New Hotels Are Making Waves in Cancun and Riviera Maya

Hotel openings, grand re-openings and creative product combinations are making waves in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Hotel Xcaret Mexico makes its debut in the latter destination in December. It marks stage one of the ambitious Destino Xcaret project, rolling out over several years. Hotel Xcaret will also introduce a new “All Fun Inclusive” concept.

The 900-room hotel has five different buildings and accommodation styles. Among them: premium swim-up suites and family suites. Rooms include espresso makers, rain shower baths, free Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service. Additional features include ten restaurants, eight bars, three gyms, infinity pools, kid’s and teen’s club, tennis courts, a Mayan-inspired spa, and a cove and beach area.

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But, what makes the property distinctive (or “All Fun Inclusive”) is access to the Experiencias Xcaret nature parks and tours. That portfolio includes Xcaret, Xel-Há, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xoximilco, Xenses, Xichén and Xenotes.

Shuttles run to the parks every thirty minutes, as well as to Cancun International Airport.

Eventually, Destino Xcaret will expand to 6,000 hotel rooms, a convention center, retail areas and a 12,000-seat stadium, according to Marcos Constandse, CFO of Grupo Experiencias Xcaret, and architect and managing director of Destino Xcaret.

Constandse is particularly proud of sustainability programs at Destino Xcaret. Hotel Xcaret is the first hotel in the Americas to earn the EarthCheck certification in planning and design.

The use of locally-sourced materials is a big part of sustainability efforts. They not only reduce carbon footprint, but add to the authenticity of the hotel, said Constandse.

“Our main design concept is based on Mexican traditions. What we want to be is window to Mexico. In each corner of the property you will find handicrafts and artworks from all different states in Mexico. It is all handmade,” Constandse tells Travel Agent.

The All Fun Inclusive concept has been many years in the making, he adds.

“We’ve been working for so long to provide something completely different and unique. We see ourselves as ambassadors to Mexican culture, contained within a sustainable hotel,” said Constandse.

Kayaking at Grand Velas Riviera Maya

At Velas Resorts, authenticity is taking on a dual definition. The new Zen & Grand Class Experience at Grand Velas Riviera Maya offers guests a taste of both jungle and beach settings.

The jungle and beach package (which starts at $2,133 per person per night) combines stays in the resort’s 1,000-square-foot Zen suites and 1,300-square-foot Grand Class suites. The former are located in a jungle setting, with terraces overlooking lush vegetation and koi ponds. The latter are ocean-front, with private plunge pools and Caribbean views. A private concierge does the packing to move between the two. (There’s a three-night minimum stay requirement.)

In addition to water and land activities, the package includes a special tasting dinner, seaside picnic plus a Coffee & Cocoa Spa treatment.

Rodolfo Gonzalez, managing director of Grand Velas Riviera Maya, tells us that the new package is a natural response to guest feedback.

“Why did we design this program? Just look around. We’re in a part of Mexico blessed with such a rich natural setting. We have jungles, beaches, Mayan ruins and so much more here. We wanted our guests to experience both a jungle and beach setting on the same trip. It’s a pretty unique program. But, it fits in well with what today’s high-end guests are looking for. They’re very much in to authentic, cultural immersion with nature," said Gonzalez.

Original Group is also in the news. Its Temptation Cancun Resort soft-launched in August. But the grand re-opening celebration took place last week. The event kicked off Cancun Travel Mart, and Travel Agent was one of the invited guests in attendance.

The Grand Re-opening at Temptation Cancun Resort

Temptation was rebuilt from the ground up, with the addition of a new seven-story tower, several new dining venues, a spa and extensive fitness center. Billed as “The Playground for Grown-Ups,” the property is all about modernist, curved design. Minimalistic corridors lead to futuristic-looking rooms. Inside, they feature evocative wall paper pattern and seamless, shiny black storage units affixed to walls. They open to reveal closets, safes, coffee machines, mini fridges and TVs from which to order round-the-clock room service. Bathrooms feature colored plexiglass shower doors and mood lighting, among other amenities.

“The renderings didn’t do the hotel justice. That’s why we’re so happy to have guests here to see for themselves. We’re proud of all the facilities. It’s very disruptive. It’s very colorful. It’s very different from what we had before,” Mario Cruz, concept manager for Original Group, tells Travel Agent.

Rooms at Temptation feature balconies or patios. All feature views of the Caribbean, and some include Jacuzzis and private bars. With a price point for top suites ranging from $600-$1,500 per night, the brand is aiming for a high-end clientele.

It’s a distinct niche. The property is topless optional in certain areas. Some venues, such as the “Sexy Pool,” are lively and loud, thanks to themed activities such as pole dancing competitions, bubble machines and pajama parties. But, it isn’t spring-break rowdy. Guests (primarily in their 30s-50s) are respectful and rules (such as no pictures allowed), are followed. Those interested in a lower-decibel experience can request rooms near the “Quiet Pool.”

“We provide a safe space for clients to be themselves. We want them to feel free to enjoy themselves. We’re working hard to send the message to the agent community globally,” said Cruz.

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