One could say that wedding planning is an art and all great artists need inspiration. What better place to find it than through firsthand experience?
Through a collaboration between Kempinski Hotel Cancún and Quintana Roo Tourism Bureau (CPTQ), ALHI Weddings brought a select group of luxury wedding planners together to embark on a journey to experience the incantation of Cancún and the five-star hospitality of the property.
The goal was simple: Discover the lesser-known Cancún and show our invited guests that Kempinski Hotel Cancún is more than just a place to stay; it’s an experience. Our visit was not just a trip; it was an immersion into a world of unparalleled beauty, romance, magic and endless possibilities.
The exciting journey allowed us to discover breathtaking venues, exchange invaluable insights and forge lasting connections.
Our journey began with a warm welcome at the picturesque venue that would be our home for the next few days. Our gracious hosts greeted us with open arms and a glass of Champagne, followed by a VIP check-in experience on their exclusive Club Level. After time to unwind and enjoy the plentiful amenities, the group met on the beach just in time to take in the sunset before being escorted to a private oceanfront dinner. We indulged in an exquisite menu, created by the hotel’s talented culinary team—dishes incorporated the freshest of seafood with an innovative Mexican touch.
While enjoying our dessert under a blanket of stars, we had the very rare opportunity to witness something spellbinding. The shoreline was quite literally transformed into a theatre of wonder as newly born baby turtles emerged from the sand and began making their way toward the moonlit ocean. A hush fell over the group as we watched the tiny travelers embark on their pilgrimage towards the mysterious embrace of the ocean. Witnessing their magical journey is a moment that will be etched into my heart forever. Hollywood could not have created a more perfect finale to the evening.
“In-person, firsthand experience is so very powerful for me as a destination planner. FAM trips are a perfect opportunity to build relationships with a property's team and learn more about a location. Beyond that, I'm able to put myself in my clients' place. Gathering the firsthand experience from a guest's perspective brings a property to life and makes it that much easier to recommend with confidence. They (ALHI) know how to highlight the best of their properties and they know exactly what planners are looking for. The benefits are massive.”
Allison Davis, Davis Row
Our second day began with an extravagant breakfast in the beachfront Saasil Suite. A private patio, infinity pool and lush gardens made the three-bedroom suite the perfect setting to fuel up for the day, learn about the property from our hosts and engage in some thought-provoking conversation. Post breakfast, we toured the hotel and had the opportunity to take in the variety of stunning wedding venues. From dazzling ballrooms to elegant poolside terraces, every location had its unique charisma and the meticulous attention to detail was evident throughout our tour.
What came next was an absolute treat. The tour concluded at the KAYANTÁ Spa where we were treated to an array of rejuvenating treatments inspired by ancient Mayan therapies, using indigenous ingredients from the Yucatán Peninsula. It also happened to be National Relaxation Day, which was a happy coincidence.
The bliss continued as the group staked claim to our own personal haven amidst the shimmering Caribbean Sea in a private beach cabana. Our customized experience included frozen cocktails, fresh ceviche, basking in the sun and letting the gentle sea breeze carry our worries away.
A private Tequila tasting later that evening set the scene for the fun dinner experience that awaited. CPTQ arranged for dinner at Parole Cancún, part of the Grupo Rosa Negra restaurant group. Located in the Bohemian Square complex across the street from the hotel, this dining experience was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It could have been the captivating setting on the Nichupté Lagoon, the delightful homemade pasta, the endless wine list, the singing Chef ... or all the above. Everyone left with a smile and nobody went to bed hungry that night.
“What a terrific experience! The Kempinski Hotel Cancún was nothing short of a 5-star experience. Service was impeccable and more importantly, thoughtful, as every interaction with staff from the warm greeting at the door to my departure was personable and attentive. It is beyond evident that the staff holds such care and pride in the property and their guests. Hospitality at its finest with luxuriously spacious rooms and an overall ambience steeped in European flair. This trip was the perfect recipe for the best familiarization trip: a thoughtful and detailed itinerary that married the perfect balance of onsite education and events with off-property adventures and experiences rooted in the area's history and culture.”
Mandy Autry, Magnolia Bluebird
With one of the goals of the trip being to showcase the lesser-known side of Cancún, our final day took us deep into the jungles of the Riviera Maya and what lies beneath. CPTQ arranged for one of the most awe-inspiring adventures any of us had ever been on. We took the group to Río Secreto, the “Secret River,” a natural wonder that was an unforgettable experience.
As we arrived at the site, we were greeted by our guide, Jesus, who geared us up with water shoes, wetsuits, life jackets and helmets. The excitement among the group was palpable as we donned our “fashionable” attire in anticipation of the subterranean world we were about to explore.
Descending into the underground river system, we left the world above behind and entered a realm of wonder. Adorned with stunning stalactites and stalagmites, and the occasional bats, the caverns of Río Secreto felt like a natural cathedral. The crystal-clear waters glistened as we ventured deep into the cave system, illuminated only by the soft glow of our headlamps.
We meandered through the underground system in total silence, save the serene trickle of water or the occasional expressions of awe from the group. A spiritual man, Jesus, not only shared insights into the geological history of the cave formation, which dates back millions of years, but he was also keen to share the healing powers of the unique underground landscape. Getting to swim in its pristine waters and float through this hidden world was a surreal and exhilarating experience.
A highlight of the Río Secreto adventure came toward the end of our journey when we were asked to turn off our headlamps and come together in a semi-circle. Together, we stood in total silence and pitch-black darkness as Jesus guided us through one of the most impactful meditations I’ve ever been through. There was not a dry eye in the group. It’s one of those things you had to be there to experience.
When it came time to open our eyes and turn our headlamps on, it’s safe to say we all felt like were eternally bonded by whatever had taken place in those magical waters. What came next was even more beautiful and the perfect ending to the magic. One of the young men in our group, turned to his girlfriend, got on bended knee and proposed. Nicholas Sparks could not have scripted it any more perfectly.
We were all high on life once we resurfaced into the “real” world and the group enjoyed a bountiful Mexican feast and toasted the new couple.
As they say, all good things must come to an end and the hotel certainly saved the best for last. Our culinary experiences at the property were nothing short of exceptional, but our farewell dinner was a gastronomic journey that left a lasting impression. A private dinner in The Club Grill at Kempinski Hotel Cancún, a 5-Diamond award-winning restaurant, capped off the day. The group savored gourmet tastings, sipped on fine wines and indulged in culinary creations crafted by world-class chefs while being treated to live piano music. I honestly cannot think of a more perfect way to close out our three-day adventure.
Our trip was not a solitary experience; it was an opportunity to connect and collaborate. It was inspiring and invigorating for everyone. We explored breathtaking venues, exchanged valuable insights and built meaningful connections and relationships. The journey deepened our knowledge and reminded us of the magic and beauty that surrounds the world of weddings. It’s safe to say we all returned to our everyday lives and businesses armed with fresh ideas, a renewed enthusiasm and plenty of exciting inspiration to help bring our clients’ wedding visions to life.
Valuable relationships are forged with fellow wedding planners, vendors and venue representatives. These connections laid the foundation for future collaborations and creative partnerships. As the trip closed, attendees left with more than just memories; they left with a treasure trove of inspiration. The experience of being immersed in the world of luxury weddings, surrounded by beauty, elegance and creativity, left an indelible mark on their hearts and minds.
“The FAM was very well-organized from the start .... to make sure we got to experience everything a wedding planner needs to plan a destination wedding at Kempinski Hotel Cancún. We had the perfect balance of time for checking out the hotel, including wedding setups, and experiencing the food, spa and all aspects of the resort, including meeting all key players for planning a destination wedding. This included a spa treatment of our choice at their blissful spa, which was a delightful touch. I particularly enjoyed the dinner outside the hotel at Parole in Cancún, which afforded us the opportunity to explore more of the destination. I had a great time and feel confident recommending this resort to my clients because of my experience on this FAM trip.”
Nancy Barkley, Honeymoons and Getaways