Fairmont Mayakoba can be experienced as an all-inclusive. // © 2012 Fairmont Mayakoba
Imagine checking into an all-inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen, sunbathing by the pool before a romantic dinner and then seeing Enrique Iglesias in concert, courtesy of the hotel. If you stayed at any Palace Resorts properties last spring, this was a reality. Guests staying seven nights or more received complimentary tickets to see Enrique Iglesias perform live at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort. Guests staying fewer than seven nights still received a substantial discount to see Iglesias take stage at Moon Palace’s sprawling property, which, needless to say, created an unforgettable memory that’s better than any take-home souvenir. In fact, many guests were return visitors after Palace Resorts had a live Shakira concert through the same promotion in 2011.
Palace Resorts isn’t the only all-inclusive resort or hotel chain to recently offer an additional, prominent perk for vacationers. Several hotels in Riviera Maya have been offering outstanding benefits outside the all-inclusive package, upgrading options for food, activities and more.
“We are always thinking of ways to elevate our offerings as part of the Complete ME Concept as there is always a demand for them,” said Raul Petraglia, managing director at ME Cancun.
ME Cancun, which caters mostly to a trendy demographic interested in pop culture and nightlife, now offers free DJ Lab sessions. DJing classes normally costs up to $75 per session elsewhere, and students rarely get to practice in the exciting atmosphere of a live audience.
“DJs have proven to be extremely popular on property, and these new DJ Lab sessions will allow travelers to learn how to spin in front a live audience, all under the guidance of today’s most skillful and experienced DJs,” said Petraglia.
Music is also a value-added incentive at Grand Oasis Resort in Cancun, which launched an annual Dance U Festival. This past year, from Feb. 28 to March 31, the hotel offered a series of acts and parties from famous artists in electronic music, hip hop and dance, with a line-up that included Kelly Rowland and Pitbull. These events were free for all guests at the resort.
And it’s not just music that all-inclusive hotels are using for additional perks. The Royal properties in Cancun and Playa Del Carmen offer guests complimentary, unlimited golf (at Riviera Cancun Golf Club and Golf Club at Playacar, respectively) if they stay a minimum of three nights. Additionally, guests who book in the upper-category suites at The Royal Cancun receive incredible perks, including a complimentary gourmet cooking school lunch with resort chefs, free international phone calls and access to one of the property’s Mini Coopers to drive around town.
All-inclusive resorts are also enticing travelers with gourmet food options outside of the all-inclusive meal plan. The recently opened Paradisus Playa Del Carmen has been highly touted for its seven-michelin chef restaurant, Passion by Martin Berasategui. Passion is Paradisus Playa Del Carmen’s only on-site restaurant diners must pay for, but Royal Service or Family Concierge guests receive a complimentary dinner, a value of $90 per person, if they stay seven nights or more, and only $40 per person for any guest staying in other room categories.
“By partnering with a chef of prestigious caliber such as Martin Berasetugui, we have elevated the Paradisus brand and guest experience to a unique level, one that is not traditionally associated with all-inclusive resort properties,” said Bernard Wyss, managing director of Paradisus Playa Del Carmen and area vice president for Paradisus Resorts.
Travelers to Riviera Maya can experience the AAA, Five-Diamond Fairmont Mayakoba as an all-inclusive for a short period of time. The luxury resort recently launched “100 Days of Summer,” a package that comprises free activities with the rate, such as guided ecology tours and boating through cenotes (caverns). Also, the recently launched “Appetite for Luxury” package offers guests the opportunity to dine at the resort’s award-winning restaurant on an all-inclusive basis. Starting at $499 per night and available through Dec. 17, the package includes accommodations and meal service that includes a la carte menus for all meals for two adults.
“As we looked at travel trends and what was successful in our marketplace, we felt we would open ourselves up to a wider audience of travelers without compromising our brand integrity by creating a package that offered a highly value-driven way for people to visit our luxury resort, where they would know exactly what their costs were up front,” said regional vice president and general manager of Fairmont Mayakoba, Ian Robinson.