Mexico's Many Options

Getting There: Continental Airlines ( offers weekly nonstop flights between Houston and Loreto on Mexico's Baja Peninsula. Connections are via Los Angeles. Continental operates daily flights to Los Cabos at the peninsula's southern extreme. Delta Air Lines ( has a new Saturday flight from Orlando to Cancun. A room with an ocean view at Secrets Maroma Beach

Tour Operators: Island Destinations ( offers a variety of trips to Los Cabos, the Yucatan, Riviera Maya and more. Agents should call Claire Arrindell at 914-833-3300, ext. 108. At Certified Vacations (, call Lavette Jackson at 954-522-1440, ext. 3359. At Costco Travel (, call Jolene Schuerman at 425-657-1945. Contact Nicole Durham at Travel Impressions (, 631-845-8000, ext. 2062).

Hotels: Sandos Hotels & Resorts ( is expanding its portfolio in Mexico with the addition of the all-inclusive Sandos Playacar Riviera Hotel & Spa, set to welcome guests in the spring. The new property will comprise 400 Junior and Master luxury suites overlooking the 18-hole Playacar Golf Course.

Rooms are available in four categories—Standard, Hacienda Junior Suites, Sea-Facing Suites and Sandos VIP Royal Club Rooms. The best options for families are the Hacienda Junior Suites, which can be joined and contain a lounge area, sofa bed and patio or balcony overlooking the gardens. Contact Jacques De Paep, sales and marketing director for Sandos Hotels & Resorts at 936-427-6165 or [email protected]

The top accommodations at Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort ( is the Three-Bedroom Imperial Spa Suite, overlooking Banderas Bay and the Sierra Mountains. Aside from a 12-person Jacuzzi on a private terrace, the suite encompasses a master bedroom; interior bathroom, steam room and interior chromotherapy Jacuzzi; two additional bedrooms with either king and queen beds and either a Jacuzzi or hot tub; and dining and living areas. The bar is stocked with top-shelf liquors and the room has multiple plasma TVs. Rates start at $6,930 per night until May 17. From May 18-December 18, rates begin at $6,143. The price also includes a 50-minute in-suite massage per person per day and tee time at Vista Vallarta golf course per person, per night. The property offers a 10 percent commission. Agents should contact Rodolfo Cresta, international sales manager at 011-52-322-226-8000, ext. 5001.

Casa Dorada Los Cabos, Resort & Spa ( has 186 Deluxe Oceanview Rooms and Suites, including 13 Penthouse Suites. All rooms and suites have marble bathrooms, whirlpool tubs, goose-down comforters, plasma-screen satellite TV, complimentary wireless Internet and kitchens or kitchenettes. The Penthouse Suites have multiple bedrooms, kitchens, adjacent makeup areas, furnished terraces and balconies, ocean-facing Jacuzzis and walk-in closets. Upon request, resort chefs prepare gourmet meals in the penthouse kitchens. Poolside at Azul View By Karisma

The top draw here is the Two-Bedroom Suites, which are just steps away from the beach and have ocean views of the Sea of Cortez and Land's End Rock from the grand terrace. These rooms have a king bed or two double beds, hydro-massage bathtubs or Jacuzzis and minibars. All rooms have large balconies with tables and comfortable chaise lounges. Rates start at $713 per night until May 31. Off-season rates begin at $536. A 10 percent commission is offered. Agents should contact Nora Acosta, reservations manager, 011-52-624-143-9167.

Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun ( ), which has its grand opening in July, will be an all-suite, adults-only resort set between 500 acres of beach and rainforest on Mexico's Maroma Beach. The resort will offer ocean views in 75 percent of its rooms. Along with expansive pools, it has seven à la carte restaurants and bars serving premium brands, indoor and outdoor spa facilities and more.

The premium accommodations are the Preferred Club Junior Suites, facing the ocean and beach areas. They feature a four-poster king or two queen beds, a full bathroom with a Jacuzzi for two, a separate shower and a furnished terrace with a private soaking tub. Commission is 10 percent. Agents should call Maru Suárez, sales director, at 866-GOSECRETS or [email protected]

Esperanza ( in Cabo San Lucas features new interiors, enhanced suites and an expanded spa. The Penthouse has more than 2,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space with views of the Sea of Cortez. Seven new spa treatment rooms include an exclusive couples' suite with private VIP access. The newly expanded spa also features a freestanding hairstyling, manicure and pedicure studio.

Azul Hotels by Karisma ( will introduce the new Azul View Hotel by Karisma by October. The gourmet-inclusive property will provide a variety of gourmet cuisine, restaurant and lounge areas, swim-up cantinas, a Zen-inspired spa, meeting spaces and more. All suites feature a queen bed, a double sofa bed and one single sofa bed with the option of connecting rooms.

The resort will also feature Wrap-Around Honeymoon Balconies designed for the Azul View Honeymoon Ocean Front Jacuzzi Suites. Azul View will comprise 438 suites in 12 different categories, including Jacuzzi Junior Suite, Luxury Jacuzzi Swim-Up Suite, Presidential and more. Room interiors will be designed in contemporary Caribbean fashion and will include 32-inch plasma TVs, DVD players, hydro-jet Jacuzzis, daily stocked minibars, deluxe bathrobes, vanity mirrors, iPod docking stations and private marble bathrooms.

Azul Fives Hotel by Karisma, is scheduled to open in December in Playa del Carmen. Azul Fives will have 360 one-, two- and three-bedroom Suites, each with LCD flat-screen TVs and DVD players, minibars stocked daily, private marble bathrooms with rain forest showers, deluxe bathrobes, oversized balconies or terraces and private rooftop deck lounges. There will be a spa and fitness center, meeting spaces and more.

Azul Fives' Penthouse Suites and Presidential Penthouse Suites have a deluxe double Jacuzzi, sectional sofa, coffee table, barbecue grill, outdoor shower, half marble bathroom and a patio dining table, plus private rooftop lounge decks. Two- and three-bedroom Penthouse Suites will include separate living rooms, fully equipped kitchens with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, powder rooms and master bathrooms with a rainforest shower. Two-bedroom Presidential Penthouse Suites will also have a full bar, wine cellar, infinity Jacuzzi and living room Internet station. Agents can contact Mandy Chomat, vice president of sales and marketing for Karisma, at 305-569-3008 or [email protected]

Activities: Sea Kayak Adventures ( offers seven- and eight-day trips at about $1,000 a person. This includes food, camping and kayaking gear, two nights at the Hotel Hacienda in Loreto and professional guides. Call 800-616-1943 for more information. Gabriola Island Cycle & Kayaks ( tours are cheaper but you bring your own food and camping gear. Gabriola supplies guides and kayaking equipment. A six- or seven-day trip costs about $510-$540. Call 250-247-8277. To contact Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park, e-mail [email protected] or call 011-52-984-877-8535 (044-984-877-8535 from Mexico). Argovia Finca Resort ( is the oldest coffee plantation in Chiapas. Owner Bruno Giesemann can be reached at 011-52-962-626-6115. Information on the Museo del Vidrio (Museum of Glass) can be found at —JP


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