Riviera Maya markets fall getaways

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RIVIERA MAYA -- The Riviera Maya, a 75-mile strand stretching from Playa del Secreto to Punta Allen on the Yucatan Peninsula, offers a varied choice of accommodations ranging from large, all-inclusive hotels to small, boutique resorts.

This fall, many of these properties are presenting packages that should suit almost any visitor's needs, including families, couples and even people in the military.

In addition, a number of the region's resorts are adding rooms or facilities. The following is a sampling of what's happening:

• One of the newest members of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection is the Riviera Maya's Ikal del Mar. The resort is offering two five-night packages.

A Poetic Experience package includes accommodations in a luxury villa with a private pool, daily breakfast and roundtrip airport transfers for $1,879 per villa.

The Poetic Sonnets by the Sea package includes accommodations in a luxury villa with private pool, daily breakfast, two body exfoliations (one per person), a couple's massage and roundtrip airport transfers for $2,244 per villa. Both packages are available through Dec. 20.

For information or reservations, call (888) 230-7330 or visit www.ikaldelmar.com.

• The all-inclusive, 270-room Gran Porto Real Resort & Spa is offering packages for honeymooners, families, scuba divers and couples looking to tie the knot. In addition, through Dec. 20, the resort is offering 50% off published rates to all U.S. military personnel who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

For information or reservations, call (800) 543-7556 or visit www.realresorts.com.mx.

• Another resort company that's rolled out the welcome mat to U.S. troops is Occidental Hotels & Resorts, which operates the Occidental Allegro Playacar, Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret, Occidental Caribbean Village Playacar and Occidental Royal Hideaway Playacar.

Through Dec. 23, these resorts are offering deeply discounted rates to U.S. military personnel starting at $43 a night per person, including meals, snacks, beverages, taxes and gratuities.

In addition, until Dec. 18, kids under age 12 can stay and eat for free at Occidental Allegro Playacar and Occidental Grand Flamenco Xcaret.

For information or reservations, call (800) 858-2258 or visit www.occidentalhotels.com.

The Viva Maya in Playacar debuted the Renova Spa last month.• Viva Resorts, which operates the 234-room Viva Azteca and 400-room Viva Maya in Playacar, expanded its dining options by opening Viva Cafe, an Italian restaurant and bar located in Playa del Carmen.

The restaurant is open for dinner only and welcomes patrons not staying at the hotels. The Viva Maya also opened the Renova Spa last month.

Meanwhile, the Viva Maya and Viva Azteca are offering guests scuba diving excursions and certification classes through Viva Diving, a PADI dive center located at the Viva Maya.

Both resorts offer a complimentary dive lesson in the pool. Guests who catch the diving bug can choose from one- to three-day PADI dive courses that cost from $95 to $240 per person, including equipment.

As reported, Viva Resorts entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Wyndham International. As of Dec. 1, the properties will be rebranded as Viva Wyndham Resorts and incorporated into the Wyndham portfolio. At that time the resorts will be renamed Viva Wyndham Maya and Viva Wyndham Azteca.

For information or reservations, call (800) 898-9968 or visit www.vivaresorts.com.

• The all-inclusive Xpu-Ha Palace, Moon Palace Golf Resort and the adults-only Aventura Spa Palace are offering free wedding ceremonies when guests book their wedding packages.

The wedding ceremony includes use of a decorated gazebo; all document arrangements and legal fees; a justice of the peace; champagne for guests at the ceremony; dinner for the wedding party; breakfast in bed for the bride and groom the morning after the ceremony; and the services of a wedding coordinator.

Wedding packages cost from $1,299 per person, double, through Dec. 20.

Golf packages are also available at the Moon Palace in conjunction with its new Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course as well as with the Golf Club at Playacar.

Meanwhile, the new Harmony Convention Center at the Aventura Spa Palace opened in April.

The facility offers more than 55,000 square feet of function space, with a maximum group capacity of 1,800 people.

The convention center adds an important business component to the resort's leisure side, which includes 1,266 rooms with private balconies and a full-service spa and fitness center.

For information or reservations, call (800) 635-1836 or visit www.palaceresorts.com.

• Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is offering travel agents a rate of $55 a night per person, double, at the Iberostar Tucan, Quetzal, Paraiso Beach and Paraiso Del Mar until Dec. 15.

These resorts are also offering scuba divers 15% off all dives. To qualify, divers must purchase an all-inclusive stay at any of the resorts through a travel agent or wholesaler and book their diving with Dressel Divers at www.dresseldivers.com.

Meanwhile, in November, Iberostar is poised to open its sixth hotel, the 446-room Iberostar Paraiso Lindo.

The $50 million-plus property will be situated next to the Iberostar Paraiso Beach, which is adjacent to the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar.

Paraiso Lindo will be a more upscale version of its sister all-inclusive resorts. Rates will be about 20% higher, starting at about $140 a room. The resort will feature 24-hour room service and six restaurants.

For information or reservations, call (888) 923-2722 or visit www.iberostar.com.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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