FOR CANADIANS LOOKING FOR SUN, SAND AND SEA – AND SOME OBLIGATORY RED STRIPE AND JERK CHICKEN.
Situated on Negril’s picturesque Seven Mile Beach, visitors now have another option for their Jamaican vacation: the newly opened Sensatori Azul Beach Resort Jamaica by Karisma.
“The new Sensatori Azul Beach Resort Jamaica by Karisma is luxurious beyond compare,” says Armando Chomat, executive vice president of Premier Worldwide Marketing, worldwide representatives for Karisma Hotels & Resorts. “We are eager for our valued agents and their guests to enjoy the Gourmet Inclusive experience in Jamaica complete with unmatched service, contemporary design, and exquisite luxury amenities only steps from Negril’s famed Seven Mile Beach.”
The 98 ocean-view suite luxury beachfront property is geared at the North American market, and adjoins and shares facilities with the existing Sensatori property, which opened in 2014 – marking Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ first expansion outside of Mexico – for a combined total of 285 suites.
“People come from thousands of miles to enjoy the sun, sand and sea of Jamaica,” said Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, who was on hand for the opening ceremonies. “Tourism is one of the few industries in which the Caribbean has both global comparative and competitive advantage. Jamaica is a leading and internationally competitive destination. This is why Karisma is making a monumental investment in Jamaica.”
Rafael Feliz, chairman and CEO of Karisma Hotels & Resorts, cited a strong brand name, location, hospitality, and connectivity, as some of the top reasons for developing and investing in Jamaica. TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice 2017 awards recently ranked Jamaica as the No. 1 Caribbean destination, and No. 12 in the world’s top destinations.
“[The Canadian market is] very important, especially with brands like Sensomar and Sensatori – there is a connection between Sunwing and the TUI group, so for us it is extremely important,” Feliz says. “This resort is relatively new, and we have between 20-23% repeat guests. We believe Jamaica is one of the top destinations for the highest repeat customers.”
Although there was a drop in Canadian arrivals to Jamaica last year, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told Travel Courier “Canada is back and we’re delighted!,” noting a 4.5% increase in arrivals both from Canada and overall, and that the destination has already surpassed more than 1 million arrivals this year alone.
“Canadian travellers are extremely important to us, as Canada is already one of our top three markets globally, and visitors from this region are growing quickly – up 25% year over year,” adds Kelly Poling, Karisma’s senior VP of marketing. “All signs point to the Canadian market continuing to be strong…they are travelling to the regions in which we have presence – Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica all lie within the top 15 destinations visited by Canadians each year. Because of this massive opportunity, nearly one-third of our Gourmet Inclusive Vacation consultants are based in the Canadian market – many of whom focus on wedding groups and luxury travel.”
WHAT AGENTS NEED TO KNOW
Seeing as Canadian agents can earn $250 commission per booking, the resort can be lucrative for the trade. Here’s what agents need to know to sell the AAA Four Diamond-awarded resort to clients:
The modern cream-toned contemporary rooms feature pink and turquoise touches, spacious bathrooms and dressing areas, along with swim-up pools or large private terraces overlooking the ocean. Guests have personal concierge access and rooms like the Presidential Suite come complete with private butler service.
Additional amenities include a soap, aroma and pillow menu, as well as in-suite liquor for premium guests, while stocked mini-bars offer chilled beer.
“With an impressive lobby, new contemporary suites, and stylish lounges, bars and restaurants, Sensatori Azul Beach Resort Jamaica is truly unparalleled for delivering unforgettable Gourmet Inclusive vacations,” says Chomat.
Dining options include nine Gourmet Inclusive restaurants, ranging from Italian, Thai, Caribbean and world cuisine, to pool-side Jamaican jerk specialties, and smoothies and lattes at the main lobby coffee shop. There are also nine bars and lounges from three swim-up bars to the stylish Nesta Rasta lounge, along with included activities such as yoga, Tai Chi, rum tastings, Jamaican cooking classes, and Caribbean dance classes.
“What I believe truly differentiates us is the Gourmet Inclusive experience,” says Poling. “Included in the price of your hotel room is all-inclusive access to gourmet á la carte restaurants, an incredible menu of premium alcohol and award-winning wine, and highly personalized attention that is second to none.”
The resort’s Vassa Spa offers an assortment of treatments, like outdoor sky massages, and a dedicated suite for three hours of bridal services and pampering.
For those staying with families and teens, there are a variety of amenities like a children’s fitness program and a playroom with a funky science lab. The resort will soon also offer the Nickelodeon experience.
Guests staying at the property can easily plan a trip to the local hot spot, Rick’s Cafe, to go cliff jumping or simply to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand. Golfers may want to hit the links at Negril Hills Golf Club, while another popular attraction is the Blue Hole Mineral Spring, which sits beneath a cavernous opening in Jamaica’s terrain and is completely encased by limestone. Visitors can leap into the mineral spring or climb down into the water by a ladder.
Kelly Poling, senior VP of marketing at Karisma, offers agents a few tips for selling its properties:
• One of the benefits we provide our travel agents is access to a robust toolkit of marketing and sales materials and support by an expert Canada-based sales team, so I would first encourage them to leverage that.
• In those materials, they can learn everything they need to know about the Gourmet Inclusive experience, the unique product attributes, and our long list of awards. Some gems that stick out for me are that all our hotels in Mexico and Jamaica have been awarded the AAA four Diamond designation, a couple of our hotels have been ranked in the Top 10 in the World by Conde Nast Magazine, and our Le Chique restaurant at Azul Beach Resort Sensatori Mexico was ranked the top restaurant in Mexico – not just the top hotel restaurant in Mexico – but the top restaurant overall.
• The hotels themselves have so many one-of-a-kind product attributes like the Palafitos – Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma, the 100% swim-up suites on all floors of El Dorado Seaside Suites Riviera Maya, the largest one-bedroom suites in the destination at Generations Riviera Maya, or the culinary theatre at El Dorado Royale.
• Finally, I would strongly encourage them to take a trip to our properties, as I think that every person who ever experiences our hotels firsthand becomes an immediate brand advocate.
BY THE NUMBERS:
• 285 total suites (149 new premium luxury suites)
• Seven pools
• Nine Gourmet Inclusive restaurants
• Nine bars
• One spa
• Earn $250 per booking as commission for Canadian agents