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News and Notes

February 18, 2008 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent

EXECUTIVES OF SANDOS HOTELS & RESORTS spoke at a Caribbean Marketplace press conference about the steps they're taking to build the brand's product and name recognition. They include the opening this spring of Sandos' fourth property on the Riviera Maya: the all-inclusive Sandos Playacar Riviera Hotel & Spa. Now under construction next to Sandos Playacar Beach Resort & Spa, the new resort will be composed of 400 junior and master luxury suites overlooking the 18-hole Playacar Golf Course. Visit


CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort ( is offering whale-watching tours twice a day through mid-March, the conclusion of the three-month season during which humpback whales come to Vallarta's Banderas Bay to give birth. Part of the resort's family-oriented Secretos del Mar marine life program, the tours are guided by a bilingual whale-watching specialist and include beverages and snacks. The cost is $90 for adults and $45 for children.

For further appeal to families, CasaMagna Marriott has an "Escape!" package available through April. Priced from $279 per room, per night, it includes daily breakfast for two adults and two children (12 and under), entrance to the kids club for children 4-12, one pizza and in-room movie, and nightly milk-and-cookies turndown service.

CasaMagna Marriott also has introduced a new facet to its Secretos program: the culinary-themed Secretos de la Cocina. For $90, guests may participate in a two-hour cooking class with executive chef Fred Ruiz. Alternatively, a one-hour cooking demonstration by Ruiz is priced at $60. Both feature an escorted tour of the resort's 20-plus-variety chili and herb garden and a behind-the-scenes look at the kitchen, and they conclude with guests' sampling the dish cooked. To enhance the culinary experience, clients can book an "Escape!" dining package, which includes one dinner for two at any of the hotel's four restaurants, as well as breakfast daily, at a lead price of $235 a night.

Agents should contact Sharon Dayan, tour and travel sales manager at the Marriott, at 322-226-0006 or [email protected].

New Los Cabos Resort Sets Agent Rates

Casa Dorada, a brand-new resort in Los Cabos (, will cut 50 percent off rack rates on oceanview accommodations for travel agents. The discount is available through December 20.

Just opened on January 27, Casa Dorada features 186 rooms and suites, including 13 penthouse suites facing the famed Land's End rocks. All accommodations have marble bathrooms, whirlpool tubs, goose-down comforters, plasma TV, complimentary wireless Internet and kitchens or kitchenettes. The resort's 7,000-square-foot Saltwater Spa blends East and West traditions in its treatments and has cold plunge pools, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. There are also a restaurant, lounge and three swimming pools at the resort, which is located on Playa Medano.

Rack rates start at $272. Agents should call Nora Acosta, reservations manager, at 011-52-624-143-9167; the resort's res line is 866-448-0151.

WYNDHAM OPENS Boutique Resort in Cozumel

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and Islander Collection, a Mexico-based property management group, have opened the all-suite Aura Cozumel.

The $22 million boutique resort, with just 96 guest suites, is the first newly constructed property in Wyndham's Grand Bay line. It is adjacent to the 402-room Wyndham Cozumel Resort and Spa, which became the first Wyndham-branded property in Cozumel last August, also managed by Islander Collection. Both resorts are all-inclusive. No children are allowed at the Aura. Visit

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