In a market crowded with sprawling all-inclusive resorts, many in the same budget range, how do you tell one apart from the other? For the owners of Palace Resorts in Mexico, bringing in one of the world’s best-known brands may be the ticket. After a successful transition to Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, the company is making a similar switchover in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and the Riviera Nayarit near Puerto Vallarta.
According to executives at a press conference I attended in Puerto Vallarta at the end of March, having 12 all-inclusive beach resort—some in the same market—has meant the company is sometimes cannibalizing its own sales. With so much competition from other resorts and a set of amenities that can be seen as pretty similar across the board, they wanted to shake things up with a different concept.
The Hard Rock Punta Cana has been a big success, hitting 90 percent occupancy in a resort that has a staggering 1,800 rooms. The Palace Resorts owners say the 83% worldwide brand recognition for the Hard Rock name has been a big factor, plus they see it swaying people who would not normally go all-inclusive to give it a try.
In terms of actual changes beyond the sign out front, expect the remodeled resorts to have flashier rooms, much more live entertainment, and weddings set up by a fashion designer to the stars. Expect more emphasis on a younger-skewing club atmosphere and less on the typical cheesy all-inclusive stage shows. Naturally the places will be stocked with music memorabilia.
First to open will be the Cancun Hard Rock, currently known as Cancun Palace. (That’s the pool bar below.) Then this summer the Nuevo Vallarta one will switch over; it’s currently Vallarta Palace.
Next up will be the ginormous Hard Rock Riviera Maya, combining the current Aventura Cove Palace and Aventura Spa Palace. In all there will be more than 1,200 rooms, one part for families, the larger one (with four restaurants and bars) to be adult-only. The adult part will also have “a grotto pool that will become a nighttime club experience.”
Here are a few more consumer-friendly amenities you won’t have to shell out extra for:
* Unlimited long distance calls from the guest rooms to Mexico, the continental United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe.
* Included Wireless Internet in-room and throughout resort public areas, all at no cost, or included Internet use via resort business centers and lobby computers.
* Unlimited wine by the bottle, all with 85 point ratings and above, from highly rated wineries around the world.
* Unlimited top shelf drinks featuring brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Johnnie Walker (red and black labels), Chivas Regal and Bacardi, among many others.
* Double Jacuzzi in most rooms
Check out detailed reviews of luxury hotels in Mexico.
Story by editor Tim Leffel, photos courtesy of Palace Resorts.