Mexico Barcelo opens fifth hotel at Riviera Maya resort By Mark Chesnut / February 11, 2008 Share 1 -- Barcelo Maya Beach Resort continues to grow, with the recent opening of the Barcelo Maya Palace Hotel, the fifth hotel in this complex in the Riviera Maya region.The new property fits into Barcelo Hotels & Resorts' long-range strategy for the entire complex, said Oscar Serrano, Barcelo's director general for Latin America."The plans have always called for the phased development of the property, with several hotels that create a large, full-service resort experience that is large enough for a diverse guest experience, including multiple dining options," he said.The new hotel has two upscale buffets and two gourmet restaurants. Overall, the Barcelo Maya Beach complex now offers 20 dining options.Categorized as a Barcelo Premium property, the 756-unit Barcelo Maya Palace -- which features all junior suites equipped with sitting areas, two flat-screen TVs and patios with ocean or garden views -- "appeals to the luxury traveler looking for a true upscale experience," said Serrano."With its all-suite configuration, we believe it will also be a favorite for families and couples who simply want a larger guest room."Barcelo Club Premium Service at the hotel provides extra amenities such as private check-in, personal concierges, a private lounge with free Internet access and refreshments throughout the day."The Barcelo Maya Palace is a direct result of the growing guest demand for luxury, all-inclusive experiences," Serrano said.He noted that Barcelo opened two other Premium properties, the Barcelo Colonial Maya Beach and the Barcelo Tropical Beach, in 2006."These were so well-received that we saw a continued growing demand," Serrano said.The 3,200-square-foot spa, which opened in early 2007, incorporates traditional Mayan treatments with European spa services."In order to be a luxury resort, you must have a spa that is significant and offers a large number of services," said Serrano. "Our guests are sophisticated travelers, and they simply expect this."Serrano said further development at the complex, which opened in 1999, was possible. "Barcelo owns a large tract of land, and there is still room for development at our resort as the market continues to mature," he said. "At the same time, we are very sensitive to the natural ecology of this area and respectful of that in planning future growth."Expansion beyond the Riviera MayaBarcelo, a 75-year-old, family-owned chain based in Spain, has 11 hotels in Mexico, divided among Barcelo and Barcelo Premium brands.Barcelo is stepping up its Mexican presence beyond the Riviera Maya. In December, it wrapped up a renovation of the Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya in Puerto Vallarta. Renovations included remodeling all one-bedroom suites and the lobby; the addition of a spa and a theater; and restoration of the resort's beach.Barcelo will upgrade the recently acquired all-suite Grand Baja Resort, which was rebranded the Barcelo Los Cabos Resort and categorized as a Premium hotel.Barcelo will add a 476-suite wing, bringing the suite count to 725; several restaurants; and a larger convention facility. The expansion should be completed in 2009.Serrano predicted "a very strong" 2008."Mexico continues to be a very affordable and easy-to-travel-to destination for North Americans," Serrano said.Three Premium properties in Mexico -- the Barcelo Colonial Beach, the Barcelo Maya Tropical Beach and the Barcelo La Jolla de Mismaloya -- won Apple Vacations' Golden Apple Award."We are very honored," Serrano said. "Having the Golden Apple recognition is similar to the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. It tells the travel industry and our guests that they are assured of a level of excellence in service and amenities."For more info, call (800) BARCELO or visit www.barcelo.com.To contact reporter Mark Chesnut, send e-mail email@example.com.