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
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
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
"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.