The European Brand Replacing The Iconic Franchise Might Be Unknown To Many Americans
The Cancun Hotel Zone is losing one of its best-known hotel franchises at the end of the month. The Ritz-Carlton will be shutting its doors on August 31st, and its replacement may be a surprise to many – at least to Americans.
Luckily, if you’re a fan of the hotel itself, it’ll still be opening its doors again on September 1st, just not as the Ritz-Carlton. European brand, Kempinski, is taking over the reins, and instead of closing the place down to have a full overhaul of the property, they’ll just be changing the flag and functioning as normal under a temporary name – the Grand Hotel Cancun.
From there, the company will begin a gradual adjustment process, switching interiors, systems, and other changes to the property until it matches the aesthetic of the brand. In the new year, it will be renamed the Kempinski Hotel Cancun. It’s the company’s first hotel in North America, although they do have a couple in the Caribbean, found in Cuba and the Dominica.
The brand itself is well known in Europe and often claims to be the oldest luxury hotel brand on the continent. Founded in Munich, Germany in 1897, the franchise now has over 70 properties worldwide and is renowned for high-end luxury properties. They were also named Forbes’s for the Travel and Leisure industry, something that will bode well for those critical of many hotels in the Mexican Caribbean region.
Details of how the hotel will develop in the coming months are vague. As early as two weeks ago, there was no official word on a deal being brokered between Ritz-Carlton and another brand, so the news that the pass-over will be completely fluid will be good news.
For those loyal to Ritz-Carlton, it may not be too much of a surprise, however. The Cancun property was the franchise’s first location outside of the US back in 1993. It once set the standard for luxury in the region, but Cancun’s recent popularity explosion has made things complicated.
Travel points website, The Points Guy, sent a reporter to the hotel back in 2019, just one year after its 25th anniversary, to see if the Ritz was still holding its own. The reporter’s findings found that “While the room just barely passed the Ritz-Carlton-brand-standard threshold, the rest of the property did not — it was in dire need of a makeover and renovation.”
With so many world-class luxury hotels sprinting up in the Mexican Caribbean, the work required to match them would have been huge. Hotels like the new Hilton All-Inclusive as well as many of the high-end boutique hotels, have a modern edge that draws guests from around the world. The old-time luxury style has faded in popularity, and with more and more properties designed with today’s clientele in mind, the Cancun Ritz-Carlton may have struggled to cope.
How the hotel will look in a few months time is completely unclear. The building itself is fitted with traditional-looking quirks like gold elevators. Whether the company choose to keep that style or fully overhaul the design, will be clear in time.
According to the Kempinski description of the hotel:
“the elegant hotel offers 315 guestrooms and 48 suites – all featuring private balconies or terraces with a panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea. Eight dining options including two AAA Five Diamond Award restaurants, an exclusive club lounge, two swimming pools and an oceanfront whirlpool, a spa with relaxation gardens and secluded terraces, a fitness centre with sauna and steam rooms, a tennis centre, private cabanas and lounges on the hotel’s 400-metre stretch of beach, a beauty salon and a kids’ club offer a wide range of facilities to cater for all kinds of guest requests.”
Anyone seeking a last-minute stay before it switches will need to be in Cancun within the next week and a half. After August 31st, the flag will have shifted, and the first few weeks of new management may not be as smooth a service as once expected.
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