Banyan Tree Comes to Acapulco

Acapulco’s push for more upscale lodging is becoming a reality.

The Details

Banyan Tree Cabo Marques

Rates: Approximately $465 a night. A three-night stay comes with a complimentary spa treatment.
Commission: Starting at 10 percent

Acapulco Convention & Visitors Bureau

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Thanks to Banyan Tree Hotels & Spa Resorts, Acapulco’s push for more upscale lodging is becoming a reality. The Banyan Tree Cabo Marques will be among a string of luxury brands to open in the region during the first quarter of next year. I recently took a hard hat tour of the property at its exclusive location on a small peninsula in Acapulco Diamante.
Reflecting the hopes of local tourism officials, Miguel A. Mondejar, the area director of sales and marketing for Banyan Tree said that the Acapulco Diamante area is bringing back the glamour to Acapulco.

The Banyan Tree Cabo Marques boasts views of Puerto Marques Bay. // (C) 2009 Banyan Tree Cabo Marques

The Banyan Tree Cabo Marques boasts
views of Puerto Marques Bay.
// (c) 2009 Banyan Tree Cabo Marques

The new Banyan Tree property, which will open in February 2010, was under construction during my visit, but I was still able to appreciate the spectacular view of Puerto Marques Bay as I roamed the grounds. Ninety-six percent of its facilities will have ocean vistas, Mondejar indicated, during the tour.

Villas, comfortably separated from one another in a tropical forest, will come with individual pools and plenty of seclusion. From afar, they look as if they could be floating above treetops. The eye candy among the units, though, is the 900-square-foot presidential suite jutting out on a promontory above the sound of crashing ocean waves. With 270-degree views, the $3 million villa comes with its own infinity pool and waterfall, as well as a price tag of approximately $5,000 per night.

Food and drink outlets include La Nao, a restaurant named after Acapulco’s famous 16th-century galleons, which will feature Mexican-Asian fusion cuisine. Its Saffron restaurant, built with attractive, saffron-colored hardwood, will serve Thai food on two levels, while Las Rocas Bar & Grill will feature a more casual menu and ambiance.

A Grand Brand
Mondejar expects the recent opening of its sister property, Banyan Tree Mayakoba, in the Riviera Maya will help lure faithful guests to the Acapulco property. In the first year of operation, he also predicted that 25 percent of his market will be U.S. travelers, many of whom will be interested in the resort’s packages, which will range from high-end corporate promotions to multiday retreat and honeymoon packages.

As far as future Banyan Tree properties in Mexico are concerned, several are in the works, one in the state of Jalisco on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The estate of the much-acclaimed Monte Xanic Winery, near Ensenada, Baja California Sur, will also feature a Banyan Tree property next year.

Reimagining Acapulco
As a destination, Acapulco is raising the profile of its attractions in the U.S. with new co-op campaigns featuring prominent tour operators such as GoGo Worldwide Vacations and Apple Vacations, according to the Acapulco Destination Marketing Office.

Piquis Rochin, the director of international promotions for the Acapulco Destination Marketing Office, said, “Admittedly, U.S. visitors are mainly middle-class leisure travelers, but Acapulco is out to woo more golfers, honeymooners and business travelers. Once business travelers go home, we hope they will return here with their families. We want to attract more of the upscale segment with the new W, Aqua and Banyan Tree hotels.”

Dates for the inauguration of the W and Aqua hotels have not yet been announced, but the Mundo Imperial, which suspended construction last year, is expected to move forward with its plans in the coming year. The multibillion-dollar convention hotel and entertainment center will also include a holistic spa that utilizes Chinese medicine.

Meanwhile, the Fairmont Princess Acapulco has opened an Exhibition Center and Pearl Hotel with 39 floors of luxury amenities. The Lorena Ochoa Golf Academy, named after Mexico’s golf pro champion, is being built on the premises as well.

Mexico City’s Habita Hotel Group is also doing its part to revamp Acapulco. The group is in the process of restructuring the Boca Chica to make the property one of its signature hotels featuring 36 extra-spacious rooms with Jacuzzis. The Old Acapulco property is set to open in March 2010.

On the dining scene, more pizzazz is being added to the port city with the addition of Pompano, a restaurant owned by Mexican tenor, Placido Domingo. Additionally, Eduardo Wichtendahl, son of the famous chef Susana Palazuelos, recently received the President’s Award for his cuisine at Zibu restaurant.

With a host of accolades under its belt and several new luxury accommodations to offer, Acapulco is a destination that is readying itself for a dynamic 2010.