Gingerbread Mansions and More at Grand Velas Riviera Maya

In Play, Playa del Carmen & Tulum, Stay by Suzanne Koch

The holidays are over-the-top at the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya with a 20 ft. tall Christmas tree adorned with fiberglass sphere ornaments handmade by a local young artist, a 12 ft. tall gingerbread house, insuite trees and toys, and more. Furthermore, the luxury foodie family resort on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast now has an activity for young ones that brings images in chocolate to life with a new app. Holiday festivities run from December 19 to January 2.

Over the holiday season, Executive Chef Michel Mustiere – one of only 10 Maitres Cuisiniers de France in Mexico – will create a gingerbread mansion in the resort’s Zen lobby. Weighing in at over 550 lbs, it is almost 11.5 ft tall and 10 ft wide. Over 400 lbs of ingredients are used to make the castle-like house, while almost 200 lbs of candy adorn the gingerbread mansion.

In the past, young ones have attempted to eat their way through the gingerbread house, but this year the resort offers an activity for kids where they can see it come alive. Using their smartphone or tablet, participants can snap any of the chocolate pieces on the gingerbread house and watch them go wild. Resort chefs have screen printed Magic Xperiences’ markers or “magic keys” on the chocolate elements on the gingerbread house that when scanned with the app start to move. The Magic Xperiences app can also be used on chocolate desserts in the resort’s all-day dining restaurants – Azul and Chaka. The magic keys cue augmented reality images when scanned with the app.  Once at the resort, guests can request assistance with the app from their personal concierge or at the restaurants.

Christmas trees are delivered to the resorts’ spacious suites upon arrival as a pre-holiday celebration activity, while presents appear on Christmas Eve with the help of Santa’s special Velas elves. Toys for both boys and girls range from Barbie and Angry Birds gear to a remote-controlled Minion Mobile and variety of Legos. Everything can be easily pre-selected from an online gift shop prior to arrival, including preference of ornaments, tree toppers and gifts for under the tree. Guests are also able to donate toys online to the Center for the Caring of Children with Cancer, a non-profit institution dedicated to serving children and teenagers with cancer.

Holiday activities at the resort range from Mexican posada, Santa’s Workshop and Letters to Santa to a chocolate ceremony with Santa and holiday massages for adults and kids. Teens can enjoy dedicated lounges with everything from video games, Xbox Kinect, and karaoke to special activities like urban dance classes and non-alcoholic mixology classes.

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