Travel Weekly's Mexico E-Letter: Oct. 1, 2003

THE LOS CABOS TOURISM BOARD said some resorts sustained "superficial" damage from Hurricane Marty, which hit Sept. 22 as a category 2 storm, and is advising hotel guests heading to the destination to check with their travel agents or call their hotels directly for up-to-date information. As a result of the storm, some hotels are offering limited services at such facilities as restaurants and spas, and are facing limited drinking water supplies, the tourism board said. The destination's eight golf courses reported no serious damage. Some hotels, including the Westin Regina and Sheraton Hacienda, were waiving cancellation fees for travel.

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 use of equipment. As reported, Viva Resorts entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Wyndham International. As of Dec. 1, the properties will be re-branded 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.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS AND PUEBLO BONITO RESORTS in Mazatlan and Los Cabos, respectively, have partnered to offer free nights to Pleasant's guests who travel through Dec. 21 and stay in select accommodations. The Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay in Mazatlan and Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach in Los Cabos are offering the fourth night free, a 10% discount on food and beverages at their restaurants, shuttle service between the properties and two passes to the resorts' fitness centers. Four-night packages in Mazatlan start at $272 per person, double, while four-night packages in Los Cabos starts at $311 per person, double. Prices include roundtrip airport transfers, hotel taxes and surcharges, and on-site assistance from Pleasant's customer service representatives. For information or reservations, call (800) 448-3333 or visit www.PleasantAgent.com.

RUNAWAY TOURS announced a series of Mexico Breakfast Seminars, which will include updates on the new 2004 product line along with pointers on generating business. As part of the events, travel agents will be invited to play "Mexican Jeopardy" and be eligible to win prizes and learn about the latest trends and developments in the Mexico's destinations. Space is limited and reservations are required. The schedule is as follows (all locations are in California): Oct. 7, Acapulco Restaurant, Costa Mesa; Oct. 8, Cisco's, Westlake; Oct. 9, El Torito, Hawthorne; Oct. 10, El Torito, San Diego; Oct. 14, El Torito, Concord; Oct. 15, El Torito, Stockton; Oct. 16, El Torito, Sacramento; Oct. 17, Pedro's Restaurant, Santa Clara. Agents can RSVP by calling Jacquie Sem at (415) 268 8217, e-mail [email protected].

THE HACIENDA XCANATUN in Merida is offering a free Thanksgiving dinner to customers who book a minimum three-night package the week of Nov. 22. The meal will be served in the hacienda's Casa de Piedra Restaurant. Room rates start at $230 per night, double. The price includes roundtrip airport transfers from Merida, daily breakfast and the Thanksgiving dinner. Taxes and service charges are extra. For information or reservations, call (888) 883-3633 or visit the Web at www.xcanatun.com.

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