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  • Brand New Beach Resorts

    9/2/2011 2:06:20 PM Link |  | Add comment

    There's something special about vacationing at an all-new resort, and this week, I will reveal five brand-new, tropical resorts, as well as several properties that have recently undergone extensive renovations or expansions. The resorts are located in Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii and Las Vegas, and they accept guests of all ages unless otherwise noted.

    All-inclusive resorts, where your upfront price includes lodging, meals, beverages and activities, are noted as well.

    First, the all-new resorts. One property opened in December, one is scheduled to open this week, and three more are slated for November debuts.

    In general, I don't recommend planning a visit during the first few weeks since resort openings may be pushed back due to construction delays and/or some amenities may not be finished, and I like to give the new hotel staff some time to work out any kinks. But after a short grace period, it's a pleasure to walk into a tropical oasis where everything is new and the staff is especially eager to please.

    Villa de Palmar Cancun Mujeres Beach Resort -- Playa Mujeres, about 25 miles north of Cancun's hotel zone, is home to this 4.5-star, all-inclusive property. Rooms are equipped with kitchenettes or full kitchens, and some of the two-bedroom suites can accommodate up to eight guests. Guests can enjoy a massage at the spa or in a beachfront cabana, or take part in nonmotorized water sports like kayaking. Opened December 2010.

    Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa -- This 4.5-star property on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is Disney's first stand-alone destination resort. It's located in Ko Olina, a resort community with white-sand beaches, shopping and a marina for sportfishing and boating. Aulani guests can encounter marine life in the private snorkeling lagoon or at Makai Preserve, an on-site conservation pool inhabited by stingrays, starfish and anemones. There's a tranquil pool set apart from the 8,200 square-foot family pool, and two of the resort's four whirlpools are perfectly placed to catch Hawaiian sunsets. Kid-pleasing activities are offered at Aunty's Beach House, like wildlife and nature programs, traditional Hawaiian games and Disney movies. The spa offers 15 treatment rooms and a fitness center. Scheduled to open during the last week of August 2011.

    Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla (kids-free) and Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda (family-friendly) -- These neighboring all-inclusive properties, each rated with 5.5 stars, are perched on a small bay on Mexico's Riviera Maya. The complex is surrounded by a mangrove preserve and has views of Cozumel Island. The two resorts share a common area with 10 restaurants (three offer a kids-free ambiance), 10 bars, the Yhi Spa, an activities center and a theater. Guests who book the Royal Service category of accommodations at La Perla receive extra perks, like butler service, a private lounge with complimentary Internet and a private pool and beach area. Meanwhile, vacationers who check into the Family Concierge level of suites at La Esmeralda get a beach kit for the kids, pint-size bathrobes and slippers in the closet and nightly turndown with milk and cookies. Both properties offer swim-up suites. Scheduled to open in November 2011.

    Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa -- This 4.5-star retreat hugs the golden sands of Huatulco on Mexico's Pacific Coast. It's a kids-free, all-inclusive resort with several bars and lounges and eight restaurants, plus a cafe for coffee and pastries. Evening entertainment includes theme parties, live shows and movies on the beach. All rooms face the ocean, and some have private Jacuzzis on the terrace or swim-out access to the resort's pool. Scheduled to open in November 2011.

    The resorts below have undergone major, multimillion-dollar renovations or expansions.

    I've included a few key details for each resort below.


    In the Caribbean:
    Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe (renovations completed March 2011) -- A 5-star, all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
    IBEROSTAR Dominicana (renovations completed April 2011) -- A 4-star, all-inclusive property in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
    Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana (renovations completed May 2011) -- A 5-star, all-inclusive resort with a kids-free ambiance in the Dominican Republic, formerly NH Royal Beach
    Now Larimar Punta Cana (renovations completed May 2011) -- A 5-star, all-inclusive getaway in the Dominican Republic, formerly NH Real Arena
    Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort -- The Frenchman's Reef portion of this 5-star resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands will reopen after renovations in September 2011. The Morning Star section remains in operation.
    The BodyHoliday LeSPORT (scheduled to reopen October 2011) -- A 5-star, kids-free resort on Cariblue Beach in St. Lucia
    Radisson Blu Resort Marina & Spa (scheduled to reopen December 2011) -- A 4-star property on Anse Marcel Cove in St. Martin
    IBEROSTAR Cancun (scheduled to reopen December 2011) -- A 5-star all-inclusive resort in Mexico, formerly the Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa Resort

    In Hawaii:
    Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa (renovations completed February 2011) -- A 5-star hotel in on Maui's Kaanapali Beach in Hawaii
    The Royal Hawaiian (renovations completed March 2011) -- A 5-star hotel on Honolulu's Waikiki Beach
    DoubleTree Alana Hotel Waikiki (renovations completed May 2011) -- A 3-star property in Honolulu, Hawaii 

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