Me by Melia
They say good things come in small packages. Maybe 300 pounds is
not so small, but compared to his brethren, he was a baby. This was
Renoir the dolphin, one of six such mammals appearing at the Cabo
Dolphin Center. I had slipped downtown to Cabo San Lucas’ newest
attraction during a recent fam to the Capes to explore the “next
big things” luring travelers to its desert shores.
After a brief orientation and shower, I jumped into the pool with
five others and the fun began. Baby Renoir kissed us, danced with
us, rolled over to be petted on his belly and flipped in the air.
As a finale, we held onto his dorsal fin while he dashed through
the water. Swimming at a speed something like the speed of light,
it seemed to me, I lost my grasp. The trainer sent him back and
some inner light must have clicked on, telling him to swim slower
this time. To my amazement, he did.
For your clients who use golf as their R&R, an 18-hole golf
course opens later this year at the new Puerto Los Cabos project.
Jointly designed by Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus, it will mark the
first of two such greens for PLC. The 2,000-acre spread will also
include a 350-slip marina, nature preserve and park and residences.
In the near future, Los Cabos will add six more golf courses to the
current roster of eight, jacking it up to the country’s premier
As if golf wasn’t enough, Los Cabos is also spreading its wings to
edgier hotels. The provocative ME by Melia was relaunched earlier
this year from the former Melia San Lucas. By day, the Beach Club’s
signature Polynesian cabana lounger beds are filled with sun
bathers, who, by night, gravitate to the hotel’s hip Passion Club
done up in “passionate” red, naturally, and pack three-deep around
the bar. It’s the cool, sophisticated place to see and be seen,
incognito or otherwise, and a definite counterpoint to the
traditional rowdy Cabo San Lucas bar scene.
The new Passion Club is the cornerstone of ME by Melia in keeping
with its stylish image. The whimsical art collection in the lobby
makes its appeal lighthearted as well. Lodgers find rooms decorated
with warm, rich colors plus Wi-Fi, iPod adaptors, CD/DVD library,
flat-screen interactive TV, express service and organic soaps and
While the ME is provocative, the Villa Group’s new trio of hotels
is downright mellow and more suited to families. Clustered together
on a hilltop overlooking the beach, the Villa del Arco will
formally be inaugurated with the completion of 231 rooms this month
along with a 31,000-square-foot spa. Introductory spa packages,
which offer commissions to travel agents, will be valid until
December. A village-style food market, pharmacy, deli, coffee shop,
Internet cafe and ice cream parlor have been conveniently built
near the hotel. One of the most striking restaurants is a replica
of a pirate ship sitting at the side of the pool.
Some things improve with age as is the case with the One & Only
Palmilla, a landmark of lavish comfort in Los Cabos since the
1950s. Millions of dollars were poured into a resort-wide
renovation two years ago, which positioned it even stronger in the
luxury market, Jorge Villarreal, director of sales in Mexico, said.
Units like the terrace junior suite, which I visited, reflect the
return to traditional Mexican decor like the embroidered yarn
headboards made by the Huichol Indians and hardwood furniture from
the Yucatan Peninsula. Villarreal said two four-bedroom villas,
which will cost up to $10,000 a night, will be added in 2008.
Other hotels, including the Hilton Los Cabos, are also going
through upgrades to remain at the top of their game as well. Since
February, guests at the Hilton have been enjoying rooms remodeled
with plush pillow-top mattresses, 30-inch plasma TVs and
hand-carved hardwood furniture, the design of which evokes the era
of the grand haciendas in Mexico. Guests traveling with children
found a new treatment area for kids at the full-service spa, which
highlights innovative treatments fashioned out of the desert plants
of the Peninsula.
Likewise, the Fiesta Americana Grand is building a 44-room luxury
wing, which opens next year.
So, old or new, Los Cabos continues to thrive by adding to its
successful selling tools.
Los Cabos has been stealing hearts with its cuisine and it was
nice to find that an old favorite, Don Emiliano, hadn’t lost its
touch. The menu carries dishes by renowned Mexican chefs plus the
chef-owner Margarita Salinas, who researches prehispanic and
colonial recipes for her kitchen. Besides chile poblano stuffed
with shrimp, deep-fried white cheese set in a chile chipotle sauce
and plantain tortillas, there’s pork with the exotic white mole.
Although most restaurants serve chocolate-based mole, Salinas
scoured the small villages of Veracruz to discover the source of
the rare white mole, which is called “bride’s mole” and served only
at weddings. It’s loaded with pistachio and pinon nuts and mild to
the taste. Desserts are just as exotic and I’d go back any day for
the baked mangoes in orange tequila sauce served with a scoop of
pepper ice cream, my personal favorite.