If there was one person who could truly be called an icon of the travel industry, it was Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
CANCUN — Going back to where it all started, Karisma Hotels & Resorts celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant Awards (GIVC) in Cancun recently with 700 travel agents and guests from across Canada and the U.S.
Four days of festivities were held at the El Dorado Royale Hotel to fête the top producing travel professionals who are part of the Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant (GIVC) program, discuss updates to Karisma properties in Mexico, the D.R., Jamaica, Colombia, Croatia and Montenegro and share details on upcoming resort openings.
At the 10th annual GIVC Gala Dinner & Awards event, top producers across North America were honoured in a multitude of categories, recognized for their hard work in selling the Karisma Hotels & Resorts brands, including El Dorado, Azul Beach, Generations, Nickleodeon, Palafitos and Hidden Beach.
Jen Jackson of Suite Trip Travel TPI was honoured as the top selling storefront agent for Canada.
More TPI advisors honoured at the event included: Top Growth by Region for Western Canada – Kelly Klaassen; Top Selling Storefront Canada – Jen Langlois; Top Producer for Azul Beach Resorts – Jen Langlois; and Top Producer for Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts – Justine Delaney. Several TPI agents were also recognized with Diamond Awards: Diamond 1 – Kelly Klassen, Clara Power; Diamond 2 – Lois Barbour, Justine Delaney, Coco Toth; and Diamond 4 – Jen Langlois.
Sandra Giannitti of itravel2000 and Pamela Walker of Escapes.ca were two of four agents honoured for reaching Elite sales status in one calendar year, selling more than 2,000 rooms.
A well-known wedding specialist, Walker also won the top-selling home-based agent Canada award and took the opportunity to renew her vows during GIVC 2017.
Four agents from The Travel Agent Next Door took home a total of six awards at the event. Cindy Almond, Romance & Foodie Travel, Diamond Level 4, Top Nickelodeon Wedding Producer; Liana Rowan, TripCo Travel, Diamond Level 3; Steph Switzer, Exclusive To You Travel Services, Diamond Level 3, Top 10 Nickelodeon Sales and Jacenta Hawco, Compass Vacations, Diamond Level 3.
During the GIVC sales and marketing forum, Karisma’s Senior Busines Development Manager Daniel Schieman discussed updates on existing and future resorts, including details on the highly anticipated Nickleodeon and Margaritaville resorts in Mexico.
Nickleodeon Hotel & Resort will open on the Riviera Maya in 2019, adjacent to Generations Riviera Maya. Featuring 272 all ocean-view and connecting rooms, suites will be able to accommodate two adults and three kids or four adults and six kids. As well, the resort will include four oceanfront villas including a Sponge Bob Square Pants-inspired Pineapple Villa and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Villa, eight gourmet inclusive restaurants and the region’s largest water park.
Margaritaville, An All-Inclusive Experience by Karisma will embody ‘casual luxury’ when it opens in 2019. The 355-room all-inclusive hotel will be located next door to Azul Sensatori in Puerto Morelos. Featuring swim-up suite options, spa and a sky wedding location, this laid-back resort will have six restaurants, including JWB Steakhouse, Landshark Restaurant & Brewery, Frank & Lola’s Restaurant, The Boat House Restaurant and the License to Chill Bar.
With no dress codes for any restaurant, guests can indulge in the Margaritaville lifestyle by choosing their own mini-bar snack and drink amenities at Joe’s Merchant, such as margarita mixes and a blender.
Another noted opening is El Cielo Vineyards, Villas and Spa by Karisma, located in the Villa de Guadelupe in Baja. With 32 hectares of vineyards and 15 varietals, El Cielo Vineyards will be adding 83 hectares of vines. In addition, El Dorado, Generations and Nickleodeon are slated for Huatulco in 2020.
In the D.R. Karisma Resorts will open three resorts in one. The property will open in Cap Cana in 2019 and will comprise a Sensimar, El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Casitas. All rooms will have ocean view, outdoor showers and a location that’s less than 15 minutes from Punta Cana International Airport.
In the Karisma Adriatic division, Holiday Villages will open in Ulcinj on the south coast of Montenegro in 2018, with 257 suites, four restaurants and featuring the first swim-up suites in Montenegro. Allura Pallazi Koto Bay Resort will also open in 2018 in Dobrota, on the north coast of Montenegro.
Here are the latest updates from existing Karisma Hotels & Resorts:
El Dorado Royale: The resort’s expanded ballroom can now accommodate 1,200. Two-bedroom presidential suites have been updated and Rick’s Bar has been relocated to a new location above the spa.
Generations Riviera Maya: A new ballroom can accommodate up to 200, and there are now four options for weddings: sea, sky, sand and chapel.
El Dorado Maroma: This resort has a new sky wedding location with bar and ocean views.
Xolumado Inspiration Village: There are 15 cottages now open here, perfect for spiritual retreats or Indian weddings and with privileges at El Dorado, El Dorado Royale and Generations Riviera Maya.
Azul Beach Resort Fives: New one- and two-bedroom suites with skydeck and skybeds for villa guests, new adult-only area at Natura Day Club Bar & Grill and newly-opened Villa Casa del Mar, which can accommodate 12, adjacent to Azul Beach Resort
Azul Beach Resort Negril: This resort has additional 98 suites, exclusive to the U.S. and Canadian markets.
Wind Rose Resort, Montenegro: Opened this year, all-inclusive with 140 rooms, two restaurants.