Cancun and the nearby resort corridor known as the Riviera Maya are among Mexico’s most popular leisure and group destinations. Located on the Yucatan Peninsula along the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, the two destinations are home to dozens of full-service resorts, many all-inclusive, that cover an unusually large array of global brands. Represented are brands from Mexico (Fiesta Americana), Spain (Iberostar, Rui, Melia), the U.S. (Hyatt, Hard Rock, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Viceroy), the U.K. (Belmond), France (Club Med) and Canada (Fairmont), among others.
While Cancun’s lodging inventory is mostly in the district known—not surprisingly—as the Zona Hotelera, the resorts on the Riviera Maya are dispersed among towns like Playa del Carmen, Playa Marona, Puerto Aventuras and Akumal.
Lodging Econometrics tracks the current inventory in Cancun as well as the construction pipeline. As of the second quarter of the year, Cancun had 161 hotels open, accounting for 36,870 rooms. Five more hotels are in the pipeline, which will add another 3,381 rooms. Two of the pipeline hotels are under construction, one is scheduled to begin construction in the next 12 months and the last two are in the early planning phase.
A Hotel called Heaven
Orlando-based Hard Rock Hotels, a division of Hard Rock International, is among the companies bullish on the market’s prospects. Hard Rock already operates a 1,264-room resort in Puerto Aventuras on the Riviera Maya and a 598-room resort in Cancun in the Zona Hotelera. The Riviera Maya property includes a resort-within-a-resort with a private adult beach known as Heaven.
In addition, Hard Rock Hotels is developing a third resort, the 1,800-room beachfront Hard Rock Riviera Cancun, scheduled to open in late 2017. Like its sister properties in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, the new resort will be all-inclusive.
The three Hard Rock properties also share a common ownership—Miami-based RCD Resorts, which has made a specialty of owning all-inclusive properties. In addition to the three, RCD also owns the Hard Rock Hotel in Vallarta, Mexico, and is in the process of developing the Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos, which is set to open next year, on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
RCD’s first all-inclusive Hard Rock wasn’t in Mexico, but in the Dominican Republic: the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. With each new property, RCD further refines what has turned into a successful formula. In terms of target audiences, the resorts are designed to be multigenerational in their appeal.
The upcoming Hard Rock Rivera Cancun, for example, will include features intended for families (an 8-million-gallon, multiacre lagoon-style swimming pool complex, snorkeling, kayaking); children (a kids’ club); teenagers (a private teen zone); and adults (private adult pools, golf course, fitness center, nightclubs, five bars and lounges); as well as groups (90,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space suitable for corporate meetings, banquets, receptions and incentive programs).
Multiple F&B options
Given that a wide range of food-and-beverage options is key to the appeal of an all-inclusive resort, the Hard Rock properties all offer multiple specialty restaurant options. The Hard Rock Riviera Maya has 12 F&B outlets, including five in the adults-only Heaven; the Hard Rock Riviera Cancun will have six. Choices include country-style French, cosmopolitan steak house, Brazilian, sushi, pizza and, of course, traditional Mexican. Twenty-four-hour roomservice is also a standard.
Like all Hard Rock enterprises (cafes and casinos in addition to hotels), music is an integral part of the Cancun and Riviera Maya properties. Whether it’s the live music played in the various venues or the rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia dramatically displayed, music is “the thread that unites all the hotels’ amenities worldwide,” to quote the brands’ executives.