Mexico: New Year, More Choices

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Camp Woodward debuts at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya next year.
Camp Woodward debuts at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya next year.

Mexico is energized. New hotels, new air service and other goodies are spicing things up in this wonderful country that offers a bounty of delights for travelers looking for everything from golden shorelines to jungle-embraced ancient ruins.

hotel bonanza
New hotel openings are spread throughout Mexico—from Los Cabos to Cancun. Hyatt Ziva has new offerings on both coasts, in fact. Last month saw the opening of the 547-suite, family-friendly Hyatt Ziva Cancun, surrounded on three sides by the Caribbean Sea, and in September, the recreated Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos debuted with 591 suites, including 34 swim-up suites, 12 restaurants, bars and lounges and a KidZ Club with waterpark. By the way, you are all loving Hyatt’s all-inclusive offerings—Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara garnered honorary mentions in this year’s Recommend Readers’ Choice Awards, getting a good chunk of the votes in the Best All-Inclusive Hotel category.

In other news, just last month, Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya welcomed its first guests; among its offerings are suite options with private pools. This month, the family-friendly Sunscape Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, with more than 300 rooms and offering expansive views of Banderas Bay, becomes the fourth AMResorts property in the destination. In April 2016, AMResorts is set to debut the 526-room Breathless Riviera Cancun, while 2017 will see the opening of the 500-room Breathless Playa del Carmen Resort & Spa, as well as the Dreams Villas Playa del Carmen with 150 luxury villas and 50 junior suites.

Los Cabos has definitely recovered after Hurricane Odile: the 299-room, beachfront JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa opened its doors last month, and this month saw the opening of the 169-room Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort & Spa, which offers views of the famous Arch of Cabo San Lucas. Melia fans, take note, because the 151-room ME Cabo is reopening this month. For guests who like hacienda-style accommodations, Hacienda Encantada now offers guests The Residences, with nine villas, each accommodating up to eight guests in three bedrooms. And let your high-end clients know that Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos will debut in June 2017.

This February, Riviera Nayarit welcomes W Punta de Mita with 120 guest villas, while in neighboring Puerto Vallarta, the adults-only, 443-room Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta came onto the hotel scene just a couple of months ago. Look over to Acapulco for the opening late in 2016 of the 428-room Fiesta Americana Grand Diamante Acapulco. Debuting next year on Mexico’s Caribbean coast is The Westin Cozumel and the Andaz Mayakoba Resort Rivera Maya. Also in Riviera Maya, the 630-room Bahia Principe Akumal was recently renovated and is now part of Bahia’s luxury Don Pablo Collection, and the hip 92-room Thompson Playa del Carmen has swung open its doors.

Grupo HABITA has also been busy and just opened the 37-room Casa Fayette in Guadalajara’s Lafayette neighborhood; it’s a converted 1940s mansion displaying its original Art Deco structure. Colonial Puebla will welcome a 79-room Rosewood property next year, the fourth property in Mexico for the brand; it will be housed in a collection of buildings from different eras surrounding a private, walled courtyard. Meanwhile, in the picturesque town of Zihuatanejo, the Viceroy property recently completed a top-to-bottom renovation of its eight Deluxe guestrooms and they now feature contemporary Mexican materials alongside modern decor, as well as rainforest showerheads in the bathroom, and decks with lounge chairs.

up, up and away
All those new beds equals more visitors, and with new air service those beds are going to be pretty warm. Delta Air Lines has expanded its offerings from LAX to Monterrey, Mazatlan, Zihuatanejo and Manzanillo, while Alaska Airlines began nonstop service from Orange County to Puerto Vallarta this past October, operating 35 weekly peak-season flights to the Mexican city on board a next generation Boeing 737 aircraft. Merida, the biggest city in the Yucatan peninsula, is not always on clients’ radar, but with its colonial charm and broad central plazas it should be. American Airlines will be introducing nonstop service from Dallas to Merida this coming March—five weekly roundtrip flights on an Airbus A319 aircraft. Additionally, American will offer more access to Cancun when it adds new service from four U.S. cities in 2016—from Raleigh-Durham, Pittsburgh, Nashville and Kansas City.

fun tidbits to keep an eye on
Hard Rock All Inclusive Collection will put the spotlight on kids when it opens the doors to Camp Woodward at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. It will be a dedicated area, some 20,000 sq. ft., where guests can participate in dry land snowboarding and snow skiing—yes, in Mexico—as well as skateboarding and BMX, Parkour, and cheer, hip hop, trampoline and digital media programs. The programs will be instructor based and available to hotel guests with Resort Credit.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, A Rosewood Resort in Los Cabos is debuting its new Whale Safari Experience this coming February. Each winter the “Big Three”—gray whales, blue whales and humpback whales—migrate to Baja California Sur to convene for one month out of the entire year. Guests can spot the three whale species on a 2-day, luxury safari in the southern half of the Baja California Peninsula.

Mexico is heavily promoting itself as a culinary hub—it is, in fact, one of the top gastronomy destinations in the world with accolades to prove it—so no surprise that Artisans of Leisure, offering bespoke customized tours, has launched an 11-day Culinary Tour of Mexico in which visitors learn the secrets of mole with a cooking instructor in Puebla; dine at top restaurants in Mexico City; tour a mescal distillery; and explore markets and participate in a private cooking lesson in Oaxaca.

Oasis Hotels & Resorts has launched Weddings by Oasis with several ceremonty options. O Ceremony, at the lower end of the price range, accommodates up to six guests and includes lots of goodies such as private VIP check-in and a semi-private dinner, while O Eternity, for up to 50 guests, is at the top of the price range and includes a surprise gift, gourmet breakfast, private poolside/beach cocktail and a long list of additional amenities.