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Fairmont Acapulco Princess––Acapulco, Mexico

Playa Revolcadero s/n, Col. Granjas del Marques, Acapulco, Mexico

Situated in three Aztec–style pyramid buildings on Revolcadero Beach, the Fairmont Acapulco Princess is a massive luxury hotel with 1,017 rooms, including seven penthouse suites. The high–rise somehow still manages to serve up a laid–back charm and consistent service, plus the 480 acres of grounds and golf course offer plenty of room to roam.

The queen of Acapulco resorts, the 17–story Fairmont Princess Acapulco is the largest in the area and is one of those resorts that recalls the days when celebrities flocked to Acapulco. Located on prime land adjacent to the golden sands of Revolcadero, the hotel highlights classic Mexican architecture with its three Aztec–inspired buildings, encircled by tropical gardens and waterfalls that start in the lobby with ponds and a slatted bridge.

The open–air lobby is flanked by charming fountains, and a lively bar located there takes full advantage of the splendid scenery indoors. Outside, five free–form swimming pools–– one a saltwater lagoon––frame the property. The surrounding gardens contain over 750 plant species and sheltering a colorful assortment of swans, flamingos and tropical birds.

Dining choices range from the chic Café Los Angeles to the Mexican specialty restaurant La Hacienda, from the alfresco Beach Club and Chula Vista to the formal Italian setting of La Veranda. To relax, sit at the lobby bar with a freshly made margarita and watch the swans lazily swim in the bar–side pond. Although it's a short walk, a shuttle runs frequently to the adjacent Fairmont Pierre Marqués, where you can use all facilities, including their signature restaurant serving French–Asian fusion cuisine at the AAA Four–Diamond El Tabachin.

Burn off the calories in a match at one of the 11 courts at the tennis center, or take a seat to enjoy one of many hosted international tournaments. Join a yoga or tai chi class by one of the five pools. Golfers won't want to miss the highly rated Fairmont Acapulco Princess Golf Course. Designed by Ted Robinson, the course features narrow fairways and water hazards on 12 of the 18 holes. You can also play on the Fairmont Pierre Marques Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.

The 14,000 square foot Willow Stream Spa is designed as a celebration of the sacred places of the Maya and Aztecs. A palapa (thatched roof) covers the spa where you'll discover multi–use and hydrotherapy rooms; couples massage suites; Jacuzzi, steam and sauna rooms; lounge areas, a boutique and beauty salon; and a fitness center featuring state–of–the–art equipment.

Although the Fairmont fills many of its rooms by hosting conventions, delegates tend to congregate around the Princesa Tower (the location of the meeting space), and upscale specialty and presidential suites are mostly located in the Marquesa and Pyramid. A $14 million refurbishment has dramatically upgraded the room accommodations and décor, with evidence of only slight "fatigue" primarily due to its 1971 architecture.

Accommodations start at 485 square feet for the standards and go up to more than 2,500 square feet in the penthouse suites. Marble floors, cane furniture, and large airy rooms are the norm throughout and 70 percent are oceanfront.

The 1,045 square–feet Pacific One Bedroom Suites are located in the Pyramid and Princesa towers. Furnished in a California–Mexican décor with splashes of colorful art, a living room, dining room, and bedroom with king bed and en–suite bathroom complete the ensemble of a comfortable room. It's the ocean view with wraparound terrace that really makes the room, however. Junior Suites are equally tropical with scatter rugs and two floor–to–ceiling glass walls that open onto another generous wraparound terrace.

The two penthouse suites are the ultimate choice here. One two–bedroom suite is centrally located at the top of the Pyramid atrium and the other is in the Princesa Tower (away from the convention traffic). The first offers a view over the golf course to the Sierra Madre, and the other a panoramic vista of the pools, the beach, and the Pacific Ocean. The attention to detail is most noticeable with the fully equipped kitchenette, wet bar and refrigerator, plus a private entrance is available to bring in your own private chef. The luxurious living rooms include a sofa seating area, dining table with plenty of room for in–suite entertaining, and the foyer features a guest powder room. Again oversized terraces allow for sunbathing or private gatherings.

Fairmont Acapulco Princess

While the huge scale of this resort keeps it from matching the elegance and personal service of some other hotels here––including the smaller sister Fairmont––the fine dining options and resort amenities make this an excellent oceanfront retreat away from the urban bustle of Acapulco.

Web Address: Fairmont.com/acapulco
Total Number of Rooms: 1,017
Published rates: $239 to $1,602

Review and photos by Diana Rowe

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