When you make a site inspection trip to the Acapulco Princess, leave behind the beach and sun for a little while and head underground. In the beehive of broad service corridors that wend below the five free-form pools and 1,019 guest rooms of this 480-acre resort, you get a sense that the Princess is a city unto itself. With everything from its own water purification system and English-language training for employees to a butchery, pastry kitchen, and employee transportation system, it's no wonder that the resort is able to deliver the first-class service that convention groups expect.

And it was the service that was most often praised by the nearly 60 meeting executives who flew down to Mexico in early May for the resort's Spring Gala, an annual event that allows Princess to show off its facilities and theme party capabilities and highlight its newest additions. In the latter category was the Atlantis Multimedia Center. The new $3 million meeting room opened in November 1996, outfitted with podium-controlled projectors and lighting; an aerial projection booth; satellite downlinking capabilities; and wireless, lavaliere, and hand-held microphones, among other features. Modeled after the three-year-old Mid-Ocean Amphitheater at the Southampton Princess in Bermuda, the tiered facility seats 450 theater-style and 300 schoolroom-style.

Gala attendees also got a first-hand look at another recent project when the group convened in the redecorated Salon de Fiestas Ballroom for its farewell banquet. Completed in October 1996, the project added unusual Venetian cut-glass chandeliers and upgraded the air-conditioning and lighting systems. Now, each of ballroom's three 5,679-square-foot sections can be controlled separately when the room is divided. Also new: redecorated Penthouse Suites, two casual eateries, and an improved shopping arcade.

The Princess is on the Pacific Coast about 15 minutes south of downtown Acapulco, close enough for Gala guests to see the city sights during the day, and head back in the evening for a visit to the discos. The resort also features an 18-hole Ted Robinson designed golf course (the neighboring, seasonal Pierre Marques sister property also has an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones course) as well as 11 tennis courts, including two indoor, air-conditioned stadium courts.