Author: Rodrigo de la Pena, CEO, Original Group
25 Jan 2019
With more than 40 years of experience, Original Group is the leading company specialising in adult-only vacations in Mexico. From the beginning, we have been committed to offering unique and exclusive products for single people and couples who are in search of unique travel experiences.
Beyond the hotels that have made our brands world-famous – Temptation, our topless-optional brand, and Desire, our couples-only, clothing-optional brand – our business portfolio now includes real estate developments, a marina and cruises.
We value personal expression and freedom, but we also operate under the values of respect, responsibility, collaboration, commitment and positivity. With all this in mind, we are also dedicated to providing a superior service, all the while abiding by the principles of corporate social responsibility.
The origins of Original
Original Group is a family-run business that was founded by my father in 1974. My father understood that specialising in one area would be the key to the company’s success. Since those early days, Original Group has grown into a strong, successful brand with an expanding offering for high-end clients who are searching for upscale, fun, sexy and safe experiences in a wide array of environments.
As with many industries, the hospitality sector is always evolving. Original Group has maintained its position as a leading player by evolving alongside it. We have adapted our offerings based on the specific needs and desires of our clients, rather than relying on the one-size-fits-all approach of the past. Original Group also remains relevant through innovative programming, continually updating its facilities and ensuring the highest-quality service possible at all of our properties, as well as on our cruise ships.
Original Group has adapted its offerings based on the specific needs and desires of its clients, rather than relying on the one-size-fits-all approach
I have been involved in the company from a very early age. During my career, I have served as president of the Hotel Association of Cancun and Puerto Morelos and have acted as an advisor to two major financial institutions in Mexico, Banorte and BBVA Bancomer. In 2012, the hotel association was awarded the Merit Medal by Quintana Roo state’s government for its contribution to tourism in the region, which I received on its behalf.
From 2011 to 2014, I was president of Original Group’s board of directors while also working in construction, real estate development and the restaurant industry. I am currently serving as CEO of Original Group, a role I took on in 2014.
Cruising to success
There’s nothing ordinary about a holiday with the Temptation or Desire brands. By incorporating compelling programming, consistent entertainment and engaging activities, we’ve ensured our properties are exciting destinations in their own right. The Desire experience was designed to offer couples a provocative atmosphere that provides a sense of freedom not to be found in conventional environments. The brand started out with the all-inclusive resorts Desire Pearl and Desire Riviera Maya, both of which are located in Puerto Morelos, a stunning port town on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula.
After years of helping some of our commercial partners operate their cruises, we decided to launch our Desire cruise. In 2016, we brought the adventurous spirit of Desire to the sea with the world’s first couples-only, clothing-optional cruise; the cruise set sail in September 2017. The concept has been a big success thanks to new customers as well as many of our loyal guests, demonstrating the demand for adult-themed activities that are coupled with exciting destinations. Whether at sea or on land, Desire offers the latest in adult entertainment and sensually themed nights, as well as couples workshops, gourmet dining and first-class accommodation.
Temptation, known as the ‘playground for grown-ups’, is designed for couples and single adults aged over 21. Temptation Cancun Resort offers pool parties, themed nights and custom shows to confident and free-spirited travellers. The resort in Cancun is especially unique in that it was created by industrial designer Karim Rashid. His ‘sensual minimalism’ concept has dramatically altered Cancun’s skyline with a spectacular, seven-storey superstructure full of curves and bright colours.
I am particularly proud of the work that went into enhancing the resort. Closing the hotel for 11 months was a challenge, not to mention a significant investment, but it was an opportunity to take the quality of our offering to the next level. Rashid’s design is spectacular and has truly captured the essence of the Temptation brand.
Under my leadership, we have also expanded our business model with the decision to take our resort concepts to the sea, which is when we created the Desire and Temptation cruises. Our Desire cruises have been an absolute success, while the first Temptation cruise is set to sail in 2020 – we are anticipating that it will be completely sold out.
For more than three decades, Original Group has continued to grow in the Riviera Maya area, despite it being one of the most competitive and supply-saturated regions of Mexico. This success can be attributed to our ability to capture the attention of a growing travel segment by offering an array of options for our guests. Each experience can be tailored to suit the exact requirements of the visitor, from price to the type of experience, making for an inimitable vacation.
As such, Original Group has and will continue to thrive thanks to our experience-driven resorts, which ensure we attract new guests while retaining past visitors. I have also been spearheading our expansion beyond Mexico: in winter 2020, we will open a new Temptation Resort in the Dominican Republic.
From an operational perspective, we have proven that client satisfaction is the key to our success. We strongly believe that our staff and collaborators need to feel valued, supported and empowered if we are to provide the level of service that sets us apart from our competitors. Providing a safe working environment, opportunities for development and proactive community engagement fosters a positive atmosphere. This allows us to generate a prosperous climate for workers, shareholders and commercial partners, which creates the basis for our outstanding client service. Having a committed team of staff who share our values has allowed us to continue growing.
In order to promote greater social responsibility, we created the Original Foundation. Through the foundation, we contribute to social change in vulnerable communities in the state of Quintana Roo through a series of programmes that have a special emphasis on education. We collaborate with the Quintana Roo State Institute for Youth and Adult Education to provide basic education to individuals over the age of 15 who were unable to finish school. We provide middle school and high school education programmes, online university programmes, language classes and a library service.
As for sustainability, our Desire Pearl property was recently awarded the EarthCheck Silver Certification. We received this for implementing a sustainability policy that monitors water consumption and limits our paper and energy usage. We also have sound waste management policies in place, which monitor our recycling and maintenance practices, as well as our use of hygiene products and pesticides. Original Group has people at its heart, which is why caring for our employees and local communities is as important to us as providing a unique and fulfilling experience to all of our clients.