Karisma Hotels & Resorts and Margaritaville have announced a partnership to develop a collection of all-inclusive Margaritaville resorts.
The new Margaritaville, an All-Inclusive Experience, by Karisma will be Margaritaville’s entry into the all-inclusive resort market.
The collection will comprise new-build beachfront resorts in tropical destinations, including the Caribbean and Mexico, that will combine Karisma’s award-winning all-inclusive service and experiences with some of the signature elements of the global brand inspired by iconic singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. (my Hero!)
While it’s unclear where the first resort is slated to break ground, it will happen later this year with a opening planned for 2018.
“Our partnership with Margaritaville allows us to introduce a collection of new casual luxury resorts set in stunning tropical destinations,” said the Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Karisma’s exclusive representative, Premier Worldwide Marketing, Mandy Chomat in a statement. “Karisma’s expertise in delivering elevated all-inclusive concepts around the world makes this partnership a perfect fit.”
In her own statement, Margaritaville’s chief marketing officer Tamara Baldanza-Dekker called the partnership “a match made in paradise.”
Karisma currently owns and operates more than two dozen properties throughout Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe and aims to have 30 up and running around the world by 2020.
Source: Travel Pulse
Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS
Certified Travel Counselor & River Cruise Specialist
I’ve just returned from a week-long vacation in Grenada, “The Spice Island.” What a beautiful country full of warm and caring people! They are so welcoming to Americans. They love Ronald Reagan! They say, ‘he gave them back their freedom.’ (remember the invasion back in 1983?) They love us for it.
This new Sandals LaSource Resort sits right next to the Maurice Bishop International Airport and is a very short shuttle ride. The steep entrance drive is quite a fun ride during arrival. Upon arrival, you are let off at an open-air (tiny and unimpressive) lobby for check-in. If you have booked a CLUB LEVEL or BUTLER category room, you are escorted into the nearby, air-conditioned Club Sandals area for a private, more comfortable check-in process. Butler guests will be taken to their rooms for check-in. (how ‘suite’ is that!)
We had a Club Level Room in the Pink Gin Village. It’s a beautiful, beachfront building nearest the ocean. From our room we had beautiful, sweeping views of the ocean, pool area and beach. We were in the Penthouse, which is fancy for….third floor. With a vaulted ceiling and the best oceanfront view…it was worth the walk up the stairs.
The food and restaurants are great. We loved the French restaurant, Le Jardinier, the best. The service was stellar and the food delicious. No reservations were needed at this resort with the exception of Butch’s Chophouse and the Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. Both of those were very good as well. Lobster was out of season, so shrimp was served in it’s place, at Butch’s, for the ‘Surf & Turf’ that’s very popular. “Doggies” is a new addition, it’s a hot dog cart with all the trimmings. Open for about 3 hours per day around lunch time and parked outside The Living Room. Delicious and a great addition. The buffet and Mediterranean restaurants were good as well. I don’t care for buffets and this one doesn’t have any seating that’s air conditioned. Indoor seating is quite warm and so is the outdoor seating. I preferred eating elsewhere because of it. Don’t forget the great ice cream in the Cafe! (try the Nutmeg ice cream!)
Drinks abound at this high-end all-inclusive resort. The Living Room was a popular evening hangout with nightly entertainment and fun. It’s a covered, yet open-sided area with a bar and fun ‘living room’ style furnishings. We could hear the nightly music right from our room nearby. The main pool has a swim-up bar that was popular day and night. The main beer served was Caribe, which is very good. The Tipsy Turtle Pub had many other selections as well.
Service was great for the most part…expected at Sandals. Love that no-tipping policy, which takes a lot of stress away. The only problem we had was with the room stewards. A few nights, they didn’t get to our rooms for service…either day or night-time turn-down. On the flip side…the concierge at Club Sandals were AWESOME! They will bend over backwards to make your stay perfect. Well done! I can’t say enough times how getting at a minumum….a CLUB SANDALS LEVEL ROOM! (entry level rooms don’t have concierge and a whole lot more!) If you take nothing else away from this blog today….take that tip! CLUB LEVEL or BUTLER ONLY! So worth it.
The beach is very nice. Not an overly long stretch, but more cove-like. White & black sand with clear water. Not overly wavy either. Nice trampolines anchored in the bay to relax on. If you walk down past the Watersports area…you can walk off-property down the beach for quite a ways. Some very cool rock formations down there…very photo-worthy! You can also see the capital city of St. George’s down the coast. (lit up nicely at night) Lots of lounge chairs and even with those ‘chair hogs that tend to get up early and throw their stuff on chairs to never return’…won’t spoil it. Lots to choose from. Lots of hammocks as well. Drink service is also available…although spotty sometimes.
Entertainment was good. Loved the crew’s talent performances and beach party. White Night was fun as well. I don’t go to these resorts for entertainment…so many nights we skipped it. My favorite night-time activity is to find a nice, dark beach lounger near the ocean and listen to the waves lapping the shore while watching the stars and lights of the city. Nothing more relaxing than that. Make sure you protect yourself, as sand fleas can be pesky and they bite leaving some marks! (bug repellent)
We did one excursion (Island Routes) tour. It was the half day city tour. Very informative and fun. When we got to the marketplace, some guides kind of force themselves upon you. The driver said to ignore them, but after awhile…let him guide us around. He taught us many things about his people and country. He also expedited us to the stores with items we were searching for. Of course, he wanted a bunch of money at the end of the tour…but we tipped him $40 and felt it was worth it. (although, I didn’t like his ‘non-consent’ way of getting us to follow him) Lots of fresh spices and local items in the city markets. Bargaining is the way here, but I often times gave them what they asked…and they were genuinely grateful. The view from Fort Frederick is amazing!
All in all…it was an another AWESOME SANDALS VACATION. Most flights arrive quite late into Grenada. We arrived at 8:30 PM and were at the resort eating dinner by 10:00 PM. Some opt to stay in a local hotel the first night since they arrive so late, as it’s more cost effective than wasting most of your first day while traveling.
We are certified SANDALS SPECIALISTS! We know these properties very well, and have been to most of them. Sandals prices are the same, no matter where you purchase them from…SO WHY NOT LET US BOOK YOU? YOU’LL GAIN OUR FREE HELP AND EXPERIENCE at no extra cost! We know the best resorts for you, the best room levels, best views, best beaches, best pools, best excursions.
Why do I believe in Sandals Resorts? Because they believe in Travel Agents!
Sandals ensures we are highly trained in their products through annual certification workshops. Sandals levels the playing field when it comes to pricing. They have a “no discounting” policy, so you can’t find a lower price online than you can get from us!
They support us in many other ways as well. No other resort, cruise line or vacation product provides the kind of support that Sandals and Beaches Resorts does. None.
Their all-inclusive product is easy to sell…because they include everything! Other resorts just pale in comparison in the value you receive from Sandals. The closer you look…the better they look.
What’s the difference between Sandals and Beaches Resorts?
Sandals is for couples and Beaches is for all others. (couples, kids, singles, families) Many of the same high quality amenities are available at both. Why not check them out by contacting us today?
We are CERTIFIED SANDALS SPECIALISTS! OUR RESORT PLANNING IS FREE!
Free vacation help? YES! No fees, no catches…contact us today!
Pete Larson, President and owner of Jolly Mon Vacations of Grand Forks, ND participated in an intensive travel agent workshop administered by Unique Vacations, Inc. (UVI), the worldwide sales and marketing representative for Sandals, Beaches, and Grand Pineapple Beach resorts. Each workshop – It Pays toKnow It All… –offers detailed information on Sandals Resorts International extensive portfolio – comprised of Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts, and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts – as well as an overview of new developments, services and amenities. All who participate in the workshop are eligible to become Certified Sandals Specialists (CSS), an elite group of travel agents recognized by Unique Vacations, Inc. and the travel industry as experts in the worlds only Luxury Included® Resorts.
According to Pete of Jolly Mon Vacations, there is a serious job at hand, understanding the nuances of each brand within the Sandals Resorts portfolio is critical to his customers. “My clients rely on me to help them make the best vacation choices so that every hard-earned dollar they spend is giving them true value,” said Larson, “I am thrilled to have been a part of this workshop. I have come away with a wealth of knowledge. My clients want to feel confident that the information they receive is based on expert knowledge and now, my Certified Sandals Specialist designation does just that.”
According to Gary Sadler, Senior Vice President of Sales at UVI, relying on a CSS travel agent is one of the best ways consumers can get the most out of their Caribbean vacation. “Vacations are memories in the making,” said Sadler. “You don’t get a second chance to celebrate the perfect honeymoon or family reunion. It has to be just right. CSS agents such as Pete are helping us to match customers to their ideal vacation experience. We congratulate Pete for participating in our workshop, and wish him the very best.”
Sandals Resorts International was honored with 22 awards by The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. The International Star Diamond Award is one of the most prestigious emblems of achievement and is awarded to exclusive recipients throughout the world. Nominations are routinely submitted by world travelers and industry professionals. All decisions of the Academy are based solely on whether the nominee demonstrates a commitment to excellence in luxury and service within its industry’s specific category and classification, including hospitality, attitude, quality, and cleanliness.
“We are thrilled to be recognized by The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences,” said Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts International. “We work hard to offer the finest luxury vacation, and we are honored that so many of our resorts have received Star Diamond Awards.”
The impressive awards and distinguished group of winners included:
Fowl Cay Resort: 2012 Five Star Diamond Award
Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas:
2012 Green Six Star Diamond Award – Red Lane ® Spa at Sandals Emerald Bay
2012 Green Six Star Diamond Award – Sandals Emerald Bay
2012 Six Star Diamond Award – Sandals Emerald Bay
Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa:
2012 Six Star Diamond Award – Mediterranean Village at Sandals Grande Antigua
2012 Five Star Diamond Award – Sandals Grande Antigua
Sandals La Toc Golf Resort & Spa in St. Lucia:
2012 Five Star Diamond Award – Sandals La Toc
2012 Five Star Diamond Award – Sandals La Toc Restaurant
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort: 2012 Five Star Diamond Award
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island: 2012 Five Star Diamond Award
Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa: 2012 Five Star Diamond Award
Sandals Royal Plantation, Ocho Rios, Jamaica:
2012 Five Star Diamond Award – Sandals Royal Plantation
2012 Five Star Diamond Award – Red Lane® Spa at Sandals Royal Plantation
Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa: 2012 Five Star Diamond Award
Beaches Resorts: 2012 Six Star Green Diamond Award – Beaches Resorts “Keeping it Green”
Beaches Negril Resort & Spa: 2012 Five Star Diamond Award
Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa:
2012 Five Star Diamond Award – Beaches Turks & Caicos
2012 Six Star Diamond Award – Italian Village at Beaches Turks & Caicos
2012 Five Star Diamond Award – Mario’s Restaurant at Beaches Turks & Caicos
2012 Five Star Diamond Award – Le Petit Chateau Restaurant at Beaches Turks & Caicos
Rio Chico Private Estate: 2012 Five Star Diamond Award
Sandals Resorts at the Montego Bay Airport: 2012 Five Star Diamond Award – Sandals Resorts Arrival Lounge
Not only do we get you the best possible promo price but if a better one comes along AFTER you are booked…we will have your price adjusted down to get you the absolute BEST PRICE! We work closely with our Sandals Business Development Manager to get you every possible discount and free amenity possible. (oh, and we do it at NO COST TO YOU! Our services are FREE!)
Cancun and the Riviera Maya have become a second home for North American travelers looking for great beaches, lots of sun and exciting nightlife. Mayan ruins sit next door to world-class accommodations and tourism facilities, with water sports and natural attractions close at hand. Only a couple of hours from many United States cities, Cancun is one of the most accessible international destinations available.
The Yucatán coast has been a staple of travelers from the United States for forty years or more. The rapid development in and around Cancun became a model for the best and the worst in the ways in which tourism could enrich a population. This area was largely isolated from the rest of Mexico until the Mexican government selected the region for development.
The Yucatán’s Caribbean coast is more than 236 miles and stretches from Cancún in the north all the way to Chetumal, on the border with the nation of Belize.
The northern half of the Yucatán’s coast is known as the “Maya Riviera “; to the south, the “Costa Maya.” Between the two is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
South of Cancun development along the Riviera Maya is on a smaller scale, with a greater understanding for the principles of sustainable tourism and a respect for native cultures.
The second longest reef system in the world runs much of the length of the coast. Playa del Carmen, Xpu-Ha, Tulum and the other magnificent beaches occur where there are gaps in the reef and the tidal action of the ocean’s waves pounds the reef into fine sand.
The reef provides great snorkeling and diving and the beaches are some of the world’s finest.
Ancient Mayan ruins dot the coast and are easily accessible from the resort communities along the coast.
Inland, vast caves are present and under ground rivers run where travelers can explore with experienced guides.
The choice of accommodations is large and varied from cabins to all inclusive resorts or boutique hotels.
The ancient Mayan cities of Uxmal and Chichen Itza remain some of the best examples of the mysterious cultures, the vestages of which exist to this day in the native populations.
Contact: Jolly Mon Vacations to assist with booking your Mexico vacation!Your NO FEE source of expert advice and
I was invited by The Jamaica Tourist Board to come down to Jamaica and see the country and it’s resorts and beaches for myself. This way I can better place clients at the right resort. You’ve got to get to know the product, and this is a great way…to see and experience it for myself.
I flew into Sangster Airport in Montego Bay this afternoon. Landing here was incredible. The plane flies in low over the ocean, and just when it looks as if you are going to touch down in the ocean…there’s the runway. WOW! That view of the turquoise colored Caribbean waters! We even spotted a giant sea turtle from the plane as we descended.
After processing through Customs and Immigration, we met up with resort reps. I am staying at the beautiful Half Moon Resort, Rose Hall, Jamaica. We were taken by bus right to the property. The resort is HUGE! Over 400 acres in all. http://www.halfmoon.com/
About 38 other travel agents are staying here, and we are in The Villas. They are multiple bedroom villas that share a common area. It comes complete with it’s own pool, golf cart, butler, chef, and maid. They cook your meals right in your villa. It’s very open and airy. The bedrooms are air conditioned but the common areas are not…making it quite sticky this time of year.
We had a late lunch at The Pub, which consisted of Smoked Marlin Salad, Jerk BBQ Breast of Chicken served with a garlic and scallion mash and fresh vegys. It was topped off with their award winning Pina Colada Cake and homemade ice cream. (and Jamaica has some great ice cream!) Needless to say, I washed it all back with a Red Stripe Beer on draught. Delicious.
We unpacked, and headed to a Cocktail party for the agents. Free cocktails, canapes, and live music sponsored by the JTB. After this, we went to the Beach BBQ Party. A festive line up of Jamaica specialties like Curried Goat, Suckling roasted pig, garlic steamed crab legs, mahi mahi, jerk chicken, bbq ribs, mussels, and a whole lot of other stuff. An awesome display of tasty food to enjoy on the beach. We ate on linen lined picnic tables by candlelight with the stars shining over our heads. The steel drum band was knocking out some Jimmy Buffett tunes, and the waves were lapping the shore behind us. The perfect setting.
There were also quite a few stage shows to watch there, everything from reggae music, limbo dancers, and fire dancers. It was a great time.
I’m back in our Villa, ready for a new day tomorrow. Frogs are croaking, the pool is lit up, and I’m ready for bed. I’ve been awake for 20 hours and I need some shut eye! Stay tuned for part II.
I put together an informative series about All-Inclusive Resorts. I will release them over the course of the next month or two. I hope you find them helpful, and that you will use this information to help guide you in your future vacations. I will also post them on the Jolly Mon Vacations official Blog as well for future reference. If you find that you are ready to try a resort, don’t hesitate to contact me right away. Jolly Mon Vacations is with you every step of the way. Enjoy!
Q: What is an all-inclusive resort all about?
A: An all-inclusive resort is a great vacation concept, at a great resort, in a great location, at a great value for what it includes in the price. At most resorts, all-inclusive means it includes most things you would have to pay extra for are included up front. You know the total cost of your vacation up front, which makes saving and planning much easier.
Q: What is included in the price?
A: The things included in a true All-Inclusive (which I will call AI’s) are:Accommodations, meals and snacks, with no exclusions, unlimited drinks, transportation to and from the airport, gratuities at the resort, resort taxes, daily and nightly entertainment, tennis, snorkeling, water skiing (some resorts), sailing, windsurfing, kayaks, paddle boats, swimming pools, hot tubs, scuba diving and lessons (some resorts), exercise/weight rooms, fitness centers, Other amenities may be included depending on the resort and the room category such as room service, golf (greens fees), off-site tours.
That being said, some AI’s include more than others. Some also have better amenities, better liquors, better food, better facilities, etc.
Q: How can I determine what resort is right for me or my family?
A: There are resorts out there geared toward families, resorts geared toward couples, resorts geared toward the ‘uninhibited’, resorts geared to the adventurous…the list goes on. To study all the resort options available to you would take massive amounts of time, and would still be a gamble in your selection.
This is where the well-trained services of a Travel Agent are truly needed. We not only attend classes given by both resorts, countries, and vendors…but we get a chance to visit these resorts and see them for ourselves. This way, we can ‘qualify’ each clients needs and desires to a particular AI resort. Shopping for travel via an internet company like Expedia, or a discounter is just too risky. You won’t get personalized suggestions, and they aren’t going to steer you to the BEST resort for YOU. They will steer you by PRICE to a resort THEY want you to go to.
No matter how you choose to approach this, these are the facts. ‘Buyer Beware’ when it comes to travel. Many people find out THE HARD WAY, and I hope to set you in the RIGHT direction.As with any vacation, expectations and picking the right resort are major contributors to an unforgettable vacation. If this criteria is met, it is hard to find any negatives. At All-Inclusive Resorts every crew and staff member is dedicated to making your resort vacation the best it can be. Call us for help in planning the vacation of a lifetime!
Q: What is not included at an All-Inclusive Resort?
A: Baggage handling at the airport, some off-site tours, gift shop purchases, most Spa services, and departure tax (depending on the package these can be included). It is a good idea to bring some money for off-site activities. A departure tax of $15 to $30 per person is required in most Caribbean and Mexican airports. These fees are collected when you leave the country. Most packages now include these taxes, but be sure and ask if the departure tax is included for the particular package you choose.
In our upcoming editions, we will discuss many more things:
What do these resorts offer?
Will my kids be bored?
We want a quiet, romantic place… where do we turn?
What type of entertainment should I expect?
What is a realistic price for this vacation?
What options are there in accommodations? Is a room just a room?
What countries have them that we should consider?
Can we get married at a resort? Do they really host weddings?
I’ve not been out of the country, what type of ID will I need?
How do I go about booking the vacation? Can we lay a deposit?