Big Venues

Brazil

Rio Centro, Rio de Janeiro

1,121,566 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 16 meeting rooms; www.riocentro.com.br

In 2007, the center underwent an upgrade that included air conditioning and a Wi-Fi network.

Mexico

Acapulco Convention Center

168,746 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 27 meeting rooms; www.centroacapulco.com

Expo Imperial Exhibition and Convention Center

242,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 43 meeting rooms; www.expoimperial.com

A new convention center in the Acapul-co Diamante area, Expo Imperial opens in August as part of the Mundo Imperial complex, which will also include an 800-room luxury hotel, the 4,000-seat Forum theater, a promenade with shops and restaurants, and a world-class spa.

Cancun Center

77,900 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 37 meeting rooms; www.cancuncenter.com

Cintermex, Monterrey

197,841 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 19 meeting rooms; www.cintermex.com.mx

Hotel News

Brazil

Pullman Hotels & Resorts

Accor Hotels will debut the Pullman Hotels & Resorts brand in Brazil this year. The 5-star chain was launched last year, focused on the corporate market. Plans call for 50 hotels worldwide by the end of 2008. Many former Sofitel hotels will become Pullmans.

Colombia

Hilton Bogota

The Hilton Bogota opens in mid-2009 in the financial district of Colombia's capital city. The 245-room hotel will have 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Holiday Inn Express Cartagena Hotel & Suites

The Holiday Inn Express Cartagena, part of a mixed-use complex in the city center, will open in early 2010 with 150 rooms and six boardrooms.

Costa Rica

Doubletree Cariari by Hilton San Jose

The 222-room Doubletree Cariari by Hilton reopened this year with upgraded guest rooms, restaurants, and meeting space. Five minutes from Juan Santamaria International Airport, the hotel has 11 meeting rooms.

Doubletree Resort by Hilton Puntarenas

After a redo, the Fiesta Resort in Puntarenas reopened as the 314-room Doubletree Resort by Hilton Puntarenas. The beachside all-inclusive resort features four swimming pools, fitness center, kids' club, casino, and nightly entertainment. Five meeting rooms offer 8,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. A member of the Certification of Sustainable Tourism Program, the hotel received a three-leaf rating from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.

Hilton Papagayo Resort Costa Rica

The Hilton Papagayo Resort Costa Rica opened in January after a multimillion-dollar transformation from the Premier Fiesta Resort and Spa. Upgrades include a new open-air lobby and spa. Among 202 guest rooms are 71 bungalows and four junior suites. Meeting space includes a 300-seat auditorium. A member of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program, the hotel earned a three-leaf rating from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.

Mexico

Cancun Palace

Now part of Palace Resorts, the 600-room, all-inclusive Cancun Palace celebrated its grand reopening last year. New meeting space includes a 17,000-sq.-ft. convention center and 10 meeting rooms.

Elan Resort and Spa

The all-inclusive Elan Resort & Spa opened last spring with 95 guest rooms, 51 villas, and 20,000 sq, ft. of meeting space. On its own peninsula overlooking the huge Nichupté Lagoon, the resort features two private beach areas and an Elements Spa.

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach

For the 14th year, the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun has earned the AAA Five Diamond Award. The 602-suite resort has 85,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including the 7,500-sq.-ft. Coral Ballroom, plus terrace, poolside, and beach venues for events.

Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa

A Mandara Spa opened at the Presidente InterContinental Cozumel last year. The 220-room resort also became a member of The Leading Hotels of the World after a $25 million investment in late 2006. Three meeting rooms hold from 40 to 300 attendees.

Wyndham Cozumel Resort and Spa

After a $10 million redo, the former Reef Club reopened last fall as the 402-room Wyndham Cozumel Resort and Spa. The all-inclusive resort has a 200-seat theater, several outdoor event areas, a spa, and 2,000 feet of beach.

Fiesta Americana Grand Guadalajara Country Club

Last August, the 208-room Fiesta Americana Grand Guadalajara Country Club debuted with meeting space for up to 420 people in eight meeting rooms, in the heart of Guadalajara's exclusive corporate and financial district.

Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos

The new Somma Wine Spa at the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos features wine in 30 facial and body treatments, such as the detoxifying and conditioning Chardonnay Mud Wrap. The 250-room resort has 11 meeting rooms, and four outdoor event areas.

Barceló La Jolla de Mismaloya Hotel, Puerto Vallarta

The 304-suite Barceló La Jolla de Mismaloya Hotel completed an interior renovation and beach restoration program. A world-class indoor/outdoor spa opens this year. The all-inclusive has 11 meeting rooms and earned a AAA Four Diamond award for 2008.

The Barceló Maya Palace Hotel

The Barceló Maya Beach Resort added a fifth luxury hotel at the end of 2007 when the 756-suite Barceló Maya Palace Hotel joined the four existing Barceló Maya hotels on site: the Barceló Maya Tropical and Colonial Beach Hotels, as well as the Barceló Maya Beach and Caribe Hotels. Together the all-inclusive hotels offer access to 20 restaurants, a new spa, and a mile of beach. The resort offers 23,000 sq. ft. of conference space.

Panama

Cuna de Vida

A new luxury brand, Cuna de Vida, is launching a resort development on Panama's Isla del Rey in the archipelago of Las Perlas. Construction is under way on a private airport, which will be the primary means of arrival for guests.

Le Meridien Panama

The 118-room Le Meridien Panama will open in mid-2009 with 4,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and unobstructed views of the Panama Canal entrance.

The Orchid

Benchmark Hospitality will open The Orchid, a luxury hotel in the heart of Panama City, in 2009. The 17-story tower is going up in the financial district. The 170-suite hotel will offer meeting rooms on two floors along with Benchmark's signature Conference Concierge Services.

Radisson Summit Resort and Spa

Located near the Miraflores Locks, the 103-room Radisson Summit Resort opens in December in a new, ecologically friendly tower on the grounds of the Summit Golf Club. Plans call for banquet facilities and a spa.

Sidebars

Culture Notes: Mexico

Culture Notes: Brazil