Travel Weekly's Mexico E-Letter: February 12, 2003

THE IBEROSTAR PARAISO Hotel Group plans to open its sixth hotel in Mexico in November: the 446-room Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. The $50 million-plus hotel will be situated next to the Iberostar Paraiso Beach, which is adjacent to the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar, all in Playa del Carmen. John Long, vice president of sales for Iberostar, said Paraiso Lindo will be a more upscale version of its sister resorts along Playa Paraiso. The new resort's rooms will be located in five three-story bungalow-style buildings surrounded by gardens. Room amenities will include satellite color TV, a coffee maker, a complimentary mini bar, direct-dial telephones, a safety deposit box, and marble bathrooms. Two presidential suites and 14 of the 62 junior suites will feature Jacuzzi-style bathtubs. Iberostar is in the process of creating a conference center and 18-hole golf course nearby, both of which are scheduled to open in 2004.

KERZNER INTERNATIONAL Limited said it will spend $75 million to renovate and expand the Palmilla Resort on the southern tip of the Mexican Baja Peninsula, between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. The resort will close in April and reopen in December as part of the hotel company's One & Only collection, a new division of luxury properties owned and operated by Kerzner. Kerzner acquired a 50% equity interest in Palmilla and a long-term management agreement for the resort last year. Palmilla is Kerzner's first resort in Mexico. As part of the renovation, Palmilla will be expanded from 115 to 174 rooms. Other additions will include a restaurant that will be owned by chef Charlie Trotter of Chicago, and an indoor/outdoor spa and fitness facility operated by Mandara Spas.

MEXICANA AIRLINES opened a new Executive Lounge in Terminal One at San Antonio Airport in Texas, across from Mexicana's gate 11. Mexicana, which was the first carrier to offer international service from San Antonio, also has the distinction of being the only airline to have an Executive Lounge in Terminal One. Mexicana operates 18 weekly departures between San Antonio and Mexico. The lounge offers computers with free Internet access and fax machines, plus a complimentary bar serving appetizers, snacks and beverages. The lounge is available to all Star Alliance and Mexicana Frecuenta Gold members, and to passengers traveling in Mexicana's Executive Class.

TO MEET DEMAND, SunTrips will add two additional Oakland, Calif., to Cancun flights, for a total of four nonstop flights per week. From April 16 through Aug. 20, SunTrips will offer a new Wednesday Cancun flight on a 757-200 operated by Ryan International Airlines. During the peak summer season, May 24 to Aug. 23, a fourth nonstop flight will be added on Saturdays aboard a 757-200 operated by North American Airlines. SunTrips offers packages to Cancun, the Mayan Riviera and Cozumel. Packages include roundtrip air, accommodations and airport transfers. For information or reservations, call (800) 786-8747 or visit the Web at

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