Hilton Los Cabos gets busy in quest for guests

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LOS CABOS, Mexico -- Take Hilton's management expertise and powerful reservations system, a location on one of the best swimming beaches on Los Cabos and a proximity to two championship golf courses, and you have what Cristobal Tortosa feels is the new Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort's recipe for success.

Now all the resort needs is guests. Occupancy so far this year has averaged 20%, and 2003 projections are for 45% year-round, said Tortosa, general manager of the seven-month-old, 375-room resort.

The flat figures aren't the hotel's fault, he said. Blame it on the U.S. economy. Americans account for more than 90% of Los Cabos visitors and, right now, many of them are staying home.

Tortosa said he believes leisure travelers, who are expected to account for up to 65% of the resort's guests, have been "hit in the wallet" by this summer's stock market declines.

"Los Cabos' market is, for the most part, upscale, so many of our visitors were hurt financially" when the market fell, he said.

One way the resort is trying to lure more visitors is with prices, which average $150, single or double, for a standard room. The resort's published rack rates from June 1 to Dec. 26 -- considered the low season -- are $380 for a standard room with two double beds.

"The average room rate right now in Los Cabos, including hotels on the Corridor and in Cabo San Lucas, is about $130, with an average occupancy of 50%," Tortosa said. "We're dealing with the same price pressures as the competition."

The Hilton Los Cabos is situated along the famed Corridor, between historical San Jose del Cabo and modern Cabo San Lucas on the Sea of Cortes. It is approximately 25 minutes from Los Cabos Airport.

The Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, surrounded by two championship golf courses, sits across from one of Los Cabos' best swimming beaches. Each guest room features a private balcony overlooking the ocean, and there are several room categories to suit almost every client's tastes. There are 309 regular guest rooms: 173 with a king bed, 63 with two queen beds and 73 with two double beds.

There are 66 suite-category rooms, including 18 junior suites (at $615 a night) with king beds and separate living rooms; 17 superior junior suites ($720 a night); and 28 premier suites ($800 a night), which boast 1,095 square feet of space, a terrace with two hammocks and an optional connecting room with two queen beds.

The El Dorado and Cabo Real suites -- each with 1,247 square feet and private terraces -- cost $2,100 a night. They each have a master bedroom with a king bed; separate dressing area; a large bathroom and separate half-bath; a living room; and an optional connecting room with two queen beds.

For $3,100 a night, clients can book the 4,460-square-foot presidential suite, which contains a king bed; separate dressing room; large bathroom with Jacuzzi; and a second bedroom with two queen beds and a bathroom.

The presidential suite also has a large living room with a half-bath; a dining room; a fully equipped kitchen; and a private terrace.

The rack rates are based on single or double occupancy during high season, from Jan. 15 to May 31.

All rooms feature marble-tiled bathrooms with oversize tubs and showers, coffeemakers and minibars. They're also equipped with dual-line phones with voicemail and data ports, and safes large enough to store laptops.

For business travelers, the resort offers 11,300 square feet of meetings and event space, including a number of outdoor spaces that can host functions. There are two ballrooms that can accommodate groups of up to 750.

Business travelers have a dedicated check-in area near the main lobby, and the resort employs an event-planning staff and offers the latest audiovisual equipment.

Dining options include Fenicia, which serves Mediterranean cooking in a semiformal dining room; La Hacienda, a more casual restaurant serving Mexican and American fare; and the Sunset Bar for poolside lunch and drinks.

Guests can work off their meals on the tennis courts, at the water-sports center, in the infinity pool and at the 7,500-square-foot Ixchel spa and fitness center.

Golfers have the two championship courses that promise guests preferred tee times: the Jack Nicklaus-designed El Dorado Golf Course and the Robert Trent Jones-designed Cabo Real Golf Course.

For information or reservations, call (800) HILTONS or visit www.hiltonloscabos.com.

Niches in focus at the Hilton

LOS CABOS -- The Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort here is marketing packages from Oct. 1 to Dec. 19 for its major niches: golfers, honeymooners, divers and spa lovers.

A three-night wedding package costs from $2,499 per room, double. It includes wedding arrangements (services of a judge and minister, and health certificates); photographer services for two hours, including prints; a bottle of champagne; and wedding flowers for the bride and groom.

Three-night diving plans cost from $680 per person, double. Plans include two dives on the second and third days with equipment, and hotel-marina and hotel-airport transfers.

A three-night spa package costs from $548 per person, double. It includes one 50-minute aromatherapy massage; a coupon for a free 10-minute massage; and roundtrip airport transfers.

Three-night golf packages cost $829 per person, double. They include a round at both the El Dorado and Cabo Real golf courses with transfers, along with airport-hotel transfers. -- J.S.

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