Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Dec 2000

Paradise Found

A glimpse of Royal Resorts in Cancun, Mexico, and of its new relationship with Life Extension.

By Melanie Segala

Royal Resorts  

A match made in heaven may describe the new working relationship of the Life Extension Foundation and Royal Resorts, a five-star rated vacation ownership company based in Cancun, Mexico. What, you may be asking, does Life Extension have in common with a luxury beachfront resort? The answer to that question is the brainchild of Richard Sutton, one of the founders and General Director of Royal Resorts and an enthusiastic 18-year member of the Life Extension Foundation.

Richard Sutton is such a strong believer in the Life Extension mission of preventing disease and slowing premature aging that he would like to see all 45,000 members of Royal Resorts benefit as he has from membership in the Life Extension Foundation. And, at age 67, Richard seems to be a walking testimonial to the fact that The Foundation’s health and dietary recommendations to prevent and treat the diseases of aging are paying off. He faithfully takes up to 30 nutritional supplements throughout the day, but needs no prescription medications, and his yearly medical checkup and blood workup reveal that he is in optimal health.

At a time when most men his age have slowed down or retired from the workforce completely, Richard is committed to improving Royal Resort member benefits and providing “an uncompromised level of customer service unique to the timeshare industry.” Introducing his guests to The Foundation and providing the incentive and convenience to enroll while on vacation is a unique health-giving benefit that he can happily provide Royal Resort members year-round.

lobby
The lobby of the Sands has a distinctive
Mexican-Caribbean influence.
The furnishings are hand-crafted in
Mexico, exclusively for Royal Resorts.

Life Extension, for its part, is as enthusiastic about this budding working relationship as the management staff of Royal Resorts. According to Tom Gregory, Life Extension Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer, “We are very pleased with our new working relationship with Royal Resorts. Royal Resorts is in the business of providing a relaxing and invigorating respite from the pressures of modern life in their Caribbean beach resorts.” Gregory continues, “Life Extension supplies a line of needed and proven products that help a person live longer and better. By taking a holistic approach to health and wellness, members of Royal Resorts and Life Extension are in a win-win situation. Who doesn’t want to live longer and better? Regular vacationers to Royal Resorts who join the Life Extension Foundation are taking a giant step towards that goal. You vacation in paradise, you round out your diet with the optimum set of vitamins from Life Extension and voilà, happiness!”

Bill Faloon, Co-Founder of Life Extension Foundation noted that the personalized service given to Royal Resorts’ members truly sets it apart from other resorts and hotels. “I was really impressed during our early discussions with their management team at how far they will go to create a special vacation for their members and guests.”

Life Extension at work

Sandra Gunn, Life Extension’s consultant for Royal Resorts, has a comfortably appointed alcove in the luxurious Spa, Salon & Fitness Center in the recently opened Spa at the Sands. There, health-conscious guests can make an appointment or just stop by the Life Extension desk to learn more about The Foundation’s work, available products and member benefits. Both Life Extension and Royal Resorts believe that the ultra-modern spa is the perfect setting for guests to take their health and wellness program to the next level by becoming Life Extension members.

Life Extension consultants are conveniently located in each of the other four Royal Resort facilities in Cancun, and there are plans of expansion into properties outside of Cancun. At the weekly orientation session on Sunday, arriving members receive an orientation package that includes the new Life Extension member benefit. There, resort promoters and Life Extension consultants give a presentation on The Foundation that includes product information, website access and features (www.lifeextension.com), and the kind of health-building information that is available in monthly issues of Life Extension magazine and in Life Extension’s reference book, Disease Prevention and Treatment.

Monday through Friday at the Life Extension desk at each resort, consultants provide guests with additional information about The Foundation and will often access the product advisors on-line for a health-related chat or to answer a product-specific question. Consultants report that most people are interested in weight management and anti-inflammatory products. How Life Extension guarantees the quality and efficacy of its products in an unregulated industry is also an important topic to potential members.

The spa experience

Image with Caption
Guests at the Spa, Salon & Fitness Center
enjoy relaxing hydrotherapy as part of the
"total spa experience."

Designed by MCM International, a leader in spa design and management at some of the world’s most exclusive health resorts and spas, the Spa, Salon & Fitness Center located at the Sands is truly “the spa with something else,” as its literature states. Open since early June 2000, the state-of-the-art facility is staffed by certified trainers, instructors, and massage and facial therapists.

The well-equipped fitness center has 17 different types of machines designed to exercise every part of the body for a complete strength and cardiovascular workout. A trainer is always present to assist with equipment and workout needs. Maintaining meticulous standards for cleanliness throughout the facility is of utmost importance. The machines are disinfected several times daily according to Spa Director, Lupita Leyva, to maintain ultra-sanitary conditions for guests. In the aerobics center, which features floor-to-ceiling mirrors and hardwood floors, a certified instructor leads daily classes to the latest workout music.

The truly luxurious spa experience begins with several different facial treatments that include enzyme peeling, deep pore cleansing and an anti-stress facial massage. Other skin-rejuvenating treatments include an anti free radical lifting mask made of micronized vitamins, a deeply absorbed cellular application that will help prevent premature aging, and a freeze-dried fresh cell therapy to minimize crow’s feet and fine lines around the eyes. A special skin-repair treatment for men is designed to relieve razor burn and folliculitis through application of botanical liposomes.

Body care services range from indulgent to therapeutic—deep tissue massages to loosen tight muscles, aromatherapy salt massages to remove dead skin cells and improve circulation, and a detoxifying seaweed body wrap rich in algae minerals and enzymes. For those seeking a uniquely natural experience, a Rise & Shine or Moon & Stars full body massage is available at the spa’s outdoor terrace.

The Royal Resorts family

Royal Resorts currently owns and operates five luxury timeshare resorts in Cancun and one on beautiful Colliers Bay in The Cayman Islands. Each resort property features two-bedroom villas with marble floors, fully equipped kitchens, entertainment centers and private terraces with spectacular oceanfront views. The lushly landscaped grounds are filled with tropical plants, flowers and trees. Each Cancun resort is built in a U-shape with the open end facing the ocean and swimming pools and a restaurant located at the center. A distinct tropical influence of the Mediterranean and Caribbean is reflected in the unique décor of each resort.

fitness center
The state-of-the-art fitness center
provides a complete body workout,
with a trainer always present.

The first in the Royal Resorts family, Club Internacional de Cançun, opened in 1978 and quickly became the industry benchmark for all other luxury timeshare properties. The low-rise resort built with a classic Spanish-Mediterranean design offers serenely calm beach waters and idyllic sunset views across Nichupte lagoon. The Mayan (1984), the Caribbean (1988) and the Islander (1993) followed and are adjacent properties that also share amenities and facilities. The three resorts are connected to one another with covered walkways. A complimentary trolley shuttles guests among the resorts and to and from the resort-owned restaurant and water sports center across the street.

Located near Kukulcán Plaza in the heart of Cancun’s beachfront, the Sands is the newest resort in the Royal Resorts family. The largest of Royal Resorts’ properties in Cancun, the Sands encompasses 15.6 acres and is the culmination of 25 years of designing, building, marketing and operating resorts in Cancun. Phase I, which was completed in February 2000, is comprised of 170 2-bedroom units. Phase II, currently under construction, consists of an additional 170 2-bedroom units, and is scheduled for completion in December 2001. A full-service business center and one of the largest, most modern health spas in Cancun are two of the many available guest amenities.

Partnering with respected real estate developer Thompson Resorts in the Cayman Islands, Royal Resorts added the Reef to its luxury resort family in the Spring of 2000. The low-rise, 82-unit resort designed with a distinctive Caribbean influence is sheltered by a barrier reef on Colliers Bay on Grand Cayman. As an incentive for Cancun guests and members to visit the new resort, a low-cost VIP charter excursion is available to Grand Cayman on the Royal Express. Guests can enjoy lunch, shopping and a full day guided tour of the island and the Reef Resort.

Constant improvement

The Royal Resorts family is comprised of more than just properties. With over 3000 employees, it is the second largest employer in southeast Mexico with one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the country. One reason may be the encouragement and opportunity given to all employees to further their training and education. According to Richard Sutton, “The training department was created to give employees the necessary tools to develop their abilities, affording them confidence in themselves while serving our guests. This not only benefits the resort, but adds quality to their life.”

Department managers teach courses related to Food and Beverage, Kitchen, Housekeeping, Reception and Maintenance. Training Department personnel focus on such topics as Leadership, Motivation, Self-Esteem, Positive Attitude, Politeness and High Quality Service. In the Adult Education Open System Program employees may complete their elementary and secondary education, while the English Language Learning Program enables them to improve their job skills while learning about a new culture. Two well-equipped computer classrooms keep technical skills sharp by providing training in the latest software packages.

Preserving nature’s beauty

villas
Spacious units, which are called villas,
feature balconies, marble floors and
generous closet space

Surrounded by the natural beauty of the ocean, beaches and tropical foliage, Royal Resorts has had a long-standing commitment to live in harmony with nature while protecting its delicate balance. Conservation of natural resources is practiced in a host of different ways. Trash is separated and recycled and wastewater is reused to water the landscaping. Royal Resorts sponsors a turtle protection program where nests are guarded and hatchlings are released by company volunteers. In fact, no product may be sold in a Royal Resorts shop involving an endangered species or contributing to destruction of natural rain forests. To minimize the use of pesticides, hardy, pest-resistant plants have been used as much as possible.

Prior to construction of the Royal Sands, over 8,000 trees and tropical plants were carefully uprooted from the construction site and replanted in a holding area in downtown Cancun. The holding area became known as the Jungle Nursery. The priceless foliage was nurtured there until construction was completed and then returned to the grounds of the resort.

Food safety and hygiene

The restaurants of Royal Resorts pride themselves on serving the finest gourmet food in Cancun. The company also serves 1,600 employee meals per day. In order to maintain safety in the food handling process, the chemistry lab operated by Royal Resorts analyzes random food samples from the restaurant and Commissary kitchen to ensure safe consumption. This has resulted in a “Certificate H” being awarded to Royal Resorts from the Mexican Federal Department of Health for maintaining the highest standards of sanitation and hygiene in food handling, an honor bestowed on only 15 of Cancun’s 3000 restaurants. In addition, all food handlers are required to wear white uniforms and plastic gloves, and wash their hands and brush their nails every 45 minutes.

A commitment to guest satisfaction

The success of Royal Resorts is reflected in an unparalleled commitment to quality and guest service. The mission statement of the original founders of Royal Resorts was as follows: “To build the kind of resort at which we ourselves would like to vacation, and to be sold as we would like to be sold to.” This uncompromised level of customer service is demonstrated in every aspect of delivering a dream vacation for their guests and members. Member referrals account for 75% of guest sales and independent surveys show a 95% satisfaction rate. In fact, the Timeshare Users Group (www.tug2.net), a timeshare owners’ interactive website, recently named the Caribbean as the top timeshare in the world. Also included from the Royal Resorts family were the Islander in second place, the Mayan in tenth place and Club Internacional in twentieth place.

Activities at all the resorts are tailored for every age group. For children there are musical games, swimming lessons, pinata parties and a host of other activities. Beginner scuba and snorkeling lessons for children and adults are available at the pool. Water sports such as sailing, fishing, windsurfing and water skiing can also be enjoyed. An on-site travel planner will arrange day trips to local attractions as well as to Cozumel for scuba diving and Tulum to visit the ancient Mayan ruins. For golf lovers, a highly reduced package is available at the 18-hole Pok-Ta-Pok golf course.

Guest satisfaction also includes adjusting for the evolving needs of long-time members. At the Mayan, two elevators have been installed to transport guests from the ground floor to the second floor lobby. This renovation was designed to create a more senior friendly environment. According to Richard Sutton, “Our first owners, 95% of whom still own their villas today, were cosmopolitan, financially successful couples in their 40’s who usually traveled without children. Many of their needs have changed over the years and now require a comfortable, serene vacation for retirees or an active family vacation with grandkids.”

Expanding horizons

Life Extension desk
Guests can easily visit the
Life Extension desk, conveniently
located in the lobby of the Spa,
Salon & Fitness Center.

Expanding further into Mexico and the Caribbean, the company is enjoying unprecedented growth into new markets. In 1997, Royal Resorts took over management of the financially troubled Pelican Resort Club in St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. Once considered to be the jewel of Caribbean vacation timeshares, the Pelican Resort Club fell on hard times after poor management and two hurricanes forced it into bankruptcy in 1996. In three short years, Royal Resorts has managed to turn the ailing resort around by making marked improvements in the quality of service and guest satisfaction.

In January of 2000, Royal Resorts assumed management of its first hotel, El Castellano, in the 450-year-old colonial-style city of Mérida, Mexico. Conveniently located near Mérida’s central plaza, El Castellano is also an easy drive to the historic Mayan archaeological sites of Uxmal and Chichén-Itzá. In March 2000, the company added to its presence in the Cayman Islands, by assuming management and operations of the Grand Caymanian Resort, a five-star rated luxury resort on the Island’s North Sound.

The growth of Royal Resorts throughout the Caribbean has only just begun. A new management agreement in the historical and cultural melting pot of Curaçao in the Dutch Caribbean is currently underway. The 174-unit Sea Aquarium Resort will have a colonial Caribbean influence and be completed in phases from mid-2001 to 2003.

According to Mark Carney, Marketing and Sales Director, Royal Resorts plans to launch two new projects a year for the next five years. “At this stage we are in negotiations in several other projects. It is our wish to see Royal Resorts recognized as a household name in Caribbean vacation ownership, using the solid structure in place at our Cancun resorts as a base for our continued growth.”

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