To have the most impact during any travel show, luxury hotels need to do things differently – although when you have a white sandy beach of the calibre of that of Maroma Riviera Maya, Orient-Express’ Mexican jewel, the setting says it all. The gal, making a return visit, made as many awe-inspiring wows and ahs as the first-timers when the media at ILTM Americas descended on the hotel for lunch. Look at that beach. A rumour that pink sand was manually put into it to keep it cool (why, anyway?) was pooh-poohed.
We were welcomed by the smiling staff and by Adelita, the resident macaw. For those who have not experienced a ‘show round’ or site inspection, let me explain. You are, well, shown round. We were not taken around the entire 25-acre property, thank goodness – it was simply too hot. Condé Nast Traveler drank gallons of water while the Financial Times wished she had not worn stilettos as she tiptoed over the cobbles. We saw the air-conditioned conference room, and a downstairs suite with its own plunge pool…
In the spa, someone had written out ‘welcome ILTM Media’ in sand. Back at the main building, lunch was thoughtfully inside, in an airconditioned room. The clever hotel boss, Federico Echaiz, had come up with a truly memorable take-away, linen ponchos with our names on them. His lovely chef, Pablo Loza, from Mexico City, had plated courses. We started with Guacamole with tlayudas and Inflated ceviche (black beans in an open pie), with an optional side of the grasshoppers I had tried last year.
The meal continued, with a Trilogy of tacos. The vegetarian option had one filled with hummus, one with fried zucchini, one with tamarind eggplant… the wine flowed, for some. The water poured, for nearly everyone. On our way out of this luxury hotel, the pool looked delightfully tempting… but we all had work to do.