CANCUN -- Karisma Hotels & Resorts is planning to expand in
Mexico, where it manages three resorts in the Riviera Maya.
The company, which already operates eight properties in Mexico
and the Caribbean, has an inventory of approximately 1,200 rooms in
Aruba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
Its Riviera Maya resorts are the El Dorado Royale, El Dorado
Resort and Hidden Beach Resort. The last-named is Mexico's first
Lubo Krstajic, Karisma's executive vice president, said he would
like to expand Hidden Beach's nudist concept to Los Cabos and
Puerto Vallarta, two destinations that draw a lot of business from
California, Hidden Beach's major market.
The 40-room resort created a stir last summer when it was
inaugurated with a "Naked Air" flight, during which guests flew in
the nude on a chartered airplane to Cancun arranged by
Houston-based Castaways Travel. A similar flight is planned for May
1 from Miami.
Krstajic said Hidden Beach is not like other nudist resorts that
are sexually charged. The resort is not "clothing optional," which
means guests are required to be nude most of the time.
He said the property does not allow intimate contact between
guests in public, even married couples.
"Our typical client is older than 45 and a successful
businessperson," Krstajic said.
Although it was only open for seven months last year, occupancy
at Hidden Beach was 60%, and Krstajic said he expects occupancy
this year to be between 80% and 85%. Rates start at $184 per
person, double. In addition to California, Florida and Texas
account for a large percentage of Hidden Beach's guests, he
In order to re-create the Hidden Beach concept in another
Mexican destination, the company first must find a small hotel --
preferably with fewer than 60 rooms -- with a private, secluded
"We are looking for a small hotel so we can maintain the proper
atmosphere," Krstajic said. "If we can't find one, we'll have to
raise money to build one."
Meanwhile, Karisma is busy expanding and renovating its two
other Riviera Maya properties: the El Dorado Royale and El Dorado
The El Dorado Royale, the company's five-star resort, is in the
midst of a $10 million expansion that will add 85 rooms by March
15. A convention center that can accommodate 300 people and two new
restaurants recently opened.
A second phase, scheduled for completion by May 2005, will focus
on expanding the more upscale casitas rooms to a total of 200
Krstajic said the casitas are popular with the wedding/honeymoon
market because they provide more privacy and amenities like an
indoor Jacuzzi and large balcony with hammocks. About 50% of El
Dorado Royale's clientele are either newlyweds or honeymooners,
Meanwhile, the 137-room El Dorado Resort, which is adjacent to
Hidden Beach, will get a $3 million renovation that will raise its
rating from four to five stars, he said.
Krstajic said he will market the El Dorado Resort as a
"boutique" property after renovations are completed in
For information or reservations, call (866) KARISMA or visit the
Web at www.karismahotels.com.
To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].