What to Watch in Mexico All-Inclusives

Hyatt Ziva Cancun’s 547 guest suites offer views of the Caribbean and the lavish resort gardens.
Hyatt Ziva Cancun’s 547 guest suites offer views of the Caribbean and the lavish resort gardens.

Clients who have the Mexican Caribbean on their radar for a 2016 getaway will have a couple of new all-inclusive resorts to choose from and they can also sample some unique libations and check out a pair of better-than-new renovations.

The hottest news coming out of the region is the debut of the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. Each of the resort’s 547 guest suites offer views of the Caribbean and the lavish resort gardens; furnishings made in Mexico from local woods and fabrics that reflect the colors of the Yucatan with accents such as butterfly-inspired lighting; and spa-style bathrooms with soaking tubs. All guest suites are designed with technology in mind to provide one-touch lighting efficiency, and guests may also enjoy complimentary in-room refreshment bars, in-room dining service, and in upper-category accommodations, they can enjoy swim-up suites and private butler service. Hyatt Ziva Cancun also offers an exclusive Hyatt Club Level with a private lounge and concierge service.

The Lobby Bar pays homage to Mayan culture with its geometric artwork and panels influenced by indigenous carvings and the language of the area’s original inhabitants. A signature grand staircase is the focal point of the resort and becomes seating for the outdoor amphitheater hosting special events in the evenings.


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Hyatt Ziva Cancun gives guests a choice of nine restaurants, including a French brasserie, an Italian cucina, an Asian-infused sushi and teriyaki restaurant, and a beachside taquería and ceviche bar. For casual dining, there’s an American diner and a gourmet buffet restaurant with show-cooking stations. For recreation, Hyatt Ziva Cancun offers lagoon-style pools with swim-up bars, an adult-only pool, a lounge with game tables and one of the area’s largest ocean view fitness centers complete with 14 treadmills and an expansive machines/free weights zone.

The spa has 13 treatment rooms, an additional five palapas on the beach for massages and a hydrotherapy area facing the sea. Family-friendly amenities include the “KidZ Club” with its own club house and play area with supervised activities and learning experiences for children ages 4-12. An interactive Dolphin Encounter, in a habitat that supports ocean preservation, is also in the offing.

Millennials and other adults among your clientele may be drawn to the onsite microbrewery and sports bar, “Tres CerveZa’s,” which showcases three high-quality, innovative and unique beers made by head brewmaster Juan Jose Garcia. These craft beers will be served throughout the resort. The brewery reportedly will soon be creating some special reserve beers for VIPs. For example, couples getting married at Hyatt Ziva Cancun will be able to request their favorite flavors, and the hotel will create a beer based on those preferences.

More news on the adult beverage front comes from Grand Velas Riviera Maya, which is rolling out a new cocktail. This all-inclusive Playa del Carmen resort is offering guests a taste of the Yucatan’s past with its new Grand Velas Cocktail showcasing local Mayan flair. The cocktail features Xtabentun, a Mayan liqueur with honey infused from the native Xtabentun flower. Other ingredients include cubes of pineapple, an orange slice, club soda and lime juice.

The Xtabentun flower and liqueur are common elements in a variety of Mayan legends that have been passed down generation after generation. Guests staying at the AAA Five Diamond resort are able to sip on the Grand Velas cocktail at the resort’s rooftop Sky Bar while enjoying sunsets and views of the Caribbean Sea.

El Dorado Seaside Suites offers 192 suites each with its own pool on a private terrace or balcony.
El Dorado Seaside Suites offers 192 suites each with its own pool on a private terrace or balcony.

Ten stylish bars, lounges and swim-up bars — and a like number of restaurants — are among the amenities at Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ new Gourmet Inclusive El Dorado Seaside Suites. Officially opened in late December, near Mexico’s historic Mayan ruins in Tulum, the beachfront hotel offers 192 swim-up and infinity suites –– as well as Oceanfront Infinity Jacuzzi Suites and Oceanfront Swim-up Jacuzzi Suites –– each with its own pool on a private terrace or balcony.

For spa enthusiasts, the Mayan-themed N’aay Spa, one of the largest in all of Riviera Maya, offers a full treatment menu, including ancient holistic treatments, hydrotherapy, herbal therapy, facials, ice room, mud cabin and reflexology — culminating with the signature Beachfront Sky Massage, where guests receive their treatment in total privacy in a palapa on the beach.

Karisma has also announced that its 9th Annual Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant (GIVC) Awards and Sales & Marketing Forum will be held December 7-10 at El Dorado Royale, A Spa Resort, in Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

Iberostar Hotels and Resorts has reopened Iberostar Tucan and Iberostar Quetzal, following a remodeling that included two new lobbies with expanded terrace areas, updated pool décor and playground, and renovated spas and fitness areas at each resort. Guests can also enjoy a new ice cream parlor on the beach, a local cigar lounge and new restaurants, including Mediterranean, Japanese, Mexican, Italian cuisine as well as a steakhouse. The revamp was necessitated by a fire that broke out in October, affecting such common areas as the lobby, restaurants and spa, but not guest rooms.

As previously reported, Sandals Resorts International is expected to break ground by year’s end on a new-build resort somewhere north of Playa del Carmen. Here are some reactions from the expert agents we spoke to about it.

Tom Varghese, owner of Travel Tom in Rockville, MD, says, “The entry of Sandals into the market ... will add another layer of competition and luxury that will benefit the consumer overall.”

“Diversity is always good in the market and Sandals has a proven track record,” says Penny Sheldon, owner of Penny Sheldon Travel in Boise, ID. “I think it’s a win for Mexico and Sandals.”

“Since many Mexican resorts are moving into Jamaica, it was only a matter of time before Sandals went into Mexico,” says Kim Goldstein of Journeys Travel Inc. in Richmond, VA. “I love the Sandals and Beaches product and Mexico is one of my favorite destinations, so it will be great to have the best of both worlds.”

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