The Cancun, Mexico and surrounding areas still remain the top destination for our incentive travel clients. And who can blame you for your great choice?! There are literally hundreds of amazing all-inclusive resorts, offering a wide range of rooming, dining, and entertainment options. Flights are relatively abundant from most US gateways and flight prices remain reasonable. And the weather is basically fantastic year-round.
It makes it easy to see why the Cancun area remains a solid choice for incentive travel programs. So today we’re sharing our 2019 Top 5 Picks for incentive travel hotels you can get to from the Cancun airport (in no particular order).
Let’s start with 2 resorts that are family friendly but have adults only options. These resorts offer pretty much the best of both worlds (adult only and family friendly choices) for those that offer incentive travel programs that the whole family can attend.
1. The Grand at Moon Palace (Cancun/Riviera Maya Zone)
This 1,300-room property is located in the Riviera Maya zone, right outside of Cancun, and only 10 minutes from the Cancun airport. It’s one of the closest properties to the airport and your earners can often be off the plane and in the pool in less than an hour!
The Grand at Moon Palace is connected to the Moon Palace resort complex and offers multiple dining options – over 20 restaurants! – multiple pools, a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, a world-class spa, and 2 outstanding nightclubs, among other great attributes. As one of our recent earners put it when they entered the lobby, “Woah, this is just like Las Vegas, but in Mexico!” And just like Vegas (minus the gambling), there is something here for everyone. The food is top notch, the drinks are top shelf, there is loads of daytime and nightly entertainment, and you will never be bored at this property unless you choose to be.
Did I mention the resort credit? Guests will receive resort credit, based on the number of nights they are staying, that can be used for all kinds of things, like spa services, local excursions, dinner on the beach, and more.
The Grand at Moon Palace is well suited to incentive travel earners that want a lot of variety, from being able to have a relaxing spa day or catching some sun without interruption, enjoying the lazy river and waterslides at the waterpark, hitting the golf course, or enjoying a local excursion or the nightly onsite entertainment and shows. It’s perfect for groups that have varying ages in attendance. There is something to do (or nothing at all, if you choose) for children through retirees.
One more major plus for The Grand at Moon Palace is the free events that you can earn as the host. Based on the number of rooms in your group you can earn an unlimited number of free live event hours. That means you can save a ton of money and still treat your incentive travel trip earners to nightly private events just for your group!
My top 3 personal favorite things about this property are the swim up suites, the Unique Day Pool (adults only) with the daily live DJ, and all the great restaurants. I literally plan my activities around where I want to eat all week long when I’m at The Grand at Moon Palace!
2. Hotel Xcaret (Playa del Carmen)
Hotel Xcaret is one of the fastest growing hotel groups in the Playa del Carmen area right now and it’s only a 45-minute luxury motorcoach ride away from the Cancun airport. This eco-hotel is the first hotel opened by the same group that owns the Xcaret Parks and it’s just the beginning of what they have planned. This 900-room all-inclusive property is unique in that it includes the guest room, full round-trip transportation, AND all their Xcaret eco-parks and tours in the room rate.
It easily makes our list as one of our favorite new properties in the area because there truly is nothing like it. We have started calling it “jungle luxury” because of their focus on the beauty of the surrounding mangroves (the property is situated on a beautiful natural beach, even though it’s not the main focus). There are 9 eco-parks and tours that you can visit daily, ranging from mild activities like fun games and swimming in gorgeous private cenotes all the way up to crazy wild adventures like water rafting, zip lining at night through rings of fire, and riding ATV’s through the jungle. There are also a few tours that focus on the area’s history, like the Tulum and the Xichen Itza tours. And yes, ALL of this is included in one rate.
It’s an amazing property with amazing possibilities at an amazing all included price. Hotel Xcaret has been open less than 2 years and we’ve already had multiple groups at this property, and we don’t see an end in sight.
Hotel Xcaret is well suited to groups that want a lot of adventure and enjoy moving and generally being active. There is a lot of walking at most of the parks and excursions and plenty of options for active participation. But you don’t have to worry if you have some “homebodies” in your group. The resort has beautiful pools that are quite peaceful and amazing spa. Consider this property for team building exercises and activities as well. Since there are adults only buildings and family friendly buildings it’s great for all age types and family combinations. It’s a very well-rounded resort but is not great for those with mobility concerns.
Hosting groups for private nightly events is simply one of a kind at this property. Where else can you host a dinner in a cave for all your top earners?! Or maybe you’d prefer to sip cocktails lagoon side, next to a gorgeous waterfall? How about dining at the top of a pyramid with ocean views for miles? Hotel Xcaret has so many stunning venues all in one resort that it will be very difficult to decide on just the right locations. (And yeah, they have ballrooms too, but they’re not your typical stuffy room, I assure you!)
My top 3 personal favorite things about this property are the Xenotes tour, the rooftop pool and bar in the Fuego building (exclusive only to guests staying in this adult only building) and canoeing in the lagoons. Wait! I need 4 favorite things for this resort – and THE SPA!! I’ve never seen anything like it in all my life. Shea nailed it perfectly when he said it looks like walking into a James Bond movie. You’ll totally understand the moment you walk into their “spa lair”.
3. LeBlanc Spa Resort (Cancun)
The 260-room adult only all-inclusive LeBlanc Spa Resort in Cancun’s hotel zone (about 20 minutes from the airport) just completed a $30 million renovation. It’s back and it’s better than ever but it’s not like they had anything to prove.
This property was already one of the highest rated all-inclusive resorts in the world on Tripadvisor and is a AAA Five Diamond awarded resort to begin with. LeBlanc Spa Resort is the epitome of luxury incentive travel. One of the highlights of this property is the outstanding butler service you receive here. They’ll do everything from unpacking your suitcases to make your dinner and spa reservations. Resort credits are issued for each room, depending on the length of stay, and can be used for things like spa services, experiential excursions like a day trip to Chichen Itza, and more. Your earners will be able to relax at their world-class spa or in one of the refreshing swimming pools overlooking the ocean. And dining at Le Blanc Spa Resort is some of the best we’ve ever experienced.
Le Blanc Spa Resort is well suited to an adult only (18 and over) spouses invited incentive travel experience. This is a great property that will allow your top earners to relax, unwind, and let their hair down. They’ll return refreshed and energized, after several days of being totally pampered.
Since it’s one of the Palace Resorts label properties you can earn free private events as the host. Based on the number of rooms in your group you can earn an unlimited number of free live event hours. You can use those event hours for a private dinner for all your earners and attendees, a live training session with a luncheon, or a welcome party, and more. And the venue, tables, chairs, linens, buffet, and open bar won’t cost you a thing (depending on the number of rooms booked)!
Even though this resort is on the luxury end of the pricing scale, you may be surprised with what a bargain it can be when you factor in the extraordinary savings you realize with those free event hours. Adding to this savings potential, with a 3 night or longer stay, LeBlanc now includes complimentary shared round trip transportation from and to the airport. LeBlanc Spa Resort is a great option for offering a true luxury incentive travel experience to your earners and attendees and staying in line with your events budget.
My top 3 personal favorite things about this property are the French fine dining restaurant, the little pavilion with the private hammock (I could laze in this thing for hours), and their gorgeous beach. The beach at LeBlanc Cancun is one of my favorites. It’s the picture-perfect Instagram worthy pristine Caribbean white sand beach with beautiful blue water.
4. Isla Mujeres Palace (Isla Mujeres)
With only 62 rooms the adults-only all-inclusive Isla Mujeres Palace is the perfect property for smaller groups, that feels like a total buyout without the price tag of a total buyout. With their small room count you cap out at about 120 total guests, so it doesn’t take many incentive travel earners to feel like this is your own private resort!
This property is more centered on wellness and relaxation so you can easily host morning yoga sessions, group visualization activities, and more. Or if you have a wilder bunch, feel free to party all night with a DJ or band and private bonfire on the beach. Because this property is so intimate you can truly make it anything you want – from serene and peaceful to wild and raucous. (Side note – if you decide on a full resort buyout, you would be able to have those under 18 years of age in attendance. The rules change a bit when you’re the only ones on the property.)
Your incentive group can spend their days in the pool, at the bars, enjoying the island, or partaking in the recently added tequila and ceviche bar on the beach (YUM!). It’s also a great location for training since it’s more secluded and you can have the attendee’s undivided attention if that’s your goal.
Resort credits are issued for each room, depending on the length of stay, and can be used for things like spa services, private chef’s dinner on the beach, a snorkeling excursion to Garrafon Reef, and more.
How do you get there? It’s about a 25-minute drive from the Cancun airport, then a 20-minute ferry ride to Isla Mujeres, then you take a cab or rent a golf cart to take to the resort. Feel like a bit of a trek? No worries – Isla Mujeres Palace has a private catamaran service that can take your guests directly to the resort instead (though it’s only available during set hours daily).
Bottom line – Isla Mujeres Palace is well suited to small guest counts of 120 or fewer adults where you plan on creating your own environment. Since your group will most likely be the bulk of the guests on site, the atmosphere will match the atmosphere of those on the incentive trip. If you have a laid back and chill group that will be the feel of the week. If your group is loud and wild, that’s probably how your week is going to be. It’s a property where you can truly create the experience you want your guests to have without a lot of outside interference. Almost all of the rooms have 1 King sized bed, so the rooms are well suited to singles and couples only.
Because Isla Mujeres Palace is one of the Palace Resorts brands of properties, you’ll earn free events, based on the number of rooms in your group and you can earn an unlimited number of free live event hours. Most of our Isla Mujeres Palace incentive travel groups host a welcome party and nightly evening receptions at no additional charge for the venue, tables, chairs, buffet, and full open bar to the group host!
My top 3 personal favorite things about this property are how private and peaceful the resort feels when you’re on site walking along the beach, taking the private catamaran ride over to the resort and back, and the new tequila and ceviche hut. I would add one more item, even though it’s not technically part of the resort, and that is renting a golf cart for the day (or your whole vaca). Cruising around the island and bar hopping on your golf cart all day is one super cool and memorable thing about Isla Mujeras Island that is not to be missed.
5. Unico 20.87 (Riviera Maya)
Unico 20.87 is an adult only all-inclusive with almost 450 rooms, that is still quite new, at only a couple years open, and about a 45-minute drive from the Cancun airport.
As the name suggests, Unico is very “unique” in its style and offerings. The property offers an all-inclusive experience that allows unlimited local excursions and spa services, with only a 25% service fee. For incentive travel earners, you can choose to cover their service fees or allow the earner to use as many of the services that they’d like while only paying for the 25% service charge.
There are a lot of local elements here, from the “local hosts” that will help you decide on just the right specially curated excursion to the mixologists crafting out of this world cocktails from locally sourced ingredients. The resort has beautifully appointed rooms that reflect the artisans of the area and a big focus on the most gorgeous pool ever, in the center of the resort. Some of the rooms have outdoor stone tubs on the balconies and you’ll regularly see blow up floating unicorns in the pool.
This is not your typical everyday corporate event resort! Bottom line – Unico oozes style and has tons of it. The resort and its furnishings were all designed by a local female architect, which is a bit unusual for the area, but clearly, a breath of fresh air, since you’ll feel like one the cool kids from the moment you step into the front lobby.
Unico 20.87 is considered a luxury lifestyle resort and is well suited for the “younger crowd” and those that are still young at heart. I’m 41 and still feel quite at home here, so please know that I say “younger crowd” a little tongue in cheek. It’s for the cool people and those that still consider themselves pretty darn cool or even those trying to find their cool. You will find A LOT of Instagram influencers promoting this resort and once you visit, you’ll see why. It’s a place to see and be seen. The food is fantastic, the environment is electric, and the rooms are everything you want your own home to be. Once recent incentive traveler emailed us and said, “You’ve ruined us. We can never go anywhere else ever again. Nothing will compare.” We know. We totally get it. That’s how everyone feels that stays here!
There are several locations – both indoor and out – for hosting private event functions at Unico 20.87 and they’re all just as cool as you can imagine.
My top 3 personal favorite things about this property are the swim out suites (you can keep your ocean view – these swim out suites are the best), the freaking delicious food and specialty cocktails, and the unlimited spa services.
We’d love to help you choose just the right property for your upcoming incentive travel program. If you’d like to hear more about what any of these properties (or others) have to offer and how we can help you have the most amazing incentive trip your earners and attendees have ever had please connect with us today. We’re personally familiar with hundreds of properties in Mexico and are bursting with ideas to make you look like a rock star planner!