• Travel Anne

Dear TravelAnne Explorers Feb 20, 2021

Updated: Feb 19

Another Note to My Current & Future Clients

It’s hard to get a clear picture in today’s media landscape, but from my vantage point the light at the end of the “travel-tunnel” is getting brighter. People are getting the vaccine. Travel options are looking more realistic. The industry is developing creative ways to protect travelers.

By: Anne Heintz

Editor's Note:

Whether you're ready to travel or just ready to plan, we're here to guide you.

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I’ve always considered you part of my extended family because I get to share in your big moments. The honeymoon, the anniversary trips or simply a vacation to re-connect as a family. I love sharing your anticipation of the adventure ahead and seeing your photos upon your return!

That sense of “family” has never been more evident than over the last few weeks!

More and more of you are calling or emailing every day with big news to share. Many of you have found an appointment… or even better… have received the vaccine!

Some of you have connected to just share your news (which I love). Most of you have followed your news with 5 simple words: “Get me out of here!”

With that in mind, I want to discuss the strategy of travel in the current environment. I have said before that airports and airplanes are cleaner than they ever have been before.

If you take the precautions that now seem to be a daily part of our lives it IS still possible to travel! Obviously everyone has a different comfort level and circumstances to factor in. YES I have traveled. I can’t encourage you to “take a walk on the wild side” if I haven’t done so myself! Are there places that I would still steer clear of? Of course! Can I get beyond the fact of having to get a negative PCR test or maybe two and still enjoy my trip? Again, that depends on you but if you (like me) still have wanderlust... the answer is a resounding YES!

I would like to share with you a couple of properties that are small, boutique and away from the maddening crowd. As temperatures remain cool and in some places frigid, sun, sand and warmer weather seems pretty inviting!

Why not consider going to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico? Currently hotels and restaurants are allowed to operate at 50% capacity. There are quite a few small boutique choices that are not all-inclusive or part of a compound/collection of hotels with massive numbers of rooms. I would like to introduce you to three properties in particular.

Esencia, in Xpu-Ha, half-way between Playa del Carmen and Akumal. Chable Yucatan, 35 minutes from Merida airport and Chable Maroma, 25 minutes south of the Cancun airport. They all have beautiful beach, great culinary and spa offerings with 48 rooms, 40 rooms and 68 rooms respectively. It becomes even more intimate factoring in the 50% capacity off those numbers. Each accommodation is either stand alone or in a small building with 4 units per building.

Esencia is a chic understated, property owned by a Beverly Hills producer. He brought in Beefbar, originally established in Monaco for meat lovers. The focus though in the other dining outlets is fresh sea to table or farm to table whether serving Mayan cuisine, or a blend of Peruvian and Japanese offerings.

(Related: Hotel Escencia - TravelAnne Resort Checklist)

The rooms have 12 foot ceilings, electric blinds and either large garden or ocean view terraces. The cottages, which suit today’s social distancing are two level affairs with terraces and private pools. If you really want to be WOW’ed ? Book a rooftop wellness suite which has either a Peloton bike or virtual training mirror, along with a pool!

In addition there is an organic spa, two pools, free yoga classes and use of non-motorized watersports equipment.

Missing Starbucks? They have a coffee bar and juice bar too!

You will find Chable Maroma ten minutes up the road from Esencia. It is the newest edition to the Chable wellness concept. They like to say that they are “re-defining wellness.” Unlike your typical dedicated spa that is usually adults only, they are family friendly. They even offer special activities and treatments geared toward the younger set. Chable has all the typical array of massages. What makes them unique though are their energy treatments and shamanic experience. They incorporate the three expressions of movement in the natural world. Purification, balance and transformation. You can delve into their program as little or as much as you like!

(Related: Chablé Maroma - TravelAnne Hotel Checklist)

Each room has its own terrace and plunge pool, as well as an indoor/outdoor shower. At 1152 square feet, how can you not feel pampered? That is the “lead in” accommodation too so it just gets better from there.

Possibly the most ideal scenario would be if you combined Chable Maroma with Chable Yucatan, which sits in the jungle, a two hour drive and within 35 minutes of the Merida airport. The hotel will be happy to arrange the transfer and a bit of sightseeing to include the Mayan ruins of Uxmal which tend to be less crowded than the ruins at Chichenitza.

Chable Yucatan is the ultra luxurious boutique hotel and wellness retreat set on 750 acres of land. There are 40 casitas and villas starting at 1400 square feet. Plunge pools, hammocks, day beds, indoor/outdoor shower, dressing room, bells and whistles galore, oh and its pet friendly!

Are you drooling yet? Chable is built on sustainability.

They are committed to reforestation, plant restoration, and reduction in the usage of plastics to name a few. They have a large garden that is used in their organic and seasonal cuisine. They even have one restaurant that is devoted to wellness but don’t fret if that is not your jam. There are four other choices! For all of you bee aficionados there is a sanctuary too.

Chable Yucatan has the largest selection of tequila in Mexico and they produce their own wine. If you would like to learn more about Mayan cuisine you can go to Casita Maya for a cooking lesson, or just watch the ladies produce the local fare using original ancient techniques.

(Related: Chablé Yucatan TravelAnne Resort Checklist)

The hotel offers 61 different activities , with 4 special activities featured every day. There is hiking, biking, yoga (even for kids), cave diving in the nearby cenotes, tennis, and even the first wellness golf experience. They have a 9 hole par 3 course on property. The pro can structure three different levels of programs based on what the client wants and needs. You can go off property and spend a day in one of the colonial cities such as Merida. The options are endless!

Need and want to get your “groove back?” Take a break from the winter doldrums and try one of these intimate “get away from it all” properties! They would love to see you. If you stay 7 nights at Escencia they will include complimentary food and non-alcoholic drinks. If you can’t stay that long you can get complimentary daily breakfast for two and a $100 spa credit.

The Chables offer third night free and daily breakfast for two and a $100 resort credit.

I know my travel “family” is anxious to get back into “memory making” mode. Lets chat about your future plans and figure out what is best for you and your traveling companions. We can now look ahead to brighter times and re-connecting with one another.

As always, Happy Trails & Keep Dreaming!

**Anne Heintz is an independent travel advisor based in Washington, D.C. who creates lifetime memories for her clients located all over the world. She loves the fact that the journey creates memories and connections for her clients. She is affiliated with World-Wide Travel Associates in DC and Tzell Travel in NYC. She is co-founder and namesake of Anne can be reached at Follow her on Instagram @TravelAnneBlog

Editors note:

Worried about that pesky COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to arrival back into the US? Not to fret, testing is done right there on property for all and is complimentary.

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