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When it comes to combining old and new in just the right balance, Los Cabos has it figured out. Visitors can find the warmth and charm of old Mexico, as well as a modern sophistication that has led to a recent boom in five-star resorts and world-class restaurants. On a recent visit, I was able to experience this mix of classic and modern firsthand at two Starwood properties, The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort, Los Cabos and the Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos.
From the moment I turned into the driveway at the Sheraton, I felt like I had truly arrived in Mexico. The property’s main buildings are in the classic Spanish hacienda style, with ironwork, mosaic tiling, ornate woodwork and lush gardens throughout. The resort incorporates distinctive Old World touches such as a classic Spanish chapel (available for weddings) and a mule-drawn grindstone to crush agave for tequila.
Of course, the Sheraton is completely 21st century when it comes to amenities. The 270 guestrooms, including 31 suites, either offer golf course, garden or ocean views. In-room amenities include Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds, an in-room Jacuzzi, a private terrace, a tiled walk-in shower, high-speed Internet access, satellite television and more.
In addition to beach access, the resort has four pools, two, 18-hole championship golf courses and a modern fitness room. The resort’s European-style Cactus Spa features multiple steam rooms, Jacuzzis, spa treatments and more.
The Sheraton’s on-property dining is some of the best in the area. In fact, this is the only resort in Los Cabos to feature two, five-star Diamond Award-winning restaurants. D Cortez Grill & Restaurant offers a romantic setting with stone floors dusted with beach sand, and Pitahayas features world-class Pacific Rim delicacies from Chef Volker Romeike. While the food is great at both restaurants, I personally prefer D Cortez for its candlelit, seaside ambiance.
One of the most popular nightspots at the Sheraton is the La Suerte Tequilla Bar, claiming the largest selection of tequila in Los Cabos. Sitting on the patio with an after-dinner tequila and a cigar, it’s easy to imagine yourself the fortunate guest at the personal hacienda of a well-to-do 19th-century land baron — as long as you don’t look in the direction of the infinity pool.
While only down the highway from the Sheraton, the Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos feels like a world away. As the Sheraton looks to the past for its inspiration, the Westin is squarely rooted in the present, beginning with the resort’s unique contemporary architecture by acclaimed Mexican architect Javier Sordo Madaleno.
The nine-story resort, nestled between two desert hills, features any number of dramatic surprises — including the cavernous open-air lobby and the enormous archway framing the Sea of Cortez. These dramatic vistas, contrasted with Madaleno’s whimsical color palette, are incorporated throughout the resort.
The Westin’s 243 guestrooms, including 14 suites, feature stunning 180-degree views of the sea. When standing on my terrace, it almost felt like I was soaring above the water and, with such a high vantage point, it was easy to spot whales playing offshore.
The guestroom at the Westin offers a great blend of function, comfort and style. Westin’s signature Heavenly Bed, a marble Heavenly Bathroom with a separate shower and bath, high-speed Internet access and a 32-inch, high-definition flat-screen television with satellite are standard. Agents should be sure to look into booking the resort’s suites, which are comparable in price, but also offer private whirlpool baths and Siesta beds on the terrace.
Several of the Westin’s on-site restaurants take advantage of the property’s dramatic views as well. In particular, the AAA Four Diamond Arrecifes restaurant boasts a sophisticated menu, live jazz and, of course, views of the Sea of Cortez. I also recommend The Ciruelo restaurant — guests should try to go at sunset for a panoramic view of the desert, mountains and sea that might be the best vista in all of Baja.
At night, the place to be is La Cantina, with its pool tables, televisions and selection of tequila. On some evenings, classic movies are projected onto the wall across from the bar.
The resort features direct beach access, seven pools, two tennis courts, beach volleyball and even a seaside putting green as well as a fitness room and a spa. The central plaza of the Westin is especially appropriate for functions, and the resort has a wide range of meeting, conference and special event space.
Overall, these two Starwood properties could not be more different, giving travelers different options in Los Cabos, depending on their personal preferences. Both resorts also encourage agents to visit the properties in order to better match them to their clients.
Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort, Los Cabos52-624-145-8000www.sheratonloscabos.com
Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos52-624-142-9000www.westin.com/loscabos