It’s hot and humid – summertime in Mexico. Riviera Maya greeted our group of Apple Vacations’ employees with a wealth of sunshine as we began our three-day Fam (familiarization) Trip, on-the-job training to gain personal experience of the destinations and resorts our company sells. This knowledge means we can help identify the right resort for every customer.
During the Fam Trip, twelve employees from our Chicago and Philadelphia offices participated in pre-arranged site inspections at various resorts. Sometimes an excursion will be on the itinerary, as well as scheduled dinners. Excursions are just as important for us to experience as the site inspections – it gives employees the opportunity to experience a destination and culture off resort.
On our itinerary this time, we have one scheduled excursion to Playa del Carmen, and one scheduled dinner at our host resort- Secrets Maroma. Before checking in, we have a site inspection at Barcelo Costa Cancun followed by Dreams Cancun. Both impress our staff for their value, location, and the buzz of activity that is apparent everywhere in Cancun.
Everyone on the Fam is excited about staying at Secrets Maroma, our home for the next three nights. This couples-oriented resort is beautiful, with wonderful gardens and a fabulous air-conditioned lobby with numerous sitting areas that lend to a tranquil atmosphere. Champagne was waiting in our spacious rooms, and we had twenty-four hour room service with a privacy drop box on the side of the door. The dark mahogany furniture and the white walls accent the baby-blue and white comforters. We could not ask for better service, whatever it was we asked for, a server was quick to please us.
But it’s not all rest and relaxation on a Fam Trip. We’ll see ten properties in three days, and our proud hosts want to show us every room category, every restaurant, the pools, the beach, and all public areas – all while the sun beams down. During our second and third day we have site inspections at Secrets Silversands, Dreams Tulum, Dreams Puerto Aventuras, Grand Sirenis, Occidental Grand Xcaret, the NH Riviera Maya and (the much anticipated) Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita. Zoëtry was beautiful, very quiet, secluded, and exotic. Each room is decorated with in calm tones, with white, yellow and blue flowered comforters and curtains. Ninety-two oceanfront rooms lay parallel with the ocean, as well as every restaurant, the spa, gym and pool. You can see the ocean no matter where you are in the resort, and with peacocks freely roaming the property, Zoëtry is definitely one boutique resort any vacationer (or site-inspector!) will never forget.
Like Cancun, Playa del Carmen to the south was also very busy, a surprise given the recent media hype about H1N1. Playa del Carmen was, as usual, all hustle-and-bustle, likely due to the incredible prices on vacations to Mexico right now. Stores line street after street, selling anything you can imagine, with a coffee shop, bar or restaurant every few hundred yards. After a day of doing site inspections, you would think Playa del Carmen would be the last place we’d want to go, but who can reject the idea of souvenirs? Especially when you can bargain with the locals! Our last night in Mexico was spent shopping in a town full of culture, full of life. We left hands full, hot from humidity, feeling rewarded with all the new knowledge we’ve gained from another Fam, and ready to share it with our customers.