Hotels, resorts pitch family-friendly packages

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MEXICO CITY -- A number of Mexico hotels and resorts offer family-friendly packages:

• Club Med Ixtapa consistently makes the top 10 list of family-favorite getaways as determined by the Family Travel Forum (at www.familytravelforum.com), considered by many to be the preeminent family-travel Web site.

The recently renovated and upgraded village is located on a broad beach on the Pacific Ocean and boasts age-appropriate children's activities: Mini and Junior clubs for ages 2 to 14 and a Baby Club for ages 4 months to 23 months.

The property is closed Aug. 31 to Nov. 15. All-inclusive rates for a seven-night package start at $758 per person, double, land only. Kids ages 6 to 15 pay $480; age 2 and younger pay $249.

For more information, call (800) CLUB MED or visit www.clubmed.com.

• The Presidente InterContinental Cozumel offers a Family Vacation Experience package that includes a complimentary Chiqui Club for children.

The Presidente InterContinental Cozumel offers a Family Vacation Experience package that includes a Chiqui Club for children ages 5 to 12. "The staff loves kids and families," said agent Wendy Murphy of Linden Travel in New York. "Everyone who works there gives personal attention to the kids."

The children's program, for kids ages 5 to 12, operates daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It introduces the children to Mexican history and culture via Spanish language lessons, Mexican handicrafts, Mexican songs and dances and local games.

The Family Vacation Experience package costs from $1,830 for four nights. It includes a beachfront room (a second room under this plan is half-price), daily breakfast and snacks for children age 12 and younger and one pay-per-view movie.

In addition, children up to age 12 stay free, with a maximum of two children per room. Kids age 13 and older pay full price. For details, call (800) 327-0200 or visit www.intercontinental.com.

• The Sea Turtle Preservation program at the Marriott CasaMagna in Puerto Vallarta invites families and staff to join in collecting turtle eggs from the beach and returning the hatched turtles to the ocean.

In addition, the Marriott Kids program linked with Crayola, Hasbro and Warner Home Video in creating a program that uses innovative materials and educational toys.

Bill Downes, an agent at MMS Travel Services in Atlanta, said the family program at CasaMagna is one of the best he's booked.

"The resort offers a high-quality, full-service program that meets the needs of virtually every family of every category, from little kids to teens," Downes said.

The Marriott Kids program costs $15 per child, per day, and includes a T-shirt, lunch and activities; it's free with the property's all-inclusive package. The program is best suited for kids ages 5 to 12.

The Sand Dollar Escapes package costs from $161 per person, per night, double, through Dec. 22. It includes a deluxe oceanview room, daily breakfast for two adults (children age 12 and younger receive all meals free) and free accommodations for kids 18 and younger who stay in their parents' room.

For details, call (800) 223-6388 or visit www.marriott.com/pvrmx.

• Also in Puerto Vallarta, the Melia Puerto Vallarta added bunk beds in some rooms to accommodate families.

For children up to age 4, the resort runs a Club 4 staffed with certified nannies.

Children ages 5 to 12 can sign up for the Mini Club and hone their sports skills on a rock-climbing wall and a trampoline or at a batting cage and a basketball half-court.

There also are the Ecology Club and a Saturday-night camp-out under the stars, which includes a barbecue.

The Teen's Club offers tennis clinics, a miniature driving range, darts, ping-pong, a pool and a recently created private lounge where they can "hang out" and listen to CDs.

Super Saver family rates start at $144 per night, double. Kids age 6 and younger stay free; children ages 7 to 16 pay $15 per person, per night.

For more information, call (888) 33-MELIA or visit www.solmelia.com.

• Brisas Hotels & Resorts offers a Mexico Holiday Breezes package at its upscale Las Brisas Acapulco and the Galeria Plaza in Mexico City.

At Las Brisas Acapulco, two children age 11 and younger eat and stay free when sharing their parents' room. Kids age 12 and older pay the adult rate.

Brisas Acapulco costs from $195 per person, double, including breakfast.

At the Galeria Plaza, teens ages 13 to 17 pay $22, with a maximum of three people in a room, and up to two children age 11 and younger eat free.

Rates start at $59 per person, double, Fridays to Sundays, and $77 per person, double, Mondays to Thursdays, through Dec. 15.

For details, call (888) 559-4329 or visit www.brisas.com.mx.

• Akumal Vacations offers a range of family-oriented condominium hotels in Akumal, a small resort community 60 miles south of Cancun.

Half Moon and Akumal bays offer easy access and swimming for young children. Scuba-diving lessons, expeditions and snorkeling in Yalku Lagoon are favorites.

The ruins of Tulum, Coba and Xcaret are within a few minutes' drive, and the cities of Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Palenque are each a day trip away.

The three-story Hotel Akumal Caribe offers a children's program and a grocery store.

The Kids Club, which costs $5 an hour per child, is stocked with art supplies, books, games, videos and cribs and has an enclosed outdoor playground.

Beachfront rooms start at $75 per person, per night, double. Kids age 11 and younger stay free in their parents' room.

For more information, call (800) 448-7137 or visit www.akumalvacations.com.

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