Travel Weeklys Mexico E-letter: May 24, 2006

SPAIN-BASED GRUPO BARCELO said it formed a new company to acquire and develop all-inclusive, beachfront resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. The company, Playa Hotels & Resorts, will use approximately $1.2 billion in funding from institutional investors such as Merrill Lynch and parent Barcelo to purchase existing resorts and build new ones in these key markets. Playas initial portfolio will consist of four properties in Mexico already under Barcelos management: Barcelo Premium La Jolla de Mismaloya in Puerto Vallarta, Barcelo Premium Ixtapa, Barcelo Premium Huatulco and Barcelo Premium Karmina Palace in Manzanillo. All future acquisitions also will be branded and managed by Barcelo. Bruce Wardinski, president and CEO of Barcelo Crestline, also will be president and CEO of Playa Hotels & Resorts.

STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS broke ground on the 120-room St. Regis Resort, Punta Mita, which will open in late 2007 as part of the 1,500-acre Punta Mita resort and residential development located about 35 miles northwest of Puerto Vallarta. The resort, which will also include 65 luxury villas, is a joint venture between Mexican real estate developers DINE and IDEURBAN. The St. Regis Resort, Punta Mita will feature the brands signature butler service, a 10,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and 7,000 square feet of meetings space, among other amenities. This will be the St. Regis brands second property in Mexico; the St. Regis Hotel, Mexico City, is slated to open a few months prior to the Punta Mita property. The Punta Mita development is anchored by the Four Seasons Punta Mita. La Solana Hotel and Villas, which Rosewood Hotels & Resorts recently sold to Strategic Hotel Capital for approximately $30 million, is slated to open in Punta Mita in 2009.

HOTELITO DESCONOCIDO, the Balinese-inspired luxury resort 60 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, joined the Mexico Boutique Hotels collection. Affectionately called Hotelito by former guests and those in the know, Hotelito Desconocido is the 46th member of the collection and the 13th hotel added since the start of the year. Hotelito Desconocido is nestled on a wetland estuary on the Costa Allegre between the Sierra Madre mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The hotel uses only solar energy; at night, hundreds of candles light the rooms and restaurant. Guest rooms are in bungalows built on stilts over the edge of the estuary. For information or reservations, call (800) 728-9098 or visit www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com.

TO PROMOTE UNITEDS new daily service between Chicago and Cancun, United Vacations teamed with Palace Resorts for a promotion that includes savings of up to $350 on seven-night packages plus a $15 spa credit and $50 golf voucher per person. A seven-night package at the Playacar Palace, for example, costs from $1,439 in a superior deluxe room. The price is valid for Monday to Thursday departures from July 5 to Aug. 23. All packages must be purchased by May 31 for travel July 1 to Dec. 15. Agents must use code MAYSALE at the time of purchase. For information or reservations, call (800) 328-6877 or visit www.vaxvacationaccess.com.

THE MARQUIS LOS CABOS BEACH, Golf, Spa and Casitas Resort is marketing an Elopement Package priced at $4,560 per couple for three nights. The package is available June 1 to Dec. 15 and features the services of a minister; wedding dress and tuxedo rental; bridal bouquet; a musician for and video of the ceremony; and transportation to the airport in a Hummer. Additional nights are priced at $1,520 per couple. The package includes accommodations in a suite or private pool casita, daily buffet breakfast and one dinner with drinks at one of the resorts restaurants. For information or reservations, call (877) 238-9399 or visit www.marquisloscabos.com.

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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