Growth Grande

With an ever-expanding lineup of hotels and a growing list of diversions to suit everyone from fishermen to golfers and eco-tourists to spa-goers, Los Cabos has become Mexico’s fastest growing beach resort destination.

By: Lori Tenny

With an ever-expanding lineup of hotels and a growing list of diversions to suit everyone from fishermen to golfers and eco-tourists to spa-goers, Los Cabos has become Mexico’s fastest growing beach resort destination.

This year, the area is witnessing one of its most aggressive periods of development to date, with several new resorts, an increasing supply of airlift and sweeping enhancements designed to pave the way for the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which Los Cabos will host Oct. 20-27.

Accommodations

The hotel inventory in Los Cabos has doubled over the past five years to roughly 7,600 rooms, and the master plan calls for 10,000 hotel rooms by 2005. Newcomers have included properties spanning the full spectrum, including all-inclusive hotels and top-drawer spa and golf resorts, all of which have diversified the options and price points for travelers, according to Javier Aluni Montes, president of the Los Cabos Tourism Board.

“With one eye on the future and one on sound-and-steady growth, Los Cabos is now home to new hotels that have opened in the past year,” Aluni Montes said. The latest additions include Esperanza, a 50-suite boutique hotel and spa run by Auberge Resorts, the 375-room Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort and the 100-suite Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach, which will be expanded to 517 suites by 2005.

Two additional resorts are under construction: Faro del Cabo, a 334-room inclusive property slated to open this month, and Las Casitas Marquis Los Cabos Spa & Golf Resort, which will open in December with 240 rooms.

Air and Land

With the flurry of ongoing hotel development, Los Cabos has been working with airlines to boost airlift from key U.S. markets, including the West Coast, Phoenix, Houston and Dallas, according to Patrick Sanchez, chairman of the advertising and marketing committee for the Los Cabos Hotel Association.

“The hotel supply is increasing at 20%, and we’ve doubled the number of hotels in the past few years,” Sanchez said. “Our challenge as a hotel association is to work with airlines to increase airlift and establish new gateways.”

To that end, America West has increased the number of flights between Phoenix and Los Cabos from 15 per week to 21 per week, offering three nonstops daily. Los Cabos also is working with other airlines to add more service, as well as establish Denver and Las Vegas as gateways.

Meanwhile, a number of improvements have taken shape as a result of the upcoming APEC event, which is expected to attract 8,000 to 10,000 delegates.

“APEC will be a fabulous event for Mexico and especially Los Cabos,” Sanchez said. “With 21 presidents in Los Cabos, it will be a tremendous opportunity for worldwide exposure.”

Sanchez added that projects focusing on transportation and telecommunications will also be completed in time for APEC. The efforts include upgrading roads and constructing a new highway from the airport to San Jose del Cabo. Future plans call for the highway to continue into Cabo San Lucas. Fiber-optic cable is being installed throughout the destination to streamline telecommunications, and T-1 lines will be available in meeting facilities. Beautification projects, including the addition of new palm trees along the corridor, also are under way.

Rubs & Rounds

Los Cabos is also widening its appeal as a prime spa retreat. Nearly all of the new hotels feature world-class spas, including Esperanza, the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort and the upcoming Las Casitas Marquis. The new Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach will open a full-service spa in 2004. Existing properties, including the Westin Regina and the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar, are renovating and expanding spas.

On the golf front, several major hotels have teamed with area golf courses and car rental companies to introduce combination packages commissionable to travel agents.

Los Cabos opened its seventh golf facility earlier this year. The 18-hole championship course, designed by Tom Weiskopf, is the second links at the Cabo del Sol development on the corridor.

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