The Reef 28 Unveils Beach-Chic Hospitality in Downtown Playa del Carmen

Wrttten By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor and Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine 

Photography courtesy of The Reef Resorts.

The Mexican state Quintana Roo is perhaps best known as the home of the venerable tourist city of Cancun, which is revered for beautiful white coral sand beaches, hot nightlife and everything in-between. Thousands of tourists flock to this destination monthly. However, travelers would do well to take just a 45 minute ride by car from Cancun International Airport to check out what its sister city of Playa del Carmen has to offer. This Caribbean beach town, which is located on the easterly side of the Yucatan Peninsula, is growing in popularity since it boasts its own share of dreamy Riviera Maya beaches along with fabulous golf, bars and restaurants, shopping, and super-cool things to do like explore Mayan ruins or snorkel in the Cenotes caves and caverns.

What’s also notable about Playa del Carmen is the emerging breed of luxury all-inclusive hotels and resorts attracting jet-setters worldwide to this exotic paradise. Paramount among these is a sexy new adults-only beach-chic oasis called The Reef 28, which is the newest all-inclusive offering from the family-owned hospitality operation The Reef Resorts that opened in May 2018. According to Corrina Terenstra, The Reef 28’s Director of Sales and Marketing, this particular hotel is a passion project for the owner and his family—and it shows in the painstaking design and décor details, and apparent attention to quality at every guest touch point.

Another noteworthy, this destination exemplifies that a hotel need not be sitting on top of the beach to be fabulous and in high demand. “This property manages to have the Caribbean feeling and atmosphere, while still being downtown, in the heart of everything,” Terenstra notes. And she’s right, as my own visit to The Reef 28 confirmed it’s comfortable walking distance to the famous Mamita’s Beach Club as well as a wide assortment of bars, restaurants, and the kinetic Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) offering both world-class shopping and luxe boutiques in tandem with small indigenous shops replete with art and culture from the region. Guests can also shuttle to the two other nearby Reef properties in Coco Beach or Playacar to enjoy those beaches and all-inclusive amenities. Tours and excursions of every sort are also just a short drive away from the hotel. Indeed, The Reef 28’s location provides amazing access to pretty much all that Playa del Carmen has to offer—the beach plus so much more.

Relative to what the hotel, itself, has available…it’s much. First, The Reef 28 is a decidedly high-end luxury offering for discerning travelers who also prefer the warmth and personalized service that a boutique property can proffer. What I also personally adore about this location is its authenticity. I’ve stayed at some resorts in Mexico where you would never know you’re actually in the country, let alone one specific city or another. However, The Reef 28 reflects the area’s authentic culture. Terenstra points out that the privately-owned property hires indigenous talent and that every detail is thought through and created by a detail-oriented native team. This certainly extends to its food and beverage program that includes Mexican chefs and cooks who add a delicious Mexican touch to most if not all cuisine.

And speaking of cuisine, this is another feature helping this property make its mark in the region among locals and tourists, alike. The hotel has two elegant on-site restaurants featuring fresh Mexican and Asian fusion flavors, Cachito and El Asiatico, as well as the more casual Ventiocho’s that serves a wonderful breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet along with service that’s second to none. These eateries defy what’s expected of typically underwhelming all-inclusive fare. Rather, the restaurants boast inventive gourmet cuisine rivaling the world-renowned eateries peppered throughout Playa del Carmen. And no worries about those vacation calories as there’s a rooftop fitness center as well for those so inclined.

Three bars are also resident—La Cantina Del Mezcal, Lounge Bar 28, and the stylish ARRIBArooftop bar—where guests can sip and savor premium cocktails and even delight in al fresco breakfast or lunch with a view. The loungy ARRIBArooftop is also especially noteworthy as here, the seductive infinity pool is surrounded by plush cabanas, loungers and other comfy seating while local DJs set a festive vibe while patrons socialize and soak in the sun or starlight. “We wanted to create a space that was more about connecting than escaping,” Terenstra adds.

 

I would also be remiss to not mention the sleek and modern guest rooms and sophisticated hotel interior in general, which all takes inspiration from the colorful Caribbean and the unique characteristics of marine life. This is an all-suites destination, so every room is either a Junior Suite or a Master Suite. Conveniences abound, from hair irons to high speed Internet to in-room Nespresso machines and daily stocked mini bars. Other luxuries also allow for moments of intimacy and relaxation, like plush bedding, towels and robes to a bedside Jacuzzi and private patios or terraces in the Master Suites.

According to Mr. Montalvo, CEO of The Reef Resorts & Spa, “It was time to embrace what people really want from a vacation. Adults are looking for their own adventures and their own way to feel a part of a genuine—even transformative—experience. At The Reef 28, they get to be a part of the party, the culture, the cuisine and fun that makes Riviera Maya Mexico’s thriving Cote d’Azur.” The property is designed to help guests move at ease from beachfront to rooftop bar lounge.

It’s clear The Reef 28 has set its sights on offering a new kind of “all-in” experience in Playa Del Carmen.” So leave the kiddos at home and escape to this romantic adults-only all-inclusive retreat where your own play-date in paradise awaits.
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Merilee Kern, MBA

Merilee Kern, MBA


As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

Enjoy a Fabulous Staycation at InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel

Governor's Dining Area

Governor’s Dining Area

As you’re gearing up for Memorial Day, we want to share a Summer Savings Package, perfect for a staycation at Austin’s own InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel this weekend.

The package includes a two-night stay in a Deluxe King Room with an organized tour of Austin and credits to enjoy local dining destinations including Roaring Fork and Moonshine as well as sips and snacks at the hotel’s own Terrace Bar.

Located on the second floor of the hotel, The Terrace Bar provides breathtaking views of the Capitol building and bustling Congress Avenue while offering authentic Texas bites such as brisket quesadillas, bacon wrapped quail and tortilla crusted gulf shrimp. Guests can also enjoy a world-class selection of wines by the glass, cordials, craft beers, premium cigars, and handcrafted cocktails.

Summer Savings at InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel - $915

To book: Please call Sales/Catering Coordinator 512-721-4230

  • 2 night stay in a King Deluxe Room (Fri/Sat or Sat/Sun)
  • $60 credit for Cocktails at our Stephen F Bar
  • $150 credit for Dinner at Roaring Fork
  • $75 credit for breakfast at Moonshine
  • One breakfast for two in the Club Lounge
  • Organized tour of Austin
  • Package valued at $1,143 | A 20% savings

 

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Encourages Florida Residents to Sneak Away to the Beach, With Special Summer Staycation Rate

Sunshine State Residents Can Stay, Play and Save All Week Long

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach announced participation in a special offer for residents of its home state, extending those who book and travel now through May 31 a discount of 20% off the best available rate on weekdays, with 15% off on weekends. Inspiring Florida residents to take advantage of their beautiful state, the Florida Resident Special is the perfect escape to enjoy the springtime in the Sunshine State, and is available at the oceanfront Fort Lauderdale property, as well as Sonesta ES Suites Orlando, Sonesta Coconut Grove Miami and Sonesta ES Suites Jacksonville.

“We are lucky to live and work in such an incredible destination, where so many come from around the world to vacation each year,” said Eduardo Fernandez, general manager of Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach. “With this special rate, we want to remind our neighbors that they don’t have to look far for a memorable getaway, encouraging them to explore all that exists right in their backyard.”

Overlooking Fort Lauderdale’s pristine coastline, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach fulfills travelers’ dreams of a serene, close-to-home getaway. The 240-guestroom hotel features modern, yet elegant oceanfront accommodations and on-site amenities that are open to guests throughout the day and night. The hotel is also in proximity to some of Fort Lauderdale’s most popular attractions, including the Las Olas Arts & Entertainment District and Himmarshee Street’s lively night life.

For more information about the Florida resident promotion please visit: https://www.sonesta.com/florida-resident-special.  When booking, use rate code FLA.

For more information visit www.Sonesta.com/FortLauderdale or call (954) 315-1460. For the latest news and information, become a fan on Facebook or follow the hotel on Twitter and Instagram @sonestafortlauderdale. 

About Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

The TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence rated oceanfront Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach, features 240 guest rooms including 23 spectacular suites, all of which boast panoramic views of the seven-mile stretch of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach provides a new level of hospitality to the Fort Lauderdale market by offering travelers a sense of place, not just a place to stay. Catering to both business and leisure travelers, the hotel is centrally located on the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and A1A, only 8 miles from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and just minutes from the Las Olas Arts & Entertainment District and Port Everglades.  Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach offers an authentic, local experience to guests and locals alike, brought to life through the brand’s signature Food is Art, Liquid Art and Daily Delights programs.

About Sonesta Hotels

Sonesta is a growing, global hospitality brand with 80 properties in seven countries, centered on a corporate dedication to delivering a guest experience that provides more than just a place to stay. With a portfolio of diverse and distinctive properties as individual as its guests, there is no typical Sonesta. Offering a full range exceptional experiences found in many of the most memorable destinations in the world, Sonesta proudly exceeds guest’s expectations time and time again.

Discover Royal Sonesta and Sonesta Hotels & Resorts in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Hilton Head Island, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis, St. Maarten (2), Chile (2), Colombia (8), Ecuador, Peru (5), and Egypt (3 + 3 cruise ships). Sonesta ES Suites is an extended stay hotel brand managed by Sonesta found in 42 locations across the US. For more about Sonesta, visit Sonesta.com or call +1.617.315.9200 or 800.Sonesta (800.766.3782) in the U.S. and Canada.

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A Luxurious Ticket to March Madness

As one of the world’s leading charter brokers, Air Partner has worked within the sports sector for several decades and has grown in scale every year. One current sporting event in particular is March Madness. Air Partner offers a ticket to the ultimate March Madness travel with access to smaller regional airports, flight flexibility, and a customized operations team and dedicated account manager that handles the hassle of planning to provide an even more convenient and comfortable trip.

Since March Madness games are scheduled just one to two days apart from one another, it is almost impossible to get to each game round. With Air Partner, it is possible to attend the March Madness First Round (Dayton, OH) to First/Second Round games and then to Final Four in San Antonio by private jet for $95K to 100K on a Citation X.*Please also note that prices of private jet rates are subject to change dependent on availability.

Flying privately enables travelers to set their own schedule, save precious time and get to signature events like March Madness in comfort and privacy. The company also provides a 24/7 account manager who handles the booking and logistics of the trip, ensuring seamless ground to air formalities and customized in-flight services, plus much more. By the time the sports fan arrives, everything has been taken care of making it easier to get to the games on time without any hassle. For more information, visitwww.airpartner.com.

6 Must-Know Spring Break Hacks  

Have you been watching the snow pile up outside? Are the gray, cold days wearing you down and making you count the minutes until blue skies and sunshine are the norm? You’re not alone. As much fun as you can have sledding, building snowmen or donning a fashionable scarf, most people at this time of the year start dreaming of sun-filled beaches, flip-flops and shorts. 

No wonder spring break is so popular. 

Whether you want to bring your family along, get away with a few friends or explore some new, tropical destination, packing up and taking off on an unforgettable spring break vacation is easier and more affordable than you may think. From finding deals to getting there, here is your six-step guide to a perfect spring break. 

1. Get everyone involved. Unless you’re planning a surprise vacation for someone, you want to be sure everyone who is going weighs in and has a say. This is especially

important if you’re going on a family trip. Giving your kids the chance to participate in planning and decision-making can help them feel more invested in the trip. For example, while the adults might choose the destination and accommodations, let the kids pick a couple activities to book in advance. This will lead to a better experience for everyone. 

2. Book early. We’ve all heard the mantra “earlier is better” and generally, that’s true for booking airfare. According to a recent report from Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation, for travel originating in the U.S., you should aim to buy tickets at least 30 days in advance. In other words: You should probably book your spring vacation now. 

3. Avoid peak travel times. If you have flexibility in terms of your travel dates, make sure you compare prices for different departure windows. Often spring break travel can have an impact on prices, and leaving a week or two earlier or later can save you money. The same applies for travel during and around the Easter holiday (April 1). Use a site like Expedia.com, which will compare rates from all airlines and often provide suggestions for alternate travel dates that yield lower fares. 

4. Bundle to save. Always buy your plane ticket and hotel room together. Why? Because 1) it’s convenient and saves you time and 2) you can save some serious money when you do so. For instance, those who use the popular travel website Expedia to book their vacations save an average of $600 when they bundle their flights and hotel rooms together. Oftentimes, when going to popular resort destinations like Los Cabos or Riviera Maya, the savings are even better, so don’t leave that money on the table. 

5. Fly on the right day. As many savvy travelers know, it takes a multi-pronged approach to find the best deals. Along with booking early and bundling, when you travel plays a big role in the price you pay. According to the same report from Expedia and ARC, booking on a Sunday often yielded the lowest average ticket prices for both economy and premium travel. Furthermore, depending on the itinerary, travelers departing on Friday may score a lower price. 

6. Pack only the essentials. The beautiful thing about a beach vacation is the ability to pack light. Buy your sunscreen once you get to your destination, and opt for flip-flops and lightweight clothing that will all fit in a carry-on bag. Not only will this make life easier when you go to and from the airport, but you’ll save on checked baggage fees as well. 

An unforgettable spring break vacation for you and your family is more affordable than you think. So stop dreaming and start planning! Sunshine and sand are just a few clicks away! (BPT) 

Cool Off This Month with a Cucumber Fizz at Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

Cucumber Fizz

With the average 80 degrees weather felt throughout Fort Lauderdale on a daily basis, Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach knows a thing or two about how to stay hydrated and cool off. Throughout the month of March, visitors can enjoy the hotel’s signature drink, the Cucumber Fizz. Here’s how the team is handling the heat:

Ingredients:

2 oz      Cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped

1.5 oz   Grey Goose La Poire Flavored vodka

.5 oz     St-Germain elderflower liqueur

1.5 oz   Lemon juice

1.5 oz   Simple syrup

Lemonade or club soda

Directions:

In a shaker, muddle the cucumber. Add the vodka, St-Germain, lemon juice and simple syrup and fill with ice.

Shake vigorously and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice.

Garnish with mint, cucumber slices and lemon zest and top with lemonade or club soda.

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

Making a positive difference in the community is a top priority for the team at Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach and this year, the hotel is saying thank you to the women in our lives and raising awareness on this global movement by offering a one-day-only special.

On March 8, all women dining at the hotel’s full-service beachfront restaurant, Bistro, will receive a complimentary drink and dessert with the purchase of an entrée. International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide in all types of ways and Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach welcomes locals and guests to toast to women at Bistro.

For more information visit https://www.Sonesta.com/FortLauderdale or call 1-800-SONESTA. 

About Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

The AAA Four Diamond-rated oceanfront Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach, features 240 guest rooms including 23 spectacular suites, all of which boast panoramic views of the seven-mile stretch of Fort Lauderdale Beach. This oceanfront hotel provides a new level of hospitality to the Fort Lauderdale market by offering travelers a sense of place, not just a place to stay. Catering to both business and leisure travelers, the hotel is centrally located on the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and A1A, only 8 miles from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and just minutes from the Las Olas Arts & Entertainment District and Port Everglades.  Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach offers an authentic, local experience to guests and locals alike, brought to life through the brand’s signature Food is Art, Liquid Art and Daily Delights programs.

Prepare to Bee Amazed by Sonesta Bee Cave Austin

Written by James Nelson, Technology Editor for InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential 

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin has a mostly modern interior with hints of rustic accents. Situated at the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave, Texas, there are a variety of nearby restaurants and entertainment options for all guests to enjoy.  Parking at Sonesta Bee Cave Austin is free with several covered spaces below the hotel, complemented by an elevator which brings you directly into the hotel without exposure to the elements.

Lobby staff is attentive and knowledgeable about the hotel, nearby food and entertainment selections, and greater Austin attractions.

Photography courtesy of Sonesta Bee Cave Austin

Photography courtesy of Sonesta Bee Cave Austin

There are several room designs from which to choose. To enter the floors with guest rooms, guests must swipe their room key first which is a thoughtful touch to increase security. We were confirmed in a luxurious corner King room.  This spacious room includes a Keurig, excellent to brew a delightful cup of morning’s coffee. The bathroom is spacious as well and includes a wall to wall mirror with imbedded lighting.  Plenty of electrical outlets make it easy to charge electronic and technology devices, and a comfortable desk and chair is appreciated when it’s necessary to get some work done.

 

Photography courtesy of Sonesta Bee Cave Austin

Photography courtesy of Sonesta Bee Cave Austin

Meridian 98, located on the top floor of the hotel, is staffed by a knowledgeable and gracious team of professionals.  Greeted within seconds of our arrival at the bar, we were presented with tasty selections of their craft cocktails.  Meridian 98 presents several atmospheres; indoors gives the feeling of a warm and cozy 60’s lounge, while the outdoors takes us to a beach resort balcony.  Both atmospheres are complemented by plush furniture and beautiful views of the Texas Hill Country.   The well-appointed culinary menu offers something for even the most discriminate diner and is served beautifully at the appropriate temperature.

Sonesta Bee Cave Austin offers many options to plan small and large events.  The names of the beautifully appointed meeting and banquet spaces are “bee” related (I.E., Colony, Honeycomb, and Apiary) which adds a touch of humor.

The guest registration and check out processes are convenient, efficient, and fast.  The professional staff definitely pays attention to details and demonstrates how much they value their guests.

We recommend Sonesta Bee Cave Austin without hesitation when you need an event space, weekend getaway or simply a staycation in the beautiful Lakeway, Austin and Texas Hill Country areas.

Here’s an Exciting Luxury Gift Idea

Here’s an exciting luxury gift for him and her from Air Partner, the global leader in private aviation.

Air Partner offers a one-of-a-kind JetCard which gives its guests one of the most unique and luxurious experiences world-wide. Air Partner’s JetCard members enjoy flexible departure times, faster trips and comfortable accommodations with every trip they take. Services include, but are not limited to, premium lounge access, arranging chauffer driven cars and confirming luxurious accommodations on their clients’ behalf – making it the perfect luxury getaway gift.

Rated the industry’s #1 most flexible program for four consecutive years, Air Partner’s JetCard offers simple pre-paid flight hours, minimum of 10, with fully refundable account balances and flight credit that never expires. There are two types – JetCard and JetCard Sterling – both of which allow clients to tailor a program that fits with their needs and countless member benefits.

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Some benefits include:

  • Guaranteed availability in as few as 12 hours’ notice with no blackout dates
  • Flight credit that never expires and fully-refundable account balances
  • Only pay for the time you fly, with no hidden fees
  • 20% discount on qualifying round-trip travel
  • Freedom to apply JetCard funds to on-demand jet charter
  • 24/7 global coverage year-round

For more information on the JetCard, please visit https://jetcard.airpartner.com/?utm_source=article&utm_medium=press&utm_campaign=5_ways_jet_travel_reduces_stress&utm_content=jc_link.

JetBlue Modernizes the Cruise Planning and Booking Experience with AI Technology

– In Partnership with CruisingStore, Travelers Can Build Customized Itineraries with Dedicated Customer Service and Competitive Prices –

JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) on Tuesday, January 23 announced a new partnership with Cruising Store that deploys the power of artificial intelligence to help travelers customize their vacation experience and add flights and other offerings, all in one place. Through JetBlue’s new cruise booking and planning platform, customers are able to bypass the often-confusing process of finding the right cruise and the traditional model of contacting a travel agent to book.

“AI is changing how we travel and our goal is to be at the front of the curve,” said Marty St George, executive vice president, commercial and planning, JetBlue. “We’ve already incorporated artificial intelligence into vacation planning and now our partnership with CruisingStore means customers will quickly be able to find the cruise that’s right for them and book their flights all in one place.”

One of the hardest parts of the traditional process is finding cruises to the destinations a traveler wants to see, on the dates they want, and for the budget they have in mind. JetBlue has joined with CruisingStore to introduce a new platform that helps travelers make informed decisions when selecting a cruise. The ‘intelligence engine’ technology takes JetBlue’s already robust cruise travel site to a new level, identifying cruise vacations that meet a customer’s budget, destination preferences, and other activities. Over time, the platform will evolve to further evaluate what matters most to travelers, providing even more customized options.

Officially launching in January 2018 in tandem with the JetBlue partnership, CruisingStore aims to innovate the cruise vertical with a more advanced, customer-focused and supplier-friendly cruise shopping experience. The results are unique cruise experiences at competitive prices.

CruisingStore is led by co-founders and cruise industry veterans whose combined leadership experience includes more than 30 years of experience at some of the world’s leading travel companies – including Dwain Wall, chief executive officer; John Henderson, chief technology officer; Tom Grasse, chief marketing officer; and Jill LaBarre, executive vice president of agency operations.

“We are incredibly excited to announce a partnership with JetBlue, who has been an innovator in the travel space for many years,” said Dwain Wall, chief executive officer of CruisingStore.  “We have worked hard to create a solution to the many long-standing and intractable execution challenges facing the cruise and airline industries and with CruisingStore.com, we are pleased to have that solution now readily available.”

JetBlue provides customers booking cruise-centric vacation packages with a simplified booking experience. JetBlue’s partnership with CruisingStore is the latest in the airline’s evolution to offer more personalized trip experiences. Combining technology with JetBlue’s award-winning customer service, JetBlue seeks to create a one-stop vacation shop and seamless travel journey.

About JetBlue

JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 38 million customers a year to 101 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 1,000 daily flights. For more information, please visit www.jetblue.com.

About CruisingStore.com

Officially making its debut in January 2018, CruisingStore.com is on its way to transforming the cruise industry. The site is the most technologically advanced and content-rich online forum for cruise planning, shopping, collaborating, and booking. Soon to be forging a revolutionary shared customer distribution model with leading cruise line partners, CruisingStore.com aims to provide real-time product support and deep data functionality to create the ultimate personalized cruise customer experience. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, the company is steered by cruise industry experts and technology innovators.