PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- Product updates and
partying were on the agenda over two nights here at the Hard Rock Hotel and
Casino Punta Cana last week, during AIC Hotel Group's third
annual Showstopper Awards for top-producing agents and tour operators.
One particular point of pride for AIC, which leads sales and
marketing efforts for properties under the Hard Rock, Eden Roc and Nobu brands
in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, was the success of Unico 2087, the
Riviera Maya luxury all-inclusive that opened last year and earned accolades
from consumer and trade travel media.
Occupancy for that property reached about 70% for the year. "We
could not have forecasted the type of occupancy we're seeing at this hotel,"
said Frank Maduro, AIC marketing vice president. "We can attribute it to
your efforts." Returning to Unico this summer is the Superbia restaurant
and bar takeover, featuring renowned mixologists and Michelin-starred chefs.
For the Hard Rock brand, highlights over the past year
included the launch of the Woodward extreme-sports facility at the Hard Rock
Hotel Riviera Maya. Woodward's skate park and other facilities are being
enjoyed by guests and locals alike, Maduro said. Work is underway on a water
park at the resort.
One presentation offered updates on the Hard Rock Hotel Los
Cabos, scheduled to open next year and the first newbuild among AIC's Hard Rock
properties. Facilities at the 639-room property will include five pools (two
adults-only), eight dining options, a bowling alley and a Rock Spa with 27
treatment rooms. Guests will have access to two area golf courses, including
the world's only Tiger Woods-designed course, typically reserved for residents
of the golf course development.
Representatives from AIC's Miami Beach properties, the Eden
Roc and hotel-within-a-hotel Nobu, noted recent changes at those properties,
including the Nobu's new penthouses, ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet,
and the opening this month of Eden Roc's Malibu Farm, a second dining option
for the properties.
Beyond the updates, the event was a celebration of AIC's
partnerships with agents and tour operators over the past year. An
opening-night cocktail reception featured a lip sync contest, featuring
costume-clad members of the AIC team, and hip-hop legend Nelly was the
closing-night performer. Ahead of Nelly's performance, 'NSync alum and TV
personality Joey Fatone served as host of the Showstopper Awards ceremony.
Throughout the event, the AIC team thanked attendees for
their support and expressed the hope that those partnerships would continue to
"Be the brand advocate that you can be, be the
influencers that you have become," Maduro said.