20 PCMA CONVENE MARCH 2015 PCMA.ORG
PLENARY Grand Velas Riviera Maya + ‘Hospitality Technology’
A weekend in Riviera Maya seemed like the perfect antidote to a New York City winter that has been much colder than usual — in fact, a snowstorm back home stranded
me in Mexico for an extra night during my press trip to Grand
Velas Riviera Maya, on the Caribbean coast. After a short drive
from Cancun International Airport, I arrived at the property, a
491-suite resort set on 205 acres of white-sand beach and jungle
that has 91,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space,
including a 32,614-square-foot convention center that can
accommodate up to 2,700 guests.
I checked into my corner suite and
headed straight out to the terrace,
where I enjoyed a nearly panoramic
view of the beach and surrounding
jungle, until it was time to meet up with
fellow journalists at Frida, the resort’s
gourmet Mexican restaurant. I ordered
shrimp with smoked-corn butter and
fried plantains, and tried the restaurant’s signature deep-fried cheese with
puréed black beans.
The next morning I headed to
the spa for Grand Velas’s seven-step
hydrotherapy treatment, followed
by a blissful, 50-minute, head-to-toe
therapeutic massage in one of the
spa’s private suites. After a quick
lunch, I met up with the rest of the
group for a “Top Chef”–style contest.
We sampled small plates from four of
the resort’s chefs to determine which
one had made the best sauce. The
winner, announced the next day, was
Frida’s Daniel Garcia Gomez.
Next on the agenda was a performance of “JOYÀ,” a permanent Cirque
du Soleil show that opened late last
year in Riviera Maya. We drank champagne while clowns and acrobats took
the stage for the next hour and a half.
Afterward, we headed back to Grand
Velas for a beyond-decadent meal at
Piaf, the resort’s French restaurant.
This rather dissolute evening
was followed by a rigorous ATV ride
through the jungle at NATiVes Park the
next day. After a long, dusty journey, we
cooled off in a cenote, one of the area’s
many natural swimming holes, where
a few brave souls let garra rufa, also
known as “doctor fish,” nibble at the
dead skin on their feet.
Our last hurrah as a group was at
Grand Velas’ Cocina de Autor, the only
all-inclusive restaurant in the world to
win the AAA Five-Diamond award. The
Basque-influenced tasting menu did
The next day I arrived at the airport
only to learn that my flight home had
been canceled. Happily, Grand Velas was
able to accommodate me for another
night. I stayed in one of the resort’s Zen
suites, which are housed in the deep
jungle adjacent to the convention center,
and tucked in with a sandwich from
the complimentary suite-service menu
before returning to the airport bright
and early for my flight home. Back to the
snow, and back to reality. .
— Kate Mulcrone
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