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Cancun & Riviera Maya Archives - Air Canada Vacations

25 Jul

By

Nicole at the Spa

July 25, 2016 | By |

Nicole Simeone Volk manages all the IBEROSTAR spas in the Dominican Republic. She has devoted her life to creating the perfect spa experience and takes us into her world of healing hands and soothing spirits at Spa Sensations.

What is your personal spa philosophy?

I want to create a balance between body and mind for better wellbeing in everyday life.

What do you hope guests will take away from their experience?

An outstanding memory of their treatment at Spa Sensations which will help them to continue treatments at home and to come visit us again on their next vacation.

Are there signature treatments at each Grand Collection resort?

Every destination is different and although our Grand Collection brand is very consistent in quality and service, our guests do have local preferences. At IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso, the Mayan Sensation Massage includes the use of ancestral, ocarina music and volcanic stones. The Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Sugar Scrub is the one to try at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Rose Hall. And at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Bávaro, the most popular is the Caribbean Ritual, a milk bath, body exfoliation, massage and honey mask.

Do you have a favourite treatment?

I love the Voyage to the East. It’s a deep massage inspired by ancient Indian principles for healing the body.

What’s the most appealing feature of the new Spa Sensations at IBEROSTAR Bávaro Complex?

The new pool area. I especially like to go from the Roman Bath at 28ºC to the Cold Well at 15ºC. It feels wonderful.

Do you have a recommendation for a first-time spa guest?

Try everything in one, the complete experience. The Spa Sensation Signature Massage offers a head massage, body massage and reflexology on the feet.

 

25 Jul

By

Star Resorts

July 25, 2016 | By |

From gourmet dining, personalized butler service and spectacular suites complete with pillow menu and free rounds of golf, everything here is created to spoil and pamper like never before.

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Rose Hall
Montego Bay, Jamaica

This adults-only, 5-star, Jamaican paradise is all about never-ending service and endless luxuries. The Colonial-style architecture offers a stunning atmosphere designed for maximum comfort and pleasure.

  • AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort
  • Intimate boutique hotel flare
  • Just 20 minutes from Montego Bay airport
  • Many oceanview rooms thanks to the resort’s unique u-shaped design

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Bávaro
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Located on the stunning Bávaro Beach just 30 minutes from the Punta Cana airport, you’ll find this exclusive resort filled with every pleasure imaginable.

  • World-class, two-storey, oceanfront spa
  • Sweeping, on-site golf course designed by P.B. Dye
  • Greco-Roman-inspired architecture for timeless grace and style
  • Access to all 3 IBEROSTAR sister properties and their amenities, located in the Bávaro Beach Complex

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso
Riviera Maya, Mexico

No expense was spared in creating this all-inclusive, all-suites playground reserved exclusively for adults. Stunning architecture, three unique pools, and worlds of flavours await those fortunate enough to find themselves here.

  • AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort
  • 18-hole golf course on site designed by P.B. Dye
  • Elegant and engaging Neo-Renaissance-style architecture
  • Secluded villas ideally designed for honeymooners

25 Jul

By

The Grand Collection

July 25, 2016 | By |

IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts delivers an unsurpassed vacation experience with their exclusive Grand Collection.

Escape completely to a world of refined gourmet dining, exquisite suites, luxurious spa treatments and championship golf. Indulge in impeccable service surrounded by graceful architecture and luxurious state-of-the-art facilities.

It’s all waiting for you at these exceptional adults-only resorts on the best beaches in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. And with non-stop flights aboard Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge, your getaway starts the minute you’re onboard.

26 Nov

By

7 Resorts for an Unforgettable New Year’s

November 26, 2015 | By |

Tired of the same-old, blasé New Year’s plans? We know the feeling – that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best places to ring in 2016. Exciting, luxurious, and boasting sand over snow, here are our top picks to kick-start your year.

1. Grand Bahia Principe Coba

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The Grand Bahia Principe Coba in Riviera Maya offers great value for the whole family. There’s a waterpark and shows for kids, a golf course and casino for adults, and a beautiful beach for all only a short distance away (and yes, transportation to the beach is included!). It’s also part of our PLAY collection, which means everyone gets an exclusive flight experience and kids stay and eat for free. If that’s not impressive, then try this: stay in exclusive rooms with prime locations, thanks to our Privileges program.

2. Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an

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Say hello to 2016 in style at the adults-only Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an in Riviera Maya, Mexico. This resort exudes elegance with its minimalist, modern décor and supremely outfitted rooms. And what’s a romantic getaway without 24-hour room service, waiter service at the beach, or “After Golf” treatments at the on-site spa? We especially love the spa’s Vitamin Bar, where you can enjoy exotic natural fruit juices.

3. Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica

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The Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica is another excellent option for a family vacation. Situated right on the beach in Runaway Bay, there are 3 interconnected lake-style pools with 2 areas specially reserved for children. We’re also quite taken with the green spaces, tropical gardens and abundance of wildlife (keep your eyes peeled to spot long-tailed hummingbirds and green turtles). Bonus: Air Canada Vacations guests enjoy all the PLAY perks and access to an exclusive room section near the ocean.

4. Luxury Bahia Principe Runaway Bay

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The Luxury Bahia Principe Runaway Bay is an adults-only paradise and a definite contender for New Year’s. Since early this year, the resort has undergone extensive upgrades and by December 2015, there will be many new additions to experience firsthand. These include a new swimming pool, a swim-up bar, a lounge and “chill out” areas.

5. Meliá Jardines del Rey

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Treat your family to ultimate comfort at Meliá Jardines del Rey in Cayo Coco, Cuba. This 5-star beachfront resort has nightly entertainment, 3 swimming pools (don’t miss their pool parties with bubbles!) and designated activities and facilities for kids, including a playground and paddling pool.

6. Playa Costa Verde

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Another family favourite is Playa Costa Verde in Holguin, Cuba – and not just because it’s part of our PLAY program. Located directly on the beach, we particularly love the availability of snacks 24/7 (you never know when you’re going to get the munchies, right?), salsa dance classes, and introductory scuba lessons in the pool. Be sure to take advantage of the morning room service, which means continental breakfast delivered to your door!

7. Sol Pelicano

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The Sol Pelicano in Cayo Largo, Cuba, is a nature lover’s dream. Bring the whole family and check out their renowned turtle observation program, which includes egg-laying and the release of baby turtles. Combined with ecological excursions, this resort has everything to make your next family vacation an adventure!

With the holidays around the corner, there’s no better time than now to start making plans for New Year’s. Get started today!

11 Sep

By

Quiz: What vacation type are you?

September 11, 2015 | By |

When planning a beach holiday, there’s one more box to tick off besides destination, hotel and location: vacation type. Don’t know what that is? No worries, we’re here to explain and help you find yours. Take this short quiz and you’ll be one step closer to finding the palm tree- and piña colada-filled vacation that’s right for you.

When on vacation, what does your perfect day look like?

  1. I like to get an early start and go snorkeling as a family, followed by an afternoon of golf while the kids enjoy fun activities.
  2. Quiet and soothing – I want to be pampered from head to toe. First up, a hot steam bath to relax and then a heavenly massage by the sea.
  3. It doesn’t matter what time I wake up because I’ll be ordering room service. I’ll probably head to the pool at some point and order a mojito from my lounge chair. If only I could live like this everyday…
  4. I’ll play tennis in the morning, soak up the sun in the afternoon, and enjoy a private hot tub at sunset.

How do you feel about kids?

  1. Love ‘em, of course! Vacations are all about creating lifelong family memories.
  2. Kids are great, but this trip is really about recharging my batteries.
  3. As long as they’re happy, I’m happy. Bonus if I don’t have to lift a single finger. I won’t say no to some alone time with my honey either.
  4. No, thanks! I want a holiday geared towards 18+.

It’s been 7 nights in paradise, your bags are packed and it’s almost time to leave for the airport. How do you feel?

  1. Wonderful! The week went by quickly because I was having fun with my family and I can’t wait until the next adventure together.
  2. Content, recharged and ready to take on any challenges at home.
  3. Amazing – I slept in because I had a late checkout and managed to squeeze in one last massage while my bags were packed for me.
  4. Sentimental and romantic. The trip celebrated my relationship with my partner and our bond is stronger than ever.

Now that you’ve finished our quiz, tally up your answers to find out which vacation type best reflects your needs:

Answer 1  >>  1 point

Answer 2  >>  2 points

Answer 3  >>  3 points

Answer 4  >>  4 points

So, what is your idea of the perfect vacation?

3-5 points >> Family Vacation

Allegro Papagayo Resort Family Vacation

Allegro Papagayo Resort

The happiness of your family is a priority and a vacation without your kids is unimaginable. To ensure everyone has a great time, be sure to check out our Play hotels (family-friendly resorts where kids stay and eat free) such as the Allegro Papagayo in Liberia, Costa Rica. Surrounded by beaches, rainforests and active volcanoes, this resort is the epicenter of adventure. From kayaking to nature excursions, there’s plenty to keep the kids active and entertained.

If you prefer to head to a Caribbean island, we recommend the Be Live Collection Marien in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. With a supervised kids club, take some time for yourself and head to the spa or play a round at the nearby Playa Dorada golf course.

No matter which hotel you choose, keep in mind that our Play hotels also come with exclusive flight perks: pre-boarding privileges, free seat selection and a $10 meal voucher for every family member. Your family vacation truly starts at the airport.

6-8 points >> Spa Vacation

Melia Resorts Cuba Spa Vacation

Melia Resorts Cuba

Where are the best indulgences found? Only at our collection of Spa hotels, of course.

Our top pick is the Melia Buenavista All-Inclusive Royal Service & Spa in Santa Clara, Cuba. Designed with total privacy in mind, this adults-only resort is an oasis for rejuvenation. Choose from a range of body treatments and massages at its full-service spa and we promise you’ll leave feeling invigorated.

If you want to spoil yourself and you’re travelling with children, we suggest the neighbouring Melia Las Dunas. This popular hotel provides the perfect balance as it’s tailored for families seeking activity and adults looking to relax. The supervised kids clubs arrange activities according to age, which gives you the chance to retreat to Spa Aguas Claras for a Japanese Shiatsu massage. The kids will be so busy, you’ll even have time for that much-needed pedicure.

9-11 points >> Luxury Vacation

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso Luxury Vacation

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso

You want the royal treatment and nothing less. That’s what vacations means, after all. For an unforgettable luxurious holiday, you will definitely want to stay at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraiso. Located directly on the beach in Playa Paraiso, in the heart of Riviera Maya, this adults-only, dream paradise has 5 shiny stars attached to its name – and for good reason. At check-in, enjoy a warm welcome with champagne and a minibar stocked with your favourites. By mid-afternoon, lounge poolside and accept a cold beverage from your butler. For dinner, choose between 2 buffets and 4 à la carte restaurants, or perhaps make use of the 24-hour room service. Come bedtime, select the right pillow for your tired head from the elite pillow menu. Rest now because tomorrow will be busy – there’s a Par 72, 18-hole golf course on site, a casino and spa in the massive Complex Shopping Centre, and numerous sports to try.

For similar vacation ideas, discover our complete list of Luxury hotels.

12 points >> Adults-Only Vacation

Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville Don Pablo Collection Adults Only

Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville Don Pablo Collection

You want serenity, intimate moments and above all, a kid-free holiday. Whether you’re celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary, or traveling just because, Adults-only hotels are right up your alley. The Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville Don Pablo Collection in La Romana, Dominican Republic, for instance, caters to couples and guests aged 18+. With no less than 8 bars on its premises, local area tours (a visit to Catalina Island is a must!) and nightly entertainment, this resort provides the ideal setting to unwind and let loose. For something different, try merengue, bachata and salsa classes. For something more sensual, try the spa’s aromatic relaxation treatment. Deep breath in and exhale, it doesn’t get much better than this.

 

Curious about what other vacation types exist? Check out our complete list of vacation types to find your dream holiday.

 

05 Aug

By

11 Stunning Infinity Pools in Mexico

August 5, 2015 | By |

The infinity pool: a swimming pool designed so that water flows over the edge, typically producing the illusion that it merges into the ocean or sky. Infinity pools are not only visually stunning, but an awesome recourse for cooling off on your sunny vacation. Here are 11 of the most stunning infinity pools in Mexico that beckon a swim.

1) Bel Air Collection Resort & Spa Cancun (Cancun)

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2) Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta (Puerto Vallarta)

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3) Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya (Riviera Maya)

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4) Barcelo Ixtapa Beach  (Ixtapa)

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5) IBEROSTAR Playa Mita (Riviera Nayarit)

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6) Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos (Los Cabos)

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7) Crown Paradise Club Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive Resort (Puerto Vallarta)

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8) Grand Velas Riviera Maya (Riviera Maya)

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9) Bel Air Collection Resort & Spa Vallarta (Puerto Vallarta/Riviera Nayarit)

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10) Le Reve Hotel & Spa (Riviera Maya)

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11) Hyatt Zilara Cancun (Cancun)

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Got the urge to take a dip in one of these infinity pools? For more information on these hotels, check out our full listing of resorts in Mexico.

 

10 Mar

By

Fun With the Kids During March Break

March 10, 2015 | By |

“Are we there yet?” takes on new meaning when you finally arrive with a luggage full of summer wear and a family ready to start their fun.

After all, it is March Break or Spring Break depending on where you’re from and that means one thing: fun in the sun.

Here’s where to get the extra fun breaks that’ll satisfy both adults and the kids.

The Mayan Riviera

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Blue azure sea, white soft sand, and a Caribbean reef that’ll have the kids snorkelling for Nemo are just some of the fun to be had at the Mayan Riviera.

I also love to hang with the critters in a jungle-rich environment at Xcaret Park. Amid the tall leafy trees in this eco-archeological park, you can hear the sounds of the jungle, prowl through the tropical jungle trail, stop at the wild bird aviary and watch entertaining free shows scheduled daily. See big cats at Jaguar Island and discover the ancient culture of the Mayans at the recreated villages. Water activities are popular too. I enjoy the clear, cool waters by the underground river and it’s always a treat to drift down the canyon-like Paradise River with its exotic foliage in a small raft.

Of course, swim spots are totally fun in Xel-ha Park. This water park torques through more Mayan jungles and winds past mini islands. Grab a tube and a lifejacket and prepare to tube down lazy rivers with its jungle backdrop. Xel-ha boasts many attractions and is loaded with activities. On my last visit snorkelling by the natural cove was a huge hit. You can also hike the nature trails to spot jungle critters.

Little kids may not really care for visits to see ancient ruins, but older ones like tweens should drop by with their parents to see Tulum. After you visit this ancient Mayan waterfront site, take a dip in the sea – as clear and sinfully warm as a hot tub.

At Tulum, you’ll learn about the ancient Mayans who were a resourceful, ingenious lot. If you want to dabble further into the world of the Mayans, take a full day excursion by bus to Chichen Itza. Located in the neighbouring state of the Yucatan, it is a bit of a drive (like 2 hours with a very early wake-up) but is well worth the trip to view this massive ancient Mayan site complex. Excursion tours can be booked directly at your resort.

Vegas for families

New York New York Hotel and Casino

Big Apple Coaster at New York New York Hotel and Casino

When you think of Las Vegas, you think of high rollers, casinos, and late nights, maybe not the stuff you want your family exposed to. But let me tell you, there’s a lot more to Vegas than adult entertainment.

There are the gondola rides, roller coasters, animal shows and tasty snacks and that’s just for starters.  I enjoy the variety and the selection in offerings is pretty staggering too.

At New-York New-York, get strapped in for dips and turns and try the Big Apple coaster ride with its Coney Island feel. At the Stratosphere, get strapped in again, but this time, the ride shoots you up into the stratosphere (try 160 feet) in just 2.5 seconds.

In this desert town it’s the hotel pools that make the big splash. Spend hours luxuriating at the poolside or hours at the many other attractions.

Fun in Orlando

Orlando SeaWorld

SeaWorld

Hit the big theme parks in Orlando. Don’t think too much about the line-ups… Just think: it’s not every day the kids get to visit Disney WorldUniversal Studios or SeaWorld.

International Drive is crammed with resorts. In between the pool visits, spa treatments, and great dinners at your property, don’t forget to make time for some quick retail therapy. I love to hang out by the famous Premium Outlet Malls on International Dirve. Scour the shops with luxe brands like Ann Taylor, Kenneth Cole, and Kate Spade New York.

For some downtime, or to flee the crowds at the theme parks, why not mellow next door at the “Gateway to Fun,” known as Kissimmee. This neighbouring city and its surroundings have some of the nicest off-the-beaten path activities. Take a fabulous paddling trip at Shingle Creek Regional Park. Located at the most northerly stream of the Everglades not far from International Drive, this waterway is laden with mangroves and promises fabulous nature sightseeing.

One of my favourite stops in Kissimmee is to spend the day at Gatorland. Dubbed “The Alligator Capital of the World,” the ginormous park is also home to a menagerie of other critters like tropical birds and snakes. Hands-on activities and daily shows with naturalists make it educational without being boring.  Once at Gatorland, you can’t escape hearing the call of Tarzan either. That’s because the park is home to 5 zip lines. Called the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, it’s great fun for the whole family. Note there are certain height and weight restrictions that apply.

Award-winning travel writer Ilona Kauremszky is a co-producer of mycompasstv and mycompass.ca and works with leading publications across North America. She’s been a nationally syndicated travel columnist and has appeared as a travel expert on CBC, NPR, Yahoo Finance and other national broadcasters. Follow her travel pursuits on Twitter and YouTube @mycompasstv.  

27 May

By

Brighter Mexico

May 27, 2014 | By |

A vacation in Mexico is all about beautiful beaches, fascinating culture and amazing traditional cuisine, like mole sauce, lime soup and, of course, tacos.

On the east coast, upbeat Cancun, laid back Playa del Carmen and the fascinating heritage of the Mayan Riviera. On the west side, Puerto Vallarta is all about beautiful sunsets, great food and fun on Banderas Bay. Los Cabos has a unique beauty ideal for snorkelling the amazing Sea of Cortes, the site Jacques Cousteau called “the aquarium of the world.”

Air Canada Vacations flies to all these great places in just a few hours and with your choice of fantastic all-inclusive resorts from Hyatt, Royal and Real resorts, we know you'll love Mexico as much as we do.

27 May

By

What to do in Mexico

May 27, 2014 | By |

Mexico is a huge country with many vacation destinations, and lots of things to do and see whether you're in Cancun, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta.

While in Cancun visit Chichen Itza

Voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza is one of the most studied and visited ruins of the Mayan world.

A must while in Riviera Maya

An eco-archeological park, Xcaret is a full day of underground rivers, butterflies, snorkelling, and the unique “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular.”

Want to get a view of Los Cabos

Sail to the area's most famous landmarks, El Arco, Lover's Beach, the sea lion colony and the magnificent National Marine Cabo Bay Park on a private sailing tour.

Sun, sea and sail in Puerto Vallarta

Sail onboard our authentic pirate ship to a beautiful beach on the south side of the bay. Enjoy a thrilling pirate show en route.

27 May

By

Mejia’s table

May 27, 2014 | By |

Executive Chef, José Maria Mejia explains how he's bringing a new farm-to-table philosophy to the fine dining experience at Hyatt Zilara Cancun.

Farm-to-table sounds great, but how does it actually work?

We work with local farmers to provide our guests with menus featuring the freshest, seasonal ingredients from the surrounding area.

How will guests know they are eating fresh, local products?

Our chefs and service staff visit the local fishermen, farms and providers regularly and return to the resort to share their experiences with our guests. You'll also enjoy improved texture and flavour since everything is so fresh.

What's the most important lesson you've learned setting up this program?

By focusing on the simple kitchen basics, we can use natural products to restore and fuel the body.

What's the greatest advantage to the guests of sourcing locally?

Guests say they travel to explore and experience things they cannot do at home. By emphasizing the sounds, smells and tastes from the region, you can discover the local culture inside the resort.

Of all the restaurants you oversee, do you have a favourite?

Maria Marie, a Mexican fusion experience at Hyatt Zilara Cancun.

What about a favourite dish?

Cochinita pibil. It's a prehispanic Mayan dish of marinated pork in sour orange, annatto seeds and cooked in an underground charcoal pit.

You've been cooking since you were 16, what's the one thing you're most proud of?

The greatest pride that I have is that I make my living cooking and feeding people – it's not my job, but more a passion.