Star-studded twin cities
While flipping through the pages of gossip magazines on the plane, you have undoubtedly seen stars frolicking in the azure waters of Los Cabos, Mexico. Celebrities have been flocking to the twin cities of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo for rest, relaxation and some quality beach time for years. And if you have been to this picturesque region along the southernmost tip of Mexico’s 1,000-mile long Baja Peninsula, it is easy to see why.
Los Cabos boasts A-list everything, including world-class hotels, gourmet cuisine, plenty of outdoor recreation, the warm embrace of Mexican culture and jaw-dropping beauty (untouched by a Hollywood scalpel).
But what does Jennifer Aniston’s top vacation spot have to do with your meeting or event program? Everything! If Los Cabos is a fit for A-listers such as Aniston and George Clooney, then your attendees will certainly be happy here. “You hear the name in the news, so Los Cabos already has that appeal. And then when you get down here, [the destination] really follows through,” says Ingrid Sivertson, senior project manager for Unbridled Solutions, a full-service meeting and incentive company. Sivertson has planned a handful of meetings in Los Cabos and spotted Dark Blue-star Dylan McDermott on her site inspection at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort.
Since each city offers a distinctive ambience, it is like two trips in one. “I like that Los Cabos has two sides to it. You can go into San Lucas, which has more of a downtown and a bar scene. And then you can go into San Jose, and you get more of that Old Cabo, old charm feel,” Sivertson says. She adds that Los Cabos has a distinct setting with the desert and the ocean landscape side-by-side.
The Hollywood elite have been seen golfing, swimming, fishing, sunbathing, sailing, exploring and enjoying the region’s many resorts—all jet-set pastimes that translate into fabulous pre- and post-meeting activities. And while the glitterati are sipping margaritas, your attendees can be gathering in high-tech meeting facilities.
“Los Cabos is so much more than first-class hotels, championship golf courses and world-renowned spas. It is an inspirational destination, offering pristine stretches of beaches, dramatic desert landscapes and star-studded nights, creating the perfect setting for visitors to forget the demands of everyday life and truly ‘leave it all behind,’” says Gonzalo Franyutti, president of the Los Cabos CVB. This leave-it-all-behind attitude will allow your groups to get into the Los Cabos groove and get down to the task at hand, be it planning, training or reaping the rewards of a job well done. Plus, the destination has very easy access from the U.S., especially the West Coast.
Don’t wait until your group makes it to the silver screen: Treat your attendees like the VIPs they are and bring your program to Los Cabos.
Major Meeting Venues
The region offers about 12,500 hotel rooms and several meeting options and resorts—many of which have been built in the last decade or so to accommodate the demands of elite travelers. Located at Land’s End and a 10-minute walk from downtown, the Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa completed its first phase last month, debuting with 119 suites, the La Roca restaurant and three bars. The second phase of the resort is slated for completion at the end of 2012.
Barcelo Los Cabos Palace Deluxe.
Among the new hotels is the Barcelo Los Cabos Palace Deluxe in the heart of the Zona Dorada, San Jose del Cabo’s beachside golden zone. The 619-suite property includes a convention center with more than 35,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, seven restaurants, an 18,000-square-foot spa and a modern fitness center—and recently hosted the president of Mexico. The luxurious Capella Pedregal was built into a cliff near Land’s End, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. The circa-2009 boutique property has 66 guest rooms with plunge pools, a 12,000-square-foot spa inspired by local traditions and a few meeting spaces.
Another great spot for intimate gatherings is the Five-Diamond Las Ventanas al Paraiso, which offers 71 suites with butler service, a spa and two tennis courts. The property has a 1,000-square-foot conference center, unique outdoor venues and resort yachts for star-status group excursions. Sivertson planned the top tier of her 60-person incentive program here and was very pleased with her experience—and the celebrity-like treatment of her guests. “They have great service and great ambience. The views are just wonderful and give it more of a magical feel. Attendees could just sit back and enjoy the trip they won,” she says. (Celeb sighting: Nicole Richie held her fall 2010 bachelorette party here with Christina Aguilera.)
Another A-list property with butler service, the One&Only Palmilla has 172 guest rooms, a 3,000-square-foot ballroom, a full-service spa and many activities such as horse-back riding, golfing and scuba diving. The Palmilla is a well-known spot for celebs such as Brody Jenner, who frequently stay in the resort’s villas and affiliated residences.
Built in the Hacienda style, the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort is a great midsized option, with 270 guest rooms and more than 18,000 sq. ft. of function space. Fronting the Sea of Cortez, The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos was built in homage to El Arco, Cabo San Lucas’ famous ached rock formation, and features 243 guest rooms, 11,900 sq. ft. of function space and a spa.
The Four-Diamond, beachfront Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort features tiled roofs and a hacienda-style courtyard. It has 375 guest rooms, a spa, and many indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, including the 7,445-square-foot El Dorado Ballroom.
Another great waterfront option, the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort, has 249 guest rooms, a wine spa, five swimming pools, a business center, two golf courses and three restaurants.
Activities & Attractions
Being outside is top of mind in Los Cabos, so outdoor events are a popular choice—about as popular as Aniston’s signature hairdo in Friends’ heyday. “The unparalleled beauty and landscape of Los Cabos lends itself to many unique reception and meeting venues for groups. Many events have been staged in desert canyons, on wide-open sand beaches or even on the main plaza of the quaint town square of San Jose del Cabo,” Los Cabos CVB’s Franyutti says.
Among must-do activities, Franyutti suggests a boat ride to El Arco, a desert safari to the Baja Outback and a round of golf on a championship course overlooking the Sea of Cortez. (Celeb sighting: Tiger Woods has been seen teeing off at the Jack Nicklaus-designed El Dorado golf course.)
The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos.
“You can’t come to Los Cabos and not take a boat ride or kayak to El Arco, the natural rock formation that marks the very tip of the Baja Peninsula and is an icon for our destination. Only accessible by boat, this is an amazing experience as travelers will also get to step foot on Lover’s Beach and wave hello to our resident sea lions who call the rocks surrounding El Arco home,” Franyutti says.
With so many offerings, consider booking a group tour of the area for red-carpet treatment and experienced guides. Cabo Adventures, considered one of the best in the area, creates many unique group programs and team-building activities, including an America’s Cup yacht excursion, sunset sails, dolphin encounters and the company’s all-new Outback & Camel Safari eco-adventure.
Los Cabos International Airport is 30 minutes outside of Cabo San Lucas and 10 minutes from San Jose del Cabo. It receives flights from several U.S. cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago.