Undaunted Xcaret expands empire: Travel Weekly

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +
Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger

Despite the dip in international tourism numbers for Cancun and Riviera Maya, Grupo Experiencias Xcaret is full steam ahead in its aggressive development plans. The hotel, which opened at the end of 2017, reported 85 percent occupancy for the first year of operation. And even with the drop in numbers in the state overall, there is no sign of the empire slowing in its expansion.

"Our concept and product is so unique that [the drop in tourism] has not affected us," said Francisco Gutierrez Reyes, hotels division CEO for Grupo Experiencias Xcaret. "The second year we expect 85 percent occupancy as well, and that's with an increased percentage in our hotel rates."

In fact, the group is readying to open its second hotel, La Casa de La Playa, which will have 63 suites at an average of 1,076 square feet per room. Originally slated to open this year, the hotel's debut has been pushed to 2020. The adults-only, boutique luxury concept will feature all oceanfront rooms. In keeping with a pillar of the Hotel Xcaret concept, La Casa de la Playa has been designed keeping the heart and soul of Mexico at the forefront.

The hotel has invited some of the best chefs in Mexico to open restaurants, which is one of the reasons for the delay in opening. It has taken time to secure these celebrity chefs from around Mexico. For example, the chef of Mexico City's famous Dulce Patria, Martha Ortiz, as accepted an invitation to open a restaurant at La Casa de La Playa. In total, there will be four restaurants and a chocolate boutique. There will also be a mezcaleria, a tequileria and a library. Mexico's top fashion designer, Carla Fernandez, is designing the staff uniforms, keeping in mind traditional styles of Mayan communities.

"We have a private concierge for each guest, as well," Gutierrez said.

Concierges can design the guest experience before arrival. Concierges contact guests either personally or through an app, whichever the guest prefers, giving them all the options and information as well as tailoring unique experiences. For example, if a guest is curious about sustainability, the concierge can arrange for a biologist to give a private tour of the hotel, which is included in the hotel rate.

The rates are on the higher end at $1,500 per room, but they are inclusive of absolutely everything from transportation to spa treatments to personalized private experiences. The entire idea is to have La Casa de La Playa feel like a place that guests can truly call home.

In the fall of 2021, Grupo Experiencias Xcaret will open Hotel Xcaret Arte, which will be an homage to Mexican art. The hotel will be divided into five houses, each one with a theme, including music, design and painting. Two more themes have yet to be announced. Each house will have its own workshop for clients to experience and learn, with seminars deeply rooted in Mexican traditions. Each house will also have a restaurant devoted to the theme. For example, the design house, Casa del Diseno, will have a Lebanese-Yucatecan restaurant to recognize the culinary and clothing design contributions of Lebanese who immigrated to Mexico in the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Developments will continue over the next decade, with the expected opening of one hotel a year for a total of 10 hotels. There will also be an auditorium and a convention center. (Gutierrez told Travel Weekly that a Tianguis Xcaret was not out of the question.)

In addition to hotels, the group is also expanding its parks. "We will be opening a park every year and a half over the next 10 years not only in Quintana Roo, but also in the Yucatan."