2021 is the time for a Luxe Getaway

With promising news of the vaccine rollout, new data shows that up to 70% of travel consumers are hoping to make the most of their unused vacation days in 2021. Some of the most popular destinations include luxury beachfront destinations in St. Barth’s, and Los Cabos and driving trip through California’s wine country. While many travelers feel ready to get in the car and go, others are ready to safely hop on a plane again for the ultimate getaway. Here are four destinations on my 2021 Travel Bucket List that I plan to visit:

St Barth’s is magnificent, yet sadly many of the resorts and properties were damaged due to Hurricane Irma, and then the pandemic hit. The completely rebuilt private beachfront hideaway Le Sereno St Barth is now open and ready to receive guests. Located on the ultra-private crystal-clear waters of the Grand Cul De Sac in St. Barths, there is a fresh new look to all guest rooms, including 39 newly renovated waterfront suites, and luxury four-bedroom villas. The re-imagined Restaurant Al Mare now has a new beach restaurant extension, and offers relaxed luxury and attentive service. Besides a new retail concept store, they also expanded the spa featuring exclusively curated Valmont products and treatments. Le Sereno’s guests can enjoy a beachfront sunset picnic experience with a private butler, painted porcelain dinnerware, champagne and Mediterranean-inspired fare from the hotel’s Michelin-starred executive chef. Click here to see their special promotions.

Commodore Perry Estate, Auberge Resorts Collection is a historic country estate located on 10 secluded acres in Austin, TX. Guests are invited to partake in the relaxing weekly Sunday ritual on the lawn featuring champagne on ice and an artisanal assortment of bites prepared by the hotel’s award-winning chefs. Rooms in the mansion range from 500 to 1575 square feet. Each of the one and two bedroom suites in the charmingly original Italian Renaissance Revival mansion, offer antique windows that open onto the cascading formal gardens and spacious lawns. Currently they are offering specials to entice travels to enjoy a change of scenery.

The legendary Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, CA was the dream of French restaurateur, Claude Rouas. In 1981, with business partner, Bob Harmon, Rouas opened Napa Valley’s first fine-dining restaurant, designed to reflect a taste of Provence in California wine country. The immediate success prompted the addition of “The Inn of the Sun” five years later. Nestled within 33-acres of heritage olive and oak trees, the hotel’s 50 contemporary guestrooms and suites, blend relaxed sophistication with understated elegance. Guests have two different outdoor picnic options set in the olive grove. Guests can choose from an intimate, private dinner and champagne toast under fairy-tale twinkle lights or a deluxe daytime experience offering French-inspire cuisine, artisan cheeses, charcuterie and wine. Click here to Unpack. Unplug. Unwind. and other special promotions to enjoy

Chileno Bay Resort & Residences

Chileno Bay Resort & Residences in Los Cabos, Mexico is nestled along a protected cove, at one of the most desirable beach in Los Cabos. Known for its tranquil, swimmable waters and pristine coral reefs, teeming with tropical fish and sea turtles. The classic Baja guest rooms offer private terraces with viewsFor those looking for the ultimate family reunion, residential living is available in Chileno Bay’s spacious two to six bedroom villas. Stay for 4 nights or longer and enjoy curated extras, including an Aztec Healing Ritual spa treatment, fishing excursion with 3-course chef-prepared meal in villa, private 1-hour sunrise yoga session, and paddle boarding in the Sea of Cortez.

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Chileno Bay Resort & Residences

8 Virtual Getaways while #SaferAtHome

The digital world is our new norm during days of social distancing and shelter-in-place, offering enriching wanderlust virtual trip. Hotels and cities are getting creative offering armchair travel sights and sounds through their social media channels. They post videos, photos, enrichement programs and culinary recipes. It’s a new way to take a break from all the craziness of being at home to plan ahead for when we can travel freely, safely and remain healthy.

Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach Hotel referred to as “Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel,” has the simple fix to bring a little aloha spirit home by sharing their cultural insights in quick video snippets along with signature Hawaiian recipes and cocktails. IMG_6635

The Ka’anapali Beach Hotel ‘ohana and esteemed cultural practitioners showcase a few helpful tips to bring the Hawaiian culture across their social channels with Hawaiian Language Word of the Day Series: Each week, the property will be sharing insights such as `ōlelo Hawai`i (Hawaiian language), activities, and much more. Take a virtual ride on Ka’anapali Beach Hotel’s traditional outrigger canoe with their on-staff navigators and watermen. Learn some culinary skills with authentic recipes crafted by Executive Chef Tom Muromoto to create a luau-theme night at home including Fresh Hawaiian Style Ahi Poke Bowls, grilled Kōʻala Lamb Chops. Make a floral Hibis Kiss cocktail and a Rosemary Watermelon Crush mocktail for kids (rosemary optional).

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2. Villa del Palmar Islands of Loreto – For golf, spa, kayaking, paddle boarding, excellent cuisine, and beach inspiration follow the social channels for Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa (@villadelpalmarl), Sabila Spa (@danzantewellness) and TPC Danzante Bay (@tpcdanzantebay). The bay is teeming with gentle rays, fish and pelicans. It’s a sanctuary for wildlife and people. Read what happened when I had rays jumping right in front of my kayak when I visited this favorite resort in 2018.

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3. Ventura, Calif.  What better way to connect to nature and the sea than with an inspiring virtual visit to one of Southern California’s most iconic seaside visitor destinations. The coastal enclave of Ventura and Ventura Harbor Village offers families and adventure travelers the opportunity to travel outdoors to see beautiful, natural sights/sounds of the Channel Islands National Park. Visitors can enjoy the newly released high-definition 25-minute movie entitled, “Treasure in the Sea”, narrated by Kevin Costner. The movie explores the underwater marine sanctuary, and the birds and wildlife on Anacapa Islands. Gather the kids around, and tap the link to Channel Islands Live Archived Programs, a thoroughly absorbing series of videos, graded for youngsters, fourth through sixth grades, explaining the underwater ecosystem of the Channel Islands. There are also segments on subjects related to “What is Kelp?” and the beautiful “California Spiny Lobster.” Armchair travelers are encouraged to post their impressions on social media, tag their favorite video segment and share their photos on Social Channels Facebook, and Instagram and tag @venturaharbor. Visit https://www.venturaharborvillage.com/blog/connect-from-home/.

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4. Stay in a Treehouse at Hamanasi in Belize – Charles Darwin described Belize in his 1842 book, Coral Reefs of the World, as “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies.” With over 1,000 different live species, there are 500 types of fish and 100 different varieties of coral. Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world. Bordering Guatemala, Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the water is a pleasant 82 degrees, with visibility of at least 100 feet. Hamanasi Resort is a luxury 23-room vacation destination with beautiful wood tree houses, raised 12 feet off the jungle floor. Their staff guide guests on adventures throughout Belize that include hiking, exploring caves, swimming in waterfalls, learning about the Mayan culture, snorkeling and diving in the unique Blue Hole. For more information, click here.

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5. Catalina Island – Since the Island has temporarily suspended all resort operations for the safety of the residents and employees through May 21, 2020, they are accepting activity reservations for May 22, 2020 and beyond. They will continue to monitor the situation and communicate any changes on their Social Media sites. Bookings can be made at (877)778-8322. Keep up to date with Catalina Island Company information: Facebook @santacatalinaisland Instagram: @visitcatalinaisland 
Twitter: @visitcatalina. Taking a one hour Catalina Express boat ride to Avalon, staying at the new Hotel Atwater and enjoying a day at the Island Spa is on my bucketlist.

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6. The Cape in Los Cabo located directly on a famed surf break called Monuments Beach (named for the iconic El Arco rock formation just in the distance), each room at the resort has been carefully designed offering ocean views and a private balcony, hanging daybed, freestanding copper tub, and a craft cocktail bar. Check out the waves and part of the beach from Surfline organization’s surf cam network: https://www.surfline.com/surfreport/monuments/5842041f4e65fad6a7708bd8. Also celebrity fitness trainer Modu is hosting classes on the grounds of The Cape live on Instagram. Enjoy a good workout with spectacular views from the hotel’s rooftop. https://www.instagram.com/p/B-xLSdKBAKc/.

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7. Costa Mesa – Head over to Costa Mesa Virtual Vacation to experience 360º views of 15 hot spots in the city. The City of the Arts, allows you to watch the talented musicians of the Pacific Symphony play from home on the Quarantine Clips playlist. The Philharmonic Society of Orange County has a resource list of daily live stream concerts and video clips. The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) just launched their OCMA Expand virtual experience. Each week you’ll find ways to listen, learn, watch and relax with new content. There are also live programs on Thursday evenings.  Add some creativity to your day with “Chuck Jones on Your Phones” from the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity. They’re posting free projects and classes, whether you’re staying home with kids, pets or yourself.

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8. See Santa Barbara offers 5 virtual tours to help keep Santa Barbara in your mind’s eye and transport you to the waterfront, surf, botanical gardens and sandy shores. A live webcam streams the picturesque views of the Santa Barbara Waterfront, perched at Hotel Milo. Watch waves rolling in on West Beach as a palm tree sways Click to watch. The UCSB’s SurfCam shows one of Goleta’s most popular surf breaks, Campus Point. On a clear day, see the Channel Islands in the distance Click to watch. Explore under the ocean’s surface to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Kelp Forest Cam at Anacapa Island. Set 25 miles offshore of Santa Barbara, the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is an ecological paradise for outdoor lovers. Nicknamed “The Galapagos of North America,” the islands and surrounding marine sanctuary are home to more than 1,000 unique species. Look for a Garibaldi (California’s bright orange state fish) swimming through the kelp forests Click to watch. The Santa Barbara Zoo is bringing all of the animals to you through a regular drop of videos on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Meet local zoo residents Monty the penguin, Bam Bam the porcupine, Michael the giraffe and Veronica the vulture. Watch otters in a cuddle puddle and see a meerkat birthday party. Click to watch Immerse yourself in the serene natural beauty of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Director of Education and Engagement, Scot Pipkin, takes viewers on a walk along the winding paths of Island View Garden, narrating the sights and sounds around him. Learn about the native plants, hear birds calling and see bees pollinating the vibrant yellow and purple wildflowers in bloom. Take deep, meditative breaths as you conjure earthy smells like fresh rain and sun burnt sage. Click to watch.

 

BAJA’S “SEXIEST” WEDDING DESTINATION

Known as one of the “sexiest resorts” in San Jose del Cabo, ACRE Hotel offers an intimate setting for small to grand weddings. Situated among towering palm and mango trees, the 25-acre farm resort is near the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. This Baja resort destination is known to have up to five weddings a week.

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There is plenty of parking near the entrance of the resort. Guests walk down a pathway among 1,000 year old cactus and agave plants. Checking in, the bar creates creative cocktails and serves a variety of tequilas and mezcal spirits.

This adult only resort has 14 treehouses offering indoor and outdoor wood flooring, a king sized bed, small bathroom, closet space, a semi-private patio and outdoor shower overlooking trees.

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Weddings and other private events usually start at the serene pool area for cocktails and mezcal tastings, before guests stroll to an organic farm-to-table dining reception and dancing under a grove of mango trees.

Chefs prepare creative dishes from items grown at the organic farm and herb garden. Family style dishes with a Mexican flair includes beef and fresh seafood, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian dishes. The onsite wine cave has a curated collection of Mexican and international wines.

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For hotel guests not invited to the wedding, the pool area closes at 3:00 p.m. On these days, ACRE guests receive a complimentary visit to El Ganzo Hotel’s Private Beach Club to use their facilities.

Before or after the wedding, guests can play Bocce ball, ping-pong, pickle-ball or badminton. Massage and other bodywork is available in the poolside treatment room, or on the terrace of your treehouse.

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Since ACRE isn’t right on the beach, the staff is happy to arrange guests to visit El Ganzo Hotel’s private beach club five minutes away. Other organized off-site activities and excursions including surfing and scuba lessons, a round of golf, whale-watching boat trips, and downtown San Jose del Cabo for shopping or their Thursday night art walk.

At ACRE weddings are for people in search of a different wedding experience; something sexy, hip, intimate and memorable.

This review was featured in Luxe Beat Magazine in January 2020.

 

ACRE of Fun in San Jose del Cabo

One of the most fun boutique resorts in Baja is located at ACRE in in San Jose del Cabo. The 25-acre organic farm is near the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains.

The resort sits among acres of palm trees, cactus and agave plants. The farm-to-table bar makes creative cocktails with their own ACRE mezcal

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Upon arrival, visitors and guests walk down a pathway among 1,000 year old cactus and agave plants. After checking in, explore the resort as you walk up stairs to a one bedroom treehouse.

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Treehouses feature beautiful wood floors, a king sized bed, feather-free pillows upon request, small bathroom, closet space, and a patio with an outdoor shower. Insect  screens and curtains allow privacy and breezes to flow through.

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Chefs at the jungle-style restaurant prepare a variety of flavorful menu items including salads, fresh seafood, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes made from items picked from rows of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.

The resort’s wine cave has a curated collection of Mexican and International wines.

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Throughout the day guests can play Bocce ball, ping-pong, pickle-ball and badminton. There is an area on the farm where guests can visit an array of farm animals including a donkey, goats, roosters and peacocks.

 

During the day, the pool area is ideal for swimming or lounging in the sun. Massage and other bodywork is available in the poolside treatment room, or on the terrace of your treehouse.

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Since ACRE isn’t right on the beach, the staff is happy to arrange guests to visit El Ganzo Hotel’s private beach club five minutes away. Other organized off-site activities and excursions including surfing and scuba lessons, a round of golf, whale-watching boat trips, and downtown San Jose del Cabo for shopping or their Thursday night art walk.

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Acre was born out of the belief that people are in search of a different vacation destination experience to unwind, and disconnect from the real world. Staying here will take you away from your normal, and into a new comfort zone.

Enlightening Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo

Every Thursday at sunset, locals and visitors gather in the main historic square of San Jose del Cabo during the months of November through June for a lively evening of art, food, beer and live entertainment.

Established and organized by the Gallery District Associations, art and craft lovers gather in the colorful back streets from 5 to 9 p.m. Car traffic is closed, so visitors can meander along the cobblestone streets to visit art galleries, enjoy a Baja Brewing company beer tasting, meet Baja California Sur artists and performers, and dine in one of the local restaurants. The San Jose’ missionary church was rebuilt in 1940 and faces the open Plaza Mijares where artists set up tables selling their local crafts.

Take a step back in time while strolling along the 18th-century Spanish colonial village with striking architecture and a creative laid-back local scene. San Jose del Cabo is a much more low-key Baja Peninsula counterpart to lively bars and activities 20 miles south in Cabo San Lucas.

Walk under colorful prayer and Dia de los Muertos flags dazzling the narrow streets. Step inside boutique shops offering high-end fine art original paintings, sculpture, photography, prints, souveniers and jewelry made by local folk artists and artisans of Mexico.

After strolling through town, stop for a beer and pub fare at the only brewery in Baja California Sur. Established in 2007 by Boulder, CO graduate Jordan Gardenhire and his father Charlie, together they created Baja Brewing Company in San Jose del Cabo. Realizing there were no local breweries making beer, they searched for an empty space and built a working brewery, attaching a picturesque outdoor beer garden.

Located behind the main church and town square, the brewpub displays artistic figures that reflect the spirit of México, including an original statue of Saint Lucas, the patron saint of brewers. As the only brewery in Baja California Sur, they produce a variety of different flavor quality beers that are distributed to local restaurants, and now North America and beyond.

In 2010 their first ‘Baja Blonde’ bottle beer is brewed and becomes one of the most popular beers in Los Cabos. With their success, this father-son duo organized the first craft beer festival in Cabo.

Baja Brewery Company has won numerous awards for their different draft and bottled beers. At the brewery take a tour and enjoy a tasting of some of their most popular beers, including their most popular Baja Blond, Baja Razz, Escorpion Negro (black scorpion), Peliroja Red (Redhead Red), Peyote Pale Ale, Baja Oatmeal Stout, Cactus Wheat and Mango Wheat.

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The pizza oven makes some of the best pizza in the area. They also offer cheese and charcuterie plates to enjoy with each sip.

For a unique culinary experience, stroll a few blocks to enjoy dinner at Casa Don Rodrigo. This authentic Mexican Casona is located in the heart of the charming historic town. Built in 1850 by one of the pioneer families in the region, the family-owned restaurant is decorated with black and white family photos, and offers their artisanal and organic homemade cheese and wine produced on their nearby farm.

Dine on the enchanting El Jardin patio while listening to live music among towering trees and red brick walls. This dining area offers views of  the chefs making Baja region flavorful dishes at the outdoor wood fire grill and adobe pizza oven.  One of the most popular dishes is the Don Rodrigo fettucine Alfredo prepared tableside inside an eight-month aged housemade cheese wheel. Diners can add chicken, shrimp and lobster to enhance this dish.

For lighter fare, dine in the relaxed Anticucho’s Bar offering local ingredient cocktails and a more casual dinner experience. For private parties, the wine cellar room inside the well cared for home is ideal for wine tasting parties before a sit down dinner inside the bohemian style dining room.

Make sure you visit San Jose del Cabo on your next Baja California adventure.

This review is featured on December 6, 2019 in JUST LUXE.

Cabo’s most exquisite wedding destination

My Quivira Los Cabos vacation started two days before my trip when my personal butler, Leopoldo, emailed me introducing himself and welcoming me before my arrival. In the email, he asked if I had any dietary restrictions and what time my flight landed.

What I enjoyed most about Quivira Los Cabos while staying at the exclusive and luxury adult-only Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, is how guests have the opportunity to visit, dine and experience three other Pueblo Bonito resorts in Cabo San Lucas.

It’s an ideal beach wedding destination in Cabo San Lucas.

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Checking into The Towers at Pacifica, we entered the exclusive Whale Watching Lounge for guacamole and chips, beverages and a light lunch, before being escorted to room 1641. Leopoldo took a picture of my passport for registration purposes and left me his cell phone number. He was available to assist me throughout my stay, offering to make beach cabana reservations, pack and unpack my suitcase, iron clothing, and make transportation and shuttle arrangements.

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On my king-size bed was the word “Welcome,” arranged with beautiful glass pebbles. There were 10 pillows of different sizes, some functional, and others decoratively displayed. Guests receive a pillow menu to choose what type of pillow they prefer for an optimal night’s sleep. Two large white bathrobes were hung next to the expansive shower, which had two types of shower heads. My favorite spot in the room was the balcony with two chairs overlooking Aire Aquabar, a swim-up bar attached to the expansive infinity pool and the Pacific Ocean. Especially at sunset, the views are exquisite.

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Throughout my four day stay, I noticed a wedding party celebrating by the pool, enjoying spa treatments at the onsite Armonia Spa, hitting a round of golf at the Quivira Los Cabos Golf Club, dining at the Peninsula restaurant, and finally participating in one of the most beautiful weddings on the sand overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

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Near our final day, we took a shuttle to the nearby Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach to visit to The Market cultural dining venue, and sip a Mexican cocktail on the terrace of The After at sunset. As the stars illuminated the coal black sky, we splurged and enjoyed an intimate fine dining dinner at the candlelit La Frida restaurant.

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For breakfast one morning, we took the shuttle to Pueblo Bonito Rose’ for breakfast and  strolled next door to explore the original Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos and later enjoyed lunch. This were water activities right on the beach. Guests at any of the resorts can rent a paddle board, kayak, or swim in the warm Cabo water.

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The staff at the four Pueblo Bonito resorts will arrange for guests to go on fishing and whale-watching excursions out of the Cabo San Lucas Harbor. We boarded a specialized, inflatable Cabo Adventureboat on the first day of humpback whale season for a whale-watching adventure. Cabo San Lucas is a worldwide hot spot to see whales betweeb December 15 – April 15, because the warm waters are breeding areas and a migratory stop for humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean. Our guide, Beth, and the captain of our boat got us close to two 50-foot pregnant humpback whales swimming in their natural environment. Beth was very informative about these ocean mammals, as well as the dolphins and sea lions who came up to our boat.

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Back at the resort, the wedding party tables were set in the sand and on the pool patio for a sunset reception. A DJ started playing music while the party sipped champagne and danced into the late evening. Pueblo Bonito Pacifica is an ideal wedding destination for the bridal party and guests to experience Cabo San Lucas. To learn more, go to Pueblo Bonito Resorts.

This article was featured in Luxe Beat Magazine .

Luxury Baja Sur Resort – Villa Del Palmar

Explorer Juan Maria Salvatierra founded the Mission Nueustria Señora de Loreto in 1697. Located above Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, the colonial town of Loreto is one of Baja Sur’s gems. Surrounded by the sculpted Gigantic Sierra Mountains and the turquoise waters of the Sea of Cortez with five unique and dramatic islands, it’s an ideal safe and quieter Mexican vacation, much different than lively Cabo San Lucas.

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Alaskan Airlines flies directly to Loreto on Thursdays and Sunday from LAX, once you arrive at the airport it’s about a 40-minute shuttle ride to Villa del Palmar overlooking Danzante Bay and Isla Danzante. This luxury resort offers almost 200 guest rooms and suites with ocean, golf course and the Gigantic Sierra Mountain views.

I was pleasantly surprised by the spaciousness of my two room suite. Besides a kitchen, there is a living room, bedroom with a large whirlpool tub, walk-in tiled shower, large closet and security safe. Both the living and bedroom have glass sliding doors leading out to a veranda with a lounge chair, table with four chairs and a relaxing chair with an ottoman.

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Guests will want to spend time in the two-story 39,000 square foot Sabila Spa offering an array of massage and beauty treatments. After a treatment, guests are welcome to enjoy the various hot and cold plunge pools, steam and sauna rooms and relax in a lounge chair with a cool washcloth and sliced cucumber to cool your eyes.

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Golfers are hearing a buzz about the new 18 holes TPC Danzanta Bay golf course with a putting green and driving range. The exquisitely manicured Rees Jones designed golf course is challenging for all levels with four tees per hole. Each hole offers stunning beach, cliff and canyon views. In-house golf pro Danny Garcia is happy to give guests a tour of his course and provide instruction if needed. Be sure to visit the dramatic par 3 17th hole. It’s already gained the reputation of the most beautiful hole in the Baja Sur.

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Other activities include a morning hike to the top of a mountain, and over to an exquisite view spot overlooking the islands. There is a sign along the hike educating guests about the history of cave paintings and another directing hikers to a private beach.

IMG_6358Afterward paddle board and kayak in Danzante Bay to see rays and an abundance of fish swimming in schools. If you are lucky, rays will levitate above the water and belly flop down to create quite a splash.

Also in the morning, the staff yogi offers a beachfront one-hour yoga class. Afterward, swim in one of the five tile mosaic bottom pools to cool off. The staff host water exercise classes before lunch and pool volleyball games throughout the day.

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A boat trip can be arranged with Danzante Tours to experience “The Aquarium of the World” by Jacques Cousteau. Isla Carmen, Isla Coronado, Isla Danzante, Isla Montserrat and Isla Catalina are all part of the Loreto National Marine peninsula. It’s a marine aquarium offering a diversity of marine life and over 800 species of fish. Cruising close to the coastline, passengers will view rocky shoreline with dramatic sculpted walls.

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There are three restaurants onsite that include Casa Mia for lunch and dinner offering a variety of the margaritas, ceviche stuffed in half an avocado, and grilled fish tacos served with freshly made tortillas, guacamole, salsa and slaw. The Market is an all-day buffet venue featuring a wide variety of authentic Mexican and American favorites. In the evening theme night dinners include Mexican Fiesta, Mediterranean Feast and Italian Night. Nearby, Danzante is a fine dining experience with gourmet Mexican cuisine. Be sure to order the deconstructed tortilla soup, fresh fish of the day and Mexican coffee for dessert. A cart is rolled to your table and flaming coffee is made before your eyes.

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Be sure to attend the Beach Party on Thursday on the sand near the water’s edge. Slip your shoes off and enjoy a fiesta of Mexican delights under festive decorations. A DJ and staff encourage everyone to dance on the sand as the sun sets to the West over the mountains. Be sure to send a flaming lantern soaring with a $10 donation to an Eagle refuge organization. It’s one of those bucket list experiences where you make a wish and watch the lit lantern soar above in the dark night sky.

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While I let my lantern soar, I wished that I could come back to Villa del Palmar again this year. The next day guests were offered a tour of the model home overlooking the TPC Danzante Bay golf course. Lots are available for around $300,000 and four different floor plans to choose from ranging in size from 2,967 sq. ft. to 4,352 sq. ft. The resort will help you build a dream home for over $1,000,000.

This review was featured in JustLuxe – June 2018 –

The Most Spectacular Golf Course in Cabo San Lucas

From beginners to touring golf pros, Quivira Golf Club offers one of the most beautiful and dramatic golf courses in Mexico. This exclusive 18-hole course is available only to guests staying at one of developer and chairman Ernesto Coppel’s four Pueblo Bonito resorts and for the owners of the homes in his Quivira Los Cabos community. Pueblo Bonito in Spanish means “Beautiful Village” and each of Coppel’s resorts are exquisite.

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Driving up to the clubhouse, golfers are dazzled with the world-class Jack Nicklaus designed course that opened almost five years ago offering spectacular ocean views. Each hole offers multiple tees and some have impressive falls from each tee to the fairway.

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It all begins at the luxury and modern design clubhouse featuring elegant architectural touches among a tranquil setting. The center has an airy al fresco bar, restaurant and golf shop. It is one of the many amenities within walking distance to guests staying at the exclusive and luxurious adult-only Pueblo Bonito Pacifica and The Towers at Pacifica. Guests staying at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach, Montecristo Estates Luxury Villas, and residential communities Copala and Coronado also have golf privileges.

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Staying three nights at The Towers at Pacifica, I signed up for a one-hour clinic with the golf pro and director Antonio Reynante. Growing up in Veracruz, he left Mexico in his 20s to study professional golf management in Temecula, CA. After getting his degree, he turned pro for three years and became a golf course instructor. When Coppel was developing Quivira, Reynante was hired as a master advisor and later the golf director.

This handsome golf professional greeted me and led me to the driving range for easy to understand instruction while hitting a pyramid of golf balls. His infectious enthusiasm inspired the non-golfer in me to be inspired to take up the sport. He patiently taught me the proper way to stand, hold a club and swing. Each contact I made that went straight was rewarded with a smile and praise.

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Taking a tour of the entire golf course, I noticed that the most spectacular holes include the oceanfront par 4 opening hole with its left-to-right dogleg. It leaves the Pacific Ocean and travels into the untouched desert with sand, cactus and a scalloped bunker near contoured greens.

What also makes this course unique is the four comfort station where golfers can stop to enjoy a bite to eat and drink. At the Cliff Comfort Station, they offer breakfast burritos, freshly made cookies and brownies, water, soda, beer, and a shot of tequila before heading up to the most dramatic tees. As golf carts serpentine up the pathway, golfers are rewarded with unparalleled ocean, Arroyo, sand dunes and dramatic cliff views.

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Climbing to the top is not one but two lighthouses. This first one is near the par 3 sixth hole. This historic castle-like lighthouse, known as Faro Viejo, dates to 1905 and is the oldest standing structure in Cabo San Lucas. It’s perched on the cliffs at the point where the Pacific meets the Sea of Cortez. The second lighthouse was built in 1959 and sits high above the 14th hole. It emits a white flash to guide ships sailing in and out of Cabo.

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After exploring the golf course, I joined others for a flute of sparkling wine and a light lunch featuring a multitude of dishes from the Latin-inspired culinary menu.

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Instead of taking a shuttle back to The Towers at Pacifica, I walked along the secluded beach to Pueblo Bonito Pacifica’s renowned Armonia Spa for a relaxing and renewing massage.

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No matter what level of golf you play, Quivira Los Cabos appeals to all of your senses. For more information and golf packages, go to Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort.

This review was featured in JUSTLUXE December 2018.

 

10 Fun Facts about the upcoming Guadalupe Valley Wine, Food & Music Festival

Just outside Ensenada Mexico is the wine region Guadalupe Valley. This area is about a two hour drive from San Diego in Baja California. On Saturday, September 15 the village is transformed into the third annual Guadalupe Valley Wine, Food & Music Festival.

I attended a preview night at Executive Chef Louis Tikaram’s E.P. & L.P. in West Hollywood, and learned 10 Facts about this one-of-a-kind celebration in Guadalupe Valley –

  1. The festival creator & founder, Alejandro Franco, is thrilled to produce an artfully curated culinary, music, and wine festival in the heart of Mexico’s fastest growing wine country. The area is a bit slower, more low-key and unpretentious than Napa Valley, but this wine sanctuary in Baja, California along “Ruta del Vino” offers exciting tasting experiences.
  2. The lively evening in the Valley is for only 1,500  festival attendees.
  3. This year the festival falls on the Independence of Mexico. Doors open at 12 p.m.
  4. A sleek 20-acre family run winery Decantos Vinícola will host this year’s event. Perched with breathtaking views of the entire Valle de Guadalupe, this winery uses an innovative process that combines tradition and modernity from selecting grapes to the final bottling.
  5. Curated group of chefs include Michelin-starred chef grilling grass-fed meat a few feet from your table. This year’s event includes Australian-Fijian Executive Chef Louis Tikaram, Alfonso Cadena, founder of La Leche in Puerto Vallarta, El Hueso in Guadalajara and Carbón Cabrón in Cabo will help spread the vegan philosophy through a spectacular presentation of raw vegetable dishes paired with organic regional dressings. L.A.’s very own Bricia López (Guelaguetza) along with Rodolfo Castellanos will evoke an expression of traditional Oaxacan food in two dishes, the origin and essence of Mexico. Baja’s very own culinary super star: David Castro Hussong of Fauna at Bruma Valle de Guadalupe, will be uniting forces to share their skills with a display of locally-sourced fresh seafood. Tikaram will be presenting wood grilled Baja Kanpachi with green mango, lemongrass, cilantro salad with a jalapeño, lime & cashew nut dressing, while local chef Hussong will present his famous shrimp aguachile.
  6. Dante Ferrero—known as the “Chef of the Cow” cooking & honoring a whole 750-lb. cow captivates his audience with live-fire roasting in the purest gaucho style, while Chef Luis Moreno will serve a delicious local lamb prepared the traditional way, alpongside seasonal grilled vegetables by Alfonso Cadena. To top off the culinary festivities, local Chef Adria Marina will serve up sweet creations, inspired by the local farms and neighboring countryside.
  7. This year a stellar list of musicians will perform under the stars. Bob Moses will lead the line-up of the event, as well as Titan, Museum of Love—together with the legendary Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem—DJ Tennis. Eclectic sounds and fusions of funk, house, R&B, and electronic beats will close the night. IMG_9010
  8. Over 15 different wineries including national labels are participating this year. They include Casa de Piedra, La Lomita, Pijoan, Emevé, Monte Xanic, Aborigen, among others. Festival goers will have the opportunity to chat with winemakers during tastings.
  9.  For those looking to stay, eat and drink there are some boutique hotels, B & B’s and villas with pools overlooking vineyards. The next day, go on a private wine tastings in a cave, and visit more of the area’s 100 wineries.
  10. The festival’s Creative Director, Samantha Archibald shared “The festival is another great reason to visit Mexico’s bewitching and lesser known wine country. The area  appeals to all the senses.”

Ticket Prices in August is $160 per person and $200 in September. Each ticket includes food + music (wine/mezcal pairings are additional) and can be purchased here: https://apmproducciones.boletosenlinea.events/orderticketsarea.asp?p=203&a=472

 

Baja California Sur – Rancho Pescadero

IMG_1469_2Lisa Harper left her corporate life as a CEO of children’s apparel company, Gymboree, in Northern California to live a simpler life in Baja California. She purchased 15 beachfront acres and camped. During the day, she took long walks along the sand, played in the surf and explored neighboring towns. In the evening, she was “wow’d” by the constellations.

Eventually she built 12 luxurious suites and a pool to open a boutique ocean view resort. Word got out that her Rancho Pescadero was a “little slice of paradise,” and her resort filled up with Californians, Canadians and East Coast couples and retiree’s longing for warm weather and views of the Pacific Ocean.

She decided to build 16 more luxury units to keep up with the demand of guests. Now her resort offers 28 unique guest rooms, twoIMG_1493 pools, a bar, yoga studio and gourmet restaurant. Everywhere you walk, you’ll find beauty and hear the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore.

Rancho Pescadero is an ideal location for exploring Baja California Sur. It’s about 90 minutes from Cabo San Lucas and about one hour to La Paz. The closest town is the charming, artist colony/surfer town of Todos Santos.

Guests can either rent a car at the airport or take a shuttle to the property for about $200 for up to six passengers. Turn off the smooth Highway 19 onto a dirt road leading towards the Pacific Ocean and you have reached an ideal vacation destination.

Sitting in the raised hot tub overlooking the stunning pool and bar area of the elegant boutique resort, Rancho Pescadero guests congregate in the hot, bubbly water. Many are here to take a yoga class or sit in one of the “floating” chaise lounges in the pool with a cool hibiscus margarita.

IMG_1477_2No party animals allowed here. Guest must be over the age of 18, with the majority ranging in their mid-40s to 70s.
Staying in the spacious room #14 for one night, the designer kitchen was prettier than most homes. There was a grand living and dining room that could have entertained all the guests at the resort.

Most of the suites have king-size beds, with mosquito netting creating a romantic vibe. The bathrooms have huge concrete soaking tubes and an open shower with his-and-her shower heads. Out on the palapa-covered patio are two comfy lounge chairs, a day bed and dining room table for eating al fresco. Best of all, there are no televisions or telephones.

Guests receive a complimentary welcome margarita by the friendly bartenders. Many guests don bathing suits and swim before IMG_1456_2sunset and then take a walk on the beach to collect shells and admire the driftwood, while the sun sets into the Pacific.

The resort’s open-air Garden Restaurant is built near the organic garden. Many of the ingredients on the modern Mexican menu are harvested from here.

The selective wine menu offers glasses and bottles of wonderful Mexican white, red and rosé wines.
In the evening, guests point out the Big and Little Dipper, Orion’s Belt and shooting stars, while sitting near the roaring fire-pit.

By 9 p.m. the on-site Garden restaurant closes, and at 9:30 p.m. the bar by the pool shuts down. Guests retreat to their suites for a long siesta.

In the morning, staff members deliver baskets filled with fresh fruit, sprinkled rolls and coffee to the front door of each suite. Later, the patio near the lobby offers healthy breakfast plates that include eggs and roasted vegetables on curry toast.

DSC_0569By 9:45 a.m. guests walk over to the yoga pavilion to participate in the daily, complimentary yoga class that starts at 10 a.m. Others grab a board to surf some waves.

Before check-out, couples take one last dip in the pool, before driving back to the airport. The resort provides magazines, sun hats and a variety of sunscreens at the poolside bar.

Rancho Pescadero is a luxury, chic vacation destination that leaves guests with a new appreciation of Baja California Sur.
To reserve a room call (910)300-8891 or log onto http://www.ranchopescadero.com

This article was featured in the April 2015 issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.

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