Dreams becomes reality with AmResorts brand

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ACAPULCO, Mexico -- AmResorts unveiled a brand to complement its existing Sunscape and Secrets brands. Dreams Resorts & Spas will be a luxury all-inclusive for couples and families.

AmResorts President Alejandro Zozaya-Gorostiza made the announcement at Tianguis Turistico here, held last month.

The brand officially launches this summer with the conversion of properties in Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Los Cabos; the Puerto Vallarta and Cancun properties will convert from the Camino Real brand, and the Los Cabos property will convert from the Melia brand by July 1, followed by $12 million to $13 million in renovations among all three.

The renovations are scheduled to take place in phases and will not affect guests, according to Zozaya-Gorostiza. All resorts will be fully renovated by the winter season.

AmResorts also said it will open Secrets Excellence Riviera Cancun, a new construction with 442 units, in the fall.

Several other hotel chains announced expansions, upgrades and renovations during Tianguis. The following is a sample:

• InterContinental Hotels Group announced it will open 21 hotels in Mexico next year. The properties, which include Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza brands, will be located in several urban and vacation destinations, including Chetumal, Merida, Mexico City, Monterrey and San Luis Potosi.

InterContinental also announced it signed an agreement with Grupo Millenium, the largest franchisee of the company's brands in Mexico, to develop 28 more hotels, besides the new properties above, within the next 10 years.

• Meanwhile, InterContinental last month opened the 193-room Crowne Plaza Torreon in an upscale residential area of Torreon, about two-and-a-half miles from Francisco Sarabia Airport.

The $20 million, 11-story property features three restaurants; rooms with work areas, high-speed Internet access and two-line phones with voice mail; 3,400 square feet of meetings space; a business center; free parking for hotel guests; a fitness center, and 24-hour room service, among other amenities.

• Leading Hotels of the World has approved the addition of two hotels in Cancun operated by Sol Melia Hotels and Resorts: the Royal Pyramid at the Gran Melia Cancun and the Royal Service Suites at Paradisus Riviera Cancun.

• A $22 million expansion at the Melia Azul Ixtapa has been completed with the opening of a convention center and tower.

The 19,250-square-foot convention center has seven meetings rooms, eight breakout rooms, a business center and an executive lounge. The property's new tower houses 137 guest rooms, raising the hotel's total rooms to 410.

• Hilton Hotels Corp. plans to open 11 properties in Mexico by the end of 2005, including its first Embassy Suites in Mexico City and hotels in Mazatlan and Veracruz. Properties will carry the Hilton, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inns and Hampton Inns banners.

• In other Hilton news, the Hilton Cancun will complete a $5 million renovation to its guest rooms by mid-July and will open a new spa before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Hilton Los Cabos is seeking to be reclassified as a five-diamond property by upgrading its rooms with new artwork and CD alarm clocks, among other amenities. The property also introduced shuttle service that offers guests unlimited rides to both San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas for $10 a day.

• Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resorts plans to open two properties in the next few years.

The 152-room Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, scheduled to open in Los Cabos by the end of March 2005, will be the first in the chain to focus on "holistic" spa treatments.

In addition, ground will be broken soon on the 615-room Pueblo Bonito Punta Mita, outside Puerto Vallarta. The property is scheduled to open in approximately two years.

• City Express, a budget-priced, business-oriented chain, plans to open a property in Puebla this month.

To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to [email protected] .

Travel mart set for Oct.

ACAPULCO, Mexico -- The 17th annual Cancun Travel Mart, slated for Oct. 13 to 15, will be expanded to include retail travel agent seminars and site inspections as well as hosted inspections and activities for meetings planners, said Jose Chapur Zahoul, president of the Quintana Roo Hotel Association (QRHA).

In addition, agents will be permitted to visit the supplier exhibit area during one afternoon. The event is expected to draw 250 supplier delegates.

For more information or to register, call (904) 398-6777 or visit www.cancuntravelmart.com.

The QRHA also announced it will continue its Clearly Cancun promotion this year, in cooperation with American Express and the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau. The promotion offers American Express cardholders visiting the destination benefits such as free nights and special discounts.

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