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After completing a multi-million dolllar renovation of the Barcelo Bavaro in Punta Cana that increased its occupancy rate by about 2% and revenue per available room by 8.6%, Barcelo will now turn its attention to its gigantic Riviera Maya property in hopes of achieving similar results.
The project will cost more than $45 million and will begin on May 6 and focus on the complex’s Maya Beach and Maya Caribe hotels. Each will receive a revamped lobby, a new bar and an a-la-carte restaurant. The complex as a whole should benefit from the addition of an entertainment center that is to include a sports bar, bowling alley, teen disco, kids club, waterpark, and paddle tennis courts. A new Premium Club lounge will also be added.
The property consists of five adjacent hotels and one of the largest pools we've seen on a resort property in that region, with plenty of space to find serenity and avoid the drunk people at the swim up bar.
Although Mexico City’s Live Aqua Bosques did have a soft opening last October, it's now "officially" open and ready to dazzle guests. If you recognize the name it’s because this hotel is the sister property of Live Aqua resort in Cancun.
The main difference is that this 135-room property is primarily aimed at the business market, although it’s not your average cookie-cutter corporate set up. Hotelera Posadas, Mexico’s leading hotel company, designed and placed the five-floor hotel in the heart of Mexico city’s fast-moving business district, Paseo de los Tamarindos, in the exclusive neighborhood of Bosques de las Lomas. It’s also close to the important Santa Fe, Interlomas and Paseo de la Reforma areas.
Arriving guests won’t find a traditional check-in desk. Instead, it will be done on a one-to-one basis with a staff member using a tablet. The guest is then led to their sleek and polished room that follows the multi-sensory concept of Live Aqua Cancun. They’ll find in-room aromatherapy and pillow menus (with 18 options!) and customizable in-room lighting.
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We recently listed 5 Elopement Packages for those wanting a low-fuss wedding, but that doesn't mean one has to skip out on the time-honored tradition of The Bachelor Party. Of course, today is Fantasy Friday, so we've got to go a little over-the-top with the options, and boy have we found some. But don't worry, we've got some sensible back-up plans as well.
For Golf Lovers
Rosewood Mayakoba's $175,000 Ultimate Golf Experience is completely insane!During the week of November 11-17, 2013, the resort's El Camaleón Golf Club will host the OHL Classic, when the world’s top PGA Tour players will compete on the Greg Norman designed, 7,000-yard, 18-hole championship course. To celebrate this high profile tournament (and golf-nuts everywhere) the resort created an extravagant package that's a bachelor's ultimate last-hurrah.The groom and two of his besties will get a private lesson with world famous golf instructor Jim McLean, a round of golf with legend Greg Norman at Playa Mujeres (you'll take a private helicopter to and fro) as well as receive three positions in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba Pro-Am. Oh, and though this is already an all-suite resort, you'll stay in the 6,272 square-foot Presidential Lagoon Suite. Evenings mean sipping cocktails with the PGA Tour players (!), an invite to a private BBQ on the beach, and a tequila tasting of some of the country's best labels. This package is only available for November 12-19, 2013. Book via Rosewood.com
Not In Your Price Range?
Alternative: Head to Ponte Vedra and The Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa where from May 6 to 12, they'll be the host hotel for annual THE PLAYERS Championship at the world-famous TPC Sawgrass. Your group of guys can bask in the Florida sun in the place where some of PGA's greats like Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, and Matt Kuchar have played. This spring you'll see who'll be battling it out for a beaucoup cash purse ($9 million!) on the 18-hole, Pete Dye-designed course. Tickets start at just $15! When you're not playing yourself, feel free to spend time in the ornate Club House (we recommend indulging in the ridiculous brunch spread) where you can see Tiger Woods' 2001 tournament locker, have a few post-play cocktails, and generally feel like royalty before settling into the domestic life. Packages start at $349 per night, which includes daily breakfast, a round on THE PLAYERS Course, and other perks. In this special season and you'll generally feel like royalty before settling into the domestic life. Book through Sawgrass Marriott's special page.
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Who says family vacations can be stressful? For these three famous mothers, getaways look effortless. Sure, they've probably got help, but you too can have a great time if you pick the right resort. That means choosing a place with a great kids' program, child-friendly foods, and of course, a pool or beach.
If you have all these things in place and you're pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. What we can't guarantee? That you'll look as STUNNING as these three mommas do, post-partum. What's their secret? We're dying to know and crazed with jealousy.
This past weekend, after a court date with soon-to-be ex-husband Jason Hoppy, Bethenny Frankel hopped on a Miami-bound plane with daughter Bryn. The two had a girl’s getaway at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The super-svelt Frankel (clad in skimpy bikinis and a silk Ramy Brook cover up) seemed to forget her marital woes, and had a ball with her Cheetos and Pop Chip-munching two-year old, who wore a super cute pink polka-dot wetsuit and matching goggles.
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The amazing view from The Buccaneer is just short of competing with a brides beauty
May usually kicks off "wedding season" and from our experience, betrothed couples usually fall into two camps--the calm and collected or the completely overwhelmed. We believe these 5 Elopement Packages are perfect for the anti-bride, and those looking for an elegant, but easy-to-manage affair.
These hotels' wedding offerings are downright affordable, quite important after the seriously extravagant ceremony packages we've seen lately. Whether it's a ring exchange for 2 in Vegas or a Caribbean island soiree for 20, we think you'll appreciate a simpler way to walk down the aisle.
Aria Resort and Casino, Las Vegas
Who says all Vegas weddings have to be kitschy and doomed to an Elvis-impersonator-slash-drive-through affair? Nope. It's getting classier by the moment, and as of April 23, there will be a new Wedding Chapel at the ARIA, one of the town's hottest hotels. Instead of some velvet-laden, dank "church", this place promises to be completely chic. Designed in conjunction with MGM Resorts International Design, expect a modern and sophisticated set-up with chrome and mahogany wood doors, and a color scheme centered around warm chocolate tones and creamy whites. Pops of floral color and metallics soften up the look and lend a romantic feel. Seating is available for up to 60 guests, and the front foyer will double as a space for small post-ceremony gatherings. There's a dedicated ladies’ dressing lounge, and even a groom’s game lounge with a pool table and wet bar. It will feel more penthouse than house of the Lord, though, so keep that in mind. After all, it's still Vegas! On-site wedding coordinators are available to help the Big Day go smoothly, as well. The Wedding Chapel at ARIA will offer a variety of nuptial packages, ranging from $1,500 to $21,000. They all include photography, flowers, limo transportation to and from the Clark County Marriage Bureau and an officiant to perform the ceremony. Some packages even include accommodations at the hotel--honeymoon suite, anyone? And for those who can't attend your wedding, the Chapel can broadcast your ceremony online. For more info, visit arialasvegas.com/weddings or call the Chapel at (877) 371-2742.
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2013 has been quite the year for Hyatt Place so far, with two major openings in Austin and New York within weeks of each other (we recently stayed at the latter, and wrote our thoughts about it here).
Now, the brand has us all worked up again thanks to an announcement about a 151-room hotel built on a 550-acre luxury resort in La Paz, Mexico. Opening in 2014, the hotel will be just a few minutes from downtown La Paz, and only 30 minutes from Manuel Marquez de Leon Int'l Airport (that's good news if your schedule only allows for quickie long weekend jaunts).
Now, don't go thinking that Hyatt Place gets all those 550 acres to itself: the hotel will be part of a luxury resort complex known as "CostaBaja." And as such, guests of the future hotel will get to enjoy all the resort's amenities, like a 250-slip double-basin marina, La Paz' first-ever spa, two pools, two restaurants, and an 18-hole golf course. Oh, and white sandy beaches along the Sea of Cortez.
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Not only is it Friday, but apparently it’s National Margarita Day, too! Seriously, we think people just make half these celebrations up, but this one we can get with, even though we think margaritas are best served with sunshine and high temps. But no matter, we're good sports.
To honor this "holiday", hotel bars around the country are rolling out their best margs. Naturally some are getting fancy with the fixins, while others refuse to mess with the original recipe--tequila, triple sec and lime.
Here are a few versions that caught our eye and have us chomping at the bit for quittin' time. Although, didn't someone say it's always 5 o'clock somewhere?
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Mercy it's cold outside and your usual champers does nothing to warm them bones. We'll get into all the Hot Toddy and Chocolate goodness out there soon, but for now, we want to focus on El Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mexico City, Why? Because we need to distract the hell out of ourselves and these frigid temps.
Plus, we like nothing more to amuse y'all. So when you go to your favorite watering hole tonight (that is if you aren't the lucky SOB's already in Mexico) we challenge you to ask them to serve a lil something like this:
It's called "The Grasshopper" and it's barrel aged mezcal, accompanied by fresh orange and a trio of salts: hibiscus (sal de jamaica), grasshopper (sal de chapulines), and worm (sal de gusano). Yeah, two of these have your eyes crinkled, fo sho. But wait, it's actually good for you!
High in protein, vitamins and minerals content, grasshoppers, or chapulines have been used as a Mexican food source for centuries (we love 'em in guacamole!). If you order a mescal at El Bar, your drink will probably be accompanied by grasshopper salt. Buggin' out by this? Ok, perhaps Chef Edgar Kano's worm salt is a better fit. The savory blend is made from worms that live on the maguey plant, from which tequila and mezcal come from. And don't say you don't like your tequila! We know better. You'll find the salt in his tangy guacamole and sauces.
See? We distracted you from the cold for a few minutes. Job done.
[Photo: Four Seasons Hotels]
We’ve shown you where to spend the night in a beer barrel (that’s Germany), and for today’s quirky hotel concept we’re heading to Mexico, where in the village of Tepoztlan, 45 minutes south of Mexico City, the hotel rooms in question are stacked – and recycled – concrete tubes.
Tubo-social, Tubo-cool, Tubo-hotel! – exclaims Tubohotel's website.
So what’s it all about, Alfie?
Well, we'll assume we stumped you with last week's edition of Guess the Hotel. None of you could guess! We gave you some killer clues and a damn-good picture of one hungry hot tub, but now we'll help you out: That oasis belongs to the Ridge Luxury Villas at Playa Grande in Cabo San Lucas.
The rooftop pool club is only available to guests of The Ridge, which offers one, two, or three bedroom villas with full kitchens and living rooms. There's also a restaurant and infinity pool overlooking the property/ocean (along with another hungry hot tub, see photo).
We know that downtown Cabo San Lucas screams puke and rally, but you really can have a luxurious experience outside of the hotel corridor - we swear.
Oh, the two bodies of water that converge are the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. The famous rock structure is the arch of Los Cabos, and The Ridge is one of five Solmar properties grouped on the southwest side of the harbor. Rates start at $308 a night.
[Photos: Will McGough for Hotel Chatter]
Last week, we relied on the deck chairs at this emerald green pool to get us out of a little bout of winter blues. But where are they? No, it’s not an Aman Resort, although we can see that comparison - both SFHotelGuy and nickdla guessed it right: we were hinting at Hotel Endémico in Ensenada, Mexico.
Part of Grupo Habita (which includes the likes of Hotel Americano in New York and Condesa DF in Mexico City), Endémico has just 20 luxury cabins, scattered on a hillside overlooking the wine region of the Baja Peninsula.
Now that his time as Mexico's President has come to an end, Felipe Calderon has begun a year-long fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School in Boston. We're sure he's freezing his tail off, no doubt in need of an early spring break. Where do you think his in-class daydreams are taking him?
We're guessing back to Cabo, which he chose as the site of the 2012 G20 Summit last summer. Obama posted up at the Esperanza Resort, but where did Mr. Calderon decide to rest his head? We figure the host president had his fair share of open doors when it came to where he would make camp for the conference, an assumption that makes his selection all the more telling. His choice? The Imperial Suite at the Fiesta Americana Grand.
The two-bedroom suite is housed in a private building and features an ocean-front pool, sunken outdoor Jacuzzi, fire pit, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allow the scenery and Sea of Cortez to pour into the master bedroom. Check out the photos of the room and the resort in the gallery below. The Imperial Suite is one of those rooms you have to call to book, but $5,000/night is the approximate starting point.