It’s a 3-for-1 deal with this edition of Take 5! Sandos Hotels & Resorts’ three BDMs in this market – Central Canada BDM Juan Ruiz (Ontario, Manitoba and Nunavut); Western Canada BDM Emily Spadafora (B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories and Yukon); and Eastern Canada BDM Maryanne Dubé all share their thoughts on everything from family travel to weddings with Sandos, to dining options, to the upcoming holiday season.
1. Sandos Hotels & Resorts has nine resorts in Mexico and Spain. For Canadian travel agents new to the Sandos Resorts brand, can you offer a quick summary of Sandos’ four properties in Mexico? These properties must get a lot of bookings from Canadian travel advisors!
Maryanne Dubé: “Sandos Hotels & Resorts is a brand that is always seeking a constant balance between the business, environmental and socio-cultural fields, those are fundamental values for us, it is not just about all-inclusive vacations, but also in the difference we may do around us.
“Sandos is a strong brand that stands out by the varieties in its resort styles, especially in Mexico, where we have 4 resorts, 4 target customers and 4 ambiances.
“Sandos Caracol is our Green resort, offering an all nature experience. It is the perfect place for couples and families who want more for the same price! The water park has 29 water slides. And there are free nature activities on the site, including a real cenote where you can swim six days a week. You can also take a nature guide walk, you can plant a tree or you can take care of our animals with the caregiver.
“Sandos Playacar is the all beach experience, where clients will find the perfect balance between the time they spend on the most beautiful beach on the Mayan Riviera, and the activities on the site led by the entertainment team, from shows, to bicycle rides in Playacar, to mini-golf and the teen club.
“Sandos Cancun is the Wellfit experience, focused on healthy routines and self-care. It is an adult oriented resort. All the activities and nightly entertainment are quite sophisticated. It is also our four-diamond hotel. Needless to say, the food is amazing! And the beach at the front of the hotel is stunning.
“Sandos Finisterra is about discovering. It is an absolute jewel built directly on a cliff. This hotel is special in so many ways. Its unique architecture, the views it offers, its dedicated service, the gastronomy, the colours… everything is perfect. But the very best of all, is what you can do on foot. When you step out of the resort, you are directly in the marina, you can shop, eat and find all kinds of tours. You can see the arch, go on a sunset cruise, go whale watching. It is also known for golfing. The destination AND the resort makes the perfect combo for an unbelievable escape!”
2. Is the family market important for Sandos, and how do you cater to families?
Juan Ruiz: “Of course families are important for Sandos Hotels & Resorts. For instance, at our signature family hotel, Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, we offer a wide array of options for families. We have the largest water park in Playa del Carmen with 29 slides. We also offer a great number of experiences including: cenote swimming, a petting zoo, Mayan cuisine and guided eco activities. The experience of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Nov 1 – 2 is a great example of our service to our clients. There’s also the opportunity for kids to become environment-conscious travellers. During their stay they will see monkeys, coatis, deer and many other wildlife running free in our sanctuaries. We have teens and kids clubs.
“Most importantly, in all our properties, we have rooms for families of five where we can take up to four adults. And our clients at Sandos Playacar and Sandos Caracol have the opportunity, at no extra cost (except for their taxi) to visit the other Sandos properties between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. At Sandos Playacar we have a family area with their own pool, restaurant and small water parks as well as great food options for the little ones.
“Above all, it is the quality of our service towards our families. In all hotels we offer categories of rooms that can accommodate up to five, room service and many options of entertainment for families including kids clubs among others.”
3. What can you tell us about destination weddings at Sandos?
Emily Spadafora: “Weddings are a significant business for Sandos Resorts and have always been a strong vertical for our four properties. It is getting extremely busy again out of Canada with travel restrictions being lifted so planning ahead is essential.
“Our Wedding team is led by Daniela Hernandez and her team. They handle requests from start to finish and we have coordinators located at all four properties to work with our guests in destination.
“It is all very straightforward and transparent to both our agents and mutual clients. They can choose from three different wedding packages in four of our uniquely different all-inclusive resorts located in Cancún, the Riviera Maya, or Los Cabos. Just choose the ceremony location, for example; a cenote nested in the jungle at the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, or the stunning marina views of Los Cabos and the Pacific Ocean as a background at Sandos Finisterra, incredible views of the Caribbean in Cancun or epic beach vibes in Playacar.
“Our team of expert destination wedding planners outline the package details and provide a hassle-free planning process to make the special day extra special. We have unique venues and options for small, medium and large up to 350 guests. We specialize in South Asian weddings out of Cancun and IGLTA weddings.”
4. Travellers these days have a growing list of unique needs, especially when it comes to dietary requirements. How is Sandos working with these guests?
Maryanne Dubé: “Great question. In fact we just came back from all four properties and we noticed that we have in each resort options for people with dietary allergies. We also ask our clients about their dietary needs once they arrive at each restaurant.
“We have options for vegetarians, vegan and clients with intolerances such as gluten-free. My wife, for instance, is celiac and I feel 100% confident of taking her to any of my properties because she will find options to meet her needs. As an example we tried gluten-free pasta, bread and baked goods in some of the restaurants. Not only are they good for our clients, they also taste amazing.
“We have a chart in front of each restaurant that shows the different allergens we can help our clients accommodate during their meals, to make them safe and enjoyable during their vacations.”
5. How are bookings looking from Canada for end of 2022 and into early 2023, and what’s your message for Canadian travel advisors right now?
Juan Ruiz: “2022 has been a good year and we are happy that Canada lifted all travel restrictions, which is helping the return of Canadians travelling to our destinations and to Sandos hotels.
“We still have availability for Christmas and New Year in the 3 hotels in Cancun / Riviera Maya: Sandos Playacar, Sandos Caracol and Sandos Cancun. Fortunately we cannot say the same about Sandos Finisterra in Los Cabos.
“Our advice is to have our mutual clients book our Sandos hotels as soon as they can, to avoid not being able to find availability or the best offers available at this time in the market.”