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Best Vacation Destination 2009

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New Resorts and Hotels, Increased Lift from U.S., add to Already Strong Appeal Of Mexico’s Newest Vacation Discovery

RIVIERA NAYARIT, Mexico – Stretching luxuriously along Mexico’s magnificent mid-Pacific Coast, Riviera Nayarit was unknown to most international travelers only a few years ago. Now, it is hard to keep up with the impressive new attractions and services, including a wealth of new resorts and golf courses and, for lucky residents of Memphis and nearby cities, new air service.

Here are the latest highlights:

Punta Mita Several new resorts are opening in Punta Mita. The St. Regis Punta Mita is opening this summer, featuring 120 magnificently appointed guest rooms and suites; a 10,000 square foot luxury spa; 3,800 square feet of meeting and function space, making the resort ideal for all kinds of special events, and, of course, all the signature services for which the St. Regis brand is renowned worldwide, including its trademark butler service. The resort also will feature Punta Mita's second Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course with greens meandering through the resort grounds, two pools and three full-service restaurants.

Other new arrivals in Punta Mita include the Dreams Punta Mita Resort & Spa, the all-inclusive, 320-room property designed for couples and families. Opening in late 2009, the resort also will feature an on-site dolphinarium, a Greg Norman 18-hole golf course and an upscale shopping center. The Punta Mita resort is one of three Dreams is building in the Riviera Nayarit area. The 224-room Dreams Nuevo Vallarta Resort & Spa opens this summer on the Bay of Banderas just south of Punta Mita, and Dreams Vallarta Bay Resort & Spa is scheduled to open in 2010 with 340 finely-appointed rooms and suites.

No less exciting for Punta Mita is the intimate Hotel des Artistes and Punta de Mita Beach Club and Spa, a new resort offering twelve two and three bedroom beachfront suites, an athletic club and spa, art gallery, a rooftop infinity pool, hot tub and bar and fine dining under the direction of world-renowned chef Thierry Blouet at the Café des Artistes du Mer.

Libitu An extension of the prestigious resort area of Punta Mita, Litibú is one of Riviera Nayarit’s fastest growing areas, with eight new hotels and resorts on the way, thanks the support of Fonatur, Mexico’s national tourism department. Among them is La Tranquila composed of 73 exclusive private residences (in the first phase of development) situated on the Bay of Banderas that will be sold in 1/12 fractional shares, thus offering vacationers all the amenities and pleasures of luxury second home ownership without the extravagant cost. The residences will range in size from one-bedroom and one bath to three bedrooms and three baths. Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is also building three hotels in Libitu, the first, opening this year, offering 560 rooms.

Nuevo Vallarta In the Nuevo Vallarta area of Riviera Nayarit the hottest news, along with the new Dreams resort, is the Riu Palace Pacifico. Opening in summer 2008, this deluxe all-inclusive property will include 484 suites and a great choice of dining experiences ranging from a main restaurant to venues serving fusion, Japanese and Mexican cuisines. The resort offers a full range of water sports and other recreational facilities, several lounges and bars, including a swim-up bar; several swimming pools, and children’s facilities. Nuevo Vallarta is only nine miles from the international airport in Puerto Vallarta.

Also in Nuevo Vallarta is the already announced Marival Condo Resort & Residence scheduled to open in the summer of 2009 with 162 luxury one to four bedroom condominiums measuring from 1,200 to 2,500 square feet and 9 four bedroom villas, each equipped with full kitchen, spacious living areas and outdoor terraces.

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle Los Veneros will be a new resort area for Riviera Nayarit on the Banderas Bay coast between La Crux de Huanacaxtle and Punta Mita. Scheduled for completion by the end of 2009, the $126 million investment encompasses 251 condominiums, a small boutique hotel, beach club, spa, and conference rooms.

Punta Raza Investors are pouring $118 million into tourism developments in Punta Raza, including eight hotels, 950 homes, a golf course, and a marina. The first phase, including two hotels – a Park Hyatt and a Grand Hyatt as well as residences – are planned to open in December 2008.

Lift Northwest Airlines’ recent addition of daily, non-stop service between Memphis and Puerto Vallarta has resulted in NWA WorldVacations packages featuring nonstop air travel. The new service immediately makes Riviera Nayarit more competitive with other warm-weather destinations for residents of dozens of mid-southern cities, including Louisville, New Orleans and Nashville.

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