Sunset Montego Bay partners with US tour operator
Janet Silvera, Hospitality Jamaica Coordinator
Sunset Montego Bay has entered into a 15-year management agreement with AMResorts (AMR), operators of Secrets Resorts and Spa.
"There has been a lot of speculation that the hotel has been sold, and we would like to reiterate that this is not so, and it is strictly a management contract," Ian Kerr, Sunset's managing director, told Hospitality Jamaica.
According to him, their new partner, Apple Leisure/AMResorts, is a very integrated travel entity controlling significant market numbers via its charters and retail outlets through the channels such as Apple Vacations, Travel Impressions, Cheap Caribbean, and others travel providers.
Kerr, who operated Sunset Jamaica Grande with his in-laws, the Hendrickson family, sold that property to Mexico's Moon Palace last year.
He was quick to point out that the leisure travel market had rebounded in the last two years, and that Jamaica as a destination has seen its number of visitors to the island increase over previous years.
"We, too, (Sunset) have also seen a significant improvement in both occupancy and rate," he revealed, adding that he felt that in today's competitive market, coupled with the prospect of additional hotel rooms being built in Jamaica, it was important to be aligned with a strong brand.
For that reason, he said, they have selected Apple Leisure Group/AMResorts (the largest United States (US) tour operator) as their strategic partner.
Apple Leisure group/AMResorts operates 42 hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean, catering to different market segments - adults only (Zoetry, Secrets, Breathless), and family (Dreams and Sunscape).
The group moves approximately two out of every 10 US guests to the Caribbean, and their hope is to push even more visitors to the island with Sunset under their brand, said Kerr.
The AMR management team will take over operations and marketing of the resorts effective August 1, 2015, with the resorts continuing under the Sunset Brand names - Sunset Beach Resort, Spa and Waterpark, and The Oasis at Sunset, with the official name changes coming in late 2015.
New name, same service
The new brand name will be Sunscape Resort & Spa - Montego Bay.
"Our employees will merge seamlessly into the new Sunscape Resorts operation, and you will continue to be welcomed by the warm, friendly smiles of our staff who have greeted you over the years," he stated.
Guests who are holding reservations for future travel are being assured that their reservations and rate are secure.
"We hope that many of you will return to see us before the brand change and will continue to return again and again under the new Sunscape brand experience," said the hotel chain.
The new arrangement will not affect Sunset at the Palms in Negril, said the chain.
"The Sunset Resorts management team will continue to operate Sunset at the Palms, our adults-only treehouse-style boutique hotel in Negril, offering an exotic tropical retreat for adults who are seeking rest and relaxation in the Capital of Casual," said the hotel in a media release.
Rated one of the top 10 most romantic resorts and top 10 all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor.com, Sunset at the Palms is described as a chic and intimate hideaway, perfect for discerning guests seeking the most blissful beach in Jamaica.