Five new Los Cabos hotels: some open, some coming soon

Last year was a busy one for the tourism business in Los Cabos, Mexico. Despite the unmistakable impact of the H1N1 swine flu virus on the region’s action in the spring and summer, there were plenty of exciting developments, including the opening of five new hotels. You now have plenty of choices when you head out to Los Cabos, which just happens to be a great place to unwind.

1. Barcelo Los Cabos Palace Deluxe
The Barcelo’s doors opened in December 2009, and San Jose del Cabo will never be the same. The resort has 626 luxurious suites, ranging in size from 1,125 square feet to 2,168 square feet … but this just doesn’t compare to the 34 swim-up suites. There are three pools on the property, covering more than 50,000 square feet, and a water park specifically for children. The spa has 16 private treatment cabins and a hydrotherapy room. So, the all-inclusive, all-suite resort is designed to impress.

2. Zoëtry Casa del Mar
There are only 42 suites at the hacienda-style beachfront boutique … and the hotel is designed to make sure the spectacular Pacific sunset is in full view from across the resort. The resort has been open since the first day of December, and it’s main draw might have something to do with the exceptionally large suites with Jacuzzis, Rivolta bedding and private balconies. Access to the Cabo Real Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., probably doesn’t hurt.

3. Capella Pedregal
Open since July, the Capella Pedregal has 66 rooms and residences in its Cabo San Lucas Marina location. Enjoy amazing views of the Sea of Cortes and the Pacific Ocean from this resort, which occupies 24 acres of mountainside and oceanfront property. If there’s a view you want, chances are you’ll find it at the Capella.

4. Sirena del Mar (coming in 2010)
This Welk Resort property consists of seven acres of luxury, high on the cliffs above Cabo San Lucas. Every villa has an oceanfront view, and you’ll be able to see whales from December through March. Located in the middle of downtown Cabo San Lucas, you’ll have easy access to the city and nightlife, but it won’t be hard to beat a retreat back to unparalleled comfort and seclusion.

5. Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa (coming in 2011)
The latest venture from Solmar Hotels & Resorts, the Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa is planning to fuse old world architecture with modern style.

Mexico relies on Facebook to kick travel slump

Travel to Mexico got a big ol’ kick in the cojones last year. The global recession spanked airlines and hotels around the world, and since the United States was ground zero for the financial crisis that accelerated the recession, Mexico likely lost some action from its biggest trading partner. And then swine flu came along, bringing much of the Mexican tourism and travel industry to a crawl. When I was in Los Cabos last May, I didn’t lack elbow room. Well, an 82 percent drop in Mexican tourism, according to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, can have that effect.

To kickstart the industry and attract more people to the warm sun south of the border, the Mexican Council for the Promotion of Tourism just completed a combination game and giveaway through Facebook. The Gracias A Ti Vive Mexcio website used Facebook Connect to make 10 people incredibly happy with free trips awarded from December 21, 2009 through the end of the year. The only catch was that you had to live in Mexico and have a Facebook page. Winners were selected by game rankings (more details over at Inside Facebook), and the top scorer got to choose from Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco – and bring a guest.

With more than 1,300 fans on the Facebook page, it looks like the promotion was a success. And, why wouldn’t it be? Mexico is one of the fastest growing countries in Latin America for Facebook, with 6.67 million users.

Facebook “memology” report reveals non-travel bias?

Facebook has released its trend analysis of the top words appearing in status updates in 2009. Unlike the Twitter worldview, which had some terms that could be seen as travel-related, Facebook users appear to have spent more time at home. Sure, there’s the obligatory H1N1 mention, which impacted the travel-hungry throughout the year … but that’s it. What cements the seemingly sedentary characteristic of the Facebook addict this year is #13 on its “memology” report (meme = online slang for trend or fad) is “yard.”

We’ve all grown to loathe the coined word “staycation,” but as much as we try to ignore the word, the underlying tendency can’t be ignored. Just how the hell did “yard” come in at #13? It’s the antithesis of travel – of mobility, really – and drives home the notion that low fares and dirt-cheap hotel rooms weren’t enough to get us out of our own plots in 2009.

Facebook admits to some surprise at this meme on the list, saying, “This is a trend that nobody would have guessed.” Can’t get blunter than that, right?The social network’s blog post continues, “The word “yard” seems fairly uncommon, and indeed it barely breaches a rate of five mentions in every 10,000 status updates. When we compare 2009 to 2008, however, we see a huge increase.”

It’s possible, according to Facebook, that it’s a result of more “moms and dads” coming to Facebook and letting the world know via status updates that they are either working or spending time in the most suburban of land masses, as “these folks have yards that require some tending.”

Does this mean that Twitter users are younger? Or, just more active than their Facebook counterparts? Obviously, it’s impossible to say, but it’s a bit fun to guess. Of course, I cheated a bit with our interpretation of Twitter a few weeks ago, so the chasm isn’t as vast as I may have made it appear.

So, let’s try to change the situation in 2010. Link your Twitter account to your Facebook page and push your travel-related updates hard. Live tweet the hour you wait in line at the security checkpoint, or gripe about the lousy service you get from the airlines. Do something – do anything. Let’s change the face of social media … and put a travel mask on it!

[Photo by Kevin Prichard via Flickr]

Destinations feature highly in top Twitter trends of 2009

It wasn’t explicit, but the top Twitter trends of 2009 have a hint of travel built into them. Sure, it was the elections in Iran that put made “Tehran” and “Iran” among the top 10 news items trending this year, and politics pushed “Gaza” up there, as well. And, we all remember the H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic, which has been memorialized in the form of “Swine Flu” and “#swineflu” on the microblogging site. Six of the top 10 new trends on Twitter had implications for travelers.

Twitter exploded this year, entering the public consciousness and drawing enough action to bring its user base close to 60 million. Travel writers spent the year devising new ways to use Twitter to help their readers circle the globe and suggesting interesting and unusual tweet-masters to follow. So, 2009 was for exploration, and 2010 will put Twitter on the mobile devices of even recreational travelers as they look for hotel rooms, hunt for cheap fares and try to get the lay of the land at the destinations on their itineraries.

Beyond tips and tricks, a travel community developed on Twitter, with bloggers and reporters, destinations and publicists and travelers of all types collaborating to help each other get the most out of every jaunt. We learned who has the best info through such practices as #TravelTuesday, which gave everyone recommendations on whom to follow.

Travel didn’t gain enough of a profile to unseat the major newsmakers, top movies and TV shows and major sporting events, but there was plenty of travel intel we were able to pick up from the news trends – especially for those of us with a more adventurous bent – and the action within our own community was certainly enough to prove the value of this tool to jetsetters of all types.

So, peck away at your devices next year, and let’s resolve to contribute to a robust, useful and exciting travel tweet-stream in 2010. Even if we don’t make the top 10 for travel reasons at this time next year, we’ll all have benefitted from the shared experiences of millions of airport-dwellers, business travelers and adventure-seekers. Whether they’re on-the-ground updates on delayed flights or tips on where to get the best hotdog in a strange place, it’s up to us to give each other news we can use.

Avoid swine flu this holiday season – kiss, don’t shake

Awkward! But safer than shaking hands.Researchers in London have found that kissing on the cheek is far more hygienic than shaking hands. This may be good or bad news for you this holiday season, depending on how close you really want to get to your relatives.

Debrett’s warns people to observe proper etiquette by kissing others on the cheek instead of the lips and to avoid touching the person being kissed except on the shoulder or the upper arms,” reports Yahoo.

If you’re sick, you’re likely to be sneezing, handling tissues, rubbing your eyes, and basically, a lot of germs end up on your hands. Then, if you shake hands with someone, your germs end up on their hands, and consequently in their eyes, on their silverware or even on their food. So, keep your hands to yourself.

If you’re not feeling well, you should probably just stay home this year, lest family members hear you coughing and suddenly don’t want to talk to you. If you’re healthy and hamthrax-free, remember to wash your hands often and go for the cheek kissing to stay safe.

How European.

And speaking of Europe, if you’re traveling internationally, check out Times Online‘s guide to how many cheek kisses are appropriate in various European countries.

[via Yahoo]