TORONTO — “The star rating [in Jamaica] is an absolute farce,” said Dimitris Kosvogiannis, General Manager, Meliá Braco Village Jamaica, at an industry event last night in Toronto.
“In Jamaica there is no institutionalized star rating. If you build a hotel and can count to five, you can have a five star hotel,” he added. With no true rating system in place, one must wonder how one particular hotel can be distinguished from another. Kosvogiannis advised agents to “know the particulars of the hotel and what makes it a five-star hotel when selling it.”
Noting that “every Jamaican hotel has sun, beach and Jamaican people,” Kosvogiannis went on to proudly list the reasons why Meliá Braco Village Jamaica should be considered a “true” five-star property and how it differs from other resorts on the island.
The first major point of difference he listed is that it’s the only all-inclusive in Jamaica to have a private beach, creating what he described as “not isolated, exclusive.” The beach is the central point of the resort, is situated within 100 metres from the lobby and features direct access to 90% of rooms.
The hotel spent $24 million on refurbishments when it was relaunched under the Meliá brand. With 232 rooms, the total cost comes to over $100,000 per room – the same average as a brand new resort. Featuring a colonial feel, the resort also offers a market square and is the only all-inclusive in Jamaica to be comprised entirely of villas.
Service is a major part of the hotel; the staff count is 400 at maximum capacity, creating a nearly 1:1 client-to-staff ratio. This allows for extra personalized touches for guests, like being walked to their room after check-in, all the while being told about resort features along the way.
Another high point of the resort is cuisine. According to Kosvogiannis, “We have the highest food and beverage budget per guest on the island. The average budget for all-inclusives in Jamaica is $18-26 per day, ours is $30.” He wants guests to have an à la carte dining experience with four restaurants featuring capacity for 80 people each. What this means is guests shouldn’t have to wait to be seated. He also touted the premium liquor in all the bars.
For clients seeking more luxury, Meliá Braco Village Jamaica also has 52 suites as part of the resort’s premium room category, THE LEVEL. Guests of THE LEVEL enjoy added perks like transfers from the airport, private check-in, guaranteed beachfront suite and a service level where any request is allowed. Guests who have stayed at THE LEVEL were in attendance at last night’s event, saying that “’you get a little more than yes.”
For children, there is an activity park featuring a climbing wall, trampolines, paintball and laser tag. Other services include babysitting and a kids club that caters to children 5-12.
For the MICE market, the resort can hold a wedding anywhere on the resort, including at the chapel. There’s currently a small meeting room, but the resort is in the process of building a $5 million conference centre on site.
The presentation last night focused on the resort’s approach to not cutting corners and providing an experience that will bring clients back to the resort. It seems to be working, with reviews for the resort beating out a lot of the more tenured properties on the island.
Meliá has continued this approach with their hiring in Canada. Phillip Rose, Regional Director for Canada for the Jamaica Tourist Board, called the Canada team “rock stars” last night. Fronting the team is Angella Gray-Bennett, Director of Sales & Marketing. Gray-Bennett has 13 years experience selling Jamaica in Canada as the former sales director for Riu Hotels & Resorts.
Melia Braco Village Jamaica is currently offering a promotion on their agent portal where guests can book four nights and receive one free. Visit melia.com/travelagents for more information.
Photos from the event are courtesy of Melia Braco Village Jamaica: