And well, it all came to an end. As the gal and friends left ILTM Americas, and Fairmont Mayakoba, and the whole of Mayakoba and Riviera Maya and Mexico, it seemed like everyone was there to say goodbye. Those also leaving on the plane included Reed big-boss Nick Philbeam, the tall guy standing behind the lady in the hat, and, to the far right behind her shades, Spotlight Communications’ MD Lucy Clifton. The farewell party was headed by ILTM’s Alison Gilmore, resplendent in red, and Fairmont Mayakoba’s Dennis Clark, in his working uniform of cool linen shirt, today lemon. Once everyone has gone it will be a big sigh, and on to the next event. They get everything cleared up remarkably quickly at this luxury hotel: the morning after the Monday opening spectacular, guys in swimgear were taking all the temporary acrobatic structures out of the lake.
During ILTM, which this year ran September 26-29, 2016, everyone associated with the entire Mayakoba operation seemed to work double-overtime, all the time. Breakfast, at special events, perhaps afloat, also operated in at least two places instead of the usual one, and opened an hour earlier, namely at six a.m. (memo to holiday-makers coming to Riviera Maya, it is slow starting, normally, all round here – in my peripatetic travels around the very best hotels, I found one where the gym does not open until SEVEN: best of all, of course, is to have your own private gym, as I did at Belmond Maroma, villa 65 if you want the same). In addition, at Fairmont Mayakoba they did dozens of room service breakfasts, and breakfast meetings.
To hoteliers dreaming of working in an idyllic resort location, I should say that at all levels, even at the top, you need to forget about free weekends, and going home for cocktails. The whole Mayakoba operation requires hoteliers who are prepared to work almost cruise ship rosters, every day for days on end, when needed. Banyan Tree’s Peter Hechler had put aside free time to be on hand throughout ILTM, but was then told by his boss to hot-foot it to Cuba where he is overseeing the company’s forthcoming lifestyle hotel at Santa Clara. Rosewood’s Daniel Scott managed to escape for an urgent meeting but flew back as soon as he could and went straight from airport to function.
By now, all the 600 delegates (300 exhibitors, 300 top travel advisors) are home, or travelling, and still sifting through all their new contacts and other takeaways. But think of the Mayakoba crowd, already on to the next thing, planning for the massive cycle weekend October 14-16, which starts with pizzas in El Pueblito (hope some of them have a moment to check out the market’s divine boutique) and finishes two days later with brunch at Rosewood, which will keep better-than-celebrity-chef Juan Pablo Loza even busier than usual. After that comes Mexico’s only PGA Tour, the OHL Classic, November 7-13, and then come Christmas, and New Year, and in between, and all the time, there are small meetings, bigger meetings, weddings and other events, and just happy holidaymakers. And very soon is the next ILTM Americas, September 25-28, 2017 – but before then, I will be joining the world of top luxury hotels and resorts once again at ILTM in Cannes, December 5-9, 2016. AND NOW FOR A CYCLE RIDE THROUGH PART OF MAYAKOBA, BELOW