Travel Weeklys Mexico E-letter: March 30, 2005

RIU THE DAY: Spain-based accommodations chain Riu Hotels and Resorts said it will open a new Palace-level property, its highest grade of resort, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in 2006. The new, upscale Riu Palace Riviera Maya will join 14 other Palace properties in operation worldwide and a 15th also under development in Punta Cana, Domincan Republic. For more information, visit www.riu.com.

RAMP IT UP: The all-inclusive resort kingpins at Club Med will roll out The Ramp, a lounge for teen guests, at the chains Ixtapa, Mexico, property by years-end. The Ramp, designed in part by the Coca-Cola Co., features a skateboarding and rollerblading ramp; a giant hammock; an open-air lounge with a state-of-the-art jukebox and self-serve soda fountain; and more. The attraction is aimed at guests ages 14 to 17.

MAS CLUB MED: Club Med also announced plans to open a third Mexican resort, most likely on the Yucatan peninsula, in the near future. Club Med officials in Paris said the property, to be geared to the upscale family market, could either be opened in an acquired, existing Yucatan-area resort or built from the ground up. No target opening date has been set. Visit www.clubmed.com.

FIT FOR KINGS: The six all-inclusive Palace Resorts in Cancun and on the Riviera Maya will offer guests staying three nights or more through Dec. 23 a Palace Passport package. Qualified guests get unlimited tours to Chichen Itza, Xpu-Ha/Tulum, Coba and other attractions; one $50 voucher per person toward golf rounds; one $25 voucher per room toward car rental through Travesias Turisticas; and one $15.00 voucher per person toward spa treatments. Nightly room rates range from $300 to $500, depending on season and resort. Four new Palace Resorts will open later this year, including Cozumel Palace, Vallarta Palace, Playacar Palace and Le Blanc Spa Resort, a new luxury brand for Palace Resorts. Call (800) 635-1836 or visit www.palaceresorts.com.

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