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]

#OnTheRoad On Instagram: Cabo San Lucas

Greetings, everyone! This week I’ll be taking over the Gadling Instagram feed (find it here) as I head to the sunny shores of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

You’ll get an inside glimpse at my travels, including a tequila school, sunset horseback rides along the beach and lots of spa scouting. It’s a hard life, but someone has to do it.

Cabo San Lucas
is known as a celebrity paradise, and this trip will show followers what it’s like to travel just like those very A-listers we read about in magazines. I’ll be staying at the ultra-luxe Capella Pedregal, a AAA Five Diamond Resort with the eighth best spa in the world, according to TripAdvisor.

We’ll also visit hotels like Las Ventanas and Esperanza, both of which are popular celebrity vacation destinations.

If you’ve been to Cabo before, feel free to leave suggestions of places we should visit or things we should do during the trip. If you haven’t, follow along for inspiration.

Not on Instagram? You can also check out full post trip coverage in our weekly column, “Hotel News We Noted.”

[Image Credit: McLean Robbins]

Over-The-Top Valentine’s Travel Experiences: Day 4

We’re categorizing all things romantic over the next few weeks here on Gadling, focusing on “over-the-top” travel packages that allow you to declare your love in true high style.

Today’s package comes from one of Mexico’s most luxurious resorts, Capella Pedregal, located in Cabo San Lucas. (You may recall that Capella’s Washington, DC property is the subject of our ongoing “Birth of a Hotel” feature.)

This February, Capella Pedregal has unveiled a “Month of Romance” series of packages, including the sumptuous Passion Ablaze offering, whcih includes:

· Five nights Beachfront Suite accommodations, located directly on the beach
· Luxury car airport transportation
· Private Yacht Ride to Lover’s Beach, with on-board Champagne and dinner on the beach
· Custom piece of jewelry for each night of stay, designed by Chan Luu
· 80-minute Art of Couples Massage
· Private beach-side astronomy lesson
· Private beach dinner for two
· Welcome bottle of Clase Azul Super Anejo tequila
· All food and beverage, including a private dinner in the La Cava wine cellar

· Romantic rose petal turndown
· Glass blown heart memento

While the package is a rather mind-blowing $40,000, it’s worth noting that the one-bedroom beachfront suites generally run at about $2,500 a night for these dates, and so the package isn’t really that much of a stretch from a regular week’s stay.

If you’re still looking to go luxe but not break the bank, the three-night “Heart to Heart” package, featuring many of the same amenities in an ocean view guestroom starts at $3,290.

[Image Credit: Capella Pedregal]

5 Unique Babymoon Packages Fit For Royalty

From the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to celebrity couples like Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, it looks like the baby bump is a major trend for 2013. But how will these couples celebrate their bun in the oven? In style, of course. Hotels are going all-out to capture the “babymoon” trend, a pre-baby escape known for letting the couple bond before the birth of a first (or second, or third) child. Usually full of spa treatments and booze-free treats, these indulgent escapes are fit for royalty, Hollywood celebs, or just the jetsetter in us all. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites below.

Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve
This ultra-luxe Thai property offers a “Royal Babymoon” package with daily signature ESPA treatments, boat rides along the Andaman Sea, daily meditation, private yoga, 24/7 butler service and many more amenities. Guests stay at The Royal Andaman Sea Villa, one of the resort’s most luxurious, which features a decadent oversized bed (two double California King mattresses sewn together!), as well as an outdoor terrace with veranda.

Capella Pedregal
This ultraluxury resort in Cabo San Lucas is already a celebrity favorite, but they’ve kicked it up a notch with their array of prenatal offerings. In addition to the standard prenatal massage, the resort offers creative pregnancy-approved menus that feature organic, naturally grown and hormone-free dishes – as well as a “cravings” section with dishes like a Nutella Panini with Prosciutto and Mozzarella Cheese; Vanilla Ice Cream with Homemade B&B Pickles; Shortrib Pizza with Onion Jam; Mango and Chile Popsicles and more. If guests would rather practice their cooking skills, they can try their hand at a baby-friendly cooking class that teaches them how to make organic baby food at home or to prepare complete meals using only one pot, perfect for new moms and dads on the go.

Trump International Hotel & Tower New York
Would you expect anything less from the hotel that hosted a royal wedding breakfast? Enjoy a two-night stay, a 60-minute massage (prenatal for mom and a classic massage for your partner), daily in-room breakfast or breakfast at Nougatine by Jean-Georges, a twice-daily selection of special teas, smoothies and mocktails, prenatal pillows form the Trump Pillow Menu placed in-room prior to arrival, a $1,000 gift card to Neiman Marcus, also usable at Bergdorf Goodman, a $1,000 gift card to FAO Schwarz for baby goodies, and a $1,000 gift card to Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, usable online and at the SoHo boutique – perhaps for a push present? Rates start at $6,000.Royal Palms Resort & Spa
Relax and refresh with this rather affordable escape bearing a “royal” name. Their Babymoon Bliss “Mini” Package. Enjoy overnight accommodations, in-room dining, a cigar and Congac for the dad-to-be, a prenatal massage for mom and a therapeutic massage for dad. Rates start at $521.

The Waldorf Astoria, New York
In keeping with the “royal” tradition, the hotel is offering a special luxe package in addition to their standard babymoon offerings (which start at just under $1,000 for a one-night stay). This package includes accommodations in the historic and opulent Royal Suite (the former residence of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor) and a day of customized pampering at hotel’s Guerlain Spa. Guests enjoy an overnight in the two-bedroom Royal Suite, a couple’s spa service with mocktails and milkshakes, a duet personal training session with a private Pilates instructor and breakfast in bed for $10,800.

[Photo courtesy Ritz-Carlton Reserve]