Recommend December 2012 - (Page 26)

NEW BEGINNINGS Mexico chalks up banner calendar year. riviera maya “With numerous authentic cultural experiences and events designed to celebrate the beginning of a new era in Maya history, 2012 should be another monumental year in Riviera Maya’s tourism,” says Dario Flota, general director of the Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office ( No doubt an uber hot ticket in December, the destination is looking beyond by hyping its diversity to maintain that wave of interest. Aside from Karisma premiering its 30-room El Dorado Generations ( in August, 2012 saw more property enhancements than openings. The Tides Riviera Maya transformed via a major renovation and rebranding as Viceroy Riviera Maya (, Sandos Hotels & Resorts ( buffed up its two Riviera Maya properties and Rosewood Mayakoba ( reopened in October on the heels of a $1.6 million renovation. donna ray Despite a healthy uptick in visitor numbers and optimistic outlook for 2013, what’s going down as Mexico’s most buzz-worthy milestone in 2012 is the Mayan Calendar’s swan song. For centuries, speculators across the globe debated this mammoth event. Does it represent the spiritual finale of a 5,125-year cycle and birth of another? Or does it mark doomsday? Obviously, hospitality industry gurus are banking on the former as indicated by the massive influx of private and public tourism funds breathing fresh life into the country. Destinations are refreshing tired neighborhoods, enhancing cultural experiences, broadening recreational offerings, beefing up safety measures and launching new marketing campaigns. On the accommodations front, the country is welcoming the debut of brands with no previous south of the border presence and a roll out of fresh concepts from deep-rooted players. As for infrastructure, President Felipe Calderon has supported an investment of nearly $400 billion over the past six years—a 23 percent increase over the previous 6-year period. “All across the country we’re seeing a lot of investment,” says Eduardo Chaillo, executive director for the Mexico Tourism Board ( “We have W opening in Mexico City and Riviera Maya, Four Seasons opening in Mayakoba, Hilton seeing its first Mexico all-inclusive in Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos seeing its first JW Marriott in 2014. There’s a trend toward luxury travel that speaks toward what we’re trying to accomplish.” “Investment from international hotel groups is very strong,” adds Alfonso Sumano, regional director for the Americas, Mexico Tourism Board. “For example, IHG will invest approximately $500 million between 2011 and 2014 resulting in the creation of 47 new hotels, which equates to approximately 5,000 rooms. “We are seeing high-profile openings across all sectors, which demonstrates the diversity of travelers attracted to Mexico, from those looking for a luxury break to business travelers looking for great value options.” 26 december 2012 cancun Sporting its positive spin to lure travelers after the calendar turns its page, Cancun’s “new beginning” campaign ( en) encourages visitors to explore the evolution of humanity and redefine their Mayan experience. Here, it’s all about cutting edge, as reflected by AMResorts’ wine-inspired Secrets The Vine ( that burst onto the scene in August. The $140 million RIU Palace Peninsula ( debuted this summer too, deviating from the brand’s more traditional feel. “This Palace has a more modern and edgy style to it,” says Javier Monje, RIU’s director of contracting, U.S./Canada. “We’re seeing those who lean toward a ‘W’ but want to find that feeling with all-inclusive conveniences.” Another addition to the hotel landscape was the transformation of the Gran Melia Cancun to the all-inclusive Paradisus Cancun Resort (, which opened its doors just last month. Revving up diversions, Cancun’s new Exotic Rides allows visitors behind the wheel of glamour rides like Ferraris and Lamborghinis while accompanied by experienced drivers. CANCUN CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU mexico Poolside at Secrets The Vine in Cancun. http://cancun/travel/en

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend December 2012

Editor's Notes
Hotel Desk: Indie Boutique Hotels & Resorts
Tour Talk: Apple Vacations
16th Annual Recommend Readers' Choice Awards Winners
Cruising 2012
North American Splendor
Tantalizing Tallahassee
New Beginnings
Hard Rock Hotel Cancun
For Asia and the South Pacific, 2012 was a Vintage Year
Europe Always Astounds
Six 2012 Trends That are Here to Stay
Africa Rising
Checking-in to Latin America

Recommend December 2012