THE OB­SER­VA­TORY

M Style - - Contents - Text: ARAN­TXA NEYRA

We put the spot­light on the Par­adisus by Meliá brand and nat­u­ral lux­ury.

Punta Cana, Cancún, Playa del Car­men and Los Ca­bos: just read­ing these names trans­por ts us to a par­adise we’ve all dreamed of, with white sandy beaches and cr ys­tal-clear wa­ter. So it’s only nat­u­ral that there’s a Par­adisus by Meliá re­sor t in each of these des­ti­na­tions’ most al­lur­ing spots. And they’re just as we imag­ined.

Un­til re­cently, a stay in any all-in­clu­sive re­sort was a fairly uni­form ex­pe­ri­ence. Just a hand­ful of ho­tels were able to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from the rest with a unique and ex­cit­ing key sell­ing point that made them truly mem­o­rable. This was the orig­i­nal ob­jec­tive of Par­adisus by Meliá, whose ho­tels stood out for their ex­tra­or­di­nary nat­u­ral set­tings fea­tur­ing lush trop­i­cal gar­dens and pro­tected man­groves, al­ways over­look­ing the Pa­cific, At­lantic or Caribbean.

There’s not much more you could ask for. But Par­adisus by Meliá has gone one step fur­ther to of­fer a truly su­pe­rior all-in­clu­sive ex­pe­ri­ence. Its ho­tels dis­play orig­i­nal works of art and boast award-win­ning in­te­rior de­sign, and guests can en­joy spec­tac­u­lar culi­nary of­fer­ings—headed up by chef Martin Berasategui—in three dif­fer­ent restau­rants: Pas­sion, Tempo and the Gas­tro Bar. They also of­fer cus­tomised pro­grammes for both adults and fam­i­lies, and a plethora of en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that guests will never for­get.

Con­stance Lacroes, Global Brand Direc­tor of Par­adisus by Meliá and Re­gional Mar­ket­ing Direc­tor for the Amer­i­cas, notes that, ‘the con­cept of all-in­clu­sive has evolved sig­nif­i­cantly over the past ten years, es­pe­cially for Par­adisus. In the Caribbean and Mex­ico there are many all-in­clu­sive re­sorts, but they all of­fer the same thing. The em­pha­sis is on lux­ury and an abun­dance of “gourmet”

restau­rants and drinks. But no one was talk­ing about cre­at­ing unique ex­pe­ri­ences for guests. That’s where we saw an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand our ser­vices and create our own niche in the mar­ket’.

From there, the brand grad­u­ally fine-tuned its ser­vices by way of unique pro­grammes. First, con­cepts were de­signed and built around two types of guests, each with dif­fer­ent needs: fam­i­lies, and cou­ples or groups of adults who are look­ing for some es­capism. That’s how the Fam­ily Concierge and Royal Ser­vice pro­grammes were born. They in­clude ac­com­mo­da­tion in su­pe­rior rooms, as well as up­grades rang­ing from sig­na­ture restau­rants and lounges to ameni­ties and spe­cial mini­bars. There’s also a but­ler ser­vice; but­lers can, for in­stance, ar­range fam­ily-friendly ac­tiv­i­ties either for groups or for in­di­vid­ual guests.

Later on, The Re­serve con­cept emerged: a pri­vate, ex­clu­sive en­clave within the re­sorts for those seek­ing some­thing even more lux­u­ri­ous. The Grand Re­serve at the Par­adisus Palma Real, sched­uled to open in De­cem­ber, ‘will fea­ture new restau­rants, a Natura Bissé spa, a wa­ter park and swim-up suites with di­rect ac­cess to the pool, as well as a ter­race and pri­vate gar­den. Guests will also be able to en­joy the pub­lic ar­eas and restau­rants in The Re­serve and the rest of the Par­adisus Palma Real’.

As times change, so do the needs of trav­ellers, and to­day ’s guests seek ex­pe­ri­ences that will create last­ing mem­o­ries. This has to do with their de­sire to truly un­der­stand the des­ti­na­tions they visit in a unique, ex­pe­ri­en­tial and re­spect­ful way.

Lacroes notes that, ‘as we con­tinue to de­velop our brand, we have cre­ated Life En­rich­ing Ex­pe­ri­ences, a pro­gramme that al­lows guests to learn a new skill, take part in a wine tast­ing or par­tic­i­pate in classes on pho­tog­ra­phy, danc­ing and more while on hol­i­day. Our fo­cus is on cre­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, those "wow" mo­ments you’ll share with your fam­ily and friends when you go back home’.

Fu­ture plans to sur­prise guests and make their stays even more mem­o­rable are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly am­bi­tious: ‘We’re con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of or­gan­is­ing yoga re­treats with renowned ex­perts who will travel to Par­adisus for a week and share their knowl­edge, or host­ing in­ti­mate con­certs where guests will have the op­por­tu­nity to learn song­writ­ing in pri­vate work­shops’.

MIL­LEN­NIAL MADNESS

Par­adisus is ex­tend­ing its ef­forts to reach mil­len­ni­als—the gen­er­a­tion that’s lead­ing the way in many travel trends. ‘We’re con­scious of the fact that mil­len­ni­als are grad­u­ally start­ing fam­i­lies, and some­thing like Par­adisus could re­ally in­ter­est them’, says Lacroes, ‘To at­tract them to our ho­tels, we’re up­dat­ing the fit­ness and spa pro­gramme, adding vege­tar­ian and ve­gan op­tions to menus and in­cor­po­rat­ing fit­ness tele­vi­sion chan­nels, so that guests can prac­tise yoga in the pri­vacy of their rooms’.

In ad­di­tion to the at­ten­tion placed on food and well­ness, one of the main defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of mil­len­ni­als is their strong so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal con­scious­ness. This has not gone un­no­ticed by the brand, which has be­gun to im­ple­ment vol­un­teer pro­grammes at its dif­fer­ent des­ti­na­tions. ‘We’re de­vel­op­ing a “vol­un­tourism" pro­gramme specif­i­cally for Par­adisus, which gives guests the op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of the des­ti­na­tions and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties’.

‘WE’RE DE­VEL­OP­ING A “VOL­UN­TOURISM" PRO­GRAMME SPECIF­I­CALLY FOR PAR­ADISUS, WHICH GIVES GUESTS THE OP­POR­TU­NITY TO CON­TRIB­UTE TO THE DE­VEL­OP­MENT OF THE DES­TI­NA­TIONS AND LO­CAL COM­MU­NI­TIES’

THE CULI­NARY REALM

An­other pil­lar of con­tem­po­rary lux­ury in all-in­clu­sive ho­tels is the cui­sine—a cui­sine with sub­stance. It’s not enough to sim­ply pro­vide a large va­ri­ety of restau­rants; culi­nary of­fer­ings must also be re­spect­ful of the en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­nity, al­low­ing guests to un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate the des­ti­na­tion even more. ‘We up­dated the mini­bar prod­ucts to in­cor­po­rate lo­cal, or­ganic and non-GMO prod­ucts, and ex­panded the va­ri­ety of snacks avail­able. We’re putting more ef­fort into con­nect­ing the re­sort with its sur­round­ings through its ar­chi­tec­ture and the in­clu­sion of pop-up restau­rants with lo­cal dishes, as well as other ini­tia­tives’.

THE FAM­ILY CON­TIN­UES TO GROW

To ex­pand its of­fer­ings in Mex­ico and the Do­mini­can Repub­lic, Par­adisus will con­tinue to in­tro­duce new fea­tures and prop­er­ties. Short-term ex­pan­sion plans in­clude the open­ing in De­cem­ber of The Grand Re­serve at the Par­adisus Palma Real, and the open­ing in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2019 of the Par­adisus Playa Mu­jeres in Mex­ico. The Playa Mu­jeres des­ti­na­tion will be set within a res­i­den­tial com­plex by the coast, where guests will have ac­cess to a golf course de­signed by Greg Nor­man. But it doesn’t stop there. Though noth­ing is fi­nalised yet, ‘other Euro­pean and Asian des­ti­na­tions in equally stun­ning nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments de­serve to have their own piece of Par­adisus, too’.

The Par­adisus re­sor tsare con­sid­er­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of en­list­ing renowned ex­per ts to lead on-site yoga re­treats. Pic­tured, a viewof the Par­adisus Playa del Car­men in Mex­ico.

Watch­ing the sun­set over the Caribbean is an un­for­get­tableex­pe­ri­ence— es­pe­cially when en­joyed from a jacuzzi on the pri­vate ter­race of a suite at the Par­adisus Playadel Car­men.

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