Friday,  August 12, 2022  3:09 pm

Blue Diamond-managed Cayo Largo in Cuba now open for bookings


Blue Diamond-managed Cayo Largo in Cuba now open for bookings
Sunwing, through its hotel management company Blue Diamond Resorts, has been granted exclusive rights to run the Cayo Largo’s entire hotel inventory. Hotels are now open for booking. (Sunwing)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Cayo Largo – a small island off of Cuba’s southern coast with 11 hotels that Sunwing Travel Group has completely taken over – is now open for booking and travel advisors can earn 3X BONUS STAR Points on vacation packages, along with special introductory rates.

Canadians will be able to enjoy a boutique, intimate vacation experience at the resorts, many of which are being rebuilt or renovated to open as early as November 2022.

The 11 resorts will be rebranded as Grand Memories Resorts and Spa, Memories Resorts & Spa, Starfish Resorts and Villa properties.

Cayo Largo is a boutique destination. (Sunwing Travel Group)

The resorts are available to book now for fall and winter 2022/2023 vacations starting from November 1, 2022 onward.

The small resorts and villa-like hotels on Cayo Largo – known for its long, unspoiled beach, prime snorkeling and diving areas and sea turtle conservation centre – are set up for all kinds of audiences.

There are:

  • Family-friendly resorts with amenities guest of all ages will love, including Grand Memories Cayo Largo, Memories Cayo Largo, Starfish Cayo Largo, Villa Coral, Villa Linda Mar, Villa Marina, Villa Serena and Villa Soledad
  • Adults-only resorts for the ultimate friends and couples paradise, including Sanctuary at Grand Memories Cayo Largo and Villa Caprice
  • Plus, customers seeking a 2SLGBTQ+ friendly resort welcoming everyone under the sun will enjoy visiting the adults only Villa Natura.

It’s also a very convenient destination. 

Cayo Largo has its own international airport, Vilo Acuna Airport (CYO), which is just three minutes to 11 minutes away from every property.

Villa Marina. (Sunwing)

Blue Diamond-level experiences  

As PAX reported last month, Sunwing, through its hotel management company Blue Diamond Resorts, has been granted exclusive rights by the Cuban government to run the Cayo Largo’s entire hotel inventory – 11 properties, totalling 1,348 rooms – for the Canadian market as part of 10-year agreement.

READ MORE: Sunwing has taken over all 11 hotels in Cayo Largo, Cuba. What this means for guests & agents

“It’s a boutique destination,” said Eric Rodriguez, executive vice-president of partnership development at Sunwing Travel Group of the idyllic coral island, which is also a leader in sustainability.

(Only electric cars are allowed, there’s a ban on plastic and there’s even sustainable water developments).

From left: Mohamad Fawzi, managing director Cuba, Blue Diamond Resorts; Eric Rodriguez, EVP, partnership development, Sunwing Travel Group; Villa Natura. (Pax Global Media/Sunwing)

“It’s not Varadero. It’s not Holguín. It’s not Cayo Santa Maria. It’s a small destination with different hotels for different market segments," Rodriguez said. 

With all the hotels being run by Blue Diamond, the takeover will allow Sunwing to achieve and maintain a certain level of quality and take advantage of economies of scale.

Sunwing Travel Group has also received an exclusive international import license for the entire island.

This means the company will be able import goods into Cuba that typically aren’t available at other Cuban resorts.

“This will provide a better experience for Canadians,” Rodriguez told PAX. “It’s difficult to import goods for one hotel, but when you’re controlling the whole destination, it’s much easier for us to do importation for all.”

The plan is to import ingredients to help improve the quality of hotel food in Cuba.

Grand Memories Cayo Largo. (Sunwing)

The Blue Diamond-led strategy in Cayo Largo is embracing open Wi-Fi for guests, eliminating the need for multi-digit internet scratch cards that are used in some parts of the country.

NexusTours, which runs Sunwing’s transportation and excursion logistics, will also remain a point of contact for vacationing clients.

[The government] was asking us to take over one hotel, and we proposed, ‘Why not the whole destination?’ That’s how it came out,” Rodriguez said.

“If anyone can make this work, it would be us.”

Five weekly direct flights

Travel agents can book their customers’ Cayo Largo vacations starting today (July 13) for travel starting Nov. 1, 2022 with five weekly direct flights from multiple gateways.

Sunwing says it’s possible that more flights will be added this fall and winter as customer demand evolves.

The current flight schedule will be as follows:

  • Between Toronto and Cayo Largo, Fridays starting Nov. 4, 2022
  • Between Montréal and Cayo Largo, Fridays starting Nov. 4, 2022
  • Between Québec City and Cayo Largo, Saturdays starting Dec. 17, 2022
  • Between Ottawa and Cayo Largo, Saturdays starting Dec. 17, 2022
  • Between Halifax and Cayo Largo, Tuesdays starting Jan. 10, 2023

For more info on Sunwing’s packages in Cayo Largo, click here.


Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!  Click here to follow PAX on Facebook.  

Indicator...