Hotel News We Noted: April 13, 2013

Welcome to spring, “Hotel News We Noted” readers. If you live on the East Coast like we do, you’ve been experiencing downright balmy weather and it’s making us crave summer resort escapes, ocean breezes and open-air roof terraces. Lucky for you, we have lots of that kind of info in this week’s column. This week, as always, we round up the best, the worst and the most interesting news in the hotel industry, tracking resort openings, pampering packages and other reportings from our travels – which this week includes a recap of our recent trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Have a hotel we must visit or a tip you can’t wait to share? We welcome your feedback and comments, so feel free to shoot us an email or leave a note below with ideas and thoughts.

Over-The-Top Hotel Package: Viceroy’s $500,000 Once-In-A-Lifetime Wedding
Television and magazines have shown us that a wedding can certainly be a lavish affair. But by just about anyone’s standards, a $500k wedding package is over the top. As part of a celebration of their new experiential video, Viceroy Hotels and Resorts is offering a Destination Wedding Package for just that price. But what do you get for half a million? The package includes:
· A Marchesa bridal gown
· Fitting and alterations by exclusive couture tailor Madame Paulette in New York
· A complete Marchesa for Lenox china set (12 settings)
· A three-night destination wedding for up to 75 guests at the Viceroy Hotel or Resort of your choice, which includes a Welcome Reception, Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding Ceremony and Reception
· 60 Guestrooms at any Viceroy Hotels and Resorts property for the three nights of the wedding

While this package seems quite expensive, it does include an all-expenses paid wedding for you and 75 guests, plus your gown and china. What do you think? Would you buy this once-in-a-lifetime offer, or get a house instead?Travel Recap: The Latest On Cabo’s Hotel Scene
Cabo has long been a playground for Hollywood’s rich and famous, a safe yet tropical jaunt down from LA that’s known for its high-end hotels and discreet service. It’s also one of our favorite vacation destinations, and we just returned from a five-day trip.

This time, we stayed at Capella Pedregal. The area’s newest ultraluxury resort opened in 2009 and doesn’t disappoint. With fewer than 100 rooms and a spa ranked as one of the top ten in the world, the hotel features amenities that most would deem celebrity worthy, including private plunge pools in every room, personal assistant service and entrance through a man-made tunnel carved into Pedregal Mountain. It’s no wonder that A-listers like Reese Witherspoon have made this a regular stop in their vacation rotation. Visitors seeking a true VIP experience should opt for the Estrella Suite, which overlooks the resort and offers prime sunrise views, or a beachfront Casita, which features a private beach area, oversized pool and bathrooms that open directly to the outdoors.

We also visited two of the area’s other grande dame hotels: Las Ventanas Al Paraiso, a Rosewood property, and Esperanza, an Auberge property. Both have their own loyal followings, and also boast fewer than 100 rooms. Notable updates at Las Ventanas include a newly re-launched spa menu focused on holistic treatments, a new menu at their fine dining restaurant focusing on high-end specialty dishes from around Mexico and plans to close the property in May for several weeks to complete new luxury villas on the beachfront. Esperanza also has made recent updates to their spa and fitness center, and continues to boast one of the best fine dining restaurants in the Cabo area, Cocina del Mar, located on a rocky outcropping with exceptional sunset and views of crashing waves.

In other notable Cabo hotel news, San Jose del Cabo just got a new boutique hotel opening of its own. This slightly quieter and more traditional town is located about 30 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. The 72-room Hotel El Ganzo (which translates to “The Goose”) boasts a rooftop bar, three farm-to-table restaurants, a Film Club, a recording studio accessible through a trap door in the lobby floor, a full-service spa and a cool line-up of artists and musicians in residence. Located at the base of the marina in an old fisherman’s wharf, the property offers exceptional views of the Sea of Cortez as well. At just $193 per night for the opening rate, this property’s a steal and well worth a visit.

Want more Cabo news, plus images of the trip? Check out our photos on the Gadling Instagram from this past week.

Article Update: Hotel Wi-Fi
Last week, we told you that IHG had made a big deal over the advent of free Wi-Fi for their loyalty program members, and we mentioned a few other hotels that also offer a similar benefit. We inadvertently forgot to mention that Canadian-based Fairmont Hotels and Resorts also has offered complimentary Wi-Fi for their President’s Club loyalty program members worldwide since 2006.

[Image Credit: Capella Pedregal]