Wednesday, 02 September 2015 16:50

Los Cabos

Written by  Maria Lisella
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Celebrated artists, filmmakers and A-list personalities from around the world will converge on Los Cabos for the 4th annual edition of the Los Cabos International Film Festival this November 11-15, 2015 as the specter of Hurricane Odile fades into the latest reports of recovery, rejuvenation and a renaissance for the Baja California Sur Corridor.

The Category-3 hurricane on September 15, 2014 killed five people, caused innumerable injuries, stranded 30,000 visitors, flattened homes, ripped the roof off Terminal 1 in the Los Cabos International Airport, and damaged millions of dollars of hotel inventory.
Los Cabos welcomed 1.7 million visitors in 2013. A year later, despite the devastation, the destination received 1.64 visitors; projections for this year call for 1.8 million visitors.
Said Los Cabos Tourism Board Managing Director, Ruben Reachi, “Many hotels and resorts have made large investments to improve their properties, and many more new developments are underway. In fact, over the course of the next three years the destination is expected to add close to 4,000 new rooms to its roster.”
A sharp increase in airlift to Los Cabos is already underway from many major U.S. markets including Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego and New York City.

Blue Skies and Greens Forever
In one report, Los Cabos Tourism Board commercial director-chief commercial officer Luis Palacios said, “From 2011 to 2015, Los Cabos added an unprecedented 800,000 airline seats; there’s no growth like this at any other airport in Mexico.”
Delta Airlines kicked off new service and a new route from John F. Kennedy in New York to Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) in Dec., 2014, considered important access to that East Coast market. Two months later, Delta launched non-stop service from Seattle; United Airlines began non-stop service from Washington D.C. March 7, 2015; Spirit launched non-stop service from Houston on May 9, 2015; and Southwest Airlines’ Baltimore service began June 13, 2015. On October 7, 2015, Southwest Airlines will launch service from Hobby Airport in Houston; and Alaska Airlines plans to launch service from Orange County, California on October 8, 2015.
Last year, two new golf courses -- the 18-hole Los Cabos, designed by Jack Nicklaus, and the 18-hole El Cardinal Diamante, designed by Tiger Woods -- came online, for a total of 14 in Los Cabos. Two more courses are scheduled to debut within two years: one will be on the Pacific side at Rancho San Lucas while the other, which is being developed by Grupo Solmar and Vidanta Group, will be located on the East Cape.

New Builds
Commune Hotels & Resorts, the international, multi-brand hotel company that manages Thompson Hotels, debuted its very first property in Mexico with unobstructed views of The Arch on Monument Beach. The Cape’s 161 guestrooms include one-, two-, and three-bedroom Suites or Villas, four, two-story Penthouse Suites with private rooftops and plunge pools, and the premier “Surfer Villa” - a two-story luxury suite with a private entrance. James Beard Foundation Award finalist, chef Enrique Olvera oversees the hotel’s 114-seat signature restaurant, Manta. Room rates start at $599; introductory rates start at $399.
On June 27, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide broke ground on Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos. Owned by Quinta del Golfo de Cortez, the property spans 33 acres; and includes an extensive spa, residences, vacation ownership units and a private beach club. Slated to open in June 2017, Solaz is Starwood’s first Luxury Collection hotel in Los Cabos and the brand’s seventh hotel in Mexico. Situated at the southern-most tip of Baja California Sur, Solaz will feature 131 luxuriously-appointed guestrooms and suites in five distinct six-floor buildings.

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort underwent a multi-million dollar property-wide renovation, the 28-acre oasis boasts all new guest rooms, event space, restaurants and recreation areas. As the only resort in the destination with two American Academy of Hospitality Five Star Diamond Restaurants, Pitahayas and De Cortez, the Hacienda has added a new quick service venue, El Molino. A new putting green; and new activity packages -- from Dolphin Swims to Flyboard packages -- are also online.
The 157-room Hyatt Place Los Cabos has reopened following a $7.6 million reconstruction project. New enhancements include reconfiguration of the lobby and the addition of a terrace with sweeping ocean views.
Following a $10 million renovation, the Marquis Los Cabos, formerly known as Secrets Marquis Los Cabos, has a new white-washed facade, with five room categories: 203 deluxe suites, 26 one-bedroom casitas, five master suites and a two-bedroom presidential suite.

Cabo Kids
The 375-room Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort reopened on July 6 to unveil Phase One renovations following a multi-million dollar transformation including 65 new La Vista Club-level suites, and a 7,000-square-foot spa and salon. Two restaurants have new culinary concepts: El Meson features farm-to-table and fresh seafood entrées, while Madero’s poolside options fuse American and Mexican cuisine. Phase Two renovations include the opening of Vela for fine dining and an enhanced Cabo Kids Camp for children ages four to 12. Significant promotions slated for October.
The AAA Four Diamond-rated Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa features spacious suites and penthouses with fully equipped kitchens, a choice of 1 to 4-bedrooms and bathrooms, elegantly furnished seating areas and balconies with ocean views. To tap into a new generation, it is now sporting Grand Solmar’s Kid’s Club among its family amenities, this one for children from 5 to 12.

Luxury Properties
Among the very first luxury properties ro reopen its doors in January, 2015 was the Resort at Pedregal. Listed on Travel + Leisure’s 500 Worldís Best Hotels list for 2015 and the AAA Five-Diamond Award, it spans 24 acres with 66 rooms and suites, 22 multi-bedroom residential-style villas. The property debuted its cliffside Champagne Terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Rosewood Resort’s Las Ventanas al Paraiso welcomed guests back to the legendary Five-Diamond resort on June 4, 2015, enhancing the 83 suites and villas with new experiential activities programs such as cooking class, an ultra-luxury whale safari and a Sea of Cortez diving excursion. Villa Hosts attend to the resort’s 12 Signature Villas. Signature Villa guests have access to El Cardonal, Tiger Woods’ new golf course, and the Davis Love III Dunes Course. The Spa at Las Ventanas features new therapeutic techniques.

The Hyatt Ziva is scheduled to reopen on Aug. 15, the Cabo Azul Resort & Spa on Sept. 30, and the Casa del Mar and El Ganzo on Oct. 1. The Melia Cabo Real is slated to welcome guest back in November and a reopening date has not yet been for the Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa.
Other new kids on the Los Cabos hotel landscape opening this year: City Express Suites & City Express Plus (135 rooms), Hampton Inn & Suites (95 rooms), JW Marriott (300 rooms), Mar Adentro by Encanto (140 rooms; Nov.), and Breathless Resort by AM Resorts (160, Dec. 2015).
And for 2016: Le Blanc (300 rooms), The Park Hyatt (232 rooms), and the VieVage Los Cabos, An Auberge Resort (60 rooms, 90 hotel condos) and the Westin Resort & Spa in March. Expected openings in 2017: The Hard Rock Hotel (600 rooms), Ritz Carlton Reserve (124 rooms), Solaz as part of Starwood Hotel’s Luxury Collection (311 rooms), Villa Valencia (300 rooms), Montage (122 rooms, 52 residences), Nobu Hotel Los Cabos (200 rooms) and Grand Solmar Rancho San Lucas (under development).

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