Visual Aid

Starwood unveils its new Virtual Planner at its Los Cabos properties

By: Terra Judge

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Los Cabos
The Sheraton can host weddings in
a number of on-site locations.
It’s nearly impossible to describe the exact location of the three-piece wedding band or the way the chairs and centerpieces will best complement the smattering of cocktail tables set up on the beach. Booking events for clients requires much planning and a lot of firsthand experience. So what do you do if you’ve never set foot in the meeting space or seen the size of the centerpieces? How can you advise clients?

To ensure that clients can have the utmost control in planning an event, Starwood has unveiled its new Virtual Planner exclusively at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort & Spa, Los Cabos and the Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos. Planning to launch the program for Starwood properties throughout Mexico by mid-year and for Starwood properties in the U.S. by the end of the 2008, the Starwood Los Cabos properties are the first to offer it.

Designed to put complete event customization online, this program uses a state-of-the-art 3-D interface, enabling users to create the perfect event without ever leaving their computer. Agents can select a location, such as the resort’s beach, meeting space or chapel, and view photos of sample event set-ups that they can then customize, including theatre-style, classroom, U-shape, cocktail, gala dinner and banquet organizations. Details can then be modified; from linen color and placement of tables and chairs to adding a stage, TV screen or dance floor all with user-friendly functionality. To view their customized set-ups, agents can click on “View in 3-D” to see a virtual representation of the event.

Planners can then progress to the Customize Event panel. Here they can download menus and make food and beverage requests ranging from half-hour coffee breaks to full dinners. They can also make special requests for security staff, audio-visual equipment, simultaneous translations, entertainment and more. A Detailed Request box is also available. Planners then submit their creations online to the resort’s staff, who will respond within 24 hours with a price quote.

Event space at both resorts is plentiful and varied; on a recent visit I witnessed more than one wedding that included multiple creative venues for the ceremony, cocktail reception, dinner, photo ops and dancing.

The Westin Resort & Spa
Guestrooms The Westin Resort & Spa,
Los Cabos banquet hall
The Westin boasts 15 meeting and banquet rooms, encompassing 11,907 feet of interior function space and Wi-Fi Internet access. Three ballrooms, ranging from 2,449 feet to 4,860 feet, a group business center and seven outdoor areas for up to 500 people are also available. New is an agreement with Sarao to enhance decoration options for theme parties, including special linens and original centerpieces.

The Sheraton offers over 18,000 square feet of meeting space with wireless Internet access. The resort’s convention center includes two ballrooms that can be partitioned into three smaller spaces and an on-site chapel for nuptials. A particularly convenient feature is the addition of Link@Sheraton, an area adjacent to the main lobby with nine computers for free guest usage of 30 minutes per day, per room.

Event attendees will be pleased with other on-site amenities. The distinctive Westin, modeled after the Los Cabos arch with bright Mexican colors, offers 243 guestrooms with balconies and at least partial ocean views. Guests can join in the WestinWorkout program or sample the nine-hole seaside putting green. The Hacienda-inspired, 270-room Sheraton offers five restaurants, four pools and the Cactus Spa and Fitness Center a secluded, relaxing must-do for any visitor.


Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort & Spa, Los Cabos