It’s a niche market that’s growing and one of the leading players in the luxury Adult’s Only Holiday sector is Rodrigo de la Peña, Chief Executive of The Original Group. Here he tells us about the Group’s expansion over the past 35 years and the re-opening of his spectacularly-designed Temptation Resort in Cancun:
Later this year – autumn to be exact – a stunningly-revamped Temptation Resort and Hotel in the Caribbean will throw open its doors to the wealthy, sun-seeking and playful.
Among the first to step over the threshold of this much talked-about ‘playground for grown-ups’ in Cancun, Mexico will be interior designers and editors of luxury home magazines. The reason for this is because the role of overseeing the refurbishment of the entire beachfront hotel went to none other than the celebrated Karim Rashid, today’s ‘go to’ designer. His brief was ‘sensual minimalism,’ and he hasn’t disappointed.
Karim Rashid’s ‘Sensual’ hotel interior
The 430-room hotel – which has already clinched a design award – is colourful, funky and filled with curved, amorphous human-like shapes. Even the seven storey hotel’s optional ‘top-less’ façade has been sculpted along human-shaped principles.
Inside it boasts eight restaurants (one of which will be aphrodisiac-themed), five bars, a luxury spa, a fully-equipped fitness centre and two pools. First-class service is guaranteed.
It’s a project Rodrigo de la Peña, Chief Executive of The Original Group, is particularly proud of.
“We wanted the interior to inspire passion, sensuality and excitement and that’s exactly what Karim delivered,” he said. “The design undulates and contains spaces which have been specifically designed to bring people together. I’m particularly fond of the orifice-like opening on the front. I’m sure our guests will be delighted with the results.”
Passion-filled holidays for the ‘chic, confident and free’
Formerly Original Resorts, the rebranded Original Group is a familiar name in Mexico and around the world in adult-only holidaying circles. Adults who prefer to spend most of their holiday at sea can sign up to a Temptation Cruise, billed as a “vibrant and passion-filled holiday for the chic, confident and free-spirited traveller.”
De la Pena doesn’t need to worry about whether the Temptation project will be a success. He already knows this is a winning formula, thanks to the grateful guests at his all-inclusive, clothing-optional couples’ resorts, Desire Riviera Maya Pearl and Desire Riviera Maya, together with the Desire Venice Cruise.
The latter is billed as ‘a sensual sanctuary at sea.’ Couples (aged 21 and over) are offered “provocative luxury” and, at the same time, the “perfect combination of relaxation and fantasy with breathtaking views of extraordinary destinations.” Entertainment is in the form of “provocative” theme nights, couples workshops and indoor/outdoor playrooms. Gourmet dining is assured as is first-class accommodation. Again, clothing is optional.
Following in his father’s impressive footsteps
Although de la Pena has only been CEO of the latest incarnation of the hotel and resort chain since 2014 (he was President of the Board of Directors of Original Group Resorts from 2011), he’s been familiar with the business since an early age as it was founded by his father, Diego de la Peña García.
An engineer by trade, de la Pena Snr originally constructed a marina for luxury yachts in the (then) small fishing village of Cancun and a year later – 1974 – opened his first hotel, the Playa Blanca with 74 rooms, in the Mexican city. Over the years he has extended it, so that by the time it was rebranded as the Temptation Hotel in 2007, it offered 384 rooms for guests.
In 1994 the 250 room Hacienda del Mar was added to the portfolio as well as the 120 room Riviera Maya Resort. Today the original Marina has been developed into a huge US-style dock with capacity for 80 vessels. There is diesel and gasoline supplies in all berths and access to the sea 24 hours a day.
Creating an apartment complex in Alicante
As well as taking over reconstruction of the hotels following the destructive Hurricane Wilma which severely hit the Yucatan Peninsula in 2015, the younger de la Pena also founded Grupo Inmobiliario Villas de Playa in 2005. This involved the completion of Amara, a 49-acre development of 1200 ocean-front apartments in Alicante, Spain. In 2006 they moved back to Mexico, to Los Cabos on the west coast, where they opened another Temptation-branded hotel.
From 2009 to 2013 de la Pena was President of the Association of Cancun’s Hotels and Ports. In 2012 he was awarded the Antonio Enríquez Savignac Tourist Merit Medal by the government of Quintana Roo for his contribution to tourism in the region. Meanwhile, he is also an adviser for both the banks of BANORTE and BBVA BANCOMER.
Further achievements for the Original Group include an 88 room hotel in Puerto Morelos in Quintana Roo established under the Desire Brand.
Both the Desire and Temptation brands are aimed specifically at the adult market. They are for guests who appreciate high standards along with a holiday experience which differs from the norm. Certainly, with annual occupancy rates of up to 85 per cent there is no shortage of custom.
The first Temptation cruise is set to depart from Venice in September this year. Anticipating success, there are plans to run seven by the year 2022.
Turning to luxury tour operations
The Original Group currently focuses on Temptation Travel – a tour operation whose target customer is “the adult looking for unconventional holiday experiences.”
Other future developments the Group have lined up include further developments and land reserves in both Cancun and Isla Mujeres, as well as co-investment in a local housing development boasting 1200 stunning oceanfront apartments.
The group’s focus on the Adults Only sector is a sensible one as this particular sector of the market has increased within the past decade, with more global holiday companies offering ‘exclusively adult’ packages.
In fact, a survey by a major UK operator in 2014 showed that of those interviewed, 34 per cent of parents of children under 18 already took child-free holidays. Of those 43 per cent said the reason they chose an Adults Only vacation was to allow them to spend more quality time with their partner. Nearly one third of those interviewed admitted that they didn’t enjoy being around other people’s children.
To find out more about Rodrigo de la Peña, The Temptation and Desire brands, as well as upcoming projects at The Original Group see www.original-group.com