It's not yet one of the bigger, better-known brands in the tightly competitive all-inclusive community in the Caribbean and Mexico, but Alsol Hotels & Resorts is fast establishing a name for itself, especially in Cap Cana, the multiuse luxury resort and real estate community located adjacent to Punta Cana on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.
Alsol is a boutique hotel and resort owner/operator created in 2012 by the founding shareholders of Price Travel, one of the largest online travel companies in Mexico. The brand currently has four luxury properties totaling 850 rooms in its management portfolio -- three in Cap Cana and one in Mexico -- but more are in the pipeline, according to Carlos del Pino, managing director.
He envisions 10 hotels and 2,000 rooms by 2016.
"We're growing fast," del Pino said. "We are a young, energetic company with a passion for what we do."
"Our name and logo have generated a lot of comments. The logo has the 'o' in Alsol in bright yellow, representing the sun. The word 'Sol' means sun. That's the way we see things in the Caribbean: We offer everything under the sun. Clouds and rain are not an option."
Alsol's collection currently comprises Sanctuary Cap Cana by Alsol, Alsol Luxury Village and Alsol del Mar, all in Cap Cana, and All Ritmo Cancun Resort and Waterpark in Cancun.
Joining the Cap Cana portfolio in February will be the new-build, 112-suite Alsol Tiara Cap Cana.
Facilities there will include two gourmet restaurants, a poolside grill, three bars and a deli cafe.
Guests will have access to the Nicklaus-designed Punta Espada Golf Club.
"That resort is about 60% completed and will cater primarily to couples," del Pino said.
Of the 112 suites, 40 will be swim-up units.
Right now the focus is on Sanctuary Cap Cana, which will reopen in mid-December following a three-month closure for $5 million worth of renovations to the public spaces, upgrades to the suites and villas and the addition of new amenities and menus.
"What our guests love about Sanctuary remains intact: the Spanish colonial architecture, the five pools and the full-service spa, our restaurants and lounges," del Pino said.
Another feature that proves a wow factor for guests is the size of the rooms.
"Space is luxury, and our guests love big rooms," he said. "The minimum size of any room we have is 600 square feet, and we go all the way up to 4,000-square-foot, three-bedroom penthouses."
The Cap Cana site comprises 30,000 acres of beaches and oceanfront and features hiking trails, water sports, nature-based attractions and 33 miles of paved roads.
"There's space to grow here," del Pino said. "Only 35% of the site is developed. We're 15 minutes from the Punta Cana airport, which is one of our unique selling points and one that we need to promote more with our agents and wholesalers."
Alsol's main market is the U.S., which accounts for 70% of all guests.
Even as its existing properties get tweaked, del Pino said that Alsol is eyeing future development sites.
"We might have another in Punta Cana, also resorts possibly in Mexico in Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta and Los Cabos," he said.
"Our overall strategy is to aggressively continue to grow the Alsol brand and seek out new properties that fit within our existing standards of exemplary service, location and amenities," he said.