A Year After Odile, Los Cabos is the Ticket

In Los Cabos, Stay by Suzanne Koch

By David M. Brown

There’s life after Odile.

One of the most intense tropical cyclones ever on the Baja California Peninsula, the storm left widespread damage in September 2014 along the Mexican Coast and the American Southwest. After surging to Category 4 strength on Sept. 14, the cyclone slammed Cabo San Lucas with winds to 125 mph. Total damage is estimated at $1.22 billion.

Fortunately, most of the affected hotels, restaurants and services have reopened after renovations, and the tourist destination on the tip of the Baja forecasts significant growth moving forward.

“Los Cabos was impacted by Hurricane Odile; however, due to the great efforts of local government in conjunction with the destination’s hard-working people, we were able to come back stronger than ever before,” says Rubén Reachi, Los Cabos Tourism Board managing director.

Hyatt Ziva, for example, added two bedroom suites, expanded its Asian restaurant and sports bar honoring the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

“Many of the properties affected by the storm took the time post hurricane to not only repair the damages but looked at the time as an opportunity to renovate their properties to bring guests an enhanced experience,” Reachi said.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort

Signature Villa at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort

A Surge of Openings

On Jan. 31, 2015, the 110-room/suite The Resort at Pedregal was the first resort to open following Hurricane Odile. Most of the damage was to the doors, windows, palapas and pergolas, and the resort also replaced all room furniture, mattresses, soft goods such as the linen and pillows, curtains, TVs and other electronic equipment in the rooms. The furniture in the restaurant and public areas was also replaced.

“After four months of restoration, with hard work and dedication from our outstanding staff, we are excited to re-introduce the property to guests and further elevate our status as the number-one resort in Mexico,” said General Manager Fernando Flores.

“As part of our forward journey, we will continue to deliver world-class experiences providing guests, both new and returning, with a lifetime of memories, complete with new offerings and amenities.”

Manta Private Dining Room at The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, Photo Credit: Thomas Hart Shelby

Manta Private Dining Room at The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, Photo Credit: Thomas Hart Shelby

And, Esperanza, An Auberge Resort, reopened on June 1 with redesign of its 57-rooms, a revitalized Cocina del Mar restaurant and Lounge Bar, enhanced pool and terrace, renewed spa and public spaces.

As with many Los Cabos resorts, the 83-room Las Ventanas al Paraíso, A Rosewood Resort sustained mostly cosmetic rather than structural damage. Reopened June 4, 2015, ownership focused on improving the infrastructure such as adding a stronger wireless network and new state-of-the-art fitness and gym equipment.

“We haven’t made any monumental changes to the resort but rather took the existing Las Ventanas that our guests have known and loved for almost 20 years and improved upon the details,” says Frederic Vidal, managing director of Las Ventanas.

Nearby, the One&Only Palmilla resort re-opened April 20, 2015, after seven months of total restoration and upgrades. Each of the 173 oceanfront guest rooms and suites were totally refurbished, a new restaurant, SEARED, added, in collaboration with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and a new One&Only Spa and Fitness Centre.

Photo Credit: One & Only Palmilla

Photo Credit: One & Only Palmilla

“We were so thrilled to welcome guests back to One&Only Palmilla to enjoy the reborn resort. Past guests have found what they have come to love about the resort and have also discovered new experiences,” says Peter Bowling, managing director, One&Only Palmilla. “Most importantly, One&Only Palmilla continues to deliver the incredible warm and genuine service that guests love.”

Among other recent openings, re-openings and expansions are Cabo Azul Resort & Spa and Dreams Los Cabos Resort. El Ganzo opened Nov. 1, Casa del Mar Nov. 10 and ME Cabo in mid-December.

The 161-room The Cape, a Thompson Hotel was under construction at the time of the hurricane and opened in late June 2015, featuring unobstructed views of the Sea of Cortez and the destination’s landmark, The Arch, the only rooftop lounge in Cabo San Lucas and a signature restaurant overseen by award-winning chef Enrique Olvera.

The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, Photo Credit: Thomas Hart Shelby

The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, Photo Credit: Thomas Hart Shelby

“Those familiar with Monuments Beach will recognize The Cape’s unparalleled location,” says General Manager Eduardo Segura. “Our secluded beachfront setting is not only a magnet for surfing aficionados, we’re also ideally positioned to provide guests a serene setting to relax and easy access to Los Cabos’ many seaside activities and cultural offerings — from kayaking, diving, and whale watching to day trips to the architectural gems found in historic San José del Cabo.”

In summer 2016, Melia Cabo Real and the Westin Resort & Spa are scheduled to reopen.

Booking Good Numbers

The tourists have continued to arrive. In 2014, Los Cabos welcomed 1.6-million visitors, and for 2015, the area is tracking 1.8 million-plus, Reachi says. What’s more, 101,000-plus airline seats were added in the first half of the year, with additional later, to Orange County, Houston, New York City and Toronto.

The future is also exciting. During the next three years, the destination plans to welcome nearly 4,000 hotel rooms. Through the end of 2016, some of the properties that will be added to the destination include JW Marriott; Mar Adentro by Encanto; Le Blanc; The Park Hyatt; and VieVage Los Cabos, An Auberge Resort, Cachet Corazon and Le Blanc. A Four Seasons is also rumored.

In addition, three new golf courses and an extension are planned including the East Cape Vidanta course and Rancho San Lucas, both by Greg Norman; Diamante Cabo San Lucas, Tiger Woods; and nine additional holes by Jack Nicklaus in Puerto Los Cabos.

For more information on Cabo San Lucas, see www.visitloscabos.travel.

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