by Michael J. Shapiro | November 01, 2010
Local Update
The Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa Cancún is slated to complete the first phase of construction in December, at that point making available to the public an as-yet-unspecified number of guest rooms. The new resort will be near Playa Mujeres, with its beautiful beaches just a short drive north of Cancún's Hotel Zone. A full-service spa will be on-site, as well as a fitness center, two restaurants, a deli and a snack bar. Suites will include full kitchens and large balconies.

AMResorts launched a new brand of luxury lifestyle resorts at the beginning of this year, called Now Resorts & Spas. The first two properties, just outside of Puerto Morelos, are the 550-suite Now Jade Riviera Cancún, which opened in January, and the 496-suite Now Sapphire Riviera Cancún, which began hosting guests in May. Now Jade offers an air-conditioned theater that seats up to 1,200 attendees, as well as a small private conference room in its business center. Five specialty themed restaurants are on-site, as well as six bars and lounges. For its part, Now Sapphire has more than 15,000 square feet of event space, including a grand ballroom that exceeds 8,000 square feet and seats up to 450 people. That property offers six restaurants and five bars and lounges.

The Tides Riviera Maya, a 30-villa luxury property just north of Playa del Carmen, added an antojería to its culinary offerings -- a place where guests can eat and learn how to make popular Mexican street-food snacks. The resort, formerly known as Ikal del Mar, also offers an on-site restaurant, a lounge and private dining for anywhere from two to 75 people in Casita Maya, an outdoor palapa with a traditional Mayan kitchen.

The hip Hotel Reina Roja opened in December last year in the center of Playa del Carmen. The 63-room property offers eclectically themed suites as well as a meeting room that can hold up to 20 people and the Roof Garden, a rooftop deck complete with pool that can accommodate receptions of up to 500. The on-site restaurant can host group dinners of up to 70.