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A European hotel brand you may not know is taking over the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun

One of the best-known points properties in Cancun is being stripped of its flag. It’s safe to say the Cancun area has been in the midst of a hotel boom, even with looming questions of safety plaguing the region in recent months. Despite that, a handful of high-profile new hotels and resorts have opened here …

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The flag of one of Cancun’s most well-known point homes is being taken away.

Even with impending safety concerns that have plagued the area in recent months, it is reasonable to say that the Cancun area has been experiencing a hotel boom. The Hilton Cancun All-Inclusive Resort is one of the prominent new hotels and resorts that have opened here in the past year despite this.

However, it appears that Kempinski, a European luxury hotel chain, is displacing the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun.

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Recently, internet sleuths and potential resort guests discovered there are no rooms available to book starting on September 1 as noted in the booking calendar below.

The statement “not available for check-in” appears on the calendars for the months after that.

“We can confirm that starting on [August 31], 2022, The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun will no longer operate under the The Ritz-Carlton brand flag. The following steps are still being discussed between the owner firm and Marriott International, a Marriott spokeswoman informed Loyalty Lobby.

Marriott did not respond to TPG’s request for comment in time for publication.

A century’s worth of history

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The first Ritz-Carlton to open outside of the United States was this one in 1993.

The resort had its 25th anniversary back in 2018. The resort remodeled its expensive Mediterranean restaurant Fatino and debuted a new family-friendly Club Lounge to commemorate the occasion.

The resort stated in 2018 that it has “kept its dedication to quality and service by providing its visitors with the best experiences and facilities.” We’re not absolutely certain that is the case, though.

A little more than 25 years after it was opened, TPG dispatched a reporter to check into the hotel in 2019. The headline says it all: “25 years too old: A review of the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun.”

The resort had “the name of a beautiful [five]-star property,” but our reporter, Zach Griff, discovered while there that it was in dire need of renovations.

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Old-fashioned elements in the public areas, like a gold elevator bank, low ceilings, and worn-out furniture, felt out of step with the contemporary designs available at several premium resorts nearby.

Even if the room was a little better, Zach got a sensation that something wasn’t quite right with the Ritz even in 2019.

The rest of the property, he said, “did not; it was in serious need of a makeover and refurbishment,” even though the room “just about passed the Ritz-Carlton brand-standard threshold.”

That brings us to the two inquiries for today: What took place, and what will happen next?

What took place?

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Given our recent analysis of the property, one might infer that the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun was no longer upholding the standards established by Ritz-Carlton and Marriott and that a compromise to do so was not possible.

You know how they say that one bad apple ruins the whole bunch?

So that customers have a positive experience at one hotel and then book a stay at another, brand standards are established to hold each resort to a specific set of guidelines. These brand criteria are probably top of mind for Ritz-Carlton as high-profile new openings modernize and elevate the brand.

Just take a look at the Ritz-Carlton, Mexico City, which just debuted. Consider the recently opened brand-new Ritz-Carlton New York, Nomad, to further emphasize the need for upgrading. According to what I wrote at the time, the goal of this new development was “to introduce a sharper, more modern sort of luxury to the Ritz-Carlton portfolio.”

Even by Ritz-Carlton brand standards, it is obvious that this hotel falls short of many of its newest, more opulent rivals that are erecting flags on the Cancun beaches.

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The Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya was inaugurated by Hilton in Tulum earlier this year. Every accommodation at the resort features a floor-to-ceiling window, a 65-inch television, a relaxing tub or plunge pool, and a modern style.

Let’s briefly compare the cost of the old Ritz-Carlton with the new Conrad to further put things in perspective. Rates start at $539 per night for the remainder of August, or until it is no longer a Ritz-Carlton.

All nightly rates at the Conrad Tulum are less than $400, with some going as low as $339.

Tulum isn’t Cancun, and there is a difference between the two destinations, but if we were to compare a new resort to an outdated name-brand luxury resort, the new resort would win in terms of design and cost.

Next, what?

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We still didn’t know what would happen to this outdated property earlier this week. However, we now have some conclusive responses.

Without ever turning away visitors, the resort will be taken over by the upscale European hotel chain Kempinski beginning September 1 and momentarily rebranded as the Grand Hotel Cancun. According to a statement from Kempinski, “this well-known property will undergo a number of upgrades and changes to the Kempinski brand standards” over the coming months.

The resort will once again change its name to the Kempinski Hotel Cancun at the beginning of next year when those “different upgrades and adjustments” have been done, and we’re hoping that “various” means quite serious in this case.

In a statement, Bernold Schroeder, CEO of Kempinski Group, said, “During a three-month transitional period, we will ensure that we implement our Kempinski DNA in the operation of this outstanding beach hotel and that we extend our brand recognition by delivering the impeccable service and quality Kempinski is known for.

Although Kempinski currently operates hotels in Cuba and Dominica, this will be its first facility in Mexico.

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By Zach Griff/The Points Guy, the featured image.

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