Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: Jan. 16, 2007

SOL MELIA DEBUTED its ME by Melia hotel brand in the Americas with the opening of ME Cancun, a 448-room property that was formerly the Melia Turquesa. Sol Melia introduced its ME by Melia brand last October with the opening of the 192-room ME Madrid, Reina Victoria in Madrid's Plaza de Santa Ana. Sol Melia describes the new brand as a "daring, bold hotel concept," combining luxury amenities, progressive design, international fusion cuisine and world music. The hotel was refurbished by architect Alvaro Sans in collaboration with the Mexico-based architectural firm Interarq, designer Rebecca Perez and Mexican artist Yuri Zatarain. Sol Melia said the new ME by Melia brand will allow the company to target a more sophisticated, upscale traveler.

THE NEW ME CANCUN is the product of a dramatic transformation of the former Melia Turquesa. Each of the 448 rooms -- including 32 Loft suites, four Level suites and four Passion suites -- offers a view of the ocean or the lagoon. Amenities include high-speed Internet access, DVD players with 32-inch plasma-screen TVs, surround-sound speakers, an extensive DVD library and iPod adaptors and docking stations. The hotel features a spa, swimming pool, meetings space and several nightspots, lounges and restaurants.

PALACE RESORTS, meanwhile, added a resort to the growing list of properties that have reopened since the destruction caused by Hurricane Wilma last October. Palace reopened the Sun Palace as the first "couples-only," all-inclusive property in Cancun. The refurbished resort features 252 rooms with double Jacuzzis, wireless Internet access, flat-screen TVs and luxury bath amenities. There are also a spa and fitness center, three infinity pools, watersports center, five restaurants and 4,100 square feet of meetings space. For information or reservations, call (800) 635-1836 or visit www.palaceresorts.com.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS launched Hot Deals, what it called its "biggest, most comprehensive" promotion for 2007. Hot Deals includes multiweek promotions for its leading destinations, including Mexico, throughout the year. Mexico vacations must include a minimum three-night stay; each campaign will feature a unique promotion and booking period. Deal One, for example, features a $50 activity credit per room for Mexico travel through June 7. Deal Two, available for Mexico travel from June 8 to Sept. 19, provides kids' air fare at a 50% discount. Participating hotels will change with each campaign. For information or reservations, call (800) 448-3333 or visit www.pleasantagent.com.

CORRECTION: An item in last week's Mexico e-letter about Austin-Lehman Adventures' new Chiapas program misidentified the rain forest visited during the trip. The correct name of the rain forest is Lacandon.

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