Panama Jack to brand all-inclusive resorts

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Kevin Froemming, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Playa Hotels and Resorts, with Panama Jack CEO Kim Manna.
Kevin Froemming, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Playa Hotels and Resorts, with Panama Jack CEO Kim Manna.

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- Playa Hotels and Resorts unveiled a new all-inclusive resort brand on Saturday, announcing a partnership with Panama Jack, a maker of sun care products and beach apparel.

Two resorts in Mexico, the Gran Caribe in Cancun and the Gran Porto in Playa del Carmen, will be the first Panama Jack properties. The resorts will undergo a multimillion-dollar rebranding this year.

Upgrades will take place from May to September, with an eye toward completing the conversion by October. A Panama Jack resort in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic, is in the early planning stages.

Dining, entertainment and in-suite concepts will reflect Panama Jack's "retro tropical aesthetic," according to a statement from Playa.

Clad in Panama Jack-inspired attire -- Panama hat, sunglasses and Bermuda shorts, with cigar in hand -- Playa executive vice president and chief marketing officer Kevin Froemming revealed the partnership Saturday during the company's first Spotlight Awards ceremony, held at the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall.

After a slide show presentation that revealed vintage-inspired design concepts for the rebranding, agents in attendance expressed enthusiasm about the Playa-Panama Jack partnership.

"It's a very good combination," said Cindy Gaudet of Fareconnect Manitoba, adding that the Panama Jack Resorts brand is "going to have a different life than [other Playa resorts] and bring a really good vibe."

Hidar Elmais of Travel Gurus in Edmonton, Alberta, said that just as Playa's partnership with Hyatt has helped bolster Playa's credibility, particularly with regard to service standards, the Panama Jack deal is "going to change the whole branding experience that we're going to sell to our clients."

"Seeing all the updates and renovations they're going to do, it fits perfectly," he said. "It's going to be an easy sell."

"Everyone knows the name Panama Jack, so I think that'll help get people interested and excited," said Mandy Delve of Travel Network in Toronto. "There are so many all-inclusive resorts, and a lot of them started looking the same. Everyone's kind of going for that contemporary look, very minimalist. And this is something different, funky and cool."

"The images we saw definitely implied luxury, but in a different way," more in line with evolving definitions of luxury, added Bari Rose of Travel Network.

"This is the natural evolution of our brand, confirming its preeminence in the casual lifestyle market," Panama Jack CEO Kim Manna said in a statement. "Consumers who enjoy our products at home and on the beach will now, as vacationing guests, have the opportunity to experience the brand as a destination where they can create their own adventures and memories with family and friends."

Since its founding in 1974 as a maker of suntan lotion, Miami-based Panama Jack has expanded to brand beachwear and other casual clothing, home furnishings and other merchandise.

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