The sprawling 426-room Iberostar Cancun reopens today following a comprehensive renovation topping $100 million. A big change for planners who know this group property, which features the only oceanfront convention center in Cancun, the resort is now a fully all-inclusive property with five restaurants. We spoke to Annette Carollo, director of groups & incentives, who gave us a few pointers on how groups can fully take advantage of the hotel’s newest offerings.
Prevue: You must be excited about tomorrow’s opening. What new features can guests find at Iberostar Cancun?
AC: It was a $100 million investment that we put into the Iberostar Cancun. What that entails of is pretty much turning it into an all-inclusive property. Some things that we did to the property was redoing the lobby area, check-in area and lobby bar, so that entire entrance was fixed up. We also added an international buffet and some a la carte restaurants. We have a Mexican restaurant, a gourmet restaurant, a Japanese restaurant and a steak house. All meals are included and we will have 24-hour room service for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. We also have unlimited premium and domestic alcoholic beverages in the restaurants and bars and full beach and pool service.
Our fitness facility offers planned classes and activities that are also included. We also have a beautiful beach restaurant that is open-air, which will be the buffet during the day and the Mexican a la carte at night. We’re also building a new theater with nightly live entertainment that’s also included in the package. They’ll have singing, dancing and live music. Every night it’ll be a different show from rock music to classical show tunes to the Beatles.
How large of a group can you host at the hotel?
This hotel historically has done 60% groups because of the convention center and meeting space. With 49,000 square feet of meeting space, we do see that this is going to be a prime resort for meeting planners. Especially now that it’s all inclusive and the value that planners find in that, it’s going to be a very exciting resort to consider when they’re looking for a location for any big event.
We can host anything from 20 rooms to a hotel buyout of 426 rooms. All of our rooms have an ocean view. That’s another big advantage for incentive groups. It’s great to have the whole group in the same kind of room. We have three towers, two of which are facing the pools. We have seven pools including an infinity pool, and then we’re also oceanfront.
We can host conventions, congresses and international events at our property. Our meeting space is broken into 22 meeting rooms, so we’re talking over 1,000 pax. We’re the only oceanfront convention center in Cancun, and that’s a major advantage.
What are some of the fun perks of hosting an event at the resort?
We have 60,000 sf of outdoor convention space so we can do anything. We have a grand lawn right off of the property and then we have the beach. When it comes to any kind of grand gala or event we have a lot of space to do them.
We also have a wonderful convention services staff that will work directly with the planner to create any type of event that they’re looking for. We have all the tools and resources necessary to put on an event including audiovisual production solutions. It’s a full-service convention services staff on property that will work directly with the client.
What are your top selling points for U.S. meeting planners?
We’ve got a few. One of the most exciting things is that Mexico offers an 11% VAT tax on all of their accommodations, banquets and AV equipment. That’s a tax incentive for all groups that host at least one formal meeting. They can save that tax.
We are very close to the airport. We are about 15 minutes away from Cancun International Airport so it’s a very short transfer. Cancun itself is very easily accessible from the United States, with all the major carriers, as well.
One of our biggest things is our golf course. We have a golf course on property and that’s great for incentives groups. Cancun itself being one of the leading destinations in Mexico, with all of the activities and shopping and world class dining, is another selling point. It’s just a great place to be.
We are doing a 2012 groups and incentives promotion for planners. Any bookings before April 31, 2012 can apply for the Iberostar Cancun Group Promotion. It includes private check-in and welcome cocktails for groups, one complimentary room for every 20 rooms booked per night and one upgrade to the next available category for every 40 rooms booked.
We’re also doing a complimentary 1-hour welcome reception with open bar and canapés and a complimentary 3-course dinner with open bar. We also include complimentary mini massages from the spa during meeting breaks and one day of complimentary meeting space and an afternoon coffee break. Those are exciting inclusions for a group.
What activities can groups book at the resort or nearby to really get a feel for that destination experience?
There’s a lot to do on the property. Our sports facilities are amazing and so is our spa. For recreational activities we have a jogging track, we have dance lessons, water polo, beach volleyball, basketball, archery, table tennis and even a professional soccer field. They’ve done events and concerts on that field, as well.
We have a full service activity staff that plans daily events. They change weekly. There’s always something to do.
In the area we have the Mayan culture. There’s Tulum, Chitzen Iza, Coba and all the ruins. Those would be excursions that they can participate in.
Cancun also has fishing, scuba diving, water skiing and horseback riding and all those types of activities that are also considered excursions that they can participate in. We also have great shopping very close to the hotel. There’s La Isla shopping village, which is a very upscale mall about 10 minutes away. It’s really great shopping close by.
International restaurants are also close by with amazing and different types of food. We have ecological parts like Tres Rios that have different kinds of outdoor activities with coral reefs, beaches, lagoons and cenotes to go to.