Even at this unimaginable time in the world, I feel blessed to work in the travel industry. As the song goes, “there's no people like show people,” and there’s also no people like travel people. They’re resilient, resourceful, and helpful! Like everyone, I have changed many plans—not only travel plans, but also life plans, to some extent. At the end of February, I was on one of the last cruises to sail and return home without any problems. For a while, I thought everyone was overreacting and that COVID would pass without causing the Untied States any major issues. After a few weeks, I realized the severity of it and the fact that the world would not be the same, so I spent a lot of time reflecting on my career and what I should do going forward.
The short answer is that I will still be teaching voice and still working as a travel advisor. In each industry, I want to serve as a “boutique” provider so that I have time and energy to serve my clients and provide a lot of value for their investment. In travel, the process doesn’t end with booking a trip. That’s actually the middle of the process. It begins with a conversation to learn about the client and their wishes for the trip, and it actually continues through the client’s return home, when we discuss how things went. It’s quite a process, and to do any of it well requires time and care. Likewise, in teaching voice, there is more than what happens in lessons. I follow up each lesson with notes, and recently, I was happy to be able to schedule an “emergency lesson” with a student who needed to prepare an audition video.
Now that we are nearing the end of summer, although the world is forever changed and still in the midst of a pandemic, we are figuring out how to function in new ways. That is also true for travel, and as a travel advisor, I feel that if I hope to sell or promote any product (hotel, cruise, etc.), I must feel comfortable with it myself. For example, I would never promote or suggest certain cruise lines because they have less-than-stellar reputations, even in the best of times.
My first travel adventure since March was a 2-night stay at The Henderson Beach Resort in Destin, FL, and I wrote a thorough post about it here. I also recently returned from a 2-night stay at Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, GA and wrote about it as well. In the meantime, in addition to reading positive articles, I saw a few of my travel colleagues traveling to Mexico and reporting similar positive findings. Not only did they feel safe through the travel process, but they also enjoyed very sparsely populated resorts!
With these reviews in mind, as well as my duty to personally assess the situation (let’s be honest, I’ll also enjoy myself!), I have made arrangements to visit three carefully selected all-inclusive resorts in the Cancun area. Just to state the obvious, at each resort, all meals, beverages, and activities will be included, and they will have beautiful pools and beach access. I will stay 2 nights at TRS Coral Hotel in Costa Mujeres, Le Blanc Spa Resort, and Palmaïa—The House of AïA. Each resort has a very different character and aesthetic and would be intended for different clients, so I will experience them for myself in order to hopefully add them to my list of preferred resorts.
TRS Coral Hotel is the adults only hotel at Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa. I was drawn to the hotel for a number of reasons. First of all, Costa Mujeres is just north of Cancun and a bit more secluded than the Hotel Zone of Cancun. TRS Coral Hotel is also only two years old, and Palladium is providing insurance with all of their reservations for any incident directly related to COVID-19 that may occur during a stay there. That’s unique, as I haven’t heard it mentioned with any other hotels or resorts. Another interesting feature at Grand Palladium is the Rafa Nadal Tennis Center, which is located on the resort. They offer a number of tennis camps for children and adults throughout the year! The overall feel for the hotel appears to be luxurious but also with natural elements integrated in the rooms and property.
Le Blanc Spa Resort is a place where I have sent clients, and they had a wonderful experience. They truly loved everything, and a friend who I learned had previously stayed there also gave Le Blanc stellar reviews. Unlike TRS Coral Hotel, Le Blanc is situated directly in the Hotel Zone of Cancun, along with many other resorts, which will be a new experience for me. It is also all-inclusive and adults only. Every resort advertises that they are a luxury resort, but I actually believe it with Le Blanc. They are part of Palace Resorts, which operates 10 resorts in Mexico and Jamaica. The overall aesthetic appears to be very contemporary, polished, and opulent.
Finally, I will stay for two nights at Palmaïa—The House of AïA. First of all, the name is so intriguing! The House of AïA is the company, and Palmaïa is their first resort, which is located in Playa del Carmen—far away from the Hotel Zone. Their marketing materials state “AïA is a voice deep inside us that represents our connection to nature and a more authentic way of life.” They opened in December of 2020, so they’ve had an interesting start! Everything they do is different. Instead of all-inclusive, they have “The Gifting Lifestyle.” They have an in-house Shaman who leads the Architects of Life program, which includes an array of programs for personal growth, such as yoga, meditation, and sound healing, to name a few. All restaurants offer plant-based cuisine with non-vegan options as add-ons (no extra charge). Also, this is a family resort, and they provide fully trained Waldorf Educators as child guides. To top it all off, they plan to be energy carbon neutral by 2021!
Traveling with intention is something I try to do and will encourage my clients to do going forward. My intent for this trip is to learn, experience, and relax. It will be a varied 5-night, 6 day journey spanning from more “typical” all-inclusive to something new and innovative. I will begin the trip with pool, beach, and conventional food & drink and will be excited to end it with vegan food and rituals to travel home with a clearer mind and body. As someone who makes the most of all travel experiences, I’m sure I will love them all and learn from each experience. I will reflect on what I’ve learned as I travel home and consider what I would like to incorporate into my life going forward.
I am excited to explore each resort for clients with more specific taste, since most people will only stay at one resort on a trip! Overarching the entire trip will be my observation of health & safety protocols at each hotel, as they are carried out by the hotel staff and guests. When the time is right, I will be excited to help you plan a trip to the resort that is the best match for your preferences, whether it is one of these three or one of the many other resorts in Mexico or the Caribbean. By no means do I believe traveling is right for everyone right now. However, just planning a trip can change your outlook on life, so when you're ready to plan or just dream, I'm here to help!
P.S. I have to let you know about AmaWaterways' current promotion, which includes free airfare on many of their 2021 river cruises. They also have a cancel for any reason plan in place. Also, Le Blanc (and all Palace Resorts) has a a 2-for-1 promotion. Buy one night, get another room free!