Luxury travel. What does that term mean in today’s world? In the travel industry, it’s been the topic of conversation for quite some time and has been an ever-evolving concept. It’s obvious it’s no longer just about a stay at The Ritz or a Four Seasons, rather more about complementing sumptuous surroundings with meaningful and authentic experiences such as a digital detox vacation to grab a bit of quality time (alone or otherwise); after-hours entry into a must-visit spot; or meeting with locals in their private home. In essence, it’s really about creating those unique, authentic experiences that a stay in a penthouse, no matter how fabulous, could never provide. Perhaps it’s a chance encounter with Frida Kahlo’s ghost, or learning to take the perfect photo of a Mayan village with a professional photographer.
At the Grand Velas Riviera Maya there are new photo safaris that are ideal for clients who want to stay in high-end all-inclusive accommodations and pair it with time to explore the destination in a unique way. The three new photo safari packages feature a mix of cultural, wildlife, landscape, portrait and architectural photography, with the Zen Wild Safari, for example, diving into the resort and its jungle, which features ceiba and chaka trees, a cenote and mangroves. Another option takes guests off property and through the rich biodiversity and ecosystems of the Yucatan peninsula, with stops at the Maya ruins of Coba, age-old caverns with cenotes, a native Maya village, and the Punta Lagoon, a sanctuary for spider monkeys. All workshops are designed for beginners and experienced photographers, and a Canon DSLR Reflex with two lenses is supplied for each guest to use during the workshop (the memory card is for the guest to take home). The sessions come with a picnic basket of gourmet culinary bites, including a bottle of wine, salads, smoked salmon, French cheeses and charcuterie, fresh-baked artisanal baguettes, and other options. Rates start at $601 pp per night dbl, and the picnic is $100. There’s a 3-night minimum stay.
The Mahekal Beach Resort is catering to art aficionados who want to check out the Frida Kahlo Museum in Playa del Carmen’s bustling Quinta Avenida. The resort’s Artisanal Escape includes a self-guided walking tour of Quinta Avenida, complete with an exploration guide outlining must-see stops, ending at the Frida Kahlo Riviera Maya Museum, where VIP passes await guests. Upon returning to the resort, clients will receive a hands-on painting lesson at the Artisanal Palapa with a local master before indulging in an interactive culinary adventure at the Mayan Culinary Casita. Accommodations are in a Private Palapa that comes with an open-air terrace and crochet hammock, and guests receive a personalized hand-painted ceramic plate as a welcome amenity. Rates start at $460 per night.
A Charming Getaway
In the Spanish colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, the Casa 1810 Hotel Boutique, located steps from the town’s central plaza, opened about a year ago and offers an intimate retreat in a historical building. There’s the rooftop Terrace Bar and uniquely designed rooms that will make your clients feel as if they are in a private estate rather than a hotel. Recommend the Luxury Suite, located on the third floor with a striking view that looks out over the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel, the current parish church of San Miguel. The room has high boveda ceilings and a double pair of French doors—breathlessly romantic. In fact, the hotel also has a Romantic Suite, with a large sunk-in tub, fireplaces and views of the San Francisco Cathedral. Rates for the Luxury Suite start at $493 per night; and for the Romantic Suite at $527 per night.