Keeping an Eye on the Prize

The Riviera Maya receives accolades and plans for more award-winning resorts By: Skye Mayring
An airport near the Tulum area will be built soon // © 2010 Riviera Maya
 Destination marketing office
An airport near the Tulum area will be built soon // © 2010 Riviera Maya Destination marketing office

The Details

Riviera Maya
The Riviera Maya region of Mexico has not gone un-noticed as of late. Of the 14 hotels in Mexico awarded the 2010 AAA Five-Diamond Award, nearly half are located in the Riviera Maya. These award-winning resorts — Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Fairmont Mayakoba, Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya, Occidental Royal Hideaway Resort & Spa, Rosewood Mayakoba and Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya — are setting the bar for what visitors can expect in the years to come.

“Riviera Maya is always reinventing itself, which makes our region very appealing,” said Dario Flota, general director of the Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office. “Our hotels are always renovating, new ones are being built, better services are being developed and new parks and activities are being created. In addition, our own international airport will be built in the Tulum area within the next 18 months.”

Of the many properties in development, Marriott Hotels & Resorts is set to open two resorts in 2011 — the 450-room JW Marriott Milla de Oro Resort & Spa and the 150-room Renaissance Milla de Oro Resort.

Other big-name brands are establishing themselves in the Riviera Maya as well. Auberge Resorts — developers and operators of Los Cabos, Mexico’s Esperanza — recently announced plans to open a new 50-suite resort at Kanai, a master-planned beachfront community located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The Auberge resort will feature spacious suites with unobstructed ocean views, a signature Auberge Spa, waterfront dining, a swimming pool and a beach club bar and grill. Designed by California firms Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, along with George W. Girvin & Associates Inc. landscape architects and planners, the Auberge resort will feature a contemporary design that is inspired by Kanai’s natural landscape of lush tropical foliage and white-sand beaches.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is positioning its St. Regis brand at the Kanai complex with the St. Regis Kanai, Resort & Residence, slated to open in 2011. The property will boast 124 guestrooms and suites, 1,500 square feet of event space, four restaurants, a signature spa, swimming pools that overlook the ocean and two 18-hole golf courses.

Other nearby golf courses in development include the Grand Coral Riviera Maya designed by World Golf Hall of Fame golf player Nick Price. The 18-hole course is slated to open in 2013.

There are plenty of new Riviera Maya hotels and attractions that are already open to the public, however. Azul Fives by Karisma, for example, opened in the last quarter of 2010, with 260 spacious suites, some with three bedrooms and a rooftop deck.

The newly built One Playa del Carmen, the first Fiesta Americana property in the Riviera Maya, offers 108 guestrooms and is located two blocks from Playa del Carmen’s popular 5th Avenue.

Gran Bahia Principe Sian Kaan Condo Hotel opened in the fall and is a 15-minute drive north of Tulum. The all-inclusive, 100-suite hotel is part of the Bahia Principe Riviera Maya Residential Complex, an urban development located along a Robert Trent Jones II golf course.

“Hopefully, agents will see these progressions as sales tools that will allow them to offer their clients the best vacation for their money,” said Flota. “Riviera Maya today is without a doubt one of the best vacation experience in Mexico and the Caribbean area.”
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