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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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American Property Management’s Hotel in Cancun Avoids Dean’s Full Wrath

At least one local company, American Property Management Corp., was directly affected by Hurricane Dean. Le Meridien Cancun Resort & Spa, a 213-room property in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, which the company acquired for $100 million last year, sustained some damage on Aug. 21 when the Category 5 hurricane blew ashore. But since it was not in the eye of the storm, the damage was minimal.

Michael Gallegos, president and chief executive officer of APMC, said that most of the hotel’s guests and all but a skeleton crew of 30 workers were evacuated. The hotel normally operates with a staff of 400 people. The 30 remained, however, to tend to the needs of 85 TV reporters and staff members of CNN and ABC who stayed at the hotel while covering the storm.

All were safe. During the brunt of the storm, they took shelter in the hotel’s subterranean ballroom. The property’s windows had been boarded up and other precautionary safety measures were taken, Gallegos said.

“The hotel was built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane,” he said. “The walls of the property are made of reinforced concrete and the windows are so thick, they’re basically bulletproof.”

He estimated the tab for repairing damage to the nine-year-old hotel’s grounds and landscaping, including replacing more than 40 palm trees and other vegetation, would be $50,000 and that the work could be completed in three weeks. Meanwhile, the hotel is open and operational.

He said that Le Meridien, which he considers to be the jewel in the company’s portfolio of 45 hotels valued at $2 billion in the United States and Mexico. Le Meridien is in an area near Cancun referred to as the Hotel Zone.

Conde Nast Traveler magazine has ranked it No. 2 among the resort and spas in Mexico and Latin America.

Gallegos said that he is not fearful of Cancun’s location “in hurricane alley” and that he is in the final stages of acquiring another $100 million hotel, Paraiso de la Bonita, there soon.

“The reason we’re so bullish on this market is because it’s one of the few in the world that consistently achieves year-round occupancy of 90 percent-plus, such as New York, Las Vegas and Paris.”

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And They’re Off:

As an animal lover and people watcher, I think the Del Mar racetrack offers the best of both.

When it comes to betting, though, I take a very conservative, do-what-you-can-with-what-you’ve-got approach, savoring the idea of winning rather than the notion that big payouts await me. They don’t.

With $25 in hand after covering the monthly bills, I went to the Pacific Classic on Sunday, Aug. 19, and put the entire sum on defending champion Lava Man, who, as history notes, didn’t take well to the new $9 million Polytrack surface. Some horses like turf, others like dirt, and some are considered “mudders,” because they run well in the rain. Lava Man is apparently not a Polytracker, at least not yet.

We left after the 8th race, and I believe that since Del Mar has successfully completed track improvements for the sake of animal safety, it might now focus on improving parking conditions for humans, particularly if bigger crowds result.

The shuttles that take you from the hinterland areas are too few and far between and one or more could be dedicated for people with young children and individuals with disabilities.

Obviously, I can’t offer any racing tips, other than to look for a middle-age man with a clipboard containing horses’ training times who’s a regular in the stretch-run area. He goes by the name of Super Man. Or at least that’s what he called himself after raking in about $750 on a trifecta before the Pacific Classic. (He gave me a tip on a long shot that came in third in the Classic, but I didn’t pay any attention.) And anyone who doesn’t want to walk a country mile this weekend will want to get to the track early while there’s still paved parking available or room in the valet area.


Send tourism and hospitality industry news to Connie Lewis by e-mail:

clewis@sdbj.com

. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359.

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