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Mazatlan Moves Forward

February 27, 2012 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent


Wyndham Las Villas Hotel & Spa
The 68-room Wyndham Las Villas Hotel & Spa is the newest hotel in Mazatlan.


Last year wasn’t exactly kind to Mazatlan, as outbreaks of violence resulted in a slight drop in visitor arrivals to the “Pearl of the Pacific,” especially among cruise passengers.

The real blow to the beach destination—best known for girls and guys getaways—was in March 2011 when Princess Cruises and Holland America Line joined Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival to become the latest lines to cancel calls to Mazatlan throughout the winter and early spring due to a handful of violent incidents that occurred in tourist districts.

But the destination is beginning to see its luck change for the better. Toward the end of 2011, Princess announced a tentative plan to return to both Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta after canceling calls there earlier in the year due to a U.S. travel advisory. The line could resume calls there as early as this November.

Most recently, Wyndham Hotel Group announced the addition of the upscale 68-room Wyndham Las Villas Hotel & Spa. The hotel is situated along three and a half miles of secluded beach within the gates of the massive $150 million development resort, Estrella del Mar—Mazatlan’s premier master-planned community on 816 acres along the Mexican Riviera.

“Recovery in Mazatlan tourism is badly needed,” says Estrella del Mar developer Pat Butler, who was also involved in the development of both El Dorado Ranch, one of the premier developments in Northern Baja, and La Ventana del Mar, a 266-acre development in San Felipe. “With positive news like this, hopefully people will start coming back. From our perspective, it remains by and large a very safe place to be.”

Travel Agent breaks down the selling points of this latest positive development in Mazatlan with the hope that Mexico specialists will begin selling this popular getaway again.

The Hotel Portion

At the Wyndham Las Villas Hotel & Spa, clients can choose from Ocean Front, Ocean View and Garden View rooms inspired by traditional Mexican design, elegantly refined and all located on the beach.

“We’ve been working with [Wyndham] for over a year and half now and they are pretty familiar with Mexico and they have a number of brands in Mexico,” Butler says. “They are familiar with the situation in Mexico, they’ve got a strong presence in Mexico City and they are very supportive. So, to answer your question, last year’s news did not dissuade them at all.”


The Presidential Suites
The Presidential Suites at Wyndham Las Villas Hotel & Spa have a living room with a fireplace, and a balcony overlooking the beach.


Travel Agent was told that the best rooms are the two Presidential Suites. Both feature a full kitchen, a living room with a fireplace, and a balcony overlooking the beach. Onsite amenities include four restaurants, a luxurious spa, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. 18-hole golf course with six holes facing the ocean, the largest private turtle preserve in Mexico, a fitness center, tennis facility, a swimming pool and Jacuzzis.

The spa has two treatment rooms for men and two for women. There is no couples’ treatment room but the hotel can provide couples massage—or any other treatment—in guests’ rooms.

The Estrella del Mar development is also home to an 84-unit condominium as well as full-ownership, second-home options. They all have the opportunity to enter a rental pool, which offers agents a 10 percent commission. Butler says approximately 25 condos and about five homes are currently included in the rental pool. The boutique-style property is just six miles from General Rafael Buelna International Airport and roughly 20 miles from downtown Mazatlan, with roundtrip shuttle service to these locations available to hotel guests.

All guests who are Wyndham Rewards members can earn points, which can be redeemed for complimentary hotel stays, airline tickets, name-brand merchandise, and dining and shopping gift cards, among other options. In lieu of points, members may select to earn airline or rail miles with a variety of carriers.

Second Phase

The second phase will call for a host of additional amenities, including another golf course that will have nine holes, and another hotel. That phase may not be concluded, however, for about 10 years, says Butler. The proposed second course is still in the preliminary phase and Butler says a designer for the course has not been finalized.

The hotel is slated to be a U.S.-branded, 250-room property, but Butler would not reveal which company it is since the deal hasn’t been signed yet. He did tell us, however, that it will be a four-star resort, complementing the existing Wyndham property. Whereas the Wyndham caters primarily to couples—although it does accommodate families as well—the second and larger hotel would be more business oriented as it will have an abundance of meeting and conference space, Butler says.

Safety First

Perhaps clients’ two biggest concerns in Mexico—personal safety and the availability of drinking water—are also met at the Estrella del Mar development. The entire property is safe and secluded. It is separated from the public by a massive stone wall. Also, it has a water purification system, so the water in the hotel as well as all facilities on the property is safe to drink.

Agents should contact Sales Manager Gisela Medina (888-587-0609, [email protected]) with any queries.

Mazatlan in Brief

Surrounded by ecological wonders and filled with architectural treasures, Mazatlan is more than a sun-and-surf getaway. There are opportunities for diving, surfing, kayaking, sport fishing and rock climbing. The destination is also home to several championship-caliber golf courses.

The weather is always pleasant in Mazatlan and there is an array of quality hotels and resorts, including many brands familiar to your clients.

For more information on Mazatlan’s attractions, visit

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About the Author

Joe Pike
Joe Pike is Travel Agent's senior editor covering the Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda; Hawaii; Central & South America. Previously, Pike was a newspaper reporter for The Asbury Park...

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