Planners of high-end events typically eschew all-inclusive properties, reputed to appeal to budget-minded and leisure clientele. But that's changing quickly with the growth of a new breed of luxury all-inclusives that is redefining the segment. These elegant newcomers are touting complimentary offerings such as 24-hour butler service, fine dining and scuba lessons -- along with top-notch meeting facilities to court the group market.
Planners are starting to take notice. According to the Incentive Research Foundation's 2011 Incentive Trends survey, 27 percent of 130 respondents planned to "change to an all-inclusive pricing option" for their incentive travel programs this year.
Following is a sampling of all-inclusive resorts that planners at firms such as ITA Group in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Los Angeles-based ConferenceDirect, consider perfect for upscale meetings and incentives.
Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana
AMResorts, based in Newtown Square, Pa., has tapped into the luxury all-inclusives market with two of its brands, the adults-only Secrets Resorts & Spas and Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts. Both offer special promotions for groups.
Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana is in the Dominican Republic's newest resort development, Cap Cana. The Spanish Colonial-style property offers breathtaking ocean views.
>Accommodations: 176 suites and villas; buyouts generally are not available at this and other Secrets properties
>Meeting/event space: 18,279 square feet, including a 15,846-square-foot convention center that holds up to 550 people, plus four boardrooms
>What's included: Dining at five restaurants, classes in cocktail making and dance, Ping-Pong and a hospitality office for group use
>What costs extra: Treatments at the Spa at Secrets Sanctuary and golf at the nearby 18-hole, par-72 Jack Nicklaus Signature Championship course
Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana
(809) 468-0000 This resort features traditional Caribbean architecture and is crafted of stone, hard woods and thatched roofs.
>Accommodations: 51 oceanfront suites; buyouts here and at other Zoëtry properties are available off-season
>Meeting/event space: 1,400 square feet that can accommodate up to 70 people
>What's included: Dining at three à la carte restaurants; classes in cigar rolling, cocktail making, cooking, dance, fitness, Spanish language and wine tasting; biking, horseback riding, snorkeling, volleyball and nonmotorized water sports; worldwide calling and Internet access, plus a hospitality area for group use
>What's extra: Treatments at Zoëtry Spa