by Terence Baker | January 01, 2006

Le Blanc Spa Resort

Pool paradise: Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun

Cancun, Mexico, is working hard to repair the extensive damage caused by last October’s Hurricane Wilma. Already, the popular island resort mecca has spent $20 million to repair its famous beaches. Because fully 38 percent of all visitors to Mexico come here, the rebuilding effort is a top priority, say city officials.
    The Cancun Center, Conventions & Exhibitions, reopened on Nov. 8, 2005, followed by the area’s main cruise port, Cozumel; it is estimated that 20,900 of a total 27,500 hotel rooms will be open by mid-January. 
    In addition, American Airlines, Cancun’s largest carrier, resumed all of its 59 weekly flights from the United States in mid-December. 
    Information is updated daily at

Hotel developments
Palace Resorts’ 260-room Le Blanc Spa Resort, which opened last August only to close due to hurricane damage, reopened on Dec. 18, though its 10,000 square feet of meeting space will not reopen until spring. The boutique, adults-only hotel features white-on-white, minimalist décor. Also on site is a 29,000-square-foot spa with wonderful extras such as bamboo gardens, hydrotherapy tubs and lagoon views. 
    Opening in 2010 will be the Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort. To emerge from the former Sheraton Cancun Resort & Towers, it will offer 296 two-bedroom villas on 18 acres of beachfront. The first phase of the project, with 66 villas as well as public space, pools and restaurants, will debut in 2007.
    The Fiesta Americana Grand Aqua Cancun opened in December 2004 but now is closed for repairs until this summer. The 371-room property offers an airy lobby, a 16,145-square-foot spa, Mexican and nouvelle-American restaurants, and 16,500 square feet of event space.

Hot spots
Known for its striking, bold design and equally eye-opening martinis La Madonna opened last spring in the La Isla Shopping Village. Serving Italian delights infused with local flavors, specialties include crab cakes in chipotle sauce and risotto in octopus ink. The dining room hosts groups of 120 people.
    The latest high-end spot to shop is the Luxury Avenue Shopping Mall, managed by the ultra-exclusive Grupo UltraFemme. Opened in December 2004, the facility houses 27 stores, included among them sterling names such as MontBlanc, Rolex and Tiffany & Co. Private events can be held at the mall.

Side trips
The Riviera Maya, which begins in Puerto Morales, 15 miles south of Cancun, will soon welcome two new hotels.
    Opening this spring is the Fairmont Mayakoba, part of the $2 billion Mayakoba development that includes an 18-hole golf course, 5.5 miles of canals and lagoons, and four additional hotels. The 401-room property will feature a 20,000-square-foot spa and approximately 30,000 square feet of meeting space.
    Also due in summer 2006 is the Mandarin Oriental, Riviera Maya. Set among 36 acres of tropical forest and beachfront, the 128-villa hotel will offer a 25,000-square-foot spa centered around a freshwater pool.
    Organize a trip from Cancun 70 miles south to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Eco Colors ( takes adventurers deep into the jungle for snorkeling and kayaking. The biosphere has a rustic conference center and meeting space for up to 40 people.