A Year in Mexico's Hotels

As 2012 draws to a close, we take a look back at where Mexico has been on the hotel scene over the last 12 months. From openings to renovations and rebranding, Mexico has been humming with hotel activity. 

Hilton Worldwide is opening a DoubleTree by Hilton in Merida – the largest city and capital of Mexico’s state of Yucatan. “We are thrilled to offer guests a new DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Merida.  With its culturally impressive offering and the safe surroundings the Yucatan is known for, Merida is an ideal location for our newest hotel in Mexico,” said Danny Hughes, senior vice president, Caribbean,Mexico and Latin America, for Hilton Worldwide. DoubleTree by Hilton Merida is just 10 minutes from the international airport, within walking distance to the U.S. Embassy, and five minutes from Merida's most well-known avenue "Paseo de Montejo." The 100-room DoubleTree by Hilton Merida is ideal for both business and leisure travelers. The hotel's surrounding area offers dining, museums and colonial period architecture. The new DoubleTree by Hilton Merida's 100 guest rooms and suites features the Sweet Dreams by DoubleTree Sleep Experience, Crabtree & Evelyn Citron bath and body products, 42-inch HDTV flat screen television, in-room tea and coffee making service by Wolfgang Puck, spacious work desks with data ports, MP3-compatible clock radios, and wireless high-speed internet access. Visitors will also have access to 3,000 square feet of function space, business center, fitness center and outdoor swimming pool. Dining options feature the signature restaurant La Casona Colon, which is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. La Raspa bar also provides exclusive cocktails and beverages.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts has also debuted the new Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, its first all-inclusive resort in Mexico. Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort has 259 luxury rooms and suites and is owned and managed by Grupo Hotelero Santa Fe. Four a la carte dining options are available at the resort: Sea Fire, specializing in international cuisine; La Catrina, serving up fine MExican cuisine; Le Delice, offering haute French Cuisine; O'West, featuring martinis and tapas and Fogo, a Brazilian churrascaria. La Bonita, a deli-style eatery with specialty coffee, is also available. Guests seeking recreational options can choose to exercise in the hotel's Fitness gym, pamper themselves in "KI" Spa, refresh in a swimming gpool or visit the Rhythms music lounge. 

Starwood is also making moves in Mexico. In October the company opened the doors of  the first Le Méridien hotel in Mexico City with the opening of Le Méridien Mexico City. The hotel sits in the heart of the city's financial and cultural district at Paseo de la Reforma. The property features 160 rooms (all suites), which have views of the skyline. There is also a fitness center, pool and restaurant C'est la Vie, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. True to trends as of late, Le Méridien Mexico City is making its lobby a social hub, aptly named Le Méridien Hub. The Hub offers guests and locals a spot to sit and socialize, complete with large-scale artwork. 

In October, AMResorts celebrated the grand opening of the adults-only Secrets The Vine Cancun. The wine-inspired resort, which welcomed its first guest this past August, becomes AMResorts’ 21st property in Mexico and a first for the Secrets brand in Cancun’s Hotel Zone. More than 400 guests, including government officials, hospitality industry executives and media, gathered poolside at Secrets The Vine to commemorate the special occasion presided over by Roberto Borge Angulo, Governor of the State of Quintana Roo; Alex Zozaya, AMResorts President; Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Secretary of Tourism of the State of Quintana Roo; and Julián Aguilar, Head of the Tourism Commission of Benito Juarez. Secrets The Vine Cancun features 495 guest rooms designed as a personal retreat with signature design elements including: Private balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea and Laguna Nichupte, Italian porcelain floors polished to mimic wood, custom covered headboards and teak wood furnishings, luxury linens and Rockwell Group-designed APF mirrors and white glass wrapped bathrooms. Guests can enjoy the benefits of Secrets Resorts & Spas’ signature Unlimited-Luxury vacation concept, which offers 24-hour room and concierge services, daily refreshed mini-bars, limitless access to gourmet dining and premium beverage brands across the resort’s seven distinctive restaurants and seven bars and lounge areas and countless daytime and nighttime activities and entertainment.

Spanish-based Fiesta Hotel Group is closing out the year with a brand overhaul, changing the name to Palladium Hotel Group. The new Palladium Hotel Group brand will encompass all of the group properties that include The Royal Suites by Palladium, Palladium Hotels & Resorts, Fiesta Hotels & Resorts, Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, Ayre Hotels, Sa Talaia Boutique Villa, Mallorca Rocks Hotel and Fresh Hotels & Apartments. The Palladium Hotels & Resorts brand was first launched by Fiesta Hotels & Resorts in 2002 with the inauguration of two luxury eco-resorts in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Since then, the Palladium brand has collected 15 luxury properties in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Brazil and Spain.

Also sporting a new look is Rosewood Mayakoba, which debuted a $1.6 million makeover this fall. Following $1.6 million worth of renovation, Mexico's Rosewood Mayakoba has reopened, sporting 18 new adjoining suites, revamped dining venues, a remodeling and expansion of the gym at Sense, a Rosewood Spa, and new cultural experiences including the addition of a Culture Concierge and Stargazing Storyteller. The renovation lasted four weeks. The 18 connecting suites sleep up to six guests each and are outfitted with high-end paintings and artwork. The resort's four dining venues are unveiling reinvted menus and new color schemes and looks. The Spa has added new treatments, including the Mayan Equinox Ritual, Mayan Garden Detoxifying Ritual and New Moon Treatment. The Culture Concierge will serve as the go-to for all things to do in the region and off-the-beaten path activities. Travelers can snorkel and dive the world's second largest reef, The Great Maya Reef, swim in Mexico's signature centoes or head to the adventure park Xplor to zipline. The Stargazing Storyteller will provide evening entertainment for young guests including storytelling on the beach, astronomy lessons and authentic Mexican hot cocoa and cookies.

Marriot Hotels has announced the opening of its second luxury hotel, The JW Marriott Mexico City Santa Fe. The 221-room luxury hotel is in the upscale Sante Fe residential neighborhood, well within walking distance of entertainment venues, shopping opportunities and large office complexes. In terms of dining the hotel has two restaurants: Quattro, offering Italian cuisine from the Piamonte region; and Cua, an organic Mexican restaurant fusing flavors and styles from the Mediterranean, Asia, and Latin America. The hotel also has a lobby bar, 24-hour room service and an executive lounge available for guests staying in executive room levels; it also offers a start of the art fitness center, complete with saunas, vapor rooms, Jacuzzis treatment rooms and a meditation area. For events, the JW Marriott Mexico City Santa Fe has more than 13,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 9,140 square foot ballroom, flexible enough to fit any need from larger groups to more intimate gatherings.

After an investment of $140 million, on May 4, 2012, RIU Hotels & Resorts inaugurated the Riu Palace Peninsula, an all-inclusive beachfront property located on an impressive beach in Cancun, Mexico. This will be the fourth property in this destination where the Spanish hotel chain already has three hotels: the Riu Cancun, Riu Caribe and Riu Palace Las Americas. The Riu Palace Peninsula will belong to the luxury line of the hotel chain, which will be oriented to a more select and discerning clientele. The hotel will be characterized by its architecture and modern decoration, its high quality cuisine and its 24 hours all-inclusive program. The hotel offers a modern and contemporary architecture and its 562 rooms, which are distributed in a main building and 48 villas, enjoy an impressive view of the Caribbean waters and an avant guard decoration. This hotel also features a fascinating attraction with a direct connection to the cultural roots of the region. On the grounds of the hotel lies an archaeological discovery of Mayan ruins called Ta'acul, meaning “that which remains hidden”. This cultural treasure was recently excavated by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) with funding provided by RIU, which is also responsible for the care and maintenance of the site.

For more on Mexico's news visit www.travelagentcentral.com/mexico.