Hola, Cancun!



MEXICO: February-March means it’s time to escape the British freeze and cast out for warm climes. But where in the world would blend white-beach luxury in blue-sea tropical surrounds and syncopate hard play with a soft chill? Cancun met our party-relaxation brief with ease. Sat Bal


The Brief

Week one of our geographic was to be filled with solar-powered parties in a playful but luxury setting. The Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya answered the call like a natural, living up to its rock credentials.

Week two in Cancun required a change in tempo: privacy, peace and a reclaiming of the soul. Where better than the AAA Five Diamond awarded Secrets Maroma Beach in Riviera Cancun? A blissful recovery on a gold platter - around 45 minutes from the Hard Rock.


Hard Rock Hotel (HRH)

A 45-50 minute transfer from Cancun International airport, HRH played to our strengths with its ‘resort within a resort’ concept. The family-friendly Hacienda setting offered a hard-play edge of live music shows and beach frolics while the Heaven complex embraced a more refined adults-only isolation. Combined, the 1,264-room hotel feels vast as evidenced by the scurrying of transfer buggys across the lush palm-lined site.

Adult guests at either resort can wander across to use facilities at either Heaven or Hacienda. Stop press: HRH has announced that from the end of March 2018 Heaven will be managed as a family hotel so it’ll no longer be kids-free.





The HRH mantra is ‘undeniable excess at every turn’ and the pioneers of excess loom large here. Jimi Hendrix, Freddie Mercury, Prince and other legends added a supernatural tinge to the stay, looking down from huge monochrome portraits. Jim Morrison (above) held court in the Hacienda’s Sun Bar, his hair a montage of vinyl records. Elsewhere, Aerosmith’s drum kit and all manner of artist personal effects in display cabinets reminded us why this place is called Hard Rock.



It really is - even down to ordering room service. So enjoy the indulgence of ordering up tea and coffee first thing, despite having a perfectly good coffee machine in your suite. The array of restaurants form part of the package too. Neither will you need to pack your favourite duty-free tipple; all top shelf drinks are complimentary as is the mini bar. Where things do cost, such as spa treatments, your complimentary resort credits will offer discounts.




The Bret Michael's Rock Star Suite


All rooms are well-appointed with hydro spa tubs, a private balcony/terrace with hammocks and complimentary wi-fi throughout. Views range from garden to the panorama of the Caribbean sea with first-quarter prices starting from circa $300 a night to $2,000 a night for the apex experience.

Upgrade to Rock Royalty status and the fun really starts with VIP pool area and your own personal assistant.

The two-bedroom Rock Star Suite (4991 sq ft) and the Rock Suite Platinum Rooftop Lounge (5,166 sq ft) raise the pinnacles of luxury to levels that bona fide A-listers would surely approve of.

Service is willing and warm, on a par with Asian service, across the board.


Beaches & Pools

HRH claims a private white sand beach and invites snorkel and kayak fans alike.

If the beach is your priority we’d suggest spending more time at Secrets Maroma Beach which was more expansive and less busy.

For adults only, the Central Pool at Heaven is just the ticket for sun, lounge, or cool off with an abundance of cocktails. There’s also a semi Olympic pool, cross current rhythm pool - and, of course, the crystalline Caribbean!


Restaurants & Bars



Hacienda offers seven restaurants including à la carte Asian dishes at Zen, Brazil’s best at Ipanema and hot Mexican at Frida. Caffeto is great for an early pastry breakfast or a late baguette grab. Over at Heaven head to Toro for a rich steak, Le Petit Cochon for French à la carte and Ciao for Italian among the five dining areas.   

For drinks, settle down at Heaven’s Martini Bar or the Sun Bar at Hacienda while Float bar invites the pool. At nightclub Club Heaven, live DJs starts the party around 11pm and take it into the early hours.   


Rock Spa



HRH boasts the largest spa in the Caribbean with 75 treatment rooms. On offer is everything from steam rooms to hydrotherapy current pools. The surroundings are among the most lavish we’ve seen and the view from the pools is inspirational. There’s even a yoga temple!


To follow: Secrets Maroma Beach reviewed…

Fab Baker Bros Barbecue All Four Seasons


ALGARVE - Four Seasons Fairways and British TV chefs Tom and Henry Herbert have united to extend the barbecue season. Lucy Kale

The chefs, better known as The Fabulous Baker Brothers, have created a set of ‘WinterGrill Recipe Cards’ with unique recipes for guests of Four Seasons Fairways. The Brothers will also be on site at Four Seasons Fairways in Portugal to host a BBQ Masterclass and small BBQ classes at Four Seasons Fairways from 20 – 23rd February 2018.

This should encourage guests to make good use of the kitchens and bespoke BBQ stations installed in Fairways’ 132 private villas. Four Seasons Fairways lies in Quinta Do Lago and is blessed with Algarve’s year-round sunshine, making al fresco dining a real hit. Guests at the villas can take advantage of either private pools or Jacuzzis.

By April 2018 a €2M refurbishment will have updated Four Seasons Fairways’ clubhouse and central pool, encompassing the resort’s restaurants, bar, pool area and public spaces.

The combination of the venue, family and WinterGrill is a cheery prospect for Henry Herbert who said: “We are already both planning trips back with our families next spring and will be there in February to host our BBQ masterclass.”

The introduction of WinterGrill also ties in perfectly with our #lifeatfairwayscampaign, sharing what life is like in and around our resort,” added Jorge Oliveira, GM, Four Seasons Fairways.


See the recipe tutorial - Recipe 1/5: Trouserless Sizzling Prawns

Click the pic...



BBQ Masterclass week package

(arrivals 16th or 17th February 2018 for 1 week): €1490 

 Four Seasons Fairways tell us this is this package includes:

  • Accommodation for up to 4 guests sharing a villa/apartment
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • BBQ Masterclass event with Tom & Henry (includes the bbq lunch for 4 guests)
  • Return transfers from and to Faro airport

 Price is valid for 4 guests sharing (€ 372.50 per person for the week)


Hard Rock Plans Davos Hotel


DAVOS - Hard Rock International is expanding its hotel portfolio to the Swiss Alps with plans to open Hard Rock Hotel Davos. Chris Page

December 2017 is the anticipated opening date which will see the transformation the 130-year-old building which houses the recently renovated Spenglers Hotel. Hard Rock Hotel Davos honours  Dr. Alexander Spengler and Willem Jan Holsboer both pioneers in medicine and rail engineering,  respectively.

The historic luxury boutique hotel will continue to celebrate its musical moorings thanks to a team of design experts tasked to evolve the venue to the local music scene and the region’s art, style and culture.
“As Hard Rock continues to grow globally, the brand targets expansion in influential cities and
resort destinations around the world, especially in Europe,” said Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of
hotels for Hard Rock International. “Famed for its pristine climate, cultural offerings and vibrant
entertainment scene, Davos is a distinguished destination that draws in tourists from all over.”

The Hard Rock Hotel Davos is situated in the heart of the town, providing easy access to
popular attractions, close to the train station and nearby boutiques and dining options. The hotel
is also walking distance from ski lifts and museums, as well as the city’s convention centre.

 “We are very pleased to welcome the Hard Rock Hotel team in Davos,” said Alessandro Lardi,
president of the board of collaborator International Hospitality Service AG. “The high calibre of the Hard Rock International brand ensures that both Spenglers Hotel and Holsboer Residences – soon to run under the Hard Rock brand – will benefit from the professional expertise and unique music solutions that Hard Rock International offers, combined with style and the region’s culture.”

Andrey Yakunin, co-founder of VIYM, financial and hospitality consult on the deal,
added, “As a hospitality investor with a long-standing track record, I believe Davos provides unique
opportunities for both hoteliers and tourists, as it has a lot to offer to its business and leisure guests in any given season. Therefore, on behalf of our investors in this hospitality asset, I trust this franchise will allow both IHS and Hard Rock International to build a successful and profitable resort, attractive to new guests, including those already loyal to the Hard Rock brand.”

Hard Rock Hotel Davos will feature 111 lavishly redesigned rooms, including 31 serviced one to three bedroom apartments. In addition to three conference rooms for dynamic meeting space, an on-site, historic chapel will also be available for booking, containing a modern sound system, natural acoustics, fully functioning organ and adaptable lighting, ideal for banquets, weddings, private concerts and events.

The restaurant will provide a high-end lobby bar and sophisticated private bar, perfect for private dining and tastings. The hotel will also feature an exclusive rooftop bar for panoramic
360-degree views of the mountains and city.

Guests can enjoy signature brand offerings including The Sound of Your Stay® music amenity program with complimentary vinyl players and records or rock out on a Fender guitar during an in-room jam session, complete with an amp and head phones. Additionally, the property will boast a wellness centre, including a Body Rock® workout facility and a Rock Spa®, complete with the music-infused Rhythm & Motion spa menu, five treatment rooms and a yoga studio.

See: www.hardrockhotels.com.

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