TAXING: International visitors will benefit from tax-free
shopping while vacationing in Mexico as of July 1, 2006 -- if
Tourism Ministry-backed legislation passes in Mexico's Congress.
Spearheaded by Secretary of Tourism Rodolfo Elizondo Torres, the
measure would grant tourists a full refund of the 15% tax added to
purchases if the buyer follows a few simple steps, such as
obtaining an official receipt from vendors. Purchases would also
have to be worth just over $100, at the current exchange rate. For
more information, call (800) 929-4555.
OCCIDENTAL TOURIST: Occidental Hotels and Resorts,
turning lemons into lemonade after Hurricane Emily pounded
properties on Cozumel and the Riviera Maya this summer, undertook
upgrades and renovations in the storm's wake. The lightly damaged
Occidental Grand Xcaret, adjacent to Xcaret Park 45 minutes from
Cancun, unveils a refurbished lobby, beach club, theater, pool and
river-walk palapas on Oct. 10. The more seriously affected Allegro
Playacar Resort, also on the Riviera Maya, will re-open Oct. 1
after repairs. Meanwhile, the nearby Royal Hideaway Playacar
actually benefited from Emily, gaining a wider beach. Finally, the
Allegro Cozumel, in the southwest of Cozumel, will re-open on Nov.
1 with 120 of 269 rooms refurbished, along with new palapa roofs
and renovated corridors between villas. Call (877) 284-0935 or
BREATHE DEEP: The new Aroma spa opens at ProHotel
International's Esencia resort on Mexico's Riviera Maya Nov. 15.
According to spa director Cora Cejudo, treatments will be based on
indigenous Maya Indian culture. Aroma will offer an array of face
and body treatments; therapeutic baths; yoga and meditation
classes; and temazcal (Mayan sauna) sessions. Esencia is a 50-acre
boutique resort in Playa Xpu-Ha, 46 miles south of Cancun, with
a two-mile beach, meso-American restaurant, and 29 suites and guest
rooms with private gardens, solariums and plunge pools. Call (877)
528-3490 or (713) 528-3490, or visit www.hotelesencia.com.
BY ANY OTHER NAME: Reflecting a $10 million
renovation and the addition of a 12,000-square-foot spa in January,
the 426-room Hilton resort in Cancun has been renamed the Hilton
Cancun Golf and Spa Resort. The former name was Hilton Cancun
Beach and Golf Resort. The Wellness Spa has eight treatment rooms,
a relaxation lounge, two saunas, locker rooms, individual and
couples treatment suites with climate control and a multi-channel
music, a beauty salon and a spa boutique. For more, visit www.hilton.com.