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Sam Ion

Sam Ion is the single best resource tool you can find on All Inclusives. She knows more about them than pretty well anyone on this planet. She is well known, well respected, and writes informatively, interestingly and irreverently. She keeps readers up-to-date on specific resorts and on all inclusives in general. She knows what to look for, and tells you how to best keep your clients informed.

And, as for resort weddings –  she's got first hand experience. Sam recently swapped vows with her first husband for the second time at Sandals in Jamaica.

Her column Ion: Not Just All Inclusives runs on alternate Wednesdays.

RECENT ARTICLES

DREAM ON
A different Dreams vacation
10 FEB 2016: Dreams Las Mareas is beautiful, just gorgeous. The landscape is a feast for the eyes, and the property is alive with animals waiting for a photo op. Tucked into the Northwest corner of the Guanacaste province area in Costa Rica just 15 minutes from Nicaragua border, this one-year-old 422-suite property is unique amongst the Dream properties. We loved it. MORE

NO KEEPING SECRETS
Spread the news
27 JAN 2016: I have news! Secrets Playa Bonita Panama Resort and Spa opened on the 7th., of January. The 310-room, adults-only property on 20 acres of lush tropical property is the 15th Secrets-branded resort. MORE

MAKING AN IMPRESSION
25 JAN 2016: Fifty agents left the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa ready to sell it. They loved it. I loved it too. I had been there several times when it was operating under other names, and not been impressed. Now I’m impressed. MORE

ROMANCE AND LOTS MORE
16 DEC 2015: The former El Dorado Seaside Suites, is now Sensimar Seaside Suites and is exclusive to Sunwing. Next door is a new build El Dorado Seaside Suites. I know it is quite confusing, but it means more bars and restaurants for your clients to enjoy. MORE

A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FAM
18 NOV 2015: Diana Winters is amazing! The representative for Palace Resorts is the Queen of Social Media, creating an excitement about her fams, that make agents anxious to sign up. “ I love to drum up excitement. I want to do things differently”. She says. “Of course it helps that J.C. (Juan Carlos Calderon, corporate director of sales, Canada,) gives us full control to run our territory.” MORE

ONE FOR THE GENERATIONS
04 NOV 2015:  Generations Riviera Maya is well named. It is a new generation resort and perfect for all the generations who like to vacation together.  Great Grandma, Grandpa, Mom and Dad and all the kids will have a great time, and with three bedroom suites and layouts for up to 12 guests, there is lots of room. MORE

BAD BREAK
But Niagara Falls is pretty accessible
21 OCT 20015: When we have visitors the first thing they want to do is visit Niagara Falls. This year 12 year old Jake and his Mum were visiting, and of course we were going to see it. Problem was a month before arrival Jake broke his leg. BUMMER! Was it accessible? The four of us set out to find out. MORE

MORE ADVENTURES IN SICILY
07 OCT 2015: By mid-week in Ayola, Sicily, we’d been to the airport three times, solved all our problems except Tom’s lost glasses and were set to explore. Every day, we got in the car to go look at famous sites. “It doesn’t look far on the map” I’d say but that was always before we’d decide to take a side road, and stop here and there to admire the almond trees, the olive trees, the grapes the lemon trees.   MORE

BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER
Misadventures in Sicily
23 SEP 2015:  Our friends can’t wait to hear about our travels. No, not about the fabulous restaurants, famous sites, shopping, and scenery we’ve seen - but about the screw-ups, we make. Our month in Italy this year provided lots of entertainment. MORE

BOOK IT
Sandals Barbados is a hit
09 SEP 2015:   Barbados has been welcoming visitors since before 1751 when George Washington brought his brother Lawrence there to try and treat his tuberculosis.  Back then the island was referred to as the “sanatorium “of the West Indies, because of its fresh water, and sea air. MORE

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
A well deserved five stars
26 AUG 2015: Gourmet inclusive! From the pizza and burgers to the 22 course tasting menu at Le Chique - the 5-star Sensatori Azul Riviera Cancun by Karisma certainly fills the bill.   MORE

THE ART OF LIFE
Let the pampering begin
29 JUL 2015:  The pampering at Zoetry Villa Rolandi starts when you board the private yacht for the half hour sail to Isle of Mujeres.  A glass of champagne adds to the pampering.  MORE

BEATING EXPECTATIONS
Charming and affordable
15 JUL 2015:  “Today, December 17th the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba” said President Obama.
 During the two-hour transfer for our fourth holiday at the 3-star Club Amigo Marea del Portillo Resort, I noticed groups of people with their children. It seemed odd for a Wednesday night at 9:30 and it crossed my mind that it might have been a holiday. MORE

THE SECRET IS OUT
17 JUN 2015: The secret of Secrets is out! 3,000 plus trip advisor reviewers love The Vine it and are busy telling all their friends about it. Monarc, the Canadian review site puts it at number 1 out of 70 resorts in Cancun. The awards keep building. MORE

LIQUID SUNSHINE IN VENICE
Great even in the rain
03 JUN 2015: Venice is just as fascinating now, as it was the first of the four times I’d been here, when my late husband Cam and I spent a week in the 80’s. People were stunned we were staying in Venice a week. Frankly, it wasn’t long enough. MORE

PAR EXCELLENCE
20 MAY 2015: Excellence Playa Mujeres Resort lives up to its name. Our entire experience from booking the resort, to waving good-bye when we left was indeed excellent. MORE

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
Taking a second look
06 MAY 2015: It seems like yesterday Sunquest brought a planeload of agents and a few trade press to have a look at the new Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort, but it was back in 1998. Time flies! MORE

A CANADIAN FAVOURITE
08 APR 2015:  The Grand Bahia Principe Tulum is a long time favourite of Canadians. Large, with 978 rooms, it is the second largest of a bigger group of four resorts.  This is great value for dollar in the mid-price range. It is 85 minutes from the Cancun airport -you might want to alert your clients. But it is a good choice for your clients who want to visit Tulum, or Coba. MORE

EXPECT MORE
25 MAR 2015: The Royal Playa del Carmen is at the “Fancy” end of 5th Avenue. I’ve always loved the Royal. I haven’t been back since the founder Fernando Garcia Zalvidea went to his 5-star resort in the sky. Playa Resorts now owns it, and they are still doing things with love. MORE

HI THERE
Hamilton airport is a pleasure
11 MAR 2015:  Are you encouraging people to fly out of Hamilton? The John C Monroe Hamilton International Airport is a pleasure to use. I fly a lot, and I don’t remember ever saying this about an airport before.  MORE

ALL ABOUT ECO
Find it in Costa Rica
25 FEB 2015: Most countries brag ecotourism, and sometimes it is hard to figure out what they mean by it. Look, simply put, ecotourism “means any activity that emphasizes and respects the ecological and human cultural aspects of an environment and seeks to leave them unaltered by the presence or acts of visitors.”  MORE

COOL BREEZES BAHAMAS
28 JAN 2015: Breezes Bahamas is not just five miles from the airport; it is also five miles from downtown shopping. If you haven’t been to downtown Nassau for a while and remember crowded roads and a slightly grubby feel to the area, get ready for a change. MORE

SAYING I DO
A perfect choice for a destination wedding
14 JAN 2015: The Royal Hideaway Playacar is an unique property, just as all the other Occidental properties are uniquely different. It sits grandly on the widest part of the sugar white sand beaches of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. When you’re looking for the perfect destination for one of your brides take a good long look at this property. MORE

TRENDS FOR THE NEW YEAR
31 DEC 2014: Happy New Year! I hope you have a prosperous, healthy 2015. I have a feeling you’re getting prosperous already, as I’m hearing that “the winter looks good.” MORE

JUST SAY I DO
17 DEC 2014: Fams can be wonderful, or not. Occidental recently hosted a Wedding Planner fam to Mexico which was not just wonderful, it was fabulous, one of the best I’ve ever been on. Our group included nine planners, four hosts and me. We liked each other, we really did. MORE
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