Tres Rios has big plans, with a small footprint

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It's easy to assume that a large resort complex will have a significant effect on the environment. But Tres Rios, which will bring more than 1,700 hotel rooms to the Riviera Maya, is making a concerted effort to protect the region's natural beauty.

Hacienda Tres Rios, a 273-room hotel that is the first phase of the development, is to open on Nov. 15. The all-inclusive resort offers suites that range from 645 square feet to 2,063 square feet, with amenities including 300-count Egyptian cotton linens, flat-screen TVs, a pillow menu and Internet access.

The property will also have a 500-seat ballroom, seven restaurants, a pastry shop, seven bars and 24-hour room service.

Big, but friendly

When the Tres Rios complex is complete, it will have five hotels. Construction on the second hotel is to begin at the end of 2009, with all elements of Tres Rios to be completed within eight years.

The 326-acre development, located between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, will also have full- and part-time residences, a marina, a spa, a beach club and a convention center.

In spite of its size, Tres Rios aims to minimize its footprint. "The concept of sustainable tourism is fundamental for Tres Rios," said Gabriel Santoyo, the company's chief environmental officer. "The concept of offering high-quality tourist services and, at the same time, taking care of the natural environment is key to our tourism model."

The grounds of Tres Rios has three rivers, an estuary, 10 cenotes (sinkholes) and a one-mile beach. The buildings sit off the ground, on pilings, to aid natural water flow that supports the local fish and aquatic birds. About 150 acres will be maintained as a reserve, with limited development.

"At Tres Rios, an environmental study and supervision team worked very closely with the architects and engineers during the process of design and construction, and they will continue to work during the hotel operation for the implementation of good environmental practices," Santoyo said.

The resort aims to make it easy for guests to enjoy the region's natural and cultural assets. The resort is set within the Tres Rios nature park, complete with Mayan culture center, bird sanctuary and botanical garden.

"Tres Rios has the advantage that it began to work with the environmental aspect long before it became popular with the public," Santoyo said. "At the end of the 1990s, Tres Rios opened its doors as an ecotourism park, and its guidelines for protecting the natural environment have translated through to the hotel elements of our master plan."

The hotel also offers excursions to traditional Mayan communities and cultural sites, where guests may participate in Mayan customs, tour Unesco World Heritage sites and experience adventure activities including cave rappelling, ocean kayaking and visiting local monkey preserves.

Guests will also be able to indulge in pampering activities on the property. The resort's 13,900-square-foot Ya'ax Che Spa will have seven treatment rooms plus two couples suites with private hydrotherapy baths and Swiss showers.

Call (800) 224-4231 or visit www.haciendatresrios.com.

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