ZIHUATANEJO, Mexico -- Villa del Sol has pumped new life into its
hideaway on La Ropa Beach and stepped up promotional efforts to let
agents know it has an even higher line of accommodations they can
market to clients.
The property, which has garnered a reputation as an upscale
boutique retreat in Mexico, unveiled a number of suites as well as
a restaurant and pool.
Expansion is nothing new for owners Helmut and Muriel Leins, who
have steadily boosted the room count since opening Villa del Sol
with just six guest units more than 20 years ago. With the current
enhancements, the property has a total of 54 guest units, the
latest of which are luxury accommodations, including 11 beach
suites, six lagoon suites and a two-bedroom, beachfront
The expansion has not compromised the intimate atmosphere of the
property, according to Peter Koehler, Villa del Sol's general
manager. "The objective is to maintain the low-key atmosphere. You
are not going to see a move from a hideaway to a large resort,"
Koehler said. "We still personally welcome every guest, and our
repeat clients are very happy with what we have done," he
Although Villa del Sol has experienced as much as an 80% repeat
clientele in past years, the Leins built the new units to better
compete with the other high-end resorts in Mexico. "We have always
been perceived as deluxe and tucked away, but people did not put us
on the list with some of the other top Mexico properties," Koehler
said. "With the new beach suites, we now can compete in a different
One-third of Villa del Sol's room inventory is categorized as
luxury suites, enabling the property to target a new type of
client, Koehler said, adding that many of the repeat guests also
are expected to upgrade to the higher-end units. The new suites,
ranging in size from 650 to 1,800 square feet, were designed with
unusual interior features in order to put them in a class above
Villa del Sol's existing guest units.
Each individually decorated suite contains colorful Mexican
fabrics, ceramic tiles, handpainted furniture, wood and stone
carvings, local artwork, king-size canopy beds, a separate living
area, terraces or balconies with lagoon or ocean views, private
outdoor minipools and oversized chaise lounges and hammocks. Among
the other standard amenities are bathrobes, a satellite television
and a stereo with a cassette deck and CD player. Some of the suites
also feature living rooms with queen-size convertible sofas and an
The majority of the beach and lagoon suites are situated in a
new beachfront section adjacent to the original property. The new
area also features a pool overlooking the beach and another
restaurant, La Cantina Bar & Grill, a casual beachfront venue
specializing in seafood and Mediterranean cuisine.
To help agents better promote Villa del Sol's new offerings to
clients, the property created agent discounts and launched outreach
initiatives. From June 1 to Sept. 30, agents who want to visit the
new suites can take advantage of a 25% discount on nightly rates,
based on availability. Koehler said agency presentations and a
direct-mail campaign also are part of the effort to educate agents.
Additionally, Villa del Sol appointed Crown International Marketing
as its sales and marketing agency.
The property is still a member of Small Luxury Hotels, and it
received the AAA Four-Diamond Award for 1999.
Koehler said additional enhancements and expansions are planned
for Villa del Sol, including the renovation of its older guest
units this year. In the future, the Leins plan to build 18 more
lagoon suites, move the lobby and build a spa, although plans are
still on the drawing board, Koehler said.
Through Dec. 21, rates for Villa del Sol's new suites range from
$300 to $750 per night, double.
A four-night Romance package also is available. Included are
accommodations in a beach or lagoon suite, a welcome cocktail, a
fruit basket, flowers, a half bottle of champagne, coffee served
daily on the guest terrace, a honeymoon gift, a half-hour massage,
airport transfers and taxes.
Through Nov. 14, Romance package rates are $1,550 per couple for
a lagoon suite and $2,500 for a beach suite. Villa del Sol, Phone:
(888) 389-2645; Crown International Marketing, Phone: (800)