Los Cabos update: What's new, coming or on sale

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LOS CABOS, Mexico -- Los Cabos is one of Mexico's fastest-growing tourist destinations, with more than 8,200 hotel rooms available and another 1,000 rooms planned by the end of next year.

The following is a rundown of what's new or around the corner for Los Cabos, plus a look at resorts offering off-season specials.

Air service

Frontier Airlines announced its intention to more than double the number of Mexican destinations it serves, and Los Cabos is part of the blueprint.

Frontier said it will launch one weekly nonstop between Denver and Los Cabos starting Nov. 1 and expand the Denver-Los Cabos service to three flights a week starting Nov. 22.

To promote the new service, members of Frontier's frequent flyer program will receive double miles for travel to and from Los Cabos between Nov. 1 and Dec. 18.

The Arch is one of Los Cabos most popular attractions.Delta Air Lines expanded its code-share relationship with AeroMexico last month by offering code-share service from Ontario, Calif., to Los Cabos.

The new service between Ontario and Los Cabos is offered Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Flights to Los Cabos depart Ontario at 2:20 p.m. and arrive in Los Cabos at 5:40 p.m. On the return, flights leave Los Cabos at 11:30 a.m. and arrive in Ontario at 12:50 p.m.

Resorts

InterContinental Hotels Group last month opened the 333-room Crowne Plaza-Los Cabos Beach Resort in San Jose del Cabo.

Formerly the Faro del Cabo resort, the property underwent a $40 million renovation. It features contemporary Mexican decor in rooms and public spaces, five swimming pools, two lighted tennis courts, a racquetball court, a fitness center and 18,000 square feet of meetings space.

The hotel has five dining facilities, including Las Jicamas for Mexican cuisine and La Gondola for Italian fare.

The Crowne Plaza-Los Cabos is owned by Hola Hotels & Resorts and managed by Promociones Turisticas Azteca, S.A. de C.V., under a license agreement with a company in the InterContinental Hotels Group.

For reservations, call (800) 2-CROWNE or visit www.crowneplaza.com.

Occidental Allegro Hotel Corp. plans to expand the Royal Hideaway brand by opening a second upscale, inclusive resort that will fly the Royal Hideaway flag.

Company officials said the Royal Hideaway resort in Los Cabos is scheduled to open by the fourth quarter of 2004. It will be built near the Presidente Intercontinental.

The Royal Hideaway in Los Cabos will offer three room types, five a-la-carte restaurants, a spa and fitness center, a business center and meetings facilities.

The rooms will be priced at about $400 a night, per person, double.

Work is underway on an $80 million expansion of the Palmilla Resort, which is now closed and scheduled to reopen early next year as One&Only Palmilla.

One&Only is a new division of luxury properties owned and operated by Kerz-ner International, which acquired a 50% equity interest in Palmilla and a long-term management agreement for the resort last year.

As part of the renovation, Palmilla will be expanded from 115 to 172 rooms. Other additions will include an indoor/outdoor spa and a restaurant owned by chef Charlie Trotter of Chicago.

One of Los Cabos' newest resorts is the 240-suite Marquis Los Cabos Beach, Golf, Spa and Casitas Resort.

A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the property is nestled between two 18-hole golf courses. Marquis Los Cabos is part of the Hoteles Marquis chain, which includes the Marquis Reforma in Mexico City.

The resort will have what the company said is the largest spa in Los Cabos (close to 27,000 square feet) when the facility opens in December.

There are three restaurants, two bars and an 8,054-square-foot ballroom. The resort offers a complimentary breakfast delivered daily to the room.

The resort is marketing an introductory rate of $325 per night for a junior suite through Oct. 10.

For more information or reservations, call (877) 238-9399.

Package specials

Looking to boost summer business, the 115-room Hacienda Beach Resort is offering a $99 "Last Minute Great Rate" promotion for clients who make reservations within 10 days of their arrival and request the "summer special." In addition, kids under age 17 stay free with their parents.

Regular rates range from $149 to $395 per room, per night. The $99 rate is for a gardenview room, which normally runs $149 in the summer; depending on availability, guests can request an upgrade.

For information or reservations, call (800) SEE-CABO or visit www.haciendacabo.com.

Another resort hoping to attract business with lower rates is the Casa Del Mar Beach, Golf and Spa Resort, which is selling a Value Season package until Dec. 15.

Priced 63% below a comparable high-season deal, a four-night package costs $897 for two people and includes daily breakfast, roundtrip airport transfers, a rental car for one day, a discounted rate on a round of golf, a twice-daily shuttle to Cabo San Lucas and all taxes and service charges.

During high season, the price for this same package would be $2,429 for two, according to the resort.

Casa del Mar is situated 25 minutes by car from Los Cabos Airport between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas.

For information or reservations, call (888) 227-9621 or visit www.casadelmargolfandspa.com.

Pueblo Bonito Hotels and Resorts, the chain of all-suite boutique properties in Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan, is offering a Stay and Save program through the end of the year.

The hotel company gives clients a choice of a fourth night free when they pay for three nights, or a sixth and seventh night free when customers pay for five nights.

Sweetening the offer is a daily $20 food and beverage credit per room, free spa admission and, with a seven-night stay, a free massage.

Pueblo Bonito's resorts in Los Cabos are the Pueblo Bonito Rose, Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos and Sunset Beach.

Stay and Save rates start at $195 per person, per day, double, at the Pueblo Bonito Rose and Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos, and $165 at the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach.

For information or reservations, call (800) 990-8250 or visit www.pueblobonito.com.

The 395-room Presidente InterContinental Los Cabos Resort began offering a European plan (EP) option on July 1, becoming the only resort in San Jose del Cabo to offer both EP and all-inclusive pricing, according to the resort.

As a result, the resort will open its restaurants to non-guests in an effort to attract locals. Guests on the EP plan, meanwhile, will have access to more restaurants, including Da Antonio Ristorante.

The hotel's EP rates will range from $150 to $250 a night, depending on the category of room and the season.

The resort recently opened a fifth restaurant, Napa, serving light California-style dishes.

For information or reservations, call (800) 327-0200 or visit the Web at www.intercontinental.com.

The Esperanza resort is offering customers one free night when they book three nights through Oct. 14. Room rates at the 56-room resort start at $350 for a gardenview room through Oct. 14.

For information or reservations, call (866) 282-3743.

Whale watching

Each year in early autumn, one of nature's most dramatic signs of seasonal change takes place: the migration of hundreds of gray whales from the frigid waters of the Arctic to the warm waters surrounding the Baja Peninsula.

And from December to March, one of the best places to view this phenomenon is in the waters surrounding Los Cabos. The whales complete the 12,000-mile journey by late December and stay until late March.

Observing the mammals' migration can be reason enough to visit Los Cabos during this period.

The whales often are close enough to the shore to see from beaches and overlooks. Or clients can sign on for one of Baja Expeditions' whale-watching plans.

The San Diego-based operator offers packages that combine hotel stays with whale-watching expeditions and other ecofriendly activities.

Prices start at $1,250 per person, double, for a six-night Magdalena Bay Whales & Kayaking itinerary.

For details or reservations, call Baja Expeditions at (800) 843-6967 or visit www.bajaex.com.

In addition, many local tour companies offer whale-watching trips that can be booked through clients' hotels.

These two-and-a-half-hour boat tours take place in the bays around Los Cabos by catamaran or power boat.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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