Travel Weekly's Mexico E-Letter: April 2, 2003

MARRIOTT INT'L last month opened its first Fairfield Inn property outside the U.S. in Mexico under a franchise agreement with Optima Hoteles de Mexico, SA de CV. The former Optima Express Monterrey Airport is located on Avenida Rogelio Gonzalez Caballero, about three minutes from Monterrey's Apodaca Airport. Its new name is the Fairfield Inn by Marriott Monterrey Airport. Nearby attractions include Sesame Street Park, La Fe Shopping Center, La Cola de Caballo waterfalls and the Cintermex Convention Center. Marriott launched the Fairfield Inn brand in 1987 to cater to budget-minded business travelers. It has become one of Marriott's fastest growing brands, opening an average of 33 hotels each year since its launch. The brand expects to add another 25 properties by the end of this year.

AEROMEXICO, Mexico's largest airline, plans to launch nonstop service from Ontario, Calif., to San Jose del Cabo, effective July 7. The service is scheduled to operate on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Flight 475 will depart Ontario at 12:45 p.m. and arrive in San Jose del Cabo at 4:05 p.m. On the return, Flight 474 will depart San Jose del Cabo at 11:35 a.m. and arrive in Ontario at 12:55 p.m.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS is boosting airlift to Cancun aboard its scheduled nonstop flights with ATA Airlines. The roundtrip service leaves from both Los Angeles and San Francisco, with Wednesday and Saturday departures beginning April 12. In the summer, Pleasant will operate an additional Sunday flight from Los Angeles. To promote the added lift, Pleasant is giving its customers room upgrades at select Cancun hotels (depending on availability) through Dec. 19. Reservations must be made by April 30 to qualify for the upgrades. Seven-night, air-inclusive packages start at $887 per person, double, from Los Angeles, $927 from San Francisco. To book, log onto www.pleasantagent.com.

THE OPERATORS of the Paraiso de la Bonita on the Riviera Maya said they renegotiated prices for full-day guided excursions to popular sites like Chichen Itza, Tulum, Xel-Ha and Coba, and guests in most cases will now pay approximately 40% less than before. In addition to guides, all tours include private transportation, entrance fees and lunch. All tours can be booked at the hotel. For information on the resort or tours, call (800) 327-0200 or visit www.paraisodelabonitaresort.com.

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