The all-inclusive Secrets Marquis Los Cabos opened on November 1 after AMResorts took over operations and rebranded the famous Marquis Los Cabos. The resort features 235 all-oceanfront suites and casitas with new tailor-made experiences for groups. We spoke to Ella Messerli, GM, who told us how meetings and incentives in Mexico can be made easier with Secret Marquis’ Unlimited-Luxury concept.
Prevue: What are some of the inherent values when booking Secrets Marquis Los Cabos for meeting planners?
EM: I think you need to take a look at the whole market of meeting planners and bear in mind the past three years. For the past two and a half years what we have experienced in Los Cabos and at Secrets Marquis before the rebranding was the request and the demand for meeting planners to have a non-surprise price tag. That was obvious, and I believe that this is the success for hotels in general.
Now that we are Secrets Marquis with the unlimited luxury concept, it becomes even easier because now we have the know-how of AMResorts plugging into what meeting planners always wanted. It’s an extraordinary coincidence because last year, on this day today, we had an enormous incentive group of 1,000 people back-to-back. Today they’re boarding the Allure of the Seas. That defines what’s going on in the meetings and incentives market. They’re looking for this all put together–no surprise program that will cost this amount per head–end of story.
The unlimited luxury concept that Secrets Marquis now offers for meeting planners is very competitive with the cruise ships. It’s no surprise and it’s basically stress free, and that’s what meeting planners need nowadays.
It’s a way for the meeting planner to be comfortable with their budget, a way for them to know that they can let their group loose without giving them a per diem and a way to know that everyone is going to enjoy everything and that there will be no limitations.
Since its rebranding, what are some of the new features at Secrets Marquis?
This hotel was rebranded November 1. Obviously the unlimited luxury concept is new because now it’s in the whole hotel for everyone. There are no bracelets or reservations. You can walk into any restaurant to eat.
We’ve also added new entertainment and activities. Now we have stretching classes on the beach, yoga in the morning, movies and a whole slew of activities that can be incorporated and tailor-made for groups. It’s something that used to be additional but now groups can just say, ‘At 10 a.m., everyone go do this,’ and they can because it’s already been organized. Sometimes with incentives they need to take them out and spend a lot of money but here we already offer a lot of entertainment.
What are a few of the hotel’s top selling points?
Basically it always has been, and will continue to be the 204 junior suites that are oversize and have an ocean view. With that we have another 26 casitas, which are one bedroom suites with private swimming pools. Those can be considered 26 presidential suites. That’s always been an incredible selling point because you want everyone to feel special.
Can you tell us about the meeting space at the resort?
We’ve got meeting space for big meetings. Our ballroom is large enough to hold 500 people in a dance and banquet space, and we’ve held some incredible galas there that people have adored. For meetings it’s quite nice because it’s so large. We’ve put in 700 pax for a meeting and conference, and there are breakout rooms next door.
We’ve also got an enormous amount of open space since we’re full oceanfront. We have 2,000 square feet section of beach where we’ve done beach parties, beach concerts and pool dinners under the stars.
We have a group and convention manager and we’re fully staffed. We have the props, the lighting and all the equipment. We’ve been a meetings and incentive hotel for the past eight years. Obviously when we don’t have something, we know where to get it. One year someone wanted an acrylic floating platform in the center of the pool and we didn’t have it but we found it and we did it.
How’s the food?
Since we opened almost nine years ago we’ve had the same chef–he opened the hotel with me. His name is Thierry Dufour. He’s been in Mexico for over 25 years and he has managed to marry Mexican ingredients–Baja fish and seafood–with his artisanal French flair without making it too Frenchy. I don’t know if I’m explaining myself correctly but he has had a flair for doing incredible dishes.
He keeps it fresh and innovative and he’s always had standing ovations with the incentive and meeting groups here. I mean, you look at it and your mouth waters. He’s very famous in Mexico.
What are some popular recreational experiences at Secrets Marquis?
One of the favorite activities onsite is the spa because we’re a Leading hotels of the World, and we’re the only certified Leading Spa in Los Cabos. It’s a large spa–3,000 square feet–and it has all these natural treatments that we’re quite famous for. That’s always been the number one for every group.
Outside of the hotel, Cabo is very famous for golf. We’re very close to some of the best golfing in all of Los Cabos with Cabo Real right next to us, and Cabo del Sol is listed number 15 in the world. Obviously we’re also famous for sportfishing. We’re the marlin capital of the world so most times planners will organize internal fishing tournaments and take out five or six boats. They bring back marlin and dorado and then the chef makes sashimi and sushi for the next three days. It’s a nice interactive activity.
We also have fun interactive activities at the resort like tequila tastings, and we have a tequila expert on site. We also do cooking classes with the chef. We can always organize a complete activity calendar or agenda for a group in accordance with their size, ages and their preference of activity.