updated 1/24/2011 1:46:25 PM ET 2011-01-24T18:46:25

PLAYA XPU-HA, Mexico, Jan. 24, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Just in time for Valentine's Day the luxury resort, Esencia Estate in Playa del Carmen, is churning a chocolate trio for two.  Cacao has many positive benefits, especially the organic kind from the local Mayan village with whom Esencia has a close relationship. 

Cacao was once referred by the Mayans as the food of the gods.   It was used as a luxury item and often traded for food and clothing.   Today Esencia still believes in the power of the cacao. Just as royalty used it years ago for luxury purposes, Esencia, being the estate of a Royal Duchess, uses it for the luxury of well-being and for tantalizing sensations and palates.

Esencia purchases the cacao seeds from the small town of Tizimín, just three and a half hours northeast of Xpu-Ha.  It is used in Esencia's organic spa for its antioxidant properties.  In the hotel's restaurant, Sal y Fuego, cacao is used in signature drinks and favorite dishes.   The chef prepares the cacao in the estate's own garden kitchen using an all-natural process with no preservatives or additives. 

In celebration of the upcoming holiday, Esencia has created a special Valentine's package "Chocolate for Two".  Couples will have the opportunity to indulge and benefit from the local cacao in three enticing ways:

- Couples Chocolate Massage : Working together is part of the fun. Couples along with a therapist have the opportunity to grind the cacao and prepare the ingredients for the delicious, invigorating massage. 

- Chocolate Cocktails : In this indulgent how to class, couples participate in creating a variety of chocolate cocktails with a local twist.

- Cooking with Chocolate : Using the bittersweet taste of the cacao, Chef Bernardo shows the couple how to incorporate it in their favorite dishes. 

As a gift, couples will receive a bag of locally grown cacao to take home so the memories linger.  The "Chocolate for Two" package can be incorporated to any Esencia rate.  The cost per couple is $250.00, rate does not include tax and service fee.  The package is valid from January 20, 2011 – February 28, 2011.   For reservations or information please visit www.hotelesencia.com or call 1-877-528-3490. 

"Esencia is constantly finding ways to support the local culture and its people, for this reason we find great pleasure in purchasing ingredients such as the cacao from the local towns," said Philip Vidal, General Manager of Esencia.   "To complete the experience, our spa staff spends time observing and learning from the local Mayan healers to incorporate their techniques into the spa treatments."  

Media Contact:

Laura Suttles

Prohotel International Inc.

1.713.528.7862

pr@prohotels.com

About Esencia Estate

The 50-acre luxury resort is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.  Located 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen and 20 minutes north of Tulum, Esencia is the essence of simplicity, elegance and beauty. Its 29 spacious suites and cottages include a range of features from private gardens to solariums and deep-soaking plunge pools. The estate is operated by ProHotel International of Houston, which also operates Casa Bonita in Barahona, Dominican Republic and The Lodge at Pico Bonito in La Ceiba, Honduras. 

Sal y Fuego

The dinner menu specializes in Meso-American cuisine, using traditional Yucatán methods such as banana-wrapped fish and meat cooked in a pib (an earth oven).  The menu showcases the freshest local seafood as well as dishes from the rest of Mexico, all flavored with organic herbs and fresh fruits and vegetables. The ambience combines Mexican flair and rustic simplicity with its palapa roof and view of a cenote, an illuminated underground fresh water pool.

Aroma Spa

Fully organic from its architecture to its products, the Duchess's oasis harvests its own lush herb garden for use in treatments.  Five treatment rooms, four Jacuzzis, two Mayan-style domed steam rooms and a beachside Temazcal Mayan Sauna are also available. Complimentary group yoga and meditation classes are offered with an instructor on the main house terrace or in the garden area. 

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