Recommend February 2012 - (Page 58)

bliss springs eternal at ESPERANZA continued from page 56 worldly delights The Spa at Esperanza is yet another reason why this is one of Los Cabos’ celebrity hotspots (stars’ names are well guarded, but they include a couple of Academy Award winners). This haven of relaxation has a water passage that lets you move from steam “cave” to warm-spring pools and cold outdoor showers. Afterwards, you’ll rehydrate with “aguas frescas” or fresh juices and move on to an array of individual and couples’ treatments that incorporate everything from red clay to papaya. A recommendation: the Damiana Alegre, which encompasses a full-body exfoliation with amaranth grains followed by a honey and damiana leaf wrap. Once you’ve rinsed off—the ample treatment rooms include outdoor showers—you’ll get a coconut oil massage. Yoga classes are also plentiful here. There are daily classes available but those who want an enhanced experience might want to sign up for a candlelight session on Thursday evenings at the yoga studio or sunrise yoga on Saturday mornings on Esperanza’s private stretch of beach. For added privacy, guests can get private yoga instruction in their casita—or a massage, for that matter. Early-bird yoga is all well and good, but our tastes took us to the Tequila Tasting Journey available on Thursdays and Saturdays, where guests learn the basics of the different types of tequila (starts at $65 pp). With this came another surprise: handcrafted chocolate bonbons made on site and filled with mole, jalapeño and red chili pepper creams, amazingly delicious and different, that go perfectly with aged tequila. There’s also a Mexican Wine Journey on Fridays (starting at $75 pp) where guests learn about Mexico’s grape varieties and enjoy pairings with local cuisine. Yes, libations are one of the most fun parts of a stay at Esperanza, The Lounge Bar offers martinis with yummy twists, such as the Calistoga Cocktail—made with gin, ginger liquor and cucumber—and the Love Bites, crafted with vodka, berries liquor, cranberry juice and mint leaves. From The Lounge Bar you’ll want to make your way to Cocina del Mar next door. This signature spot, carved into the landscape in tiers that end almost above the sea, has recently debuted a dinner experience with an array of fresh everything—including only local seafood—in your choice of 3- or 4-course meal. This means that you can pair the delectable ahi tuna and Baja lobster “tower” with shrimp and crab agnolotti, for instance, or a seafood tortilla soup with pork osso bucco. Whatever direction the culinary journey takes, even if vegetarian, is exciting, made more so by the views around you. Other dining options here include La Palapa, located in the resort’s residence club, and La Terraza Americana, which offers lunch daily. Foodies might want to look into The Essence of Esperanza package, in which Esperanza’s executive chef Gonzalo Cerda offers a hands-on cooking class—including digging for clams—and the resort’s Master Tequilero provides a Tequila Tasting Journey. The offer also includes three nights in an oceanview casita, daily breakfast and airport transfers. It starts at $1,925 through Dec. 16. Rates start at $595 through June 14, then go down to $495 until Oct. 14. For added fees, guests may sign up for sportfishing, snorkeling excursions, art gallery tours in San Jose del Cabo, shopping journeys and more. n Archived related articles (available on Grand Solmar at Land’s End Resort & Spa (July 2011) contact information Esperanza, an Auberge Resort: (866) 311-2226; THE RITZCARLTON, cancun adria valdes onsite october 2011 review Few hotel brands capture the essence of opulence quite like The RitzCarlton does. And when you combine that with the warm hospitality for which Mexico is so well known, you’ve just found yourself embraced by The Ritz Carlton, Cancun, one of the most luxurious resorts in this bustling tourist destination. It was a rainy morning in October when this editor arrived at The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, but the weather was hardly a concern once we stepped foot into the property’s intimate lobby. Marble floors and crystal chandeliers keep the vibe elegant, while colonial /antique-style furnishings and artwork lend to the warm and welcoming atmosphere. “When guests first enter our facility, they are able to feel at home,” says Carlos Abanzua general manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun. “The sense of arrival at our resort is unlike any hotel in Cancun. It’s a private getaway, for those expecting nothing but the best.” Adding that, “The grand service provided by our staff has brought many accolades to this resort. The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun is the only 15 diamond resort in the world—five-diamond awarded resort and two five-diamond awarded restaurants.” impressive accommodations Situated on a 7.5-acre beachfront oasis, The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun features 365 guestrooms, including 46 Club level rooms and 50 suites. Each residential-style accommodation features a spacious balcony with sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea, as well as in-room comforts such as a flat-screen TV, iPod docking station and fully stocked refreshment cabinet. Bathrooms are outfitted with oversized rain showers, separate bathtubs, dual vanities and marble floors. But what may be the most charming part of the guestrooms is that each one opens with its very own brass key—that’s right, no electric key cards here—adding to that “at home” feeling. a taste of mexico There are many things to love about Mexico, with cuisine being at the very top. And true foodies will love the abundance of culinary options at each of The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun’s six restaurants—from the cheesy chicken quesadillas and fresh guacamole served poolside at The Caribe Bar & Grill, to the ranchero egg and tortilla breakfast at El Cafe Mexico. And those two AAA five-diamond restaurants we mentioned earlier—they are definitely worth a visit. At Fantino, which offers a menu of Mediterranean-inspired dishes, guests can opt for such delights as watermelon salad with buffalo mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette, duck confit served with risotto and porcini crusted filet mignon with roasted potatoes. And if your client is a seafood lover, you are going to want to tell them not to miss the sauteed snapper with Italian couscous. The Club Grill, too, will have guests enjoying an innovative selection of dishes such as forest mushrooms in a foie gras sauce, braised shoulder with roasted root vegetable and shellfish cassoulet. continued on page 60 58 february 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend February 2012

Editor's Notes/Agent Speak
Hotel Desk: The Lodge at Woodloch
Tour Talk: Swain Tours
Celebrity Silhouette
Savoring the Zulu Kingdom
The Falkland Islands-Nature's Last Stand
One Bal Harbour, Florida
Las Vegas Spa Retreats
Beaver Creek Lodge, Colorado
Bliss Springs Eternal at Esperanza
The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun
Time to "Czech" Out Moravia
Caribbean Uber-Luxe

Recommend February 2012