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The Best in MexicoApril 13, 2009 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
Casa Grande One Bedroom Suite at Hacienda Tres Rios, with dining area for six people
Guido Bauer, CEO of Green Hotel Certification, told Travel Agent about three excellent green hotels in the Caribbean when we spoke with him. But when the subject turned to Mexico, the longtime green advisor had only one hotel he wanted to praise: Hacienda Tres Ríos.
This luxury eco-friendly resort just south of Cancun, in the heart of the Riviera Maya, has been recognized as a model for sustainable tourism by the Mexican government. The resort’s commitment to sustainable best practices began years before construction and has extended through the construction phase.
The resort utilizes onsite desalinization systems that enable it to pull saltwater from deep underground for resort water needs. We were told that this water is so cold it can be used to naturally pre-chill the air-conditioning system, reducing electricity use and costs by 38 percent.
Heat from the air-conditioning systems is captured and used to heat guest hot water, saving an additional 75 percent in natural gas usage and fees. And because of the on-site desalinization, the resort does not make use of the fresh water aquifer, protecting an increasingly scarce resource in the world.
A guest room at Beach Palace in Cancun, part of Palace Resorts' portfolio of hotels
In addition, the guests-only Tres Ríos Park is just right for clients looking to snorkel in cenotes (underwater caves) and see all kinds of wildlife just a short walk from their hotel rooms.
Of the hotel’s 273 Junior Suites, we saw room #1121, a Ceiba Junior Suite. These suites come with either two double beds or a king bed, sofa, balcony and an indoor Jacuzzi. We also saw room #1122, a Casa Grande, which we consider to be the best room of the property. It has a king bed with a Jacuzzi right next to it and a dining area. The suite can accommodate six people.
During construction, Tres Ríos applied only necessary infrastructure to facilitate sustainable development with monitoring of environmental impact. In fact, about 150 acres, or nearly half of the 326-acre lot, will be maintained as a reserve with hardly any development, ensuring the protection of natural resources.
Agents should contact Miriam Martinez, wedding and social events sales manager, at 011-52-998-891-5266 or [email protected].
Palace Resorts Gets Honorable Mention
Now, as much as we love Hacienda Tres Ríos’ green efforts, we didn’t want them to be alone in the Mexico green hotels spotlight, so we took it upon ourselves to scout another company we thought maintained excellent green standards, Palace Resorts.
The Palace Resorts Foundation has saved 140,000 endangered turtles and 2,121 trees and treated more than 2,033 ill residents through the foundation’s three committees: Ecological Sustainability Committee, Health Committee and Social Welfare Committee.
The all-inclusive chain promotes sustainable life for the local environment and its inhabitants. The Foundation’s committees were developed to also assist the employees of Palace Resorts and the residents in the destinations where Palace Resorts are located.
The third-floor pool at Palace Resorts' Le Blanc Spa Resort offers and expansive view of the beach and surrounding area
These committees help the less-fortunate overcome challenging health, social and psychological issues, and protect the local environment through ecological programs. Ecological sustainability starts with Palace Resorts’ recycling efforts, which add up to more than 124 tons of paper and plastic recycled throughout the year—equivalent to more than 2,121 trees saved.
In addition, Palace Resorts sells all furniture removed from resort properties for a small fee to those in need and gives all profits to the Palace Foundation and its three committees.
Palace Resorts encourages employees and guests to contribute to ecological practices by using bins for recyclable and organic goods, monitoring the boiler and furnace emissions into the atmosphere, installing systems for measurement and analysis in each drainage well and providing “ecological tent cards” in all guest rooms to minimize water and energy consumption.
Palace Resorts also safeguards native leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles under a program that protects turtle habitats in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The protected beach includes a nine-mile stretch in Cancun, at Beach Palace, Cancun Palace, Sun Palace, and Le Blanc Spa Resort; and the area in front of Xpu-Ha Palace in the Riviera Maya.
About 800 turtles nest in this protected area each year, and each turtle produces hundreds of eggs. Palace Turtle Conservation Camps protect all turtles that nest on the beach or make their way onto hotel grounds by moving them to a dedicated facility where a team of scientists and specialists care for the turtles until they are ready to be released. Guests have the opportunity to help care for and release turtles into the Caribbean, helping Palace Resorts save more than 140,000 offspring of this endangered species.
Palace Resorts offers 12 all-inclusive properties throughout Cancun, Riviera Maya, Isla Mujeres, Riviera Nayarit, Cozumel and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.