Karisma Hotels and Resorts’ new Nickelodeon hotel in Mexico is now set to open in 2020. At the organization’s annual Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultants Awards (GIVC Awards), Travel Agent spoke with Kelly Poling, Karisma’s senior vice president of marketing, to learn the latest on what agents can expect from the new property. The 11th annual GIVC Awards took place at the El Dorado Royale Riviera Maya, a Spa Resort by Karisma from December 5 – 8.
“When it opens it’s going to become our new flagship Nickelodeon hotel,” Poling says.
Situated next to Karisma’s Generations Riviera Maya property, the newbuild Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya will draw some design inspiration from its fellow family-friendly resort, Poling says. For example, its extra-large rooms will be configurable into one-, two- or three-bedroom suites to allow maximum flexibility for multigenerational groups, or families who wish to have a separate room for the kids. Every room will also have two bathrooms.
That said, the new hotel will also have plenty of Nickelodeon-themed features, as well.
“We’re making everything with Nickelodeon in mind,” Poling says.
The popular SpongeBob SquarePants-themed Pineapple Villa from Karisma’s first Nickelodeon property in Punta Cana will be here. In a similar vein, there will also be a new, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed “lair” Penthouse, as well. All told, there will be four character-themed Penthouse suites on the resort’s roof, all of which will have infinity pool swim-up access.
Another key selling point: “All of our rooms will be oceanfront,” says Poling. Additionally, every room – regardless of floor – will have swim-up access. In addition to the four Penthouses, there will be 276 Pad Suites and Flat Suites. The rooms will be set across two six-story buildings, in a design reminiscent of the Generations property.
Another major difference from the Punta Cana property will be the resort’s water park, which, at 500,000 square feet, will be much bigger. “It’s five to 10 times bigger than the one in Punta Cana,” says Poling.
Dubbed “Aqua Nick,” the new water park will have activities ranging from a lazy river to waterslides, a splash park and an interactive water playground for toddlers to mini relaxation pools. The variety of activities will be one way that the resort appeals to kids of multiple age ranges.
“The water park will be organized into different ‘lands,’” says Poling, with a more toddler-friendly land and a land with more thrill-type rides for teens.
“I think the Nickelodeon characters can appeal to kids of all ages as well,” Poling says, citing more young-kid-friendly characters like Paw Patrol and Dora the Explorer, as well as characters like SpongeBob, who can appeal to older kids.
The variety of activities could be a draw for repeat guests from the Punta Cana property, Polling hopes. “As children get older, they can ‘graduate’ to the Riviera Maya resort,” she says.
In terms of the resort’s culinary product, Poling says that the focus will be on experiential, social media-friendly venues and dishes.
“We know that people want to be able to see and capture amazing images, so we’ll have plenty of ‘Instagrammable’ dishes,” Poling says. “For example, at the Punta Cana property, we have the ‘Machete Burger’ – it’s so big, they have to cut it at the table with a giant machete. We’ll be carrying those types of things over to the Riviera Maya.”
All told the property will have six restaurants, including the seafront Yacht Club, the Mexican cantina Expadin and the Bikini Bottom fast-casual restaurant, as well as four bars, including The Bar, Bikini Bottom Bar and two swim-up bars. There will also be a Lobby Lounge that will aim to serve as a family-centric hub with music, entertainment and broadcasts of live sporting events. Much of the resort’s organic produce will be sourced from Karisma’s greenhouse, which is located next store at the El Dorado.