Prevue March/April 2016 - (Page 70)

Secrets Akumal A luxury setting & immersive experiences make for a successful 2016 Leadership Summit [ON LOCATION] LAUREL HERMAN T he recently opened Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya's all-inclusive resort was a spectacular venue for The Opus Group's Leadership Summit, with 140 planners and travel industry sponsors, including Prevue, the exclusive media sponsor, to experience a program mixed business with incentives that planners will want to emulate. The elegant property was built with recycled wood from trees that had fallen from the last storm, according to Daniel Mellado, Secret's corporate director of sales. We loved the u-shaped layout, design and ambiance of this 434 all-suite property, whose meandering landscaped paths, complemented by lagoons and three lit swimming pools, made it easy to get around. Ground-floor suites empty out into an outdoor area and small pool, and all suites offer a large bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, high thread count bed linens and tastefully appointed furniture and art that give the resort the luxury feel it promises. With six gourmet-dining venues to choose from-no reservations needed-plus a buffet, café and grill, there are plenty of dining options as well. Food at the Summit was plentiful. Secrets provided lavish breakfast buffets featuring American and Mexican specialties, dining at cafes and grills, and a final banquet gala with a special menu created for the group that featured choice of Chilean sea bass with spears of foie gras or angus filet served with shrimp. Dessert was a chocolate mousse cooked at our table in "nitro" with vanilla sauce. CULTIVATING "WOW" EXPERIENCES A unique feature of the property is its location, positioned by the ocean in Akumal, which means "place of the turtles" in the Mayan language. The calm sea, due to an extensive barrier reef, is a snorkeling paradise, allowing groups to snorkel from the beach and see turtles nesting in the shallow waters. During the months of May and October, the turtles come to nest right on the beach at night. Our group used the resort's ballroom, where we had many 62 | prevue magazine activities, including the final banquet. This area can support banquets of up to 420; 340 with a dance floor. The sweet spot for corporate and incentive groups is 150 to 250 Mellado says, adding, "our resort is influenced by the wonderful spirit and genuine desire to be of service that is second nature to the Mayan people, who are a majority portion of the staff." Lisa Cherry, The Opus Group's VP, adds, "This is an exceptional resort ideally designed to accommodate high-level groups while providing exceptional service." Amstar DMC added to the success of the Summit by providing airport and activity transfers plus numerous lifestyle activities for the group during the day. Choices included, cooking classes, swimming with the dolphins, a guided tour of nearby Tulum, a 13th-century, walled Mayan archaeological site, catamaran excursions, deep-sea fishing and horseback riding and ATV rides. Amstar also hosted a stunning evening reception that was held inside the nature reserve Rio Secreto, which has stunning caves connected by an underground river. We walked among stalagmites and stalactites on surreal candlelit pathways until we arrived at a large cave, where we were entertained by Mayan performances and food and drink. Another sponsor, CEO Mexico, hosted daytime golf outings at the Coral Golf Club Rivera Maya and Riviera Maya Golf Club. And, Barceló Maya Beach Resort, another all-inclusive in the Riviera Maya area, hosted an evening reception with mariachi singers and dinner at their property. Impeccably organized and executed by the Opus Group, the 15th edition of the Leadership Summit, a business exchange for global incentive programs and motivational meetings, was a resounding success. secretsresorts.com; amstargroups.com http://www.secretsresorts.com http://www.amstargroups.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue March/April 2016

Planner’s Pick: Seattle
Fresh Meets: Caribbean Cool
Bureau Buzz: Kansas City
Good Business: Raising the Green Bar
Sea Shores: Celebrity Cruises
A look at inspiring incentive experiences.
MEETING TAKEAWAYS On-site corporate gift experiences gain momentum
GAMING DESTINATIONS Gaming resort incentives are becoming as exciting as their settings
CALIFORNIA DREAMING Delivering creative group experiences
3 US CITIES REIMAGINE MEDICAL MEETINGS Immersive wellness programs make their way into the mix
On Location: SBM Monte Carlo
WELLNESS, SOUTHERN STYLE Southern backdrops rejuvenate groups
SECRETS AKUMAL [ON LOCATION] Luxury & immersive experiences make for a successful 2016 Leadership Summit
On Location: Australia
On Location: Bermuda
Checkout: Azamara Club Cruises
On Location: Puerto Rico
Club Med

Prevue March/April 2016

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