Travel Weekly's Mexico E-letter: Sept. 20, 2006

RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL CO. said it will reopen the Ritz-Carlton Cancun on Sept. 27 following extensive renovations after Hurricane Wilma. The $15 million renovation involved all 365 guest rooms, public areas, and recreational and meeting facilities. The resort will debut an expanded Kayanta Spa and fitness center, a new seaside restaurant called Casitas with 16 private cabanas and a $250,000 culinary center created in association with the Viking Range Co. that will offer cooking and wine classes for hotel customers and will host visiting chefs. The resort also added a tennis program operated by former pro and ESPN commentator Cliff Drysdale. As for the rooms, Ritz-Carlton added gourmet coffee machines, 400-thread count sheets and rain forest showerheads to all units. For information or reservations, call (800) 241-3333 or visit www.ritzcarlton.com.

THE SPANISH HOTEL CHAIN RIU said it will open its 12th resort in Mexico, the RIU Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, on Nov. 6. The nine-story 550-room hotel will operate as an all-inclusive property. It will feature conference facilities, two swimming pools with integrated whirlpool spas, a fitness center, nightclub and five bars. Restaurants will include Don Rafael, which will serve Mexican and international cuisine. For information or reservations, visit www.riu.com.

SOL MELIA HOTELS & RESORTS became one of the first major hotel chains to begin using the dot-travel domain name for each of its Paradisus all-inclusive resorts, including the Paradisus Riviera Cancun (www.paradisusrivieracancun.travel). In a release, Sol Melia said the move was designed to protect its brands against fraudulent dot-com domains that use similar names to mislead potential customers to their sites. To promote the new Web sites, Paradisus Resorts is offering 1,000 Delta SkyMiles per night for reservations made through any of the new dot-travel sites through Dec. 15. The other Paradisus resorts using the dot-travel domain are the Paradisus Puerto Rico, Paradisus Palma Real, Paradisus Playa Conchal and Paradisus Punta Cana.

PARAISO de la BONITA, the 90-room resort in the Riviera Maya, is offering travel agents a $50 bonus plus commission for booking its Luxe Life Getaway package through Nov. 30. The three-night package costs $2,499, double, for a one-bedroom suite, daily breakfast, one dinner for two at La Canoa restaurant, a private wine tasting with the resort's Sommelier, one treatment per person in the spa and a manicure and pedicure for two, among other features. For information or reservations, visit www.paraisodelabonita.com.

SHOPPERS TAKE NOTE: Mexican restaurant and pharmacy chain Grupo Sanborns SA said it obtained a license from Saks to launch a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Mexico City. The upscale retailer is scheduled to open a 161,460-square-foot store in the capital's upscale Sante Fe district in September 2007. "Mexico City is a major market for tourism and shopping and therefore we consider it an apt place to open our third international Saks Fifth Avenue franchise," Saks CEO Stephen Sadove said in a statement. Outside the U.S., Saks has stores in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Saks plans to open a store in Shanghai in 2008.

CORRECTION: Cozumel received 2.5 million cruise passengers in 2005. Incorrect information appeared in Travel Weekly's Sept. 13 Mexico E-letter.

Mexico E-Letter Editor:

Jorge Sidron

Phone: (973) 898-0011

[email protected]

For promotional opportunities in the E-letters, contact [email protected].

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