Kicking Back at Las Brisas Ixtapa

The five-star property near Zihuatanejo upgrades its guestrooms, meeting space and restaurants

By: By Mark Rogers

Kicking Back at Las Brisas Ixtapa // (c) 2010

Las Brisas Ixtapa

During a recent Mexican Riviera cruise on the Carnival Spirit, I found time to spend a day ashore at Las Brisas Ixtapa. While I didn’t stay overnight, I did have a suite at my disposal, and the short visit whet my appetite for a longer stay at some time in the future.

At first, I was taken aback upon arrival. The initial effect of the resort’s entrance and exterior architecture was minimalist and very corporate — it certainly didn’t communicate an impending leisure experience. But once inside and making my way to my suite, things lightened up. Later, I was to learn that, back in 2007, the resort completed a $20 million renovation program that gave the five-star property a contemporary new look with major changes in its guestrooms, hallways, meeting space and restaurants. The resort’s renovation utilized a variety of natural woods and introduced floors of marble and cedar.

“With the renovation, the resort now has more of a minimalist style, than a Mexican style,” said Soraida Espino, the tour and travel international sales executive at Las Brisas Ixtapa. “Repeat guests like the changes.”

Espino added that while some guests are resistant to change in the public areas, there has been no resistance to the changes in the rooms.

The renovation cost $32,000 per room and expanded the floor plan while making the terraces smaller. I found the rooms to have a welcoming, Mexican ambience as compared to the public spaces. Vibrant Mexican colors, such as the blue headboard and bedspread, were incorporated and wall hangings and pillows with colorful needlework from Oaxaca were a playful touch. Also, all rooms have hammocks and terraces with ocean views.

“The renovation gave the rooms more privacy. You can’t see your neighbor from the terrace,” explained Espino.

From my terrace, I could hear the sound of the surf on the beach below, an instant stress buster.

Las Brisas Ixtapa has 416 guestrooms. Broken down by category, there are 340 oceanfront Deluxe Grand Rooms with a private terrace and hammock (these are still in the process of transitioning to flat-screen televisions); two Handicapped Deluxe Grand Rooms; 48 Brisas Beach Club rooms on the resort’s exclusive Executive Floor (continental breakfast is included when you book one of these rooms); 20 one-bedroom Spacious Junior Suites with an outdoor Jacuzzi; two one-bedroom Fiesta Suites with Private Pool; one two-bedroom Viceroy Suite with a private pool; two two-bedroom Emperor Suites with a private pool and one three-bedroom Presidential Suite with a private pool. Wi-Fi is available in all the rooms, but it costs $15 per day.

The property attracts travelers from across all markets, including families, seniors, couples and groups (the resort has seven meetings rooms). Espino noted that guests from the U.S. stay an average of four nights.

The renovation also added an elevator to the resort’s semi-private beach.

“We say it’s an exclusive beach, but not private, since there are no private beaches in Mexico,” explained Espino.

My companion and I chose to have lunch right on the beach and found that the service was superior. For example, when coconut shrimp wasn’t on the menu, it didn’t stop the waiter from taking down the recipe from us and coming back with the resort’s take on the dish, which proved to be excellent.

The resort has five restaurants, as well as a variety of snack bars and lounges. Portofino is the resort’s main dining venue. There, clients can enjoy international cuisine while looking out at Pacific Ocean views.

The hotel has four outdoor swimming pools, a gym and four tennis courts. There are also two golf courses within a five-minute drive of the hotel. Espino mentioned that the resort’s ambition is to build a full-service spa although, given the current economic climate, a date has not been set.

Las Brisas Ixtapa is about a 20-minute drive from the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport and a 10-minute drive from the town of Zihuatanejo, where local color abounds.

“Our guests like being so close to Zihuatanejo and visiting the public markets and local restaurants,” Espino said.

Las Brisas Ixtapa