If you think grandparents, mom, dad, and the kids are the only folks that make up today’s multigenerational family traveling group, you might be missing out on some lucrative commission. Jacques De Paep, Palladium Hotel Group’s commercial director for North America, points out that, “We are seeing an increase in family reunions at our resorts because of the ease of booking accommodations at diverse styles and levels of luxury all at one location. We expect to see this trend continue and encourage travel agents to look for resorts that can meet everyone’s needs whether it be accommodation preferences, dietary restrictions or activity choices.” In other words, start thinking extended family members as well as the core family. This is a segment of the market you simply can’t ignore, with 26 percent of those surveyed in MMGY Global’s 2016 Portrait of American Travelers study stating that in the next 12 months they plan to take more multigen vacations, and on average, those surveyed took 2.3 such vacations in 2016.
With Mexico offering both cultural and beachside fun, it makes for an ideal choice for families looking to make everyone happy, whether they want to be on Mexico’s beaches when the sea turtles are nesting or fine-tune their Spanish with a kid-friendly language lesson. There’s also culturally immersive Day of the Dead festivities coming up—Oct. 28 through Nov. 2—as well as new outdoor play areas and beachside Mexican-style fairs that family members, no matter the age, won’t want to pass up on.
Palladium Hotels & Resorts, for example, with all-inclusive beach resorts in both Riviera Nayarit and Riviera Maya, offers ecological tours that take kids 4 to 12 around the resort to feed the fish, flamingoes, alligators and ostriches (parents are also welcome); it also includes a boat ride on the resort’s mini-lake. In the Riviera Maya, Palladium has five resorts within the Palladium Riviera Maya Complex, so, for example, grandparents might opt to stay at the adults-only The Royal Suites, while the rest of the family stay at a double-bedded room at the Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa. Families can also select from spacious suites and connecting rooms. There are also age-tiered kids clubs for children 1 to 18, kid-oriented buffets, clown days, science lessons, cookie decorating classes, the newly launched Zentropia kids’ spa menu, including a Zentropia massage for kids, and the Play at Palladium with Raggs program. The adults, meanwhile, can hang at the adults-only spas and pools. Come nighttime, everyone can come together to enjoy the multigenerational-friendly show. De Paep points out that the “benefits of having extensive onsite activities and dining choices means you can enjoy a family reunion by simply selecting the accommodations and never worrying about splitting the bill.
Riviera Nayarit room rates start at $188 per night; at Riviera Maya, it’s $190.18 per night.
Velas Vallarta, too, offers onsite, behind-the-scenes eco-tours that take guests to hotel areas seldom seen by visitors including the solar panels, which heat the showers and pool water, and recycling facility. Tour participants learn how composting is keeping plants healthy, and they get a rare peak at enclosures used to house resident peacocks and injured wild birds, and the turtle nursery. Additionally, a new sea turtle conservation program at the resort also allows guests the opportunity to participate in conservation training, hatchling releases, nesting patrol and cleaning of hatching nests (take note: turtle release takes place July thru December in Puerto Vallarta). Velas Vallarta (as well as other select Velas Resorts) is offering the Single Parent Promotion, which waives the single supplement fee for single parents traveling with their children through December. Rates for the Single Parent package at Velas Vallarta, available through Dec. 22, start at $450 for one parent per night and up to four children (5-17 years old), and include an upgrade to a 1-bedroom suite, early check-in and late check-out, city tour, cultural tour, and two days of car rental.
And right next door in Riviera Nayarit, families can explore pristine beaches such as Isla Coral and Rincon de Guayabitos, which were just given Certified Clean Beaches stamps of approval; that makes for a total of 12 beaches in the region labeled as such, the most of any other in Mexico.
A Grab Bag of Fun
• Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is offering its popular Kids Stay Free promotion bookable through Oct. 31 for travel through that same date. At Iberostar Cozumel a max two kids 12 and under stay free for every two adults paying full price, while at other Mexico properties, including Iberostar Playa Mita and Iberostar Cancun, one child stays free for every two adults paying full price.
• Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun has added a Maya-themed outdoor sand and water-filled play zone that connects to the Coral kidZ Club. The first phase of the zone opened in July, and the water attractions will open in November.
• Club Med Cancun Yucatan has unveiled a new Petit Club Med, as well as two new oceanfront family buildings, the Aguamarina, housing Deluxe Family Rooms with a sea view and a balcony or private garden, as well as Family Club Rooms with beach or sea views.
• Sandos Playacar Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen has debuted the All Playa Experience showcasing world-famous beaches. Each day of the week, guests will be immersed in a different beach locale via cuisine, music and dance, as well as cultural decor, cocktails, games and performances. For example, Monday nights is Malibu night with a mechanical surfboard, bikini fashion show and live music, while Sunday nights are dedicated to Jamaica with live reggae music, a fish cookout and a kids pool party.
• Journey Mexico has a new scavenger hunt in the Yucatan Peninsula based in Uxmal. Kids learn about Maya culture in an interactive way and then set out to search for a variety of clues based around the Maya aluxes (sort of like Mayan mythical trolls); kids get to keep the alux they find. Journey Mexico customizes its tours, so this is ideal for families who want to add it on while touring the archaeological site of Uxmal.
• Xenses, Grupo Experiencias Xcaret’s new park in Cancun and Riviera Maya, is open, with a 5-hour adventure that takes guests through more than 15 activities that go over land, air and water.
This One’s for You, Mom
So maybe this offer is the antithesis of a multigenerational family vacation, but perhaps after such a vacation moms will want a break. Dreams Resorts & Spas is launching a #MomsEscape package that includes champagne and strawberries upon arrival; room service one morning with mimosas, fruits and pastries; unlimited access to the spa’s wet/hydrotherapy areas; 10 percent off discount on all spa treatments; one mani/pedi session; and daily yoga sessions. The package is available for an additional $75 pp when booking a Dreams vacation, and clients who book by Oct. 31 can take advantage of the $103 pp per night opening rates at the 502-suite Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf
& Spa Resort (and tell moms they can let out their inner kids at the resort’s waterpark and lazy river).
Club Med Cancun Yucatan: clubmed.us
Dreams Resorts & Spas: dreamsresorts.com
Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun: coralbeachcancunresort.com
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts: iberostar.com
Journey Mexico: journeymexico.com
Palladium Hotels & Resorts: palladiumhotelgroup.com
Sandos Playacar Beach Resort: sandos.com
Velas Vallarta: velasresorts.com