El Dorado Royale features a beachfront wedding chapel. // © 2011 Karisma Hotels & Resorts
In the increasingly competitive hotel scene in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Karisma Hotels & Resorts is placing its bets on catering to a diverse clientele through its two distinct brands, the adults-only El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and the family-friendly Azul Hotels. But both chains keep one niche market in focus: destination weddings.
In August, the El Dorado Royale, the company’s largest property, hosted the 2nd annual symposium of DestinationWeddings.com, which brought travel agents and suppliers from around North America for several days of workshops, presentations and awards. It was a good chance for Karisma to show off some of its recent romance-friendly upgrades and expansions.
Among the most noticeable changes is a $21 million renovation at the Azul Beach Hotel. New to the property is the 1,400-square-foot Grand Salon banquet room and the Sky Wedding rooftop terrace, centered around a white gazebo, which accommodates up to 60 people for weddings and other ceremonies. There is also a new, 150-seat theater that is used for nightly entertainment but is also available for private events.
Also in the romantic vein at Azul Beach are the revamped guest suites, which include honeymoon and wedding suites that are available as “swim-up suites” and are designed to appeal to both families and couples.
The property also offers two new dining options: Roma, an upscale restaurant serving northern Italian cuisine, and Latino, a more casual eatery that features Latin America-inspired fare. Both are included in Karisma’s all-inclusive program, which the company calls “Gourmet Inclusive” to emphasize the range and quality of the cuisine at each of its properties.
New at El Dorado
At Karisma’s El Dorado properties, couples looking to tie the knot — or perhaps spend their honeymoon — in an adults-only environment will find new options as well. El Dorado Seaside Suites this year unveiled the final touches on its new Naay Spa, which offers Maya-inspired treatments and options like beachfront massages.
El Dorado Maroma, meanwhile, has added a new category of accommodations with the opening of two-story, 2,760-square-foot villas, each of which has a first-floor living and dining area with a half-bath, full kitchen and a terrace as well as a second-floor bedroom with a full bathroom. During the DestinationWeddings.com conference, attendees were treated to a Maya-themed beach commitment ceremony at sunset, an example of the types of wedding themes available.
To make it easier for agents to sell Karisma Hotels & Resorts, the company offers a GI Vacation Consultant program, which allows agents to become a specialist in one or more of several niches, including destination weddings, honeymoons, adults-only, romance, anniversaries and families. Benefits include personalized marketing tools, free upgrades and candlelight dinners on the beach for clients. In addition, Karisma’s website allows consumers to search for agencies by geographical location without leaving the site.