Couples + All-Inclusives: Match Made in Heaven

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Rendering of the main pool at UNICO’s new hotel set to open in 2017 in the Riviera Maya.
Rendering of the main pool at UNICO’s new hotel set to open in 2017 in the Riviera Maya.

Think the honeymoon stage is over between you and your clients once you’ve booked them on a successful destination wedding and honeymoon? Think again. We spoke to a few travel advisors who are successfully booking couples on romantic getaways across all demographics. Sure, it’s the weddings and honeymoons that get the ball rolling, but as Tom Varghese, owner of Travel Tom, says, “Romance is alive and well—across all demographics.” He acknowledges that “the main demographic is honeymooners, but our honeymooners are coming back to book their annual anniversary trip every year thereafter. We are also booking a lot of their parents! Especially after their kids are now married and out of the house, they are looking for a ‘break’ and our top recommendation is always an all-inclusive, adults-only property so that they can get truly pampered.” Travel consultant Kim Goldstein, a certified destination wedding & honeymoon specialist, points out that she, too, is booking a lot of romance travel for various reasons. “The majority of my romance travel bookings are honeymoons; however, I’m seeing a big increase in anniversary trips, as well. I especially love to book my past honeymoon clients on milestone anniversary trips.” She notes that the age for anniversary trips fluctuates between “their 40s and 50s,” and for those “couples who are just trying to get away for a romantic, relaxing vacation, I’m really seeing all ages.” With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a few all-inclusives in Mexico that these travel advisors think are ideal for making the fire sizzle.

Varghese points out that, “the top all-inclusive resorts that we recommend for romantic getaways are adults-only properties. For clients that are looking for a more laid-back experience with a high level of service, butler service and amazing food that is high in quality and variety (the Asian restaurant offers a menu with 18 pages of options to appease all palates!), Le Blanc would be our top choice. It is located on one of the best beaches in Cancun. All rooms come with a butler who can make your dinner reservations, reserve a spa or cabana on the beach or set up a romantic jacuzzi with rose petals and tea candles!”

Le Blanc, which Varghese says is a perfect choice for Baby Boomers, offers several accommodation categories including the Royale Honeymoon Suite, and no, it’s not just for honeymooners. Think a double whirlpool located in front of the Caribbean Sea, a king-sized bed, and a comfort menu featuring a variety of specialty pillows, bath salts and aromatherapy scents.

Another property Varghese recommends to couples is the adults-only El Dorado Casitas Royale in the Riviera Maya, part of the Karisma portfolio. “Every room comes with concierge service ready to attend to your every need,” he says. “When it comes to food, you will have the opportunity to tour their acres of greenhouses, where the chefs grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. The quality of the food, the freshness, the attention to details and presentation are some of the best we have ever experienced in the industry. And finally for those seeking to have a well-rounded experience, when it comes to activities, it is not just about the beach volleyball and aqua aerobics. The activities tend to be more Mexican culturally oriented—cooking classes, wine and tequila tastings, salsa dance classes, and Spanish lessons, just to name a few.”

Goldstein also looks to the El Dorado brand as a top-seller for romance getaways. “I’m especially excited about the new Palafitos (overwater bungalows) to open in the fall at the adults-only El Dorado Maroma,” she says. “These suites will have a glass-bottom floor, private infinity pool, outdoor shower and an indoor jacuzzi. Palafito guests will also be able to enjoy butler service, a customized beach picnic, an overwater spa and much more.” Both Goldstein and Varghese note that the ideal customer base for the El Dorado brand is the Gen X couple.

When it comes to Millennials, Goldstein points to the Excellence Playa Mujeres. “It’s a gorgeous resort set on a quiet end of the beach. The suites are spacious with big bathrooms along with an indoor/outdoor jacuzzi. You can spend hours lying on the lounger on the balcony just watching the blue water! The Excellence Club Two-Story Rooftop Terrace Suite with Ocean Front is a getaway in itself, as it even features a private plunge pool. Excellence Club guests have access to a private lounge and beach area.”

“We are very specialized as a company in luxury and romance,” says David Torres, director of sales, Excellence Group Luxury Hotels & Resorts, “so no matter what brand you book you always have that feeling of a romantic setting for couples.”

Dreams Come True Travel’s travel genie Ken says the adults-only Live Aqua Cancun, part of the Posadas portfolio, “would be my top choice. They do a great job of igniting the senses with their aromatherapy in the room and throughout the property. They have romance-inducing hands at the spa, and to add to the experience, couples can dine at the Hidden Garden,” one of nine onsite eateries. At the spa couples can opt for an Ambrosial Chocolate Body Wrap or a Mayan Four-Handed Kukulkan Massage. Recommend clients opt for the luxury Aqua Club Lounge that offers upgraded service.

Oceanfront Oasis
Adults can also get upgraded service at Hyatt Ziva Cancun’s adults-only getaway, the Turquoize experience, which actually has its own tower within the resort. This area of this family-friendly resort boasts spacious adults-only suites, 270-degree ocean views and professional butlers, as well as private airport transfers; VIP check-in and reception area; lavish bath accommodations affording stunning ocean views with unique floor-to-ceiling corner rainfall showers; exclusive access to the rooftop infinity pool with ocean views and private Punta Vista rooftop bar; fine dining and preferred seating at La Bastille, a French restaurant for adults, as well as preferred seating at oceanfront Tradewinds; private elevator with exclusive, direct access to Zen Spa and complimentary hydrotherapy; and full privileges at nearby adults-only Hyatt Zilara Cancun.

One-of-a-Kind
A new brand coming onto the scene and which travel advisor Melissa Varela, owner of Modern Romance Travel, says will offer “couples culturally inspired, immersive activities from mixology and cooking classes, to lectures by local experts and off-the-beaten path tours” is UNICO Hotels, set to launch in the first quarter of 2017 in Riviera Maya and part of the AIC Hotel Group portfolio. “UNICO is a one-of-a-kind, adults-only all-inclusive hotel,” says Frank Maduro, v.p. of marketing for AIC Hotel Group. “As a completely new type of all-inclusive, UNICO seeks to compete with the luxury boutique and lifestyle hotels in the EP and all-inclusive markets. Clients seeking a romantic getaway will experience intimate tours with local guides and experts, flexible programming that lets them experience the region at their leisure and unparalleled quality of food and beverage.”

UNICO, whose first hotel is to be named 20° 87°, a play on the latitude and longitude of its location, will be targeting the youthful aspirational traveler ages 30 to 60. When I asked about the ideal suite for a romantic getaway, I was told that all the room categories are ideal for an intimate getaway, although highly recommended is the Alcoba Exterior Pool or Alcoba Ocean View. Keep in mind, though, 90 percent of the suites will have an ocean view and 100 percent of the first floor accommodations will have semi-private swim-up pools. “Romance will be in full bloom at the UNICO Hotel in Riviera Maya,” declares Varela.

Contact Information
El Dorado Resorts: karismahotels.com/Hotels-Resorts-Villas/Adults-only/El-Dorado-Resorts
Excellence Playa Mujeres: excellenceresorts.com/resorts/excellence-playa-mujeres
Hyatt Ziva Cancun: cancun.ziva.hyatt.com
Le Blanc: leblancsparesort.com
Live Aqua Cancun: liveaqua.com
UNICO Hotels: unicohotelrivieramaya.com