All eyes were on the newest member of Air Canada’s fleet, the Airbus A220-300, at the aircraft’s official debut at Air Canada’s headquarters.
HYATT ZILARA AND HYATT ZIVA CAP CANA — It was a party to remember under the circus tent as Playa Hotels & Resorts celebrated its top sellers from Canada and the U.S. at ‘The Greatest Show’, the company’s 4th Annual Spotlight Awards held at Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana in the D.R.
“We’re blessed to be able to have Spotlight in Punta Cana, with 125 of our best producers,” said Kevin Froemming, Chief Commercial Officer of Playa Hotels & Resorts. The event took place Jan. 9 – 12.
Filomena Punzo Dunn of TravelMasters in Vancouver was honoured with four Spotlight Awards including the Top Seller overall for Canada. Lois Barbour of Travel Time-TPI of St. John’s, NL was presented three Spotlight Awards including Most Improved Agent for Canada. Christine Turner of Escapes.ca in Vancouver was awarded three Spotlight Awards including the Ambassador Award.
Inspired by the 2017 movie The Greatest Showman, the Spotlight Awards transformed the newly-opened Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana with a cast of circus characters and trapeze performers entertaining travel advisors from Canada and the U.S. as well as Playa Hotels & Resorts sales team, BDMs and travel trade media.
Canadian agencies celebrated at the festivities included The Travel Agent Next Door, Red Label Vacations Retail and Flight Centre. Amanda Morris, Playa Hotels & Resorts’s BDM, Ontario was presented with the BDM Highest Growth Award for USA & Canada.
A full list of Canadian winners can be found below.
Froemming had high praise for the Hyatt Zilara & Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana team, led by General Manager Pedro Tomas, showing Spotlighters a video highlighting the 800+ days of construction from a sandy zone with mangroves to a polished resort on opening day.
Lucien Echavarria from the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism spoke about the challenges the country faced in recent months. “We are struggling and we need your support,” said Echavarria.
Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana are the first original builds for Playa Hotels & Resorts and the properties are a welcome addition to Punta Cana, said Echavarria.
Adds Froemming: “It always starts with the real estate. And this resort is in a double-gated community and only 15 minutes from the airport. I’m blown away by the beach – it’s a football field wide, a half mile long, pink sand and on calm waters. It’s the perfect setting for a beach destination.”
Froemming adds that he is proud of how Playa Hotels & Resorts is playing a role in changing the face of what is an all-inclusive resort in the 21st century.
And the future looks bright for Playa Hotels & Resorts, with more resorts in the works for Jamaica, the expansion of the Hilton all-inclusive brand, plans for Aruba, Antigua and St. Lucia as well as bringing the Hyatt Zilara & Hyatt Ziva brand to Asia, with possibilities for development in Bora Bora, Bali and Phuket.
Opened on Nov. 1, 2019 the family-friendly Hyatt Ziva and adults-only Hyatt Zilara both have 350 rooms, and together have 16 dining options, multiple pools, Premium Club amenities including private lounge/concierge, pool and restaurants and an expansive footprint on Juanillo Beach. Guests can access both resorts; restrictions are for Premium Club areas and restaurants that are adults-only.
Spacious standard suites at both resorts are 600-square-feet, with numerous storage areas, colourful seating areas, double wardrobes and balconies facing pools or beach as well as complimentary mini-bar and bedside alarm clock with cord-free charging (as well as bedside USB/electrical outlets). Rooms include king beds with queen pull-out couch and there are connecting rooms available; master suites are 1,200-square-feet.
Noted benefits at Hyatt Ziva include the waterpark with adjacent kids and teen clubs, while Hyatt Zilara offers Brando’s, a French Tahitian restaurant and Journeys, an Indian restaurant which includes the ability to dine inside an authentic Orient Express train car.
Guests at both resorts will both be able to access the spa (soon to be completed) inspired by the soothing environment of a cenote.
With many daily activities offered at Hyatt Ziva & Hyatt Zilara, including aquafit in the pool and beach yoga, the Refinery Center shared by the resorts is a step up from most hotel gyms. At 14,000-square-feet, the centre offers multiple zones including weight room, dance/yoga studio, spinning studio, Crossfit area and cardio room with bicycles, treadmills and elliptical machines, as well as three on-site instructors who lead classes and offer advice. In the evening, guests can enjoy nightly performances at the Marquis Theatre, watch the game at the Moments Sports Bar or enjoy rum cocktails at the Grogg Grotto or martinis at The One Eyed Cat.
Hyatt Ziva Zilara will soon be able to host 1,000 people in its convention space, and will have five wedding venues, including two beach gazebos and one sky wedding terrace.
THE WINNERS’ CIRCLE …
Top seller Western Canada – Filomena Punzo Dunn, TravelMasters
Top seller Eastern Canada – Vikas Maholtra, itravel2000
Top seller for Mexico (Canada) – Filomena Punzo Dunn, TravelMasters
Top seller for Jamaica (Canada) – Lois Barbour TPI
Top wedding seller Canada – Christine Turner Escapes.ca
Top wedding agency Canada – Luxe Destination Weddings
Most Improved Agency Canada – The Travel Agent Next Door
Social Media Award Canada – Christine Turner Escapes.ca
Rising Star Canada – Jesse Eberts, Walnut Grove Cruise & Travel
Rising Star Weddings & Groups Canada – Mike Babiak, NOW Destination Weddings
Top Selling Home-based Agency for Canada – The Travel Agent Next Door
Top Seller Overall Canada – Filomena Punzo Dunn, TravelMasters
Top Selling Multi-location Agency for Individual Sales – Flight Centre
Top Selling Agency Canada – Red Label Vacations Retail
Most Improved Agent Canada – Lois Barbour TPI
Top Seller of Suite Categories Canada – Cindy Gaudet Fareconnect.com
Top Jewel Resorts Canada – Lois Barbour TPI
Top Hyatt Ziva Zilara Resorts Canada – Filomena Punzo Dunn, TravelMasters
Ambassador Award Canada – Christine Turner Escapes.ca
BDM Highest Growth – Amanda Morris