Resorts, hotels reopen and look to upgrade clientèle
Dario Lopez-Mills/AP Photo
Roberto Cintron has learned many things as general manager of the bustling Flamingo Cancun Hotel, but few as critical as how to track bad weather from his office computer.
It’s been over a year since the Category 4 Hurricane Wilma swept through Cancun, demolishing dozens of hotels and almost wiping this oceanfront sun and fun spot off the tourism map. She whipped up winds reaching 250 km/h and waves big enough to break third-storey windows.
When she finally left town, she took the beach with her. Some 12 kilometres of it.
But in less than a year, Cancun has made a stunning comeback. So has the beach, thanks to $20 million US from the Mexican government and the technological genius of the Belgian-based land reclamation company that helped build the Palm Islands in the waters off the Middle East city of Dubai.
Almost all of Cancun’s hotels have now reopened, many after months of multi-million renovations. Shopping malls have been expanded, restaurants have been refurbished and some 175,000 plants, palms and trees have replaced those ripped out of the ground.
And almost three million cubic metres of sand has been scooped up from the ocean floor and shot back into place.
Now Cancun — long known as a highrise hotspot for the rowdy spring break crowd — is using its brutal brush with Mother Nature to try and convince visitors that it’s not the party place it used to be. Cancun is also expanding its airport and opening up new, signature golf courses — it will have 13 by spring, compared to just five a couple of years ago.