Jennifer Doncsecz, president of VIP Vacations, Inc., tells me that when it comes to the weddings and honeymoon market, Mexico stands firm as her No. 1 destination for the past three years. “It has a lot to do with the new all-inclusive properties and the new flights to Mexico,” she says. “I think my clients look for a good deal and good service, and the service in Mexico is top notch.
“What we found is that a lot of people want the five-star, luxury, all-inclusive vacation in their honeymoon, and Riviera Maya, Cancun, and Cabo deliver. Also, Cabo is very big, but the hurricane hurt us and we hope to see that part of Mexico come back full force,” she adds. In fact, with new resorts, including a bevy of all-inclusives, and additional flights from North America, 2015 looks like it’s going to be a busy travel year to Mexico for many North Americans.
Wow…AMResorts is not one to rest on its laurels. For starters, the Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa opened Sept. 1. Set along a 650-ft. private beach in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, the former Grand Oasis Viva property underwent refurbishments and now meets Dreams Resorts & Spas’ Unlimited-Luxury standards. The resort features 438 guestrooms and suites, and 24-hour room service. AMResorts also introduced the fourth Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resort, the Zoëtry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres Cancun, which opened on Nov. 1. Add to the list the adults-only Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, which is located on Playa Mujeres and started welcoming guests on Nov. 15, as well as the 434-suite Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya in Riviera Maya, which will open in late 2015. Oh, and there’s also the Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort opening in early 2016.
But there’s plenty of room on the shoreline for other brands, including the Hyatt Playa del Carmen, which will open in spring 2015. The hotel will feature a full-service spa and fitness center; two onsite restaurants (a steak and seafood grill and a Mexican/Caribbean restaurant); afternoon tea; and an onsite arcade room and movie theater, as well as Camp Hyatt for kids. Two other new Hyatt properties opening in Mexico are the Hyatt Place Ciudad del Carmen in Campeche with 140 guestrooms, and the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta with 336 suites, some swim-up.
“We are very excited to be expanding Hyatt’s brand presence in vibrant Riviera Maya with the addition of Hyatt Playa del Carmen. Hyatt is expanding in new and exciting markets such as Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean with bold new offerings to suit all needs and lifestyles,” says Alvaro Valeriani, regional v. p. of sales and marketing for Hyatt of Latin America and Caribbean.
Starwood also continues to make its mark in Mexico. By press time is was confirmed that a Four Points by Sheraton is opening in Cancun in 2015, and five other properties are scheduled to open in Mexico thru 2017: Aloft Merida; Westin Cozumel; W Kanai Retreat Riviera Maya; The St Regis Kanai Resort; and Four Points by Sheraton Puebla.
Adding to the scene is the hip brand Commune Hotels + Resorts, which is planning to open the 125-room Thompson Playa del Carmen in 2015. The hotel, which will be located in the thriving Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) in Playa del Carmen, will feature a rooftop pool, and a spa.
4-1-1 from tour operators
For Funjet Vacations, Mexico is a top-selling destination for family vacations, destination weddings, honeymoons, and group travel; and its most popular destinations within Mexico are Riviera Maya and Cancun, followed by Los Cabos and Riviera Nayarit, says president Mike Going. The tour operator is offering some new hotel products in its portfolio like the Fiesta Americana Cozumel, the recently renovated RIU Cancun, and Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ Generations Riviera Maya, which opened this year. Funjet will also offer the 56-casita suite, all-incllusive resort, The Explorean by Fiesta Americana, in its inventory. It’s “one of the most unique products in Cozumel offering extreme sports and a natural setting,” says Going. The Explorean is located a short drive from Cozumel’s airport and features a wide variety of outdoor activities from paddleboarding and snorkeling, to kayaking and biking, as well as an onsite restaurant, bar, and spa—ideal for the outdoorsy types.
Jack Richards, president and CEO of Pleasant Holidays, says they want to grow in the business of destination weddings and corporate incentive groups business in 2015 as “we believe there is a significant opportunity for groups in Cancun, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit.”
Pleasant Holidays offers 119 all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and it’s the second largest destination in their portfolio—and the top destination for destination weddings. “Mexico sales are currently tracking up double-digits year-over-year for 2015. We continue to see airlift expand to its most popular beach resort areas, including daily nonstops from gateways throughout the U.S. Roughly 33 new flights are being added by the end of December 2014.”
The tour operator is adding a few new hotels to its portfolio as well, such as the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, the Dreams Sands Cancun, the Royalton Riviera Cancun, and the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta.
Like Funjet and Pleasant Holidays, Travel Impressions’ president Tim Mullen, says Mexico is their top-selling destination after the Caribbean. “Since the launch of our Dedicated Vacation Flights earlier this year, which add significant cost savings in addition to convenience, Mexico has become one of our most popular destinations for group travel, including destination weddings. Cancun and the Riviera Maya continue to be our biggest sellers, while Los Cabos and Riviera Nayarit have seen increased demand as well,” he points out.
For 2015, Travel Impressions has expanded its Dedicated Vacation Flights with new nonstop service to Cancun from Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), plus increased service from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) to Cancun. Destinations serviced by Travel Impressions’ Dedicated Vacation Flights include Cancun, Huatulco, Ixtapa, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.
Delta Air Lines resumed flights from Salt Lake City to Mexico City on Dec. 20. The airline is also introducing flights from New Orleans to Cancun in March 2015, and will begin flights from New York (JFK), San Diego, and Seattle to Los Cabos. Alaska Airlines began flights from Seattle to Cancun on Nov. 6, and Southwest Airlines recently started flights from Atlanta, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and Chicago to Cancun.
Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive):
What’s New in Mexico (with a splash of adventure) (April 2014)