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March 20, 2009

Sarkozy Spends in Mexico, Bruni Keeps Clothes On

Carla
It's a wrap: Carla Bruni and
the Dalai Lama. One of them is
the 13th reincarnation of Tibet's
patron saint, and the other
dated Mick Jagger. You decide.
Photo: Ammar Abd Rabbo on
Flickr using Creative Commons

by Beata Loyfman

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his model-turned-singer-turned-First Lady Carla Bruni reportedly spent a staggering $63,000 on a weekend vacation in Mexico's El Tamarindo resort. Interestingly, that's just $30K less than the amount Bruni's famous nude photo fetched at a Christie's auction. Located in a nature preserve in Costalegre, on the Pacific coast, El Tamarindo has 29 casitas each with a private pool and unbelievable service.

The real question isn't why the French first couple chose El Tamarindo for their vacation, but rather how they managed to spend that sort of coin there. The most expensive accommodation in the resort is the four-bedroom Oceanfront Residence. It would set you back $5,500 per night in March. And since the property is owned by a friend of Mexico's President Calderon, couldn't he cut the Sarkozys a deal? Perhaps the Mexican sun caused Nicolas to forget that the French economy is in a tailspin.

Luckily, us regular folks don't have to mortgage our (foreclosed) homes to pay for a Mexican getaway. In fact, if fun in the sun is more important to you than foie gras and caviar, an all-inclusive vacation is just the ticket. True, quantity sometimes trumps quality in these all-you-can-eat resorts, but choose any Iberostar, Riu, Palace, Secrets, Barcelo, or Fiesta Americana property and you can be sure that you'll get the most for your buck. Book your hotel and air together on a consolidation site and the savings increase even more. 

If you're into quieter locales and smaller hotels, head to towns like Tulum (in the Mayan Riviera) or Troncones (on the Pacific). Here, boutique hotels like Las Ranitas and Hacienda Eden are the relaxed and affordable options.

Just don't tell the Sarkozys . . .

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