Whether you’re looking to party or for a quiet retreat, Luxury Travel Advisor has the scoop on four all-inclusive options in Mexico and the Caribbean that you need to check out.
For a high-energy getaway with friends, the adults-only Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun is in a great location for shopping buffs — right across the street from the outdoor La Isla Shopping Village and just steps from Luxury Avenue — plus, it has a bar scene serving up handcrafted cocktails with authentic Mexican and Mayan products. Spotlight junkies will want to hit up AKA Bar for live karaoke, while the Egos Bar hosts the resort’s famous Silent Parties.
The top digs here are the resort’s two Presidential Suites on the seventh floor. For groups, there are also a number of connected rooms: Nos. 1265 – 1266 (Lobby); Nos. 1463 – 1464 (Mezzanine); Nos. 1002 – 1003 (Level 1); Nos. 1047 – 1048 (Level 1); Nos. 2002 – 2003 (Level 2); and Nos. 2045 – 2046 (Level 2). Good to know: Book the AquaClub, the property’s premium lounge, for a perfect spot to take a break from the crowds and enjoy the ocean and lagoon views, a private bar with premium drinks, a private bartender and a personal concierge.
Of course, it’s important to allow plenty of time for relaxation; we hear that the 80-minute Fusion Massage treatment at the spa, which combines both Swedish and Polynesian techniques, is perfect for this. Ask for Sonia, Deisy, Navy, Deborah, Tatiana or Leidy, all of whom are recommended and certified. It is advised to book treatments approximately eight days in advance by contacting Cassandra Gomez ([email protected]; 011-998-881-7620), spa coordinator. Advisors can also reach Jaime Martinez ([email protected] or 011-998-881-7620), spa manager.
For dinner, the resort’s most famous dish is the habanero soup at MB. For a truly over-the-top experience, though, check out the 12-course tasting menu at InLaa’Kech, which opened earlier this year. InLaa’Kech is not included in the all-inclusive rate, but we hear it’s worth it to take a journey through the full breadth of Mexico’s cuisine.
Live Aqua has plenty to offer couples and wedding parties, too. We love that the resort only allows one wedding per date — no more tripping over another wedding party on your special day! The spa offers makeup and hair styling services for the wedding party, plus some other interesting options, such as caviar facials, moisturizing wraps, facials specially designed for men and a number of different technical massages. For wedding arrangements, contact Claudia Perez ([email protected]; 011-998-881-7606), weddings manager.
For a truly romantic touch, reach out to Rafal Fernandez del Campo ([email protected]; 011-998-881-7600 ext. 7450), chief concierge. He can arrange special experiences for couples, including personalized romantic decorations with pictures of them, personalized massages or even a romantic design in the sand made out of seaweed. Awe!
Leisure sales executive Leslie Gaonaher ([email protected]; 011-998-881-7600 ext. 7637) and e-commerce manager Francisco Urzua ([email protected]; 011-998-881-7600 ext. 7630) are the primary points of contact for travel advisors and travel agencies at the resort. General manager Alfredo Santamaria can also be reached at [email protected], or through Lesley Palomar ([email protected]; 011-998-881-7600 ext. 7609).
For a more secluded, intimate retreat, consider the Zoëtry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres Cancun, which consists of just 35 oceanfront suites on the idyllic Isla Mujeres, just a complimentary 25-minute yacht ride from the coast. It’s also dog-friendly, allowing pups under 22 lb. in certain room categories.
The Presidential Suite here is a must-book: Two stories, loft style, ocean-front — in fact, it’s only a few feet from the Caribbean Sea. It also has a private-access pool and a Jacuzzi on the top deck, plus a full in-suite bar, a living room area and an open-format bathroom. Like all of the resort’s accommodations, it is adorned with Tikul stone floors and Tikal and marble mats, as well as double sinks. All suites also offer concierge service.
Guests arrive at Zoëtry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres Cancun via complimentary private yacht transfer.
Another option is the 818-square-foot Junior Suite Superior, which we hear is the most-requested accommodation option on the property. It has a king-size bed, a spa-like bathroom and a sitting area opening onto a private terrace with a Whirlpool.
Guests here get complimentary greens fees at the Playa Mujeres Golf Club, a seaside, Greg Norman-designed course that’s widely recognized as one of the best in Mexico. (A mandatory service fee does apply, though.) For true golf aficionados, recommend the Unlimited Golf Week VIP package, offering all you can play in seven days and three sleeves of golf balls. Special packages for groups of 12 or more, weddings and tournaments are also available. Contact chief concierge Arturo Alcala (011-52-998- 999-2000 ext. 114).
Alcala can also arrange a host of VIP experiences: Private sunset yacht rides, available daily and docked from the resort; complimentary 20-minute Thalassotherapy treatments; bike tours to the Temple of Ixchel; or visits to nearby turtle farms.
The resort’s Thalasso Spa is the spot to relax those sore muscles after a day on the course. Its signature Thalassotherapy treatments use freshly heated seawater, seaweed and marine mud to infuse the skin with minerals and nutrients to eliminate toxins and promote wellbeing. Marine algae treatments, sea mud wraps and Thalasso facials are also available or, for newlyweds, a special package offering a 50-minute couples’ massage and a 10 percent discount on all spa treatments during their stay. Ask for Ana Andonte, Laura Jimenez, Nora Hernandez or Jorge Canul — we hear they’re all great. Advisors can also reach out to Aacovic Rodriguez ([email protected]; 011-529-989-992-000 ext. 515), spa director.
For a truly over-the-top package, presidential experience guests can reserve a private ground transfer from the airport to the Marina Hacienda del Mar followed by a lobster dinner, personalized private cooking classes, nightly petit fours, private sunset tours, signature 50-minute massages and a comped half-day cart rental.
Finally, don’t leave without sampling the seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings created by Chef Daniele Müller. Reach out to Luz Maria Lara ([email protected]; 011-529-989-992-000), sales manager, for reservations. The house chef also conducts cooking classes at Le Metissage every Wednesday at 3 p.m. — no reservations needed. Luz Maria Lara also serves as the primary point of contact for travel advisors. General manager Ivan Santos can also be reached at [email protected] or 011-529-989-992-000.
For a family-friendly all-inclusive option, the Grand Velas Los Cabos is now offering a place for them to stay together in two-bedroom Ambassador Family Suites. These 2,162-square-foot accommodations have one king-bed suite and a suite with two queen beds interconnecting, plus a private terrace with ocean views and 24-hour suite service. Families also get a stuffed animal of the resort’s mascot, bathrobes and slippers in special mini sizes, a family photo session and credit for the purchase of photos, a kids’ welcome kit and kid-friendly evening turndown service.
Travel advisors should reach out to Maria Moreno ([email protected]; 011-01-624-104-9829), associate corporate director of sales and marketing. General manager Andreas Schmidt ([email protected]; 011-521-624-108-1681) is also available.
Advisor Insight: “The pinnacle of luxury in Mexico is the Grand Velas brand,” says Patrick Hinds of TravelStore.
“They have resorts located in the Riviera Maya, Riviera Nayarit, and most recently Los Cabos. Their children and teen programs are top notch, their spas are amazing, their rooms are absolutely palatial starting at over 1,000 square feet each, and even the most discerning foodies will not be able to fault their cuisine. They’re in great locations and the staff could not be more welcoming or helpful for all your needs.”
For an option in the Caribbean that’s just as romantic as it is family-friendly, head to Curtain Bluff in Antigua. This year, the resort’s 12 Bluff Suites are receiving updates, including new stone tiling, fresh furnishings and new, vibrant soft goods; these will be ready for the October 27 reopening of the property. Additionally, the beachfront Seagrape restaurant has a new menu by chef Rodrick Beazer that blends Italian and Argentinian fare.
For the top room options, however, consider the Grace Bay or Morris Bay Suites — two of the four signature Hulford Collection Suites. These two suites occupy the third floor of a Caribbean-style villa, right on the resort’s “surf” beach. Both are furnished with blue marble bathrooms, colonial furniture and lush palms. The bedroom and adjoining living room lead out on to a verandah decked out with sun-chairs and a private plunge pool. Good to know: The suites can be linked to a Junior Suite to create a two-bedroom suite; extended groups and families can even take over the whole floor (four bedrooms).
Travel advisors should contact Toya Turner ([email protected]), reservations and revenue manager. In total, there are 72 rooms and suites that are all facing — and steps from — the beach.
Curtain Bluff has 72 rooms and suites spread out along the Surf Beach and up the bluff. All accommodations have seascape views.
Turner can also book a myriad of customized experiences for guests. Cooking classes with chef Beazer, wine tastings in the wine cellar (which is home to over 420 varietals) with the resort’s head sommelier and a tour of the island with general manager Rob Sherman, who has been with Curtain Bluff for decades. Advisors may contact him at [email protected]
As part of the rate, guests can enjoy tennis, squash, sailing, water skiing, scuba diving and snorkeling (trips to Cades Reef are made twice daily), kayaking, wind surfing, Hobie Cat rentals, basketball, yoga, Pilates, aerobics classes and more. There is also a kid’s club with babysitting services.
Guests can also sign up (at an additional charge) for tennis lessons with one of three resident pros.
At the spa, we hear the Ultimate De Stressor massage (available in 60 or 90 minutes) is a common choice. The full-body massage increases circulation; guests have the option to add aromatherapy and / or a scalp massage. Another popular treatment is the Tropical Oasis —Yogurt Wrap with Mango-Passion Fruit; this 45-minute treatment is rich in malic, tartaric and citric acids, potassium, calcium, glucose, vitamin C and other anti-aging ingredients. Contact spa director Katrina Codrington ([email protected]).
In addition to Seagrape, guests have access to the Tamarind Tree restaurant, serving breakfast and dinner in a European-Caribbean fusion. Every Wednesday night, Curtain Bluff hosts a beach barbecue lunch with steel pan music and dancing. Afternoon Tea is served on the Sugar Mill Terrace.
Tip: Curtain Bluff can arrange a VIP meet-and-greet with guests at V.C. Bird International Airport, where guests are whisked through immigration and customs to an awaiting resort taxi. Note: The hotel is usually closed from mid-August to October for yearly upkeep; bookings for festive season should be made a year in advance, as it’s the busiest time.
For a barefoot luxury option, consider Bequia Beach Hotel. The 58-room hotel offers numerous rates, including bed and breakfast, half-board, full-board and all-inclusive.
All guests receive complimentary breakfast, shuttle service to Jack’s Beach Bar on Princess Margret Beach, use of non-motorized water sports (snorkels, kayaks, paddle boards), yoga classes, invites to the owner’s and manager’s cocktail party, airport transfers (for stays of at least five nights) and more.
The all-inclusive rate additionally offers, soft drinks (tea, bottled still water, fresh juice, house smoothies), beer, wines, spirits and house cocktails, and lunch and dinner at all three restaurants.
What new: This year, the Bequia Beach Hotel debuted its 115-foot, Italian-built superyacht, Star of the Sea. It can accommodate up to 12 guests in six staterooms for private charters, up to 20 for sunset cruises and 50 for events such as cocktail parties. As a member of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bequia offers easy boating access to 32 islands, making for plenty of itinerary options aboard Star of the Sea, including trips of up to seven days. A sample three-day trip could include visits to Mustique, Canouan and Tobago, allowing guests to dine at world-class restaurants, enjoy a round of golf and snorkel with turtles and sting rays.
The hotel has also launched Bequia Air, a VIP transfer service aboard nine-seat Beechcraft King Air B200; it allows for flight times that are 50 percent faster than other options between Barbados and Bequia. The plane is also available on-demand, giving travelers another option for island-hopping.
In fact, we hear a guest reserved Bequia Air to fly him and his girlfriend to the island. He also reserved Star of the Sea with plans on sailing to the Tobago Cays where he will propose at sunset. Wow.
Travel advisors should contact Maria Braithwaite ([email protected]; 011-17-844-581-600) for enquiries.
Braithwaite can also help finding the right accommodation for you. Of the 58 rooms, 42 are suites; there are also two private four-bedroom villas with large pools, in addition to six Grenadine Cottages (three of which have two bedrooms and plunge pools). The top option, however, is The Estate Villa, which is popular for large groups of friends and multigenerational families alike. Here, guests will find four bedrooms (all with en-suite bathrooms), a grand reception room that opens onto a wraparound terrace and a private pool. Tip: Private butler service and a chef can be arranged upon requests for guests of The Estate Villa. For couples who don’t quite need four bedrooms, we’re told the Junior Plantation Suites are a good fit. These suites are located in the garden and overlook the beach.
Bequia Beach Hotel has 58 rooms, of which 42 are suites. Shown here is a Beachfront Suite.
There are three dining venues on property: Bagatelle (international cuisine with Caribbean influences); Blue Tropic (open seasonally, offering an Italian-styled menu); and Jack’s Beach Bar (serving cocktails and fresh seafood). Tip: Book a table at Blue Tropic for sunset, as its location on the hill offers great views. At Bagatelle, the signature restaurant, a must-order is the Beetroot Symphony dish with baked julienne and pickled beetroot with goat’s cheese or the chef’s Caribbean take on the classic Marseille recipe of bouillabaisse served with local lobster.
Bequia Beach Hotel’s spa has three treatment rooms. The Swedish Massage and Jet Lag are the spa’s most-requested treatments; these should be booked at least one day in advance. Tip: Request Enoch Harry, spa director.
Note: The hotel closes annually in September and October for maintenance and upgrades; bookings for festive should be made at least two months in advance.