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Wednesday,  May 22, 2024 3:51 AM 

Sunwing & RIU looking ahead to 2018

Sunwing & RIU looking ahead to 2018
Hugo Aguilera, director of business development & partner marketing, RIU & Deana Murphy, vice-president, retail sales, Sunwing
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

A new RIU property in Cabo San Lucas and renovations in Punta Cana, Riviera Maya and Negril are among the developments for the hotel chain in 2018, according to Hugo Aguilera, director of business development & partner marketing, RIU.

The news was part of Sunwing and RIU’s fifth annual holiday lunch in Toronto yesterday (Nov. 29), which looked back fondly on an “challenging yet exciting” 2017 while providing a glimpse into what the New Year will bring for the hotel chain.

“With all of the years of renovations and improvements that RIU is conducting, we like to have the opportunity to tell the agents about it,” Deana Murphy, Sunwing’s vice-president of retail sales told PAX.

“For us, 2017 was a very challenging but also exciting year for us and we couldn’t have done it without you,” Aguilera said. While he cited the record hurricane season in the Caribbean this fall as among those challenges, the company also saw a number of renovations to existing properties and a very positive reception to the elimination of dining reservations at its many restaurants.

Announced at last year’s holiday lunch, the Riu Dunamar will open to guests this Saturday (Dec. 2) and will also welcome a FAM trip consisting of 40 Canadian travel agents from Toronto and Montreal, Aguilera said. Geared towards families, the 700-room Costa Mujeres property will also feature Riu’s first Splash Water World water park in Mexico.

Other updates in 2017 included the expansion of the Riu Republica in Punta Cana with four new restaurants and the chain’s first Splash Water World catering exclusively to adults; the reopening of the Riu Palace Paradise Island following a complete renovation and conversion to an adults-only property; and a complete refurbishment of the Hotel Riu Bambu, including new rooms, restaurants, pools and services.

Looking ahead to 2018, Aguilera said that travel agents and their clients can look forward to a number of new developments, including:

  • In Cabo San Lucas, the company will open the new Riu Palace Baja California, while adding 300 rooms to Hotel Riu Santa Fe, along with a Splash Water World and a RiuLand kids club to the property.
  • The Riu Tequila in Riviera Maya, Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril and Riu Palace Punta Cana are all scheduled for major renovations.
  • A free wedding package for up to 10 guests will be offered to couples tying the knot at RIU properties, including a wedding coordinator, decorations, cake, spa discounts and more.
  • New packages for wedding, bachelor/bachelorette and birthdays will feature consistent pricing across all participating properties.

“It’s always been our top priority to open new hotels while investing in renovations at our existing properties,” he said.