Reconnecting Through Group Travel

I recently wrote about my fabulous experience at UNICO 20°87°.  We also visited two Hard Rock properties in the area.  Both brands are owned by AIC Hotel Group.  I am going to tell you more about Hard Rock below, but first I want to take a moment to talk about something that I think AIC does a fantastic job facilitating – group travel!  
For those who have been reading all my emails, you may remember I was juggling a corporate group of 130 traveling together while in Greece this past summer.  While in Mexico two weeks ago, I was actually vetting the two Hard Rock properties for their 2022 retreat.  For groups with over 25 rooms, AIC not only provides complimentary conference space but also private meals throughout the property.  Basically, an entire private setup is created for your group at unique spaces throughout the property – similar to a wedding reception.  There are benefits for smaller groups as well.
So many people I talk to do not understand the opportunities for creating a group to travel together.  After a tough year and a half of feeling disconnected, group travel gives corporate employees and franchise owners who are over Zoom meetings a chance to reconnect in person, gives small businesses a chance to reconnect with customers starting to visit their businesses again, and build brand loyalty, gives affinity groups with a common interest a chance to meet in person and discuss their shared passion, gives non-profits a creative (and easy since I do most of the work) way to raise funds, and gives groups of friends and family who are ready to spend quality time together with an excuse to do so – maybe even a destination wedding!
I sent a social group to UNICO right before the pandemic.  They were a group of friends celebrating several birthdays.  They could have all just made their own arrangements, but someone always ends up being the contact person.  There is no reason for somebody to have to take on that task when I can do it AND get a group rate that saves everyone money.
Group travel does not have to involve an All-Inclusive resort.  A knitting group could knit on board a river cruise or could visit Vietnam’s impressive textile tourist sites (or both, there are river cruises in Vietnam!).  The best part about group travel is that it takes a while to put together, so you can start thinking about future opportunities now, even if you are not quite ready to travel now.  So just let me know when you are ready to start talking about the possibilities!

Hard Rock Resorts

Hard Rock has a fun and energetic vibe.  We visited Hard Rock Riviera Maya and Hard Rock Cancun. Even with their similarities, there was a different vibe between the two, I’ll explain below.  UNICO was definitely more my speed, but since it is an adults only resort and I usually travel with my kids, I was glad to be able to visit Hard Rock not only for for group travel potential, but also family travel potential. 
Of the two, I would definitely recommend Hard Rock Riviera Maya to families unless they wanted to stay closer to the airport in the Hotel Zone (read: kids won’t do well with an hour long ride to Riviera Maya after flying to Cancun airport!). 

 Hard Rock Cancun is also close to the yummy restaurant where I tried the crickets (not so yummy).  In case you missed it, here are the quick reels I did from our visit to the restaurant Puerto Santo and me trying their famous crickets (haven’t decided if I regret that yet or not!) which are meant to be served in the guacamole!  I’ve been told that the links don’t work on some phones, but seem to work on all laptops – no idea what that is about!

Hard Rock Resorts - Riviera Maya

Ok, so here is why I would recommend Hard Rock Riviera Maya for families.  Both resorts had a kids club, but there was a separate space for families and adults at Riviera Maya.  Cancun had more of a party vibe.  Both resorts had splash pads, but Rivera Maya had an entire water park for kids and grown ups alike.  What I really like for families with small kids is that the the sea is blocked by rocks which creates a peaceful lagoon area so that littles can play in the sea while parents relax.  This area also means that seaweed is not an issue, and there is always a risk of seaweed in areas around Cancun.  Some areas and resorts are better than others, I happen to be keeping a list – more reasons to use a travel advisor!

The top two photos are from the family-friendly side and the bottom two are adult-only side.  The top right t photo shows the calm lagoon area fed by the sea that I mentioned.
One more thing to note about Hard Rock RM is the family-friendly rooms.  They have combined rooms to create a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom option. These combo rooms on the top floors come with rooftop terraces!  The space up top is doubled so there is space for kids to play, a table for parents to relax, and even a spa tub.  Here is a quick video tour of the family option with roof terrace.
There are big plans for the future for the adults-only section of Hard Rock Riviera Maya including a renovation that will add swim-up rooms and new restaurants.

Hard Rock Resorts - Cancun

As I already mentioned, Hard Rock Cancun is in the Hotel Zone which means it is close to the airport.  There is a lot of energy at this resort which I think would be great for groups.  There is even a private check-in area with a private bar for groups.
To me, the best part of this resort is the water! The views really were amazing, especially the ones from the beachfront club room we visited!

The bottom line is this.  There are a lot of resorts in this part of Mexico.  They all have different pros and cons for personal travel and group travel.  It can be overwhelming to figure it all out.  I have a list of the best in the area depending on client’s criteria.  Working with a travel advisor takes away the stress of deciding which is the best choice!  That might mean UNICO, it might mean Hard Rock, or it might mean a totally different brand all together.  If you are ready to start traveling again, please reach out!  

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Read more about my visit to UNICO 20°87°, one of the best All-Inclusive properties in the Riviera Maya.

A recap of my favorite moments on the remaining islands from our summer tour of Greece 2021.