Fernando Garcia Zalvidea, president of Real Resorts, told Travel Agent about ongoing discussions to expand the Mexico resort company to Costa Rica with plans calls for a 250-room resort. Discussions are only preliminary and no time frame has been set. Real Resorts, which currently has properties in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, is also on the verge of inking two new deals in Mexico, Zalvidea said. In the next 45 to 60 days, a deal to build two new properties in Tulum in Mexico’s Riviera Maya is expected to be finalized. Once the deal is set, the 400-room Gran Tulum Royal and the 250-room Royal Tulum are expected to be built within 13 months. Real Resorts is also looking to close deal in the same time frame for a 250-room Royal Los Cabos, also expected to be completed within 13 months.
Aqua to Expand Beyond Cancun
Aqua Resort in Cancun is making up for lost time. The property, which reopened in December after being closed for nearly four years due to hurricane damage, is planning to expand beyond Cancun, Rafael Sandoval, director of sales for Aqua, told Travel Agent. We learned of two deals that haven’t been announced yet. The Aqua, Sante Fe, is expected to open around November while the Aqua, Acapulco, is slated to open by early 2009, Sandoval said. Aqua is also expected to open two properties in the Riviera Maya, but no further details were released on those projects. All four properties will be similar to Aqua Cancun, which has 371 rooms, including 29 suites.
Is Merida the Next Big Mexico Destination?
Both Hilton and Marriott have submitted written plans to open properties in Merida, the capital of Mexico’s Yucatan. Angelica Espinosa Carrillo, coordinator of tourism promotion for Merida, said the two U.S. hotel companies filed development papers with the destination, one of Mexico’s growing hot spots. Carrillo says there is no time frame for construction, but noted that both Hilton and Marriott plan on reflagging existing Merida properties and refurbishing them to meet brand standards. Merida has its own airport, a new Jack Nicklaus golf course and some of Mexico’s best archaeological sites. Visit www.merida.gob.mx.
Original Resorts’ Unik Opening
Original Resorts’ Unik Resort in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, is slated to open in mid-October and will be the newest Isla Mujeres property going with 85 Jacuzzi Suites and private boat rides from Cancun. The resort will also be home to a spa with nine treatment rooms, three restaurants and three swimming pools. Visit www.orginalresorts.com.
Our Base: The Fairmont Acapulco Princess
The Acapulco International Center, site of Tianguis Turistico 33, is located about 25 minutes away from where we stayed for our coverage of the Mexico tradeshow. The thought of tedious shuttles and expensive cab rides gave us pause, but once we saw our hotel, we exhaled.
The Fairmont Acapulco Princess has been described as Acapulco’s best hotel, and after five minutes in our Partial Oceanfront View Room, we saw why. Our room, #1441, cost about $170 a night and is about three times the size of an average hotel room, with a kitchen area and living area with two couches. The balcony wraps around the room and offers a great view of Revolcadero Beach.
After shuttling back and forth from the hotel to downtown Acapulco, the difference between the Fairmont Acapulco Princess’ location and the rest of this destination became clear. Downtown felt more American with the likes of McDonalds, Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Café. When we got back to the property, it felt like another part of town.
The hotel is quiet and secluded and is perfect for couples and business travelers looking to get away from the chaos of downtown. The Fairmont Acapulco Princess was definitely a pleasant surprise and a hotel we recommend agents booking for clients who want an authentic Mexico feel when visiting Acapulco. Visit www.fairmont.com/Acapulco.