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Apple Leisure Group Offers a Big Bite of the Caribbean

An apple is more than a fruit and an innovative computer company. In the world of travel, it’s a fast-growing conglomerate known as Apple Leisure Group – the name behind hospitality brands such as Dreams, Now and Zoetry in Mexico and the Dominican Republic – and a company that’s travel industry reach extends well beyond the Caribbean and hotel ownership.

Apple Leisure Group is backed by Bain Capital of former Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney fame, and it owns its eastern Caribbean and Mexico properties through a hotel division, AMResorts. Travelers can book stays at AMResorts and other lodging facilities worldwide through Apple’s online travel agency, CheapCaribbean.com, which offers a best Internet rate guarantee and a split deposit option. If travelers get rained on during their vacations, they can receive a $100 Apple “rain check” toward the next vacation.

Great Rates at Apple Leisure Group Properties

For travelers to the Caribbean and Mexico, Apple Leisure Group’s industry foothold equates to the types of values often associated with cruising. A 3-night stay at the Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun was advertised in August 2014 for as low as $659 per person based on double occupancy and including airfare, transfers, taxes and meals. Travelers to the eastern Caribbean through Apple that same month could book a 3-night hotel stay at the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa for $699 per person double occupancy starting rates that include transfers and taxes.

Tour of Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun

Apple Charter Vacations for Groups

The company offers opportunities to book packages to Mexico and the eastern Caribbean through its Apple Vacations charter vacation company, which also accommodates groups. In Mexico, Apple Vacations in August advertised a wedding group special where, for every 12 paid guests, one guest stayed free. Travelers booking three nights for 10 people or more at Hedonism II in Jamaica in the eastern Caribbean were, through Apple Vacations, offered one night free.

Travelers who prefer to work with their own agents in booking Mexico and eastern Caribbean vacations are provided the same opportunities through Apple Leisure Group’s award-winning, customer service-oriented Travel Impressions division. In all, Travel Impressions works with more than 2,400 resorts, hotels and 1,350 luxury villas inside and outside of Mexico and the eastern Caribbean.

Hosts the most Caribbean Vacations to Mexico and Dominican Republic

Apple Leisure Group claims that it carries more vacationers to Mexico and the Dominican Republic than any tour operator worldwide – and it extends preferred rates at its AMResorts properties to members of an Unlimited Vacation Club. Through a real estate investment arm known as Amstar, Apple also buys, develops and manages hotels and other properties throughout the world. As of March 31, 2014, Amstar’s assets were valued at more than $2.5 billion. They include properties throughout the United States and in international locales such as Russia and the Ukraine.

History of Apple Vacations

John J. Mullen founded Apple Vacations in Newton, Pa., in 1969, after launching his travel career with United Airlines and Lufthansa. Mullen grew the company from a small travel agency specializing in group tours to one of the largest vacation companies and tour operators in North America and one of the first to offer all-inclusive vacations. In 1987 Mullen’s son, Tim Mullen, joined the company. Apple Vacations then acquired Chicago-based Thompson Vacations, and Tim Mullen and his brother, Jeff, became co-presidents.

Apple Vacations and Bain Capital

Apple Leisure Group since December 2012 has been under the majority ownership of Bain Capital. The Mullen family holds a minority ownership while continuing to serve the company in executive capacities. Apple purchased Travel Impressions and CheapCaribbean.com after Bain Capital’s investment and at that time announced plans to invest $600 million into AMResorts in Mexico as well as in six new resorts. In July 2014, Apple carried through with at least part of those plans it added Mexico’s Sunscape, Secrets, Now and Breathless to AMResort’s 20-plus Mexico holdings.

The Mexico Chamber of Commerce in 2006 granted Apple Vacations a Double Eagle Award for assisting the community during Hurricane Wilma. The company in 2013 was recognized as Travel Weekly and Recommend magazine reader’s choices for Best Tour Operator to Mexico.

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About Author: Michelle Sheldone

Michelle Sheldone is an award-winning writer and the author of "Historic Walking Guides: Florida Keys." She launched her career at Family Circle magazine, where she worked as an entertainment editor. She has since contributed to newspapers, magazines and travel guides and handled marketing for government, education, travel, hospitality, fashion and conservation interests.