Famous for being a “first mover” in the all-inclusive space, Sandals Resorts has tweaked its model many times over its more than four decades of operation. In its latest reboot, the resort brand is leaning into local experiences and culinary culture at its destinations to appeal to vacationers looking for more immersive experiences.
“There’s been this sort of remarkable resurgence in the desire and deep appreciation of travel,” says Adam Stewart, executive chairman of Sandals Resorts International. He calls it a “newfound curiosity,” and it has been fueling the brand’s business since the end of the pandemic. This boost in travel comes at a time that Sandals is investing in other parts of the business.
One of its most exciting programs is the expansion of offsite dining. This involves on-the-ground research from the Sandals team that visits local restaurants, collaborates with their chefs and assures top food quality and safety for guests. Best of all, this is included in the overall room rate for guests with the number of times they can dine offsite usually based on the number of nights during their stay.
Sandals provides free transfers for guests to these local restaurants, but in some locations like Curacao, guests can also borrow one of the resorts Mini Cooper cars to get there. These complimentary additions give guests more time to explore off-property without having to pay for excursions or other tours.
These experiences are currently available at Sandals Royal Curacao and Sandals Royal Bahamian with more resorts like Sandals Dunn’s River in Ocho Rios, Jamaica to come soon.
In the Bahamas, guests can dine offsite at Sapodilla Estate, a restaurant with live music in what was once a private home, and Cocoplum, a cafe serving a fusion of French and Mediterranean cuisine with an island twist.
Guests at the Curacao property can visit Kome specializing in wood-fired meats, and Soi95, a contemporary Asian spot with mixology experiences. At Sal, The Kitchen, diners sit in a unique setting with walls built out of coral and salt.
When all-inclusive resorts were at their dawn, they were known for large buffet spreads designed to impress with quantity (sometimes over quality). This has been part of the financial model for many all-inclusive brands, but Sandals knows that people travel for good food and experience with their taste buds.
Sandals properties are more likely now to have just one or two buffet venues, opting instead for themed dining rooms that explore international menus. It’s not just Italian, French and Mexican anymore. Sandals Dunn’s River has a popular steakhouse, sushi and teppanyaki venues, Greek and Spanish flavors. An upscale rum bar concept with a tapas menu that takes local dishes and
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Though her work on Saturday Night Live keeps her tethered to New York City, comedian Chloe Fineman can most often be found criss-crossing the country to film in Los Angeles or back to the Bay Area, where she grew up. Recently, for her campaign with Nütrl Vodka Seltzer, she got to see a new place: Mexico City. “First of all, my brain still can’t understand how it’s a three-hour flight from LA [and five hours from New York], so I could meet all my friends in the middle,” she says. “And it was the most beautiful city. We saw luchadores wrestling, and the food was unbelievable. Some of the best meals in my life were in Mexico City!”
WHEN I WAS growing up in Stockton, Calif., in the 1970s and ’80s, there were only two special-occasion restaurants acceptable to my family. They were both on the south side of the city, in the barrio. My Mexican-born liked Mi Ranchito, and for my dad it was Arroyo’s Cafe. No matter which one we went to, my order was always the same: rib steak ranchero with rice, refried beans and leaves of undressed iceberg lettuce wilted by soupy salsa. I’d pinch torn pieces of machine-pressed flour tortillas around the slices of steak and mix in all the sides. It was a celebratory meal if there ever was one.
Breeze Airways is adding a new city — and state — to its growing route map. The Salt Lake City-based low-cost carrier unveiled plans Tuesday to launch service from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) in New Hampshire, and with a handful of new routes.
A new flight connection calls for a landing ovation – and a new set-jetting package for Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts guests – as the first-ever U.S. commercial flight descends upon majestic Ocho Rios, Jamaica on February 24th. In homage to the swift and seamless journey directly into the Caribbean Riviera, Sandals’ and Beaches’ new “Love and Let Fly” package transcends traveler wanderlust from the silver screen to the golden Jamaican beaches coveted for decades by film producers and vacationers alike. MORE TIME TO ‘BOND’, LESS TIME IN TRANSIT
Food alone is a worthy reason to visit Thailand. Famous for its inimitable melange of aromatic ingredients, piquant flavors and razor-sharp spices, Thai cuisine ranks among the top culinary traditions in the world.
Rosana Bentos wanted to become a flight attendant when she was a little girl. And while she ended up as a partner in an auto repair business, her love of airplanes never faded. Now, she serves as many as 1,500 passengers, err, guests every Saturday and Sunday. On a Friday morning, there was a line waiting for tables.
“I’d been making ice cream for the longest time and I'd never bothered to make flavours that would’ve made sense in an African context,” says Tapiwa Guzha. “Once I realised that, I couldn’t ignore it.”
On the Kent coast, where the North Sea meets the English Channel, the historic town of Deal was at one time the busiest port in England. Today, though, it’s less dockyard and more seaside resort, popular with day-trippers and weekenders from London and beyond, who come for the pebble beach and pretty castle and stay for the town’s growing culinary scene.
Altree Developments, a Toronto-based, multi-generational, full-service development company is set to redefine luxury living in St. Maarten and today announces they have launched sales at their newest development, Vie L’Ven (life to life), a luxury resort and residences with 280 units, that is slated for completion in 2028. “Vie L’Ven seamlessly coalesces the influences of both French and Dutch cultures which are truly represented in this incomparable development through exceptional living, dining and wellness experiences,” says Zev Mandelbaum, founder of Altree. “Serving as a love letter to St. Maarten, Vie L’Ven encourages homeowners and guests to embrace living life to the fullest, while soaking in the island’s natural beauty and tranquility, where European culture blends effortlessly with Caribbean aptitude.”
Mountain lovers can experience the new must-visit winter destination as COTTON CLUB ANDERMATT throws open its doors offering guests luxurious comfort, winter sun, and an immersive experience in the clear, bright, Alpine glow – Switzerland’s coolest new location. The brainchild of Norwegian entrepreneurs Christian and Merete Marstrander, COTTON CLUB ANDERMATT brings the COTTON LIFESTYLE to life. Known for their passion for both snow and sand, the Marstranders have created a forward-thinking vision of hospitality that has now arrived in Andermatt. With world-class service, meticulous attention to detail, and a dedication to ensuring each guest feels the special effect of the Cotton Club lifestyle, they have transformed Andermatt into a winter destination like no other.
Holland America Line is elevating its award-winning Alaska Cruisetours in time for the 2024 season with room upgrades at McKinley Chalet Resort and a new, included tour in Dawson City, Yukon. Alaska Cruisetours combine an Alaska cruise with an overland tour to Denali, and Holland America Line is the only cruise line that extends those tours into the Yukon. Balconies will be added to 28 river-view rooms at McKinley Chalet Resort — Holland America Line’s hotel property at Denali National Park — upgrading them to the Denali Suite category. In addition, a new Deluxe category of non-balcony rooms with suite amenities is being introduced. For the excursions, guests on select Denali and Yukon Cruisetours will have a new “Klondike Gold Tour” that expands on the region’s famed gold rush experience. The tour visits the original discovery claim site that launched the gold rush and Gold Dredge 4.
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