Open Jaw

The Personal Touch

Intimate & affordable, Blau resorts keep Canadians coming back

Blau Hotels & Resorts is one of the smaller all-inclusive brands, but maybe that’s why Canadians like it so much.

There are plenty of us who don’t require the latest, the biggest and most luxurious – we just want a comfortable vacation in a beautiful setting, with good food and sincere hospitality. When we find it, we often return again and again.

If that’s the kind of escape your clients are seeking, the six resorts of Spain-based Blau Hotels & Resorts – 5 in Cuba and one in the D.R. – could be the ideal choice.

Blau – the word means ‘blue’ in Mallorquin, the Catalan dialect spoken by Mallorcans -- launched in 1987. Its first properties were on that island, breeding ground to a disproportionate number of international hoteliers -- but in 1999 it expanded to another, with the opening of Blau Natura Park Beach Eco-Resort & Spa in Punta Cana. Since then it has added 5 properties in Cuba, in collaboration with Gaviota and Cubanacan.

“What stands out about Blau is that it offers a more personalized experience."

Natura Park is where Scarleth Ruiz, Canada Sales Director for Blau, got her start with the company. She has fond memories of her time there.

“What stands out about Blau is that it offers a more personalized experience, for the guests and the employees. We’re small, so we have to do things the best way possible. I’m working to help agents find clients who will keep coming back, not just one-time visitors. And I’m happy to say we have lots of them, especially among Canadians.”

Ruiz says there’s one Italian-Canadian couple who has been to Natura 23 times, for 2 or 3 weeks at a time. “They come into the lobby and all the staff greet them as ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad.’ Many others want to return to the same section, the same room, year after year. The interaction between clients and staff is so natural.”

The 524-room Natura Park, part of Transat’s Sun Savvy Collection designed for those seeking the “best bang for the buck in a friendly atmosphere with welcoming staff,” is a different animal to most PUJ properties, Ruiz says.

Part of that is because of the animals – peacocks, flamingos, lizards, turtles and one Canada goose – that enjoy year-round all-inclusive bliss. The property borders on a protected area and does its share by recycling, using biodegradable products, conserving energy, earning Blue Flag certification for the beach and offering open-air restaurants where AC is not required.

“You just breathe out when you step into the lobby,” says Ruiz. “Soon you don’t know what day it is. The structure is completely different – 80% made of wood -- and there’s a small lake with fish and other animals. It’s beautiful to dine in the steakhouse and watch the flamingos.”

Last November, Natura unveiled 121 renovated rooms, now sold as Select Rooms with additional premium privileges and amenities. More about that product, also available at some of Blau’s Cuban properties, later in this Headliner.

Ruiz just completed a cross-country tour of large agent events, and she says the Blau brand has solid recognition across Canada. “Agents know that if they send us the right clients, they’ll be very happy,” she says.

As with any 3.5-star resort, online reviews are mixed, ranging from those who expect 5-star amenities at 3-star prices, to the majority who recognize holiday value for their dollar. Here’s one recent example for Natura Park, posted on TripAdvisor by a traveller from Bancroft, Ontario, under the headline “Paradise Found.”

“My two adult children and I had the great privilege of staying for a week to rest, relax and recharge...we were not disappointed. We came as strangers, and left feeling like family, the animation team in particular made our stay extremely enjoyable. If you are looking for a place to call home for a week, look no further.”

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