We were proud to announce that in January our Global Managing Director Raymon Honings was selected to speak at the SITE Summit in Vancouver on sustainability in events. I was lucky to take Raymon’s spot accompanying the Benelux FAM trip to a 6 day multi site to Mexico City & Los Cabos.
After beers and a welcome into the KLM lounge with our partner Mark Mooren, from Aeromexico, 5 clients from the Benelux Market embarked on the 12 hour journey on a brand new very comfortable aircraft. Greeted by the SAT Mexico at 4am into Mexico City we were moved quickly to our host hotel the 5 star Mexico City Sofitel Reforma with a warm welcome and swiftly onto the land of ZZZ for a few hours before our exciting day ahead exploring Mexico City.
After a restful few hours sleep we were greeted by Verena Knopp, Head of Operations at SAT Mexico DMC our official partner of Travelmediate Benelux, at breakfast and introduced to our hosts from Sofitel who showed off the wonderful 40 floor hotel and we were lucky enough to see one of the 56 suites. Meeting space at Sofitel Reforma arguably has the best views in Mexico City made up of 4 rooms with maximum capacity of 358 delegates.
Verena introduced us to our guide who explained our next stop would be Teotihuacan Temples Aztec Ruins, approx an hour away from Mexico City. The day was a busy one with today being a national holiday for Mexico which created a buzz amongst the ruins, our guide was fantastic in teachings on the temples and encouraged the group to climb the steep steps of both the Temple of the Sun & Temple of the moon. After a hearty lunch in a traditional setting near the Aztec Ruins and a short stop at a local vendor where we experienced tequila and mezcal tasting with local produce available to buy to take home as our souvenirs we headed back into Mexico City to meet up with Verena at the Intercontinental Hotel in Polanco and area which was akin to the streets of Los Angeles or even parts of London (minus the palm trees!) Polanco is an upmarket area of Mexico with luxury high end fashion brands a variety of upscale restaurants and cocktail bars.
The Intercontinental can accommodate up to 1,000 delegates for a conference with a large bedstock, we were lucky enough to see a split level suite which was voted previously as one of the best suites in the world, located on the highest floor with your own private pool, I can agree with the vote! After a hotel tour we joined the Sales Manager and Verena at Chapulin (Spanish word for Grasshopper) for an exciting 5 course traditional fine dining Mexican meal in modern surroundings.
Whilst it was time to say goodbye to our wonderful partners at SAT Mexico and to thank them for a very informative few days in Mexico City, it was now time to head off to the sun in Los Cabos. Daniela Torres, International Managing Director of IM Promociones an official partner of the Travelmediate UK office met us at the airport to guide us onto our journey to Los Cabos. After a short 2 hour flight we arrived to the warm rays of the sun of Los Cabos we met with the entire IM Promociones team who have an office in Los Cabos headed up by the very warm Paulina Caranza along with their offices in Mexico City – we travelled in style in White Chevrolet Suburbans, extremely comfortable for up to 6 guests to the Gran Velas 5 star resort. Greeted by a champagne welcome we met the General Manager and our individual concierge who explained along with Daniela that it was in fact Whale Season – much to our delight when pointing over to the ocean from our Champagne welcome we could see the fins and backs of the whales in the distance – what a welcome!
Daniela advised us to freshen up for a surprise welcome on the beach in one hour. All rooms at the Gran Velas are sea facing, modern with huge rooms with sun bed balcony’s – it really made me wish we were staying more than 3 nights! Daniela and Paulina greeted us in the reception for dinner to move to the beach dinner location at where we were greeted on the beach by our own private spa therapist who guided our feet into grapes – here we did a “Feet On” wine tasting on the beach whilst our spa therapists treated us to a shoulder and foot massage after our flight from Mexico City. After a sumptuous meal on the beach Daniela has a surprise for us – a gift stall containing many different styles of hats! Daniela explained that tomorrow we would be boarding our own Yacht in search of the whales and needed to wear hats to protect us from the sun and this was her gift to us, beautifully hand woven hats! IM Promociones work with local suppliers to support them when working with corporate gifts. With huge smiles on our faces underneath our new hats we retired to bed before adventure day 3 in Los Cabos.
Day 4 Los Cabos, after another hearty breakfast we joined Daniela and Paulina to the Wild Canyon where experienced zip lines across the desert canyon and my personal favorite driving ATV’s across the beaches of Los Cabos with the deep blue colors of the sea on the horizon, some the group even overcame their fear of heights on the zip lines. The IM Promociones team has organized an all inclusive experience for us as Grand Velas, being from the UK and having experienced some of the all inclusive offerings – I shared my concern with Daniela. With a wink from my partner at IM Promociones and a simple “You’ll see” we sat down to lunch to a wide select buffet of steaks, seafood, traditional food, salads, different types of cuisine – the list goes on all of my concerns were diminished! In the late afternoon with our new hats in hand we headed down to the Marina to board our yacht to take us to find the majestic whales and view the famous Cabos rock – a wonderful way to relax, listen to music, talk and see the sunset whilst sailing the coast and we were lucky enough to see a family of whales!
Day 5 in Los Cabos, Daniela was keen to show us some tradition in a small village Todos Santos – where the group got opportunity to experience true Mexican living and buy produce away from the usual tourist offerings. Upon return site visits were offered at Esperanza Auberge Resort & Cabo Real Questro Golf.
We could not believe this was our final day in Los Cabos, time had gone so quickly in the sunshine. Our farewell dinner is not one we would forget hosted by the Hilton Los Cabos we returned to the beach for a very different setting, private chefs, a tequila bar, live band and a special sand dug out seating area with bonfire which we melted our marshmallows on – such a memorable farewell.
Prior to our flight home we conducted a site visit at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal before our final lunch at Gran Velas prior to the departure – Daniela and the team at IM Promociones had one more surprise up their sleeve. Daniela had made a corporate gift market, something I’d not seen before from a DMC – Daniela explained the concept that there were a selection of gifts ranging from Homeware, Kitchenware, Clothing that were made locally and guests could choose something they prefer instead of being designated a gift. Our guests were absolutely thrilled with this unusual idea and then the discussion began on overweight suitcases!
So there we have it! Mexico City & Beach done in 6 days with the best venues viewed to put forward to our clients with special thanks to our Benelux clients, Verena and the team at SAT Mexico and Daniela & Paulina at IM Promociones. Next stop Greece!