Still a Wedding’s Paradise

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Nothing but great memories and oh, that loving feeling is coming out of the Riviera Maya.

We caught a bug once in the Riviera Maya—the love bug. Nothing else. Agents, take note: this region is wide open for business. It is understandable that in the first few days of the swine flu scare, people scrambled to make alternate plans for their vacations, destination weddings and meetings. But no one likes to be waiting at the altar, and the Riviera Maya is no different. Tell clients it’s ok to go back—Mexico is waiting with that intoxicating serving of hospitality that only this country can deliver.

The Mexico Tourism Board is evaluating the impact the health emergency had on its tourism numbers, but the Riviera Maya’s hotels, resorts and, most importantly, its people are hoping to welcome your clients and your business back. And where brides and grooms are concerned—well, you’ll find that the region’s amenities, offers and beauty only get better.

a hacienda love story Celebrations of love come au natural at Hacienda Tres Rios, one of the Riviera Maya’s most environmentally friendly resorts—and one with unique offerings for clients heading to the altar: a cenote wedding. The property has 10 of these sinkholes, and she-and-he can hold their ceremony right by it, in it or underwater, surrounded by mangroves and indigenous trees. Afterwards, they can float or kayak away to a reception at the beach or just toward happily ever after.

“Our coordinators create unforgettable experiences for the couple, their families and guests with events that combine both the Mayan and the Mexican cultures, as well as the beauty of our natural environment,” explains Miriam Martinez, the property’s weddings & special events sales manager. “They handle accommodations, guests, photography… and more, ensuring that all details are taken care of.”

Clients who book the resort’s Ceiba Junior Suite for at least seven nights get a free wedding or vow renewal ceremony to remember in this jungle paradise, which can take place at their Aguila cenote, the beach or on a kayak as it bobs over the former eco-park’s river that flows throughout. The free wedding package includes the services of one of their wedding coordinators and minister, bottle of wine and cheese platter upon arrival, bouquet and boutonniere, a cake for up to 10 people, and dinner for two at one of Tres Rios’ restaurants. When they celebrate their 1-year anniversary, clients can come back and enjoy a complimentary night at the Ceiba Junior Suite.

Another extra in this package is a 15 percent discount at the recently opened Ya’ax Che Spa, which comes with a juice bar and daily yoga, meditation and tai chi classes. Its signature treatment, however, is the temazcal experience near one of the cenotes, where relaxation and purification bring therapeutic benefits and can end with a dip in the sinkhole’s cool waters. Lovebirds can also indulge in his-and-hers massages at one of the spa’s couples suites or even arrange for a moonlight massage by the beach after the sun goes down.

love notes at sandos Not too far away, there’s another stellar option for clients wanting all that the Riviera Maya can offer: the beaches, the value and the all-inclusive ease of it all. Sandos Hotels & Resorts, which includes four resorts in two different complexes, has several wedding offers dripping with romance and a lifetime of memories. Its top-tier package is the Riviera, which is priced at $2,200 and is loaded with goodies: the cake, the judge or minister and paperwork arrangements, the service of a wedding coordinator, a room upgrade and Swedish massage for the special twosome, table flower arrangements and decor for the entrance to the ceremony, bouquet and boutonniere, breakfast for the bride and groom the morning after, and a slew of extra gifts and spa discounts to enjoy throughout the ceremony or during their stay. Your clients can also forego some of these perks—the flower arrangements, bridal hairdo, wedding dress steaming service, and preferential guestroom location—and opt for the Caribbean package, priced at $1,650. If they book at least 35 rooms for seven nights each, they get this package free.

Clients lucky enough to book their weddings during specific weeks in September, October and December—and who are already certified divers—can also take advantage of Sandos’ Diving Theme Weeks, priced at $285 pp (added to the price of an all-inclusive stay), which allows them to explore the Meso-American Barrier Reef. The diving package includes three days of ocean dives and one day of underwater cenote exploration (all 2-tank dives). These Diving Theme Weeks will also be available in 2010.