Palace Resorts expands its reach on the Riviera Maya

CANCUN -- Palace Resorts is boosting its presence in the Mexican Caribbean with new properties and a major expansion at one of its existing resorts.

The lobby of the newly expanded Moon Palace.

On the Riviera Maya south of Cancun, the inclusive hotel company unveiled its fifth property -- the 474-room Aventura Palace -- earlier this year and expects to open an adjacent 850-room sister resort called Rivera Maya Palace next year. In Cancun, the firm nearly doubled the size of the Moon Palace.

Aventura Palace marks the company's first foray into the booming Riviera Maya market, a move prompted by the increasing popularity of the region, according to Miguel Angel Salazar, director of sales and marketing for Palace Resorts. "With the growing demand for the Riviera Maya, it was a natural step, especially since we are the largest hotel company in Cancun," Salazar said.

Palace's Cancun portfolio consists of the 198-room Beach Palace, the 557-room Cancun Palace, the 2,031-room Moon Palace and the 227-room Sun Palace.

The new Aventura Palace is situated on a 75-acre beachfront stretch of land between Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventura, which is a one-hour drive south of the Cancun airport. The resort is ideally positioned to capitalize on the area's ambience and abundance of diversions, Salazar said.

"Playa del Carmen has become a destination in itself -- a place where visitors can relax and experience more of the flavor of Mexico instead of the sophistication of Cancun," he said.

"There are also a lot of things to do in the town and a variety of ecological parks and ruins in the Riviera Maya."

Salazar said Aventura Palace sets itself apart from other properties in the area with its Mexican-village atmosphere; quality of cuisine; various amenities, and upscale adults-only concept, which will be implemented in December. "The property resembles an old colonial hacienda with interior patios and fountains, and a central plaza functions like or main squares found in towns and cities throughout Mexico," Salazar said.

"The food and beverages are very unique, and all of the rooms have Jacuzzis and balconies with hammocks."

The firm opted for an adults-only concept at Aventura Palace to diversify its lineup of offerings, satisfy demand for the format in the region and match the interests of the type of client who chooses the Riviera Maya, according to Salazar. "With the other four Palace Resorts, we have something for families, fun-seekers and incentive groups.

"There also was a hole in the [Riviera Maya] market that we perfectly fit in to," Salazar said. "People who go to the Riviera Maya are not looking for fun as much as relaxation. With Aventura Palace, [guests] can leave the kids at home and not be surrounded by children at the resort."

To that end, the property will cater mainly to couples, singles and friends traveling together when the adults-only format is launched, Salazar added.

Palace Resorts plans to kick off a trade advertising campaign in the U.S., spotlighting the upscale adults-only concept this fall as well as fam trips that will give agents an opportunity to experience the new format.

Salazar said 60% of the business at Aventura Palace comes from the U.S. The property is being featured by a number of U.S. tour operators, including Adventure Tours USA, American Airlines Vacations, Apple Vacations, Continental Airlines Vacations, Gogo Worldwide Vacations and Vacation Express.

Along with the Moon Palace, Aventura Palace is designed to be the most deluxe of the Palace Resorts line, with larger guest units, in-room double Jacuzzis and higher quality shows and entertainment, according to Salazar. The hacienda style of the low-rise property is accented by tile floors, hand-carved furniture and terracotta and adobe brick color schemes.

The property features a variety of dining venues with various specialties ranging from continental to gourmet Mexican. Among the resort offerings are outdoor and indoor pools, a gym with a sauna and steam bath, tennis courts, two basketball courts, a track for roller blading and biking, billiards, a variety of nonmotorized water sports and nightly entertainment.

Aventura Palace also is equipped to handle groups, with meeting facilities accommodating up to 680 people.

In addition to all meals, snacks, domestic and imported drinks, taxes, gratuities, activities and entertainment, rates also include excursions to nearby attractions such as the archaeological ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza; Isla Mujeres, and Xpu-ha, a new ecological park owned by Palace Resorts.

Xpu-ha, which opened in April, features an estuary, an aviary, a jungle with flora and fauna of the region, a beach and restaurants. Xpu-ha activities include snorkeling and exploring the park's wildlife, such as birds, white-tail deer, iguanas, turtles and marine fish.

Rates at Aventura Palace start at $110 per person, double, through Aug. 23 and $98 from Aug. 24 through Dec. 24.

Palace Resorts' adjacent property, Riviera Maya Palace, is under construction and scheduled for completion at the end of 2000. The property will mirror the hacienda-style architecture and Mexican-village ambience of Aventura Palace, but will be much larger, with 850 guest rooms and more facilities.

In Cancun, Palace Resorts recently completed an expansion of its Moon Palace. The project included the addition of nearly 1,000 rooms, which are housed in a new wing that also has a lobby area, a pool, a gymnasium and restaurants.

The property also has turned an eye toward the groups and incentives market. A key part of the expansion was the construction of a large convention center that can accommodate up to 3,000 people.

Palace Resorts
Phone: (800) 346-8225 or (305) 374-4752

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI