Revista FORBES Feb 2, 2021,01:34pm EST by Will McCough
As the vaccine makes its way through society and destinations around the globe begin to slowly-but-surely welcome back travelers, you may be thinking about planning that much-needed family getaway this spring.
If so, Mexico’s resorts may be near the top of the list.
Unlike Canada to the north, Mexico’s border has been reliably open for travelers, and unlike Europe or Asia, it’s close enough to home to feel comfortable, should you need to get back in a timely fashion.
And while irresponsibility has led to some well-covered outbreaks of Coronavirus last year in certain areas and towns, a visit to one of the Yucatan’s resorts could be ideal thanks to their enclosed, spacious grounds, limited capacities, and strict health policies.
One in particular, the Bahia Principe Riviera Maya, has used the pandemic to renovate and remake itself, and offers an interesting combination of location, activities, and culture.
“As part of the brand’s evolution, we have reimagined all the spaces, amenities and experience to pay tribute to the rich Mayan heritage of the area, while maintaining the same principles of our brand and offering outstanding quality service,” explained Helen Montijano, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the U.S. and Canada.
Come along as we take a look inside to see what’s new and offer a couple reasons to consider Bahia for your next family outing.
1. A Resort Within a Resort… Times Four
If you’re looking for space to spread out, the Bahia Principe Riviera Maya has all that and more.
The entire complex – known as the Bahia Principe Riviera Maya – actually breaks down into four individually-named resort properties, each located within a short golf cart ride from one another.
Together, they offer travelers a little bit of everything, each of the four resorts focusing on something a little different. Two of the properties, the Bahia Principe Luxury Sian Kaan(adults only) and the Bahia Principe Grand Coba, are located off the beach.
But the Bahia Principe Grand Tulum and the Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal each have their toes in the sand, right up against the water.
2. New, Refreshed Rooms at the Grand Tulum
The all-inclusive Bahia Principe Grand Tulum was the main focus of the recent renovations. It was shut down for most of 2020 and just reopened back in mid-November. (Note: The resort is named “Grand Tulum,” but keep in mind it is located in the Riviera Maya, 20 minutes from downtown Tulum).
The new rooms at the Grand Tulum use a neutral color palette, reminiscent of the area’s stone and sand, for a sleek design combining comfort and functionality.
Available in each room are sitting areas, balconies, and upgraded amenities, including air conditioning, minibar, and television.
3. Timely Teaching Moments
Unlike nearby Cancun, which has been developed to its brink, the Riviera Maya boasts a balance of tourism and local life, with the strong cultural influence of the Mayans offering visitors something deeper, should they choose to explore it.
A main focus of the renovations was to place the property’s Mayan origin “front and center” and merge it with natural environment – just like the Mayans did.
Walk into the lobby of the Bahia Principe Grand Tulum – which sports a traditional palapa-style roof – and you’ll be met by a massive pillar adorned in symbols and engravings.
The pillar represents the three worlds of the Mayans: The Underworld, the Middle/Natural World, and the Upperworld/Cosmos.
Employees can explain the meaning behind the symbols, but you’d be wise to read up on it before your arrival.
Small details, such as artifacts and art, can be found elsewhere throughout the property, allowing observant guests to go as deep as they want when it comes to the resort’s cultural component.
4. Brand New Kids Area
Along with the renovations came a brand-new Kids Zone at the Bahia Principe Grand Tulum.
Its official name is Zama, which was the original name of Tulum’s walled city, and it offers activities for children that combine play and cultural exploration.
There’s a fully-staffed Kids Club with daily, rotating activities and child care services, which adults can take advantage of in order to grab some quiet time for themselves.
Adjacent to a family-friendly pool is a cenote-inspired water park with a splash area, jets, Mayan masks, and games, as well as a “Jungle Park” with ziplines, tunnels, and slides.
After-dark entertainment is also kid and teen friendly, including a brand new “Origin” show in the Grand Theater that retraces Mayan history and culture.
Parents who enroll their children in the Kids Club can escape with a visit to one of the adult-only pools or a Mayan chocolate massage at the spa. Other events, like tequila and cigar pairing, are offered on a rotating basis throughout the week.
In addition, there are several outdoor activities to take part in right on resort property, such as snorkeling, kayaking, and scuba diving lessons.
A total of seven dining areas should help keep everyone happy, especially the beachside food truck, which serves Mexican classics to be enjoyed with your feet in the sand.
5. Precautions, Protocols, and Discount Pricing
Obviously, 2020 was a good time to be shut down for renovations, an opportunity to reopen not only with improved features and amenities, but with an up-to-date approach to traveling in our current reality.
In response to the new CDC mandate that requires all those entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival, Bahia Principe is offering free, on-site rapid testing services to its guests.
In addition, the hotel is following all advised protocols related to the Coronavirus, including mandatory mask wearing in common areas, hand sanitizer stations, and greatly reduced capacity.
Currently, the resort can only operate at 50% capacity, ensuring everyone has plenty of room to spread out at the beach and pools.
Depending on the situation when you go, you may feel comfortable venturing outside the resort for a daily excursion. If so, the activities desk in the lobby has hand-picked companies who follow responsible, COVID-safe policies, including limited capacities, mask-wearing, and sanitized vehicles.
Bahia Principe Grand Tulum is offering incredibly discounted prices thanks to the on-going pandemic, and savvy travelers can take advantage of all-inclusive rates starting at $90/person per night.