Author: Kelly Gould
It’s a typical day on a tropical beach somewhere in the Caribbean, or perhaps Mexico. The breezes are cool, the ocean warm, and hours languorous. Butlers carry cocktails to waiting guests only too happy to accept them. Farther inland, children play at a kids club and teens chat over games. Diners travel around the world without ever leaving the resort, sampling hibachi, ceviche, and the delectable, edible works of art offered up as dessert. In the spa, tranquil, almost-hypnotic music casts a spell of quieting relaxation—a rare moment of genuine peace.
No, it’s not a flashback to the days before COVID-19 (seven months and 100 years ago, both). It’s a portrait of the present, at an all-inclusive resort.
On the beach, the loungers are spaced widely apart. The staff all wear masks and carry hand sanitizer. At the kids and teens clubs, temperatures are checked and new protocols explained (most memorably at Iberostar Hotels & Resorts’ Star Camp, where a “medic superhero” unriddles social distancing). In restaurants, menus are posted to digital boards and accessible by phone, buffets have been reimagined, and new individual takeaway portions have been introduced. Meanwhile, at the spa, beds are disinfected before and after each use, and amenities sanitized and sealed.
With over 70 years of evolution behind the all-inclusive, it’s unsurprising that when we found ourselves facing a history-making pandemic, these hotels were some of the quickest to act, pivoting without pause into a new role: pacesetters in health and hygiene.
Adapting rapidly, premier all-inclusive brands from across the globe partnered with world-class organizations to establish broad-gauge guidelines for safety, sanitation, and quality … and give travelers hope that vacationing could be safe again.
Spick-and-Span from Top to Bottom
When you go to an all-inclusive, you expect the beach to be pristine. Now, new cleaning practices are making every inch of hotel grounds as unblemished as the sands they sit on. Constant disinfecting of common areas? Check. Air purification and water systems testing? Check. Strict requirements for suppliers dropping off products? Check. If it’s in any way part of a guest experience or staff function, it’s been scrutinized and sanitized.
New Standards, Same Mission
While operations blueprints have obviously been redesigned, the heart of the all-inclusive model hasn’t changed. The luxury is still there—but more innovative. The recreation is still there—but safer. The selection is still there—but with a focus on hygiene. And even though new sanitation requirements are rigorous, they’re also unobtrusive. Whether staying at a RIU hotel or a Blue Diamond resort, a Bahia Principe property or a Palladium one, travelers continue to get that vacation feeling they’re accustomed to. Plus, with reduced occupancy, stays feel more private and services more white glove, actually enhancing the experience.
It used to be that what really made all-inclusives stand out was that everything—room, food, drinks, entertainment—is packaged into one price. That’s as true as always, and a top selling point. Prior to COVID-19, increasingly high-end amenities were being added in: spa treatments, excursions, elevated dining experiences. “Authentic” became as much of a key word as “enjoyment” as resorts embraced their settings and shared their cultures. Now, all those layers of value are there, but the one that has the greatest impact is the simplest: the plain joy of being able to unwind. Without ever needing to leave the property, these resorts let guests arrive and let go like normal, without needing to worry about unknown protocols or uncontrolled crowds.
A Trip You Can Trust
Cristal International Standards®. EarthCheck. SGS. Preverisk Group. Ecolab. They’re some of the biggest names in hospitality certification—and just a few of the companies brands like AMResorts, Karisma Hotels & Resorts, and the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels have teamed up with. Yet with so many verifications to keep track of, remembering which properties have these protocols can be overwhelming. So, to make it at-a-glance easy, ALG Vacations™ added a badge of our own: TripTrust™. Hotels—all 2,000 of them—that have reported exacting sanitation standards now boast the TripTrust™ logo in VAX VacationAccess for fast identification.
This era of new health awareness isn’t ending any time soon. But, thankfully, with partners like all-inclusives digging in and helping lead the way, we can show the world that neither is travel.
Visit www.algvacations.com/TripTrust to learn more about safety initiatives at favorite all-inclusive brands!