Resort hopes to spur on bookings by keeping introductory rate

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RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico -- With a disappointing 15% of its rooms filled, the Paraiso de la Bonita resort here decided to keep the introductory rates for its 82 one-bedroom suites in place through Dec. 26.

The resort, which is managed by Presidente Inter-Continental, was planning to raise those prices by approximately 25%, from $410 to $550, single or double, effective May 1.

Prices for the resort's seven two-bedroom Master Suites ($1,250) and its 3,000 square-foot Bali Suite ($2,250) will remain the same through Dec. 26 as originally planned.

Hector de Galard, general manager, said officials had expected at least 30% occupancy within the first three months of opening.

He said he was "disappointed with the early results," but expects business to improve as more travel agents became familiar with the resort.

Galard said the resort will get a marketing boost this summer when it joins Virtuoso, the agency network focused on upscale leisure travel. The resort already is affiliated with Leading Small Hotels of the World.

For travel agents, Galard said one of the resort's major selling points is its 17,222-square-foot spa offering thalassotherapy treatments incorporating heated seawater and algae. The spa also offers more traditional massage and beauty treatments, as well as a separate fitness center.

Galard said the resort's Thalassotherapy center is overseen by a physician who works with guests to create a therapy regimen. Treatments might include a seawater massage, shower jet therapy or algae body wrap.

Although thalassotherapy is popular in Europe, Galard said Paraiso has the distinction of being only the second resort in the Americas to offer the treatments; the other resort is in Venezuela.

To promote the center, Paraiso is offering spa packages that include up to four different types of treatments a day. For example, the six-night Classic Thalasso package includes accommodations in a suite and a choice of four daily treatments. It costs $4,440 for two people, including roundtrip airport transfers.

Built at a cost of $40 million, Paraiso de la Bonita opened last February on 14 acres of beachfront property on Petenpich Bay.

The resort consists of 82 one-bedroom suites, seven two-bedroom suites and one presidential suite with two bedrooms and a dining room. The presidential suite features butler service.

Rooms are decorated with an eclectic mix of furnishings and materials from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, India, the Mediterranean and Mexico.

Ground-floor suites feature private plunge pools in a garden courtyard, and second-floor units will come with a choice of hammocks or lounge chairs.

All rooms feature separate living areas, large bathrooms with Bvlgari bath products, dual-line phones with computer hookups, CD and DVD players and a stocked bar.

Dining choices include La Canoa restaurant, specializing in seafood, and a more casual open-air restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There's also a wine cellar stocked with more than 4,000 bottles.

Guests can work off their meals at the fitness center, the 130-foot infinity pool, the tennis court and the nature path designed for walking or jogging. Golf is available nearby.

For business travelers, the resort features a function room that can be divided into two separate spaces. A library near the reception area includes a bar as well as books, magazines, games, CDs, DVDs and Internet access.

For information or reservations, call (800) 327-0200 or visit www.interconti.com.

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