Travel Weeklys Mexico E-letter: October 26, 2005

HURRICANE WILMA left Cozumel and neighboring vacation resort areas in disarray, leading travel agencies to encourage vacationers with plans in the region for the foreseeable future to reschedule to other destinations. Press and wire reports Tuesday out of the stricken region reported devastation along the popular white sand beaches of Cancun, the Mayan Riviera and Cozumel, and heavily damaged hotels and restaurants. Buses for tourists were lining up Tuesday in Cancun to take vacationers to airports at Merida and Chichen Itza, where they hoped to find flights home. But travel remained very difficult because of hurricane debris and a lack of available vehicles. The U.S. government was reportedly helping nearly 2,000 stranded Americans in the region with transportation to airports. Tourism officials in the hard-hit regions told reporters that the popular Christmas tourist season in Cancun and nearby areas is expected to be a total loss, as damage estimates at luxury resorts, shopping areas and other tourism areas is expected to reach $1 billion to $1.5 billion.

CAPITAL SUITES: A new Embassy Suites Hotel will open in Mexico City in March. The Embassy Suites Hotel Mexico City -- Reforma, on chic avenue Paseo de la Reforma, will feature 162 two-room suites, each with a living area with sofa bed, bedroom, bath, 32-inch flat screen TV, wireless high-speed Internet access, wet bar, refrigerator, microwave, work desk and dining table. Rates include cooked-to-order breakfasts and nightly receptions. Other features: concierge, valet parking, tour services, indoor swimming pool, 24-hour health club, 24-hour room service, restaurant and coffee shop. For more, see www.embassysuites.com.

MAYAKOBA DAWNING: The new Fairmont Mayakoba debuts in December as the first resort to open in the $2 billion Mayakoba development on the Riviera Maya. Other resorts set for the development -- which features the 18-hole El Camaleon golf course, which opens next month, and a 5.5 mile network of canals and lagoons -- include Rosewood Resorts 120-room Laguna Kai, to open in 2007; the 120-villa Banyan Tree Mayakoba (2007); La Casa Que Canta (2007), with an undisclosed number of rooms; and the 110-villa Viceroy Mayakoba (2008). The new Fairmont Mayakoba will feature 401 rooms and a 20,000-square-foot Willow Stream spa. For more, see www.mayakoba.com.

NEW LA CASA DIGS: Speaking of La Casa Que Canta, the parent property in Zihuatanejo has added a second private four-suite residence, named El Ensueno, to its inventory. The villa -- fully staffed with butler, chef and concierge -- features four large suites with air-conditioning, private plunge pool and verandas; an Olympic-size swimming pool; kitchen; dining room; and library. The four El Ensueno suites are priced individually per night, from $825 to $1,642, or as a complete residence for $4,500, from November to April. Guests have full access to La Casa Que Canta facilities, including pools, spa, fitness center and restaurant. For reservations and travel agent commission information, call (011) 52-755 555-7000 or (888) 523-5050; fax: (011) 52-755 554-7900; e-mail: [email protected]; or visit www.lacasaquecanta.com. Or, contact Small Luxury Hotels of the World at (800) 525-4800 or www.slh.com.

DEAL FOR TWO: The Marquis Los Cabos Beach, Golf, Spa and Casitas Resort is peddling a Sense of Romance package for couples, with accommodations in a junior suite or private pool casita with oceanfront view and balcony for dining. The package includes buffet breakfast; some lunches; one dinner for two at any resort restaurant; massage and manicure or pedicure for two; welcome drink; bottle of champagne; and gift. Guests also enjoy turndown service with cocktails; fitness center access; and VIP airport transfers. Three- to seven-night packages are priced from $1,790 per person, double, Jan. 5 to May 31; $1,515, June 1 to Oct. 10; and $1,625, Oct. 11 to Dec. 18. For reservations and travel agent commission information, call (877) 238-9399 or go to www.marquisloscabos.com.

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