SAN FRANCISCO -- Runaway Tours unveiled packages for travelers who
would rather stay in a remote 17th century hacienda than a
sprawling beach resort.
The packages are part of the Special Places product line for Mexico
and feature a collection of small luxury hotels, resorts and
haciendas in lesser-known regions of the country. Customized
itineraries with components such as discounted air fares,
accommodations, transfers, ground transportation between
destinations, sightseeing and car rentals can be created.
Special Places targets independent travelers seeking distinctive
accommodations in locales that are off the beaten path, according
to Ed Jackson, president of Runaway.
The firm launched Special Places four years ago to augment its
existing Mexico lineup, and the program has since been well
received by agents and their clients, Jackson added. "The response
has been overwhelming," he said. "Special Places will be the
centerpiece of our Mexico promotions in the next year because we
think it will be a real draw."
This year's Special Places program retains many of the original
elements, but new properties were added. There is a focus on
activities such as exploring historic cities, archaeological sites,
bird- and turtle-watching and water sports.
The 16 properties, 13 of which are new to the firm, run the
gamut from restored 16th century convents to centuries-old
haciendas. Many were previously unknown to the U.S. market and
largely inaccessible to most travelers since booking was
inconvenient and no one could handle all of the vacation
components, according to Jackson.
Special Places ventures into the colonial cities.
"We're trying to open the area up to more independent travel,"
Jackson said, adding that programs combining the colonial cities
often are limited to group motorcoach tours.
Other highlights of the new Special Places roster include the
archaeological zone in the Yucatan Peninsula. Runaway had offered
the city of Merida and sightseeing in the surrounding region, but
the haciendas in the Yucatan are new to the property lineup. "This
is for the more adventurous traveler," Jackson said.
The following is an overview of the main categories and
properties of Runaway's Special Places program.
The colonial cities selection features Hotel Villa Montana in
Morelia, Casa de Sierra Nevada in San Miguel de Allende, Casa de la
Marquesa in Queretaro and Camino Real in Puebla and Oaxaca. Nightly
rates for the colonial cities properties range from $70 to $105 per
Runaway also offers colonial cities itineraries that incorporate
stays in two or more destinations.
On the Turtle Coast (Costa Careyes) between Puerto Vallarta and
Manzanillo, Runaway provides four options. Included are Hotelito
Desconocido, Bel Air Costa Careyes, Casitas de las Flores and Aldea
Tamarindo. Nightly rates on the Turtle Coast range from $88 to $146
per person, double.
On the Riviera Maya south of Cancun, the secluded Maroma resort
near Playa del Carmen is the featured selection. Nightly rates
start at $171 per person, double.
In the sleepy fishing village of Zihuatanejo on the Pacific
Coast, Runaway offers the three top options in the area: La Casa
Que Canta, Puerto Mio and Villa del Sol. Nightly rates in
Zihuatanejo range from $74 to $152 per person, double.
Three hacienda properties are featured in the Yucatan Peninsula,
which also offers close proximity to archaeological sites, the
colonial city of Merida, natural wells and jungle reserves.
Included are Hacienda Katanchel, Hacienda Santa Rosa and
Hacienda Temozon. Nightly rates range from $105 to $188 per person,
Phone (800) 622-0723