You want a powerful tropical program with high ROI that’s also healthy and green without skimping on the cool factor. We’ve got you covered.
Huerta Los Tamarindos in Los Cabos, for example, is a certified organic farm dating back over 100 years. For planners seeking a healthy, local and unique group experience, Tropical Incentives DMC creates programs there for up to 400 people. The large property offers cooking classes, farm and garden tours, and tequila tastings as fun group icebreakers. For dining, planners can book two open-air covered spaces. There’s the recently restored farmhouse and terrace wrapped in vines with an original brick oven built in 1888. Or for larger groups, the Event Garden is a purpose-built venue surrounded by long garden plots and draping landscaping flowing down from the beam roof. Huerta Los Tamarindos also hosts a popular farmer’s market on Saturdays.
It would be difficult to find a more healthy, authentic Mexican experience anywhere in Mexico for groups of that size.
“They have like 20 different kinds of tomatoes and all sorts of fresh fish, and the chefs are so passionate about the gardens,” says Monica Lopez, sales manager. “We can also organize a jazz pianist or Mexican trio, which makes it really fun. You know, the farm is on an estuary about 20 minutes from the hotels. It’s more like a hidden secret, where we like to go ourselves.”
PARADISUS PLAYA DEL CARMEN
South of Cancun, as the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula fades into the Caribbean, a wealth of high-end resorts occupies the landscape. In many cases, all ones sees from the highway is an awe-inspiring gated façade that leads into the depths of the jungle, only to conclude at a white sandy beach. Incentives and group travel are common in this part of Mexico and each resort presents a wide array of teambuilding activities on the water and dry land.
Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla opened one year ago with 25,000 sf of meeting space and a variety of wellness-oriented programming including a full-service health club with group workout classes, personalized one-on-one wellness programs and the 20,000-sf Yahi Spa. For groups, health-conscious and eco-focused activities include Thalassotherapy, plus various therapeutic body treatments that combine seawater, marine algae and marine mud. The resort also offers Gaia Signature face and body treatments and group fitness sessions including an aqua gym, volleyball, Pilates, stretching, yoga, spinning classes. An adults-only resort, La Perla includes 60 swim-up suites.
Down in Tulum, south of Playa del Carmen, Amansala Resort typifies the eco-chic ethos and attracts a wide clientele of celebrities flying in, from Donna Karan to Jude Law. The boutique property features 24 cabanas on a serene stretch of beach and a varied schedule of yoga and fitness classes.
Carlos Mora, meetings manager of Riviera Maya Tourism, says Amansala was always at the forefront of wellness programming and dietary options.
“It’s always been a healthy lifestyle leader in the community for its specialized, multi-day group retreats,” he said. “They have a Bikini Bootcamp and a Destination Detox series.”
Amansala even features a seaside yoga hut for both group exercise classes and meetings. Each and every group activity here takes advantage of the region’s natural features.
“In addition to serving local food made with indigenous ingredients, the resort has many fitness-oriented activities,” Mora said. “Groups can swim in a cenote or trek through an ancient Mayan archeological site for an authentic cultural and ecological experience.”
Just south of Cancun in the private and exclusive Mayakoba community, the uber sustainable, 401-room Fairmont Mayakoba just launched a new all-inclusive “Appetite for Luxury Group Package.” The all-in-one upfront pricing covers everything from watermelon margaritas during your opening cocktail reception to mid-morning Mexican pastries during meeting breaks. The 5-diamond resort incorporates two 4-diamond restaurants, Las Brisas and El Puerto, with expansive views of lush vegetation and peaceful canals winding throughout the property leading down to the Caribbean Sea.
There is also the fun La Laguna restaurant, featuring what has to be one of our favorite buffets in Mexico, as well as multiple pool bars and lobby lounge.
Tired of tequila tastings? Try a Mexican craft beer tasting event, paired with select dishes themed around Mayan history. We especially like the surf ‘n turf PokChuc—a combo of lobster annato and dark beer-marinated filet mignon in a spicy chocolate sauce.
All food is sustainably sourced. Fairmont Mayakoba works closely with Ocean Leader, which purchases Caribbean lobster from the Punta Allen co-operative at the nearby Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.
Posadas Hotels & Resorts, the largest Latin American hotel company, has partnered with the largest Latin American airline, Aeromexico, to create a batch of added values for meeting planners organizing meetings and incentives in Mexico.
Posadas is parent company of the five resorts that make up the Fiesta Americana Grand Meetings Mexico portfolio with resorts located in Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Mexican-owned and operated, Fiesta Americana delivers authentic insider experiences for companies and associations seeking high-value upscale programs with a flourish of local color and hospitality. And now with the new Aeromexico partnership, the seamless hotel/air group packaging, additional services and even greater values make Mexico more attractive than ever.
“We are always looking to assist meeting planners, to set things up and establish new partnerships, to make it easier for them to create international programs,” says David Manzella, vice president of group sales.
Some of the additional benefits include discounted group ticket pricing and comp tickets, options for upgraded airline seating to Premier Class, and a dedicated Aeromexico group desk available before and throughout the duration of an event in Mexico.
Some planners might be surprised to learn about the volume of Aeromexico’s direct and connecting flights between Mexico and the U.S./Canada. The carrier launched new routes and frequencies this year, including: Washington, D.C. to Mexico City, Atlanta to Mexico City, and New York (JFK) to Cancun. Presently, Aeromexico flies to 17 destinations in the U.S. from coast to coast, as well as Montreal. Additional routes are planned for 2013.