Last updated: 07:50 PM ET, Tue August 02 2016

Ascending Star

Iberostar continues to expand and enhance its stellar portfolio of properties

Vacation Agent | Hotel & Resort | Claudette Covey

Ascending Star

PHOTO: Iberostar Playa Mita is the company's first property on Mexico's Riviera Nayarit.

For Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, it’s onward and upward. The company, which boasts more than 100 hotels in 16 countries around the globe, continues to strategically expand while polishing its existing portfolio of properties.

“In terms of expansion for the brand globally, our strategy is twofold. We are committed to strengthening our offerings in destinations where we are already present, such as Mexico and Jamaica,” says John Long, Iberostar’s vice president of sales and marketing. “On the other hand, we are exploring opportunities in destinations that are a fit for Iberostar. In Cuba, there are nine Iberostar properties and future plans for further expansion.”


The company’s expansion plans, however, extend to other parts of the world as well. “Later in 2015, we will open a new hotel in Maceió (Brazil), and we just launched our first hotel in Madrid, Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via,” says Long.

The 103-room, six-story property is Iberostar’s first in Madrid and is set in the city’s famed Grand Via. “Its many offerings include dining and entertainment as well as a roof-level lounge and terrace overlooking the beauty of Madrid,” says Long.

In other expansions, Iberostar Cala Millor opened in May, becoming the 14th property operated by the company in Majorca, Spain. “It is situated just a short distance from the specially protected nature area of Punta d’Amer and boasts 171 rooms, further consolidating Majorca’s position as a key destination in the chain’s portfolio,” says Long.

In Mexico, another destination where Iberostar is firmly entrenched, the company opened Iberostar Play Mita in late 2013 (see related sidebar).

Iberostar is also continuing to upgrade its existing roster of resorts around the world. The Iberostar Royal Cristina in Palma de Mallorca is scheduled for an extensive refurbishment of its 400 rooms. “Iberostar Royal Cristina is the second hotel to be renovated by the chain in Playa de Palma, following the reopening of the Iberostar Royal Cupido in 2010,” says Long, adding that the Iberostar Diar El Andalous in Tunisia is scheduled for refurbishment in order to bring it up to five-star status.

In the Caribbean, two Dominican Republic properties, the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus and Iberostar Punta Cana, are also scheduled to undergo renovations.


In Mexico, Iberostar recently completed a significant expansion project at the Iberostar Cancun that added 26 oceanfront villas and 54 junior suite villas with garden views. The accommodations feature large bathrooms and full balconies. Guests staying in garden-view villas have access to three private pools, while those staying in oceanfront villas have their own private pool.

READ MORE: Iberostar to Enter US with a Pair of Openings in 2016 

The company’s track record in Mexico and the Caribbean speaks for itself. “Iberostar Hotels & Resorts has been awarded 42 Travelers’ Choice awards by TripAdvisor, not a small feat, as customers themselves are the ones who rate their experience with Iberostar and the quality of their experience,” says Long.

“TripAdvisor also named the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in Playa del Carmen among the best all-inclusive resorts in the world for its prime location, beautiful beach, exquisite service, personal attention and unparalleled cuisine.”


In Long’s view, Iberostar continues to distinguish itself from the competition in a variety of ways. “Lots of resorts follow the all-inclusive format, but Iberostar stands out from the rest for a few reasons: top customer service, exceptional gastronomy offerings, a wide range of onsite activities and spectacular hotel locations worldwide,” he says. “Whether going on a trip as a couple or as a family, there are activities to keep everyone occupied and having fun the entire vacation.”

Iberostar continues to offer its Iberostarchef on Tour program, where 16 Michelin-starred chefs create unique Spanish dinners at Iberostar hotel destinations around the world. “Famous Spanish chefs, including Jordi Cruz and Pepe Solla, have and will prepare dinners for guests for a special rate at our hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico this year,” says Long.


Its highly regarded children’s program, meanwhile, provides myriad activities and facilities for kids, providing parents the opportunity to partake in activities of their own. Iberostar also makes family vacations cost-effective, for example, by again offering its Kids Stay Free promotion at select all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean, including its Playa Mita resort. “We know how important family vacations are, and our Kids Stay Free offer makes it more affordable,” says Long.

The company also provides travelers with a diverse product line to choose from, including three categories of resorts and hotels: the Iberostar Grand Collection, Iberostar Premium Gold and Iberostar Premium. “Each category is unique and offers something different — and allows Iberostar to offer options to all types of travelers,” says Long.

With the exceptions of the Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey in Tenerife and the Iberostar Grand Hotel Budapest, Iberostar Grand Hotels are adults-only and feature personalized butler service, an eclectic array of specialty restaurants and opportunities for golfing, which include at least one free round.

Iberostar Premium Gold properties are targeted at both couples and families and feature such added amenities as larger accommodations, splash parks, lazy rivers and more. These properties also boast kids clubs, spas and a wide variety of restaurants, lounges and bars.

Iberostar Premium properties feature the most affordable rates, with a wide range of programs, features and amenities for both kids and adults.


By all accounts, the company’s business model is reaping rich rewards. “Our business continues to do well and this speaks to both the popularity of our resorts and the loyalty of our guests,” says Long. “Our overall business has grown approximately 5 percent year-over-year, and the fact that we’re continuing to open up new properties worldwide speaks to our success.”

He adds that business so far this year has been excellent and all indicators point to a very strong 2016. “We continue to see high occupancy across all of our hotels, and Iberostar Playa Mita has been a particularly strategic addition to our portfolio,” Long says. “Mexico and the Caribbean also continue to be very popular tourist destinations – the arrival of international visitors to Mexico increased by nearly 20 percent in 2014 and this trend is expected to continue.”

Long stresses that travel agents have played a pivotal role in the success of Iberostar. “Travel agents are extremely important to Iberostar and contribute to over 70 percent of overall sales year over year,” he says.

The company features a variety of promotions designed to recognize agents for their ongoing support.

Its Lobster Gram promotion awards agents booking stays of five nights or longer at Iberostar Playa Mita and Grand Collection properties in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica with $100 Lobster Gram certificates. “The Lobster Gram promotion delivers meats and seafood, including Maine lobsters, to agents’ doorstep — and, as a lobster fan, it’s one of my favorite promotions,” says Long.


Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is again partnering with such sports teams as the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago White Sox and Indianapolis Colts to bring exclusive activities to travel agents. Agents can partake in activities that include photo shoot viewings, training camps, fan trips and suite games.

Going forward, Long is banking on the continued support of the agency community to sell and promote Iberostar’s properties. “While our hotels stand on their own, travel agents help to further our business and exposure to consumers,” he says.

For more information, call 888-923-2722 or visit


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Vacation Agent Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the July 2015 issue of Vacation Agent Magazine.