By Mark Chesnut
What do you get when you combine the fabulous views of a Caribbean vacation with the culture and style of a Mexico vacation, and serve it up as a business travel event? At the properties that belong to Karisma Hotels & Resorts, you just might have a good way to motivate and inspire both employees and clients.
Karisma operates two hotel brands, with a total of eight properties in Mexico’s Riviera Maya: The adults-only El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and the family-friendly Azul Hotels. Both are upscale all-inclusive brands with properties set amid lush landscapes along broad stretches of Caribbean beachfront. Recent upgrades and expansion are helping to make the properties even more attractive for VIP business retreats, incentive trips and corporate meetings.
The Azul Beach Hotel is in the midst of a $21-million renovation that is resulting in two new restaurants, a Grand Salon banquet and event room that accommodates 288 with theater-style seating or 140 for banquets, a new 150-person theater and rooftop terrace. Guest suites have also been upgraded. In 2012, the hotel will open a new gym and spa facility.
By the end of this year, 72-room El Dorado Maroma will debut a group of eight one-bedroom villas. The 1,200-square-foot accommodations will feature a living room, bedroom and kitchen with stainless steel appliances. The 72-room property, set on a lush stretch of Caribbean beach, features three restaurants and can also stage private beach barbecues and other events for groups.
The largest of the Karisma hotels, the 639-room El Dorado Royale, has 10,000 square feet of meeting space for up to 1,000 attendees, as well as a 20,000-square-foot spa.
All of the Karisma hotels offer what they call a “Gourmet Inclusive” program, which provides a variety of upscale, a la carte dining options as part of its all-inclusive program. For corporate groups (as well as weddings, honeymoons and other personal occasions), the hotels can also create customized catering menus.
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of LatinFlyer.com, which focuses on business and leisure travel to Latin America.