For each ‘Planner’s Pick,’ Prevue interviews a planner for their choices of compelling, high value destinations.
PLANNER: TERRY PURCELL
St. Louis, MO
There is no shortage of all-inclusive resorts lining the breathtaking beaches in Riviera Maya, south of Cancun. And truth be told, those beaches and the string of luxe resorts are incentive enough for most top performers.
But Terry Purcell’s group wanted to host a black-tie event in the area. A true black-tie event, in a venue befitting such, with tiered seating in a crescent-shaped theater with banquettes and professional, but not obsequious, wait staff.
Purcell, an account executive with Maritz, decided on Royal Hideaway Playacar, the first adults-only, all-inclusive resort to earn AAA 5-diamond status. The purpose of this trip in early April was an incentive award for 220 associates from a large financial company.
“Royal Hideaway is more of a quaint boutique property,” says Purcell. “You don’t feel like you’re visiting a box with a bed. There’s also a very unique, high level of service and heightened sense of exclusivity that is an award in itself.”
Two other major attributes are Royal Hideaway’s location, sequestered by itself with little public access, and the small room count of just 200 rooms. So attendees feel like they own the entire property with a private beach all to themselves.
For offsite activities, the group ventured to Tulum, the pre-Columbian Maya walled city from the 13th century. The well-preserved ruins stand sentinel over ultramarine seas about 40 minutes south of the resort.
Some attendees also visited Xcaret to swim in the natural lagoons, play with dolphins and explore the eco-park’s orchid gardens. The wildlife farm was a highlight, too, which raises rare birds like the scarlet macaw and keel-billed toucan.
Back at the Hideaway, other attendees were quite comfortable to park themselves in the spa for entire afternoons, following long brunches of Spanish lobster eggs benedict and French champagne guava mimosas.
So Terry, tell us about dinner.
“It was an impeccable experience with four fine-dining restaurants, one for every night of the trip,” he enthuses. “There’s Asian, French, Italian…. That was part of the reward, too, because it’s all-inclusive so no one had to dig into their pocket—what we’d call guilt-free spending.”
Purcell mentions the hotel put together a Mexican Fiesta theme party, including strolling Mariachis and young folkloric dancers, with local cuisine spread out around the pool. The last night, the group bought out The Grill restaurant for a farewell plated dinner event. But it was the awards gala at the Club Royale Theatre with private entertainment that Purcell explains could have only happened at Royal Hideaway.
He says, “The question was how can we have a black-tie affair, something really special, and not feel out of place.”