Wednesday,  May 25, 2022  4:33 pm

On Location: PAX explores mid-pandemic travel at Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun with Sunwing

On Location: PAX explores mid-pandemic travel at Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun with Sunwing
PAX reports on location from Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort and Spa in Mexico. (Pax Global Media).
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Any hotel that has the words “chic” and “suites” in its name should tell you something.

Those words are thrown around a lot in the travel industry, but in the case of Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort and Spa, the property, confidently and authentically, lives up to its name.

PAX, with Sunwing, is currently on location in Cancun, Mexico, getting an exclusive look at this adults-only, “all-in luxury” lagoon and oceanfront-facing resort, which sits, elegantly, on the buzzing Cancun Strip, just 30 minutes away from Cancun International Airport (CUN).

Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun is run by Blue Diamond Resorts, the hotel division of Sunwing Travel Group.

PAX is on location at Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort and Spa. (Pax Global Media)

It’s a timely check-in as Sunwing, this month, launches it summer 2021 schedule, resuming partial service to select sun destinations from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Montréal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) starting on July 30.

And you can bet your best beach that Cancun is on the list: service from Toronto to Cancun, starting July 30, will run on Fridays and Sundays and on Saturdays starting Aug. 21.

Initial flights between Montreal and Cancun will run on Fridays and Sundays starting July 30, 2021.

“With vaccines rolling out across the country and borders reopening, we’re seeing a significant increase in demand for travel nationwide,” said Andrew Dawson, president of tour operations for Sunwing, in a statement on June 22.

Sunwing will also offer packages to Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun this winter from multiple airports in Canada, including Toronto, Regina, Saskatoon, Saguenay-Bagotville, Hamilton, Waterloo, North Bay, Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton, St. John’s, London, Thunder Bay and more.

Bigger, bolder vacations 

The demand for travel – sand and sun vacations, in particular – after months of pandemic-related lockdowns and boredom, is back, with a vengeance.

READ MORE: Sunwing offering CUN, PUJ, VRA & MBJ flights from YYZ this summer

The well-documented concept of “revenge travel” – the idea that consumers will take “revenge” on their inability to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, and spend more on bigger, longer, more lavish trips when they’re able to – is real. And it’s happening now.

This puts ultra-luxe resorts like Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun, with its stylish architecture, attentive service and upgraded amenities, in a good spot as the great travel rebound begins.

Staff at Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort and Spa give PAX a thumbs up. (Pax Global Media)

With 457 modern rooms and suites, Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun has the perks one might expect from a luxury hotel, such as unlimited reservation-free dining, rain showers, fast and reliable Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service, a powdery white-sand beach and million-dollar views of the ocean – 50 shades of cerulean blue, in this case.

But there’s concepts here, beyond the must-haves, that are worth writing home about.

READ MORE: “I feel safer here than at home”: Talking with Sunwing customers in Dominican Republic

The “Level 18 Rooftop Cabana Lounge” – a sexy rooftop that has a dazzling pool (stretching the length of the roof), cabanas with private plunge pools, an à la carte restaurant and 360-degree views of the Caribbean Sea and Nichupte Lagoon – is gushingly special and unique.

The Level 18 Rooftop Cabana Lounge. (Pax Global Media)

This attractive space, notably, is actually open to locals and other travellers (you don’t necessarily have to be a guest at Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun to visit Level 18). It's a destination in and of itself. 

On the topic of revenge, Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun has everything your clients need to live their best life and go hard.

The resort’s “Diamond Club” is a premium-level upgrade that adds bonus services, such as preferred room locations, butlers, private pool/beach areas, a personalized check-in/check-out, access to an exclusive member lounge, one hour of hydrotherapy per day (based on availability), rooftop privileges and other perks, like premium drinks and pillow menus.

If there was a place to take revenge on the pandemic, it’s here.

Soaring views at Level 18 Rooftop Cabana Lounge. (Pax Global Media)

The culinary options are also worth noting. The buffet (Gourmet Marche) is sprawling and the speciality venues have sizzle – there’s Hunter Steakhouse, Jade (Asian), Grazie Italian Trattoria, Agave (authentic Mexican), Score (sports bar and grill), the aforementioned rooftop eatery (international) and the C/X Culinary Experience, a seven-course “Chef’s Table” option.

And, of course, there’s buzzing martini, beach and pool bars and a coffee shop (Scoops Gelato and Caffe Lounge) with pastries, cakes and omg-worthy ice cream.

What's the vibe? 

Supporting all of this is the Safe with Sunwing commitment, a program of health and safety measures, introduced last year, developed under the advisement of global healthcare leader Medcan.

Mask-wearing in public spaces, temperature checks, social distancing signs and routine hand sanitization are some of the many protocols Sunwing now applies to its flights, Nexus transfers, properties and excursions.

The lobby area of Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort and Spa. (Pax Global Media)

PAX, this week, will be exploring how some of these measures play out at Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun, which, as per current state requirements, cannot surpass 60 per cent occupancy.  

The hotel, at the time of filing this story, is sitting just below that number, staff say, indicating that bookings, despite the cap, are still coming in strong.

What’s most noticeable is how the vibe has changed at resorts since global vaccination efforts have taken off.   

Last November, when vaccines were still a prayer, PAX travelled to the Dominican Republic and toured eight all-inclusive properties, which, at the time, were mostly operating at 10 to 20 per cent occupancy.

Eight months later, the tone has clearly changed as sun and beach-seekers (mostly Americans) resume their vacation plans and enjoy a new era of second-dose bliss.

Lift out of Canada to sun destinations is still limited, so Americans (and locals) make up the bulk of guests at Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun, where the party is pumping – albeit cautiously.

The Royal Spa at Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun. (Pax Global Media)

Last November, COVID-19 was the obnoxious guest that nobody invited who put everyone at resorts on edge.

That obnoxious guest still hasn’t left (let’s be clear – the pandemic isn’t over), but nobody’s letting it rain on their parade anymore.

Health and safety measures are normal now, and the fact that we’re still pushing through this crisis isn’t lost on vacationers – even the vaccinated ones.

For the few American guests PAX spoke to yesterday (all of whom claimed to have long had their full series of shots), masks, sanitizer and temp checks are simply part of the package now.

The U.S., backed by an aggressive vaccination strategy, ramped up its travel activity months ago, giving vaccine-deprived Canadians, at the time, a glimpse of what life could be on the other side.

Level 18 Rooftop Cabana Lounge rooftop pool. (Pax Global Media)

That other side, with safety measures firmly in place, is evident here at Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun, which, like many resorts, has found its pandemic rhythm.

Vaccinated hotel guests are moving on with their lives and, cautiously, doing what they have to do to protect themselves and others.

And here, second-dose selfies are sooo three months ago.

Stay tuned for more of PAX’s exclusive on-location coverage from Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort and Spa in Mexico.

Follow PAX on Instagram here for on-location Instastories from the property!

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