Despite increased competition in the luxury end of the market on the Riviera Maya, some resorts are resisting discounting and continuing to offer value-added offers and packages, some of which seem too good to believe.
Such is the case at the 88-room Ceiba del Mar, the elegant Riviera Maya resort that recently started an unlimited spa package. For a three-night stay, couples or girlfriends traveling together can have as many massages, facials and other spa treatments as they can squeeze in during their vacation. The price is $1,680 for two people, including accommodations, and the package is available through Dec. 22.
There is no limit to the treatments, which has led to phone calls from doubtful clients who want to make sure what they are reading is correct, said spa director Gloria Guerrero.
"Sometimes, people don't believe that they can have so many treatments, with no restrictions," she said.
So far, the record for the most treatments is a couple that managed to schedule 12, most of them the spa's signature Mayan-inspired massages, in four days.
Such packages seem to be working to boost occupancy over 2009's dismal results, said Eduardo Herrera, general manager. Occupancy this summer is expected to run about 50%, better than last year, but still below the 65% summer occupancies of 2008, before swine flu, drug violence and the worst of the global economic slowdown hit.
"Last year was a big problem in Mexico; we had new competition here on Riviera Maya and lots more rooms added," he said. In the Puerto Morelos area about 20 minutes south of Cancun airport, where Ceiba is located, Zoetry, Now and Dreams resorts are among new arrivals in the last two years.
With the pressure to discount because of new competition, Herrera said, "We don't want to drop rates. It's not healthy for business if you do that."
The better strategy, he said, is to offer value-added, such as the unlimited spa offer and another promotion in which a fourth night free is available for a three-night stay.
And, the independently owned resort, which draws mostly from the U.S. market and is known as a romantic and honeymoon spot, is looking at expanding to international markets and other niches, such as gay and lesbian and girlfriend getaways.