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When a hotel offers you a tour of its employees-only area, you know it’s serious about safety and cleanliness.So I was very impressed when Erika Mitzunaga, director of public relations for Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun All Inclusive Spa Resort, invited me to see what the property is doing to protect both guests and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. I witnessed well-executed hygiene protocols in areas that most hotel guests never see — including the staff cafeteria and the employee entrance, where arriving staff have their temperatures taken and shower in the locker room before changing into their uniforms.
Repeat guests at this luxury hotel will notice plenty of changes as well — including a major shift this year from the European Plan to an all-inclusive format. During my most recent visit to Cancun, I sampled the new format, as well as upgrades and new hygiene protocols at both the Grand Fiesta Americana property and Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun, both of which are part of La Coleccion Resorts, Grupo Posadas’ Collection of 15 resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
In addition to operating at reduced capacity, both resorts are following the protocols that have become the new normal in Cancun: sanitizing door mats at every outside entrance; wearing masks in indoor areas; implementing a fourperson limit in elevators; providing plenty of hand sanitizer; and giving free hygiene kits to guests that include masks, antibacterial gel and sanitary wipes.
Here’s what else I found during my stays.
Grand Style at Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach CancunAll hotels in Cancun follow state guidelines for hygiene and safety, but Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun takes it a step further, with extras such as an attendant stationed at the lobby elevator to offer hand sanitizer and push the buttons in an effort to help guests minimize their contact with high-touch surfaces.
I stayed in an expansive, loft-like suite with a soaring ceiling, a comfortable seating area and beautiful Caribbean Sea views from the large terrace. The spacious bathroom had a romantic Jacuzzi tub and even a steam room. Staying in the Grand Club category also provided access to a lounge that serves canapes, drinks and cocktails, as well as access to an exclusive beach area.
Regardless of their room category, however, guests are likely to appreciate the beautifully landscaped grounds, where the tranquil beach and multiple pools provide plenty of places to enjoy the sun and relax in the shade. Children ages 3 to 12 can make good use of the large Coral Kidz Club, while adults can enjoy time at the Gem Spa, a gorgeously modern facility that’s one of the largest hotel spas in all of Mexico.
Occupying 40,000 square feet of bliss-inducing space, this multilevel facility features an extensive hydrotherapy circuit, cabins for individual and couples’ treatments, a beauty salon and a fitness center. Couples looking for a special private experience can even book a romantic dinner inside the spa, with a candlelit table set next to the large indoor pool. The space is dramatically lit after dark to create an even more memorable ambiance.
Unique dining experiences, in fact, are among the hotel’s greatest selling points. Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach is home to one of just a few AAA Five Diamond restaurants in Mexico: an elegant French venue called Le Basilic, which sometimes offers live art presentations during dinner.
Another memorable dining experience awaits at The Table, a special dining event offered (for an extra fee) at La Joya, the resort’s upscale Mexican restaurant. The evening centers around a hightech video mapping table that provides spectacular visuals to accompany a multicourse dinner that’s ideal for adults and children alike.
Even guests who don’t opt for The Table experience should still make plans for a meal at La Joya, where the creatively elegant decor beautifully blends traditional Mexican elements with 21stcentury technology (think: wall projections of vintage Mexican movies). The cuisine is also a vibrant blend of traditional and modern takes on Mexican dishes from around the country.
Living It Up at Live Aqua Beach Resort CancunStylish, hip, festive and adults-only, Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun is big on contemporary style.
I immediately noticed the lobby’s soothing scent, which is indicative of the hotel’s multisensory approach to hospitality — every guestroom has its own aromatherapy set, allowing visitors to create a personalized olfactory ambiance.
Like Grand Fiesta Americana, Live Aqua Cancun is following extensive hygiene protocols during the pandemic. Upon arrival, guests have their temperatures checked, and are offered hand sanitizer as they walk across the sanitizing doormat.
Dining options are diverse and delightful. It would be difficult to pick a favorite restaurant at Live Aqua because they were all so good, but I can heartily recommend the contemporary molecular cuisine at MB and the Asian delicacies at Hidden Garden, which is set in a lush wooded area on the grounds. After dark, the venue comes alive with elegant lighting set amid the trees, creating such an intimate atmosphere that it would be easy to forget you’re sitting in the middle of a large beach resort. Azur, meanwhile, is the go-to venue for Mediterranean seafood with a picturesque Caribbean beachfront view. And coffee lovers, take note: Live Aqua Beach Resort even has a coffee shop with honest-to-goodness Starbucks products, to provide a brand-name caffeine boost to the all-inclusive experience.
In keeping with new hygiene protocols, the buffet format has changed at Siete, a cheerily decorated restaurant that celebrates Mexican pop culture with giant tile murals of seven iconic figures, including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and the movie stars Maria Felix and Cantinflas. Food is now served on individual platters at the buffet, and some items — such as bread and juice — are wrapped in plastic, all with the goal of minimizing contact with shared utensils and items.
I stayed in a stylish suite on one of the club-level floors, which includes access to a lounge with great views of the beach and lagoon. My room had a large living area and separate bedroom, as well as a bathroom with Molton Brown amenities and a lovely freestanding tub that’s ideal for romantic couples’ getaways.
The property also has a well-equipped spa and a gym; guests can make reservations to work out, in keeping with current guidelines that limit capacity.
The focus for many guests is the great outdoors: namely, the expansive swimming pools and white-sand beach. The poolside and beach cabanas are especially inviting, and it’s easy to spend an entire day in a mode of sublime relaxation, with the pool waiters tending to every need.
To provide additional assurance to travelers during the pandemic, both of these Cancun hotels now offer Travel With Confidence Protection, a program developed by parent company Grupo Posadas to offer optional travel and medical expense coverage, priced at $4 a day, for accidents and non-pre-existing diseases, including COVID-19.
The DetailsGrand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancunwww.lacoleccionresorts.com
Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancunwww.lacoleccionresorts.com