The Evolution of All-Inclusive Resorts
The all-inclusive resort concept, first made popular in the 1970s,
has transformed the resort industry and provided excellent earning opportunities for travel advisors. Today’s all-inclusives bear little resemblance to their predecessors of 50 years ago. JAX FAX recently stayed at the new Sandals Royal Barbados, and this serves as a great example of the evolution of the all-inclusive concept (or what Sandals calls “Luxury Included”).
One of the biggest “alls” in all-inclusive is the inclusion of food and drink. Mediocre buffets and the use of beads at the bar have now been replaced by gourmet dining in a wide selection of venues, and every imaginable style of bar and pub, serving local and top-shelf libations. Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados combine for a total of 17 dining venues and 12 bars. Included in these are a selection of signature restaurants. JAX FAX‘s favorite is the Jerk Shack, serving authentic Jamaican jerk in a casual atmosphere. Other favorites include Butch’s Chophouse, which rivals the best stateside steak houses and Soy, their Asian themed venue serving up a variety of creative and delicious sushi.
Another innovation in all-inclusive dining was the concept of creating stand alone, “Main Street” style eateries for morning coffee and baked goods, afternoon pizza or an evening dish of gelato. The “go to” spot for these treats at Sandals is Cafe de Paris, located in a shady courtyard between the two resorts. These types of specialty food shops give the resorts a more village-like ambiance.
Bars are a key all-inclusive element and Sandals Royal and Sandals Barbados do not disappoint. From the traditional swim-up style, and beachfront bars offering wait service on the beach, to the rooftop bar and pool, your clients favorite beverages are never more than a few steps away.
Traditional all inclusive activities include non-motorized water sports, and perhaps, nightly entertainment. Sandals had raised the bar on this with standard inclusions like water-skiing and scuba diving. At the new Sandals Royal, the bar has been raised once again with the four-lane, Lover’s Lanes bowling alley and bar. Also, located just outside Lover’s Lane, in a roof covered, open-air courtyard, are clusters of U-shaped sofas around large flat screen TVs, offering couples or small groups a place to watch their favorite sporting event or play their favorite video games.
The twin or double bed rooms with tropical décor of yesteryear have seen perhaps the greatest evolution. Even the lower category rooms here feature a unique covered patio or balcony entrance with a freestanding Tranquility Soaking Tub for two, a chaise lounge, a bistro set for two and privacy curtains. Inside, each suite features custom crafted furnishings including a king-size bed, smart TV, sitting area, and a large walk-in closet. A stocked mini-bar and bottle service is included and refreshed daily. The elegant bathroom features a walk-in rain shower, and freestanding vanity with backlit mirror. Guests enjoy Club Sandals concierge services including private check-in, all day room service, and access to the Club Sandals Lounge. Upper room categories feature multi-room suites with swim-up or private plunge pools.
These modern Luxury Included Sandals resorts, as well as other similar resorts, offer travel advisors great earning opportunities, selling a product that is sure to please even the most discriminating clientele.