Los Cabos is ramping up its star power in 2016, as luxury new builds continue to attract attention. Honing in on the luxury market has been its mission post Hurricane Odile. The strategy is paying off, according to the tourism officials and luxury hoteliers who met with media in Los Angeles last week.
“Last year we broke records for visitors, with more than 1.8 million visitors by air,” said Los Cabos Tourism Board CEO Ruben Reachi.
The event’s setting ⎯ the Montage Beverly Hills ⎯ was a significant one.
“We’ve had meetings here to talk about the new Montage coming to Los Cabos. It is the first Montage outside of the U.S. and we’re pretty proud about that. The piece of land they’re using is amazing, right in front of a coral reef,” Reachi tells Travel Agent.
The Montage property is set for completion in late 2017.
“We have the Ritz Carlton Reserve under construction. The new Luxury Collection hotel by Starwood is also under construction. We are better than ever with so many projects in the works. We can talk in terms of being a top destination in Latin America, not simply Mexico,” said Reachi.
At the moment, it’s whale-watching season in Los Cabos. Visitors are guaranteed to spot humpbacks, grays or other varieties that have made the 6,000-mile migration from Alaska, said Los Cabos Tourism Board Commercial Director Luis Palacios.
“Remember that we’re still the world’s aquarium. That’s one of the things that set us apart from other destinations. It’s the natural beauty and diversity of the area,” Palacios tells Travel Agent.
Golf is another draw, thanks to a surfeit of world-class courses. Projects scheduled for completion this year include a second nine at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Marina Course at Puerto Los Cabos. Greg Norman is designing a new course at Rancho San Lucas, set to open this year. And Tiger Woods is designing new projects at Diamante, the 1,500-acre resort on the Pacific where he debuted his first-ever course in December 2014.
“Golf here is the best in all of Latin America. Some of the courses will feel like you’re golfing in Ireland, but with way better weather,” said Palacios.
The appeal of the Los Cabos weather is a no-brainer. So is the convenience from the West Coast, said Peter Bowling, managing director of One&Only Palmilla.
Still, from Thanksgiving through Easter, the clientele skews heavily East Coast.
“The Californians come pretty much all year. We’ve got such a loyal following. We’ve got a forty percent repeat clientele,” Bowling tells Travel Agent.
One&Only Palmilla was closed for seven months for a total renovation after Hurricane Odile hit in September of 2014.
“We’ve evolved into something of a lifestyle hotel for different age groups. It keeps things fresh. We have an amazing kid’s club that we just opened. And we just opened a new villa on December 23, called Villa One. It’s very contemporary and modern. It’s built on a ridge with an infinity pool overlooking the treetops. You can see the ocean all the way around,” said Bowling.