The 601-room all-inclusive Cancun Palace is located on Cancun’s beachfront strip, only 25 minutes from Cancun’s airport. Hard Rock International operates 15 hotels filled with some of the most rockin’ music memorabilia collections in the world. (And to think it all started with Eric Clapton’s guitar.) Together, the two companies are teaming up to rebrand the Cancun resort as the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun in spring 2012, building on the success of their first partnership at Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana.
The resort will combine the ambience of Hard Rock’s flashy Rock Star Suites with the long list of Palace Resort amenities, such as the double jacuzzis found in every guest room and wealth of a la carte restaurants. All rooms have private balconies and water views—either of the ocean or of the resort’s lagoon.
The hotel’s décor will receive a total makeover, changing creamy colors to snazzy shades of psychedelic purples and other eye-catching hues. The minimalistic décor found throughout the resort will also be replaced with memorabilia in the public spaces and restaurant/bars. In the rooms, you’ll sleep under a vintage photograph of Pink Floyd or Jon Bon Jovi.
“The Hard Rock is all about vibrant colors and the décor is tasteful but a little more flamboyant,” says Ginny Davito, vp of group sales, Palace Resorts. “Like other Hard Rocks, we’ll have our Vibe Manager make sure that music is always playing and things are constantly going on. People love the concept and it’s well-known in the industry.”
The existing lobby bar will become a Brazilian steakhouse, and a bar will be incorporated into the hotel lobby. The steakhouse will be the newest of five restaurants on the property offering a variety of buffet-style meals, a la carte seafood, and Italian, Oriental and Mexican cuisines.
The resort’s outdoor amphitheater will host an ongoing schedule of live concerts, celebrity-hosted soirees and exclusive events. Mexico’s year-round warm weather makes these events even more enticing. Davito says these happenings are open to meeting planners in advance for private group bookings.
The 12,400-sf conference center is designed for flexibility and can host a variety of different events. There is also a 4,000-sf meeting room divisible into 10 breakouts, each with room for 30 pax.
The fact that the hotel is all-inclusive makes it even more appealing to groups, according to Davito.
“People tend to network more in an all-inclusive setting because they’re not worried about the cost,” she says. “Especially on the incentives side, you shouldn’t have to pay to be treated like a winner. Even with the décor and music, the planner doesn’t have to spend money because of the way that the hotel is already set up.”
Cancun Palace is just one of three Palace resorts being converted to Hard Rock hotels in Mexico. The other two oceanfront resorts are located in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya.
“Clients love the warm hospitality in Mexico,” Davito says. “I think that if it were up to them, groups would repeat time and time again but they are also cognizant of the fact that their participants like new buildings. The fact that we are rebranding three hotels means that they get to come back and experience the same value and warm hospitality, but at the same time get a whole new experience every time.”
The 348-room Hard Rock Puerto Vallarta is located on Bahia de Banderas, minutes from Puerto Vallarta. The hotel is set to open in the spring as well with 6,300 sf of meeting space.
Rebranding of the Hard Rock Riviera Maya will combine two adjacent Palace hotels: Aventura Cove Palace and Aventura Spa Palace. The resort will feature a combined total of 777 guestrooms and is set to open in two phases—the first in winter 2012 and the second in early 2013.
“People have always been really happy with the all-inclusive concept but the thing was that we have so many Palace resorts in the same locations that we were competing against ourselves and people would see all the resorts as just the same,” says Davito. “Now we have another flavor to offer the customer.”