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The Ritz-Carlton, CancunSeptember 14, 2009 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun’s Oceanfront Suite has three balconies, two of which offer views of the ocean
All too often I travel to couples’ destinations and resorts alone and miss out on the complete experience. A recent trip to the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun was decidedly different. I took a lady friend with me and it turned out to be an incredible weekend.
Agents, take note: This is the ideal location for clients looking for a little luxury in Mexico with their loved ones.
We stayed in Room #6027, an Oceanfront Suite with three balconies—one in the living room and two in the bedroom. The one in the living room and in the front of the bedroom had a perfect, unobstructed view of the ocean. The balcony at the back of the bedroom overlooks the resort’s main pool. The room also has two TVs, a king-size bed and two bathrooms. Although the restaurants on the property are all fabulous, you should try room service at least once—for dinner and a bottle of wine on the balcony.
The first morning of the weekend was a little unusual for a relaxing getaway. That’s because we actually sweated it out working. We took part in the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun’s Mayan Acquaintance Experience, which has guests contributing some manual labor for a good cause. We spruced up a schoolyard for the poor Mayan community about an hour from Cancun. The community could neither afford the manpower nor the supplies, and that’s where Ritz-Carlton stepped in. For roughly $115 per person, guests volunteer for a full day’s work, doing everything from painting rocks, weeding and mixing concrete to lifting boulders.
The thought of paying for the experience, on top of volunteering, seemed silly to me at first. But it wasn’t long before I found out that the money goes toward the supplies, food, transport and other costs necessary to sustain the program.
The donation also covers a light breakfast, delicious lunch and roundtrip transportation for volunteers. The activities require a minimum of five participants and are on offer every other month. Upcoming dates for these activities are October 24 and December 19 this year and February 27, April 10 and June 19 in 2010.
Over a cold drink with the locals, we couldn’t help admiring ourselves for the work we did. I decided there was no price tag too expensive for this memorable day. Plus, now that the fatty meal from the night before had burned off, I felt a little less guilty for the weekend of gluttony at the Ritz.
For reservations to the program, agents should contact the concierge department’s Noriko Yoshimura at [email protected].
Our smart hostess arranged for a couples’ massage at the Kayanta Spa, about three hours after the volunteer experience. There is truly no better way to experience about 80 minutes of pure relaxation than with your significant other—especially if you’ve earned it after sweating it out for a good cause. Consider this your clients’ reward for a job well done.
We had just enough time to wash off the oils from the massage when we were ushered to a personalized Chef’s Table dinner. This was like attending a cookery show on TV. For $140 per person, your clients get to have a sit-down dinner prepared by the chef in his kitchen. Guests sit at the kitchen table as he runs his way through the four courses, each served with a different wine. I’ve been to similar chef’s dinners before but none of them were as generous with the portions as this one. My glass was being refilled all the time and I was stuffed by the end of the meal.
A Day at the Beach
The following day was a treat at one of the resort’s cabanas. For $100 a day, your clients can have the cabana for the entire afternoon, usually between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Drinks have to be paid for, but the sheer space and personalized service are really worth the $100. Plus, with the cabanas located at a secluded part of the beach, your clients will feel like they have the ocean to themselves.
At the Chef’s Table dinner, clients learn culinary secrets from the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun’s experienced chefs
Chef for a Day
In a cooking class the next day, while preparing a traditional Mexican dish (we made enchiladas!), we picked up some basic skills. The chef takes it easy on you and you can assure your clients that they will not be doing anything too challenging. The class, which costs $115 per person, usually involves teaching some basic cutting techniques and applying seasoning, squeezing fruit, etc. Of course, you get to eat the meal once it’s prepared.
Sprucing up a schoolyard for the poor Mayan community is a way for couples to contribute toward a good cause while on vacation
Clients can also take part in a group wine-tasting event, where they get to sip about five of Mexico’s best wines. You’re not alone if you thought Mexico didn’t have good wines, but this session was an eye-opener. Guests learn about each wine and how to tell a good wine from a bad one without even sipping it. The session is priced at $65 per person.
Farewell Dinner on the Beach
There is no better way to end a great weekend than with a delicious private dinner for two on the beach amid the sound of the waves and the light from the tiki torches. The resort charges $75 for the service on top of whatever the meal and drinks cost.
For information on wine, cooking and dining, agents should contact Michael Näther, director of food and beverage, at [email protected]. Also speak to Travel Industry Sales Manager Marimar Montemayor at 011-998-881-0808.