Hot Opening: Montage Los Cabos

 

MLC-Lifestyle-Santa Maria Bay Hero 3 (1)

Los Cabos, Mexico

 

When the much-anticipated Montage Los Cabos opens on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula this May, it could be the resort that helps transform an entire region into a luxury destination. Offering rare recreational opportunities courtesy of its prime beachfront location on Santa Maria Bay, it will also extend opening advantages exclusively for bookings made through an advisor affiliated with leading global luxury travel network Virtuoso®Virtuoso® is one of the leading international travel agency networks specializing in luxury and experiential travel. A by-invitation-only organization, it comprises over 1,000 travel agency partners with 17,500 elite travel advisors in more than 45 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.

Guests who stay between June 1 and December 15, 2018 will receive a daily $100 USD resort credit as well as these complimentary benefits:

  • Upgrade on arrival, if available
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests
  • Early check-in/late check-out, if available
  • One-way airport transfer for bookings in Beachfront Suites and above
  • WiFi
MLC-Lifestyle-Santa Maria Bay Hero 3 (1)

Santa Maria Bay

On 39 waterfront acres, Montage’s first property outside the U.S. will provide walk-in access to the region’s finest swimming, diving, and snorkeling. Located on the Golden Corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, the resort will honor the destination’s tradition of indoor-outdoor living. Its public spaces and its 122 expansive guestrooms and suites will frame the surrounding Baja desert and serene waters of the Sea of Cortez. Montage Los Cabos will feature native materials and an earth-tone color scheme to blend with the striking setting. The resort will offer an enticing blend of recreation and relaxation, including two pools and two tennis courts, along with access to The Fred Couples Signature Golf Course. Guests can also take part in wellness programs and enjoy treatments at the 21,000-square-foot signature Spa Montage and fitness center. Younger visitors will enjoy Montage’s immersive children’s program, Paintbox.

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Montage Los Cabos Guest Room

Montage Los Cabos will also feature an abundance of dining options where you can enjoy the region’s abundant seafood (our favorite!) and innovative use of fresh local ingredients. For you romantic types, the resort is aiming to be the perfect site for destination weddings with 5,100 square feet of indoor event space and more than 30,000 square feet of outdoor space.

So check out how to book the Montage Los Cabos through Virtuoso directly online or visit https://www.virtuoso.com/advisors# 

 

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Hyatt Ziva Cancun: An All Inclusive Culinary Escape

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Hyatt Ziva Cancún, which debuted in November 2015 as the newest addition to a distinguished collection of Hyatt all inclusive resorts for guests of all ages, has thoroughly re-imagined the all inclusive experience from the ground up. From its unrivaled location at the tip of the Yucatan peninsula to its luxurious Ziva Sky Swim-up Suites, Hyatt Ziva Cancún stands apart from the rest. Unquestionably, the resort’s greatest distinction from other all inclusive properties lies in its cuisine. Hyatt Ziva Cancún is fully committed to authentic gourmet dining, seasonal flavors and fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Guests can curate their own gastronomic journey at Hyatt all inclusive resorts – one might start the day with a pastry from Casa Café, try fresh ceviche for lunch by the beach, reminisce over a private candlelit dinner in the sand and cap the day with a sweet treat from our fantastical, sugar-themed dessert parlor, Pasteles. Best of all, it’s entirely unlimited and fully at the guest’s discretion.

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Pasteles – A Sugar Themed Heaven

Redefining the all inclusive resort by satisfying every age, taste and style, whether traveling as a family, couple or group, Hyatt Ziva Cancún provides the typical All You Can Eat bonanza and a world of à la carte options to suit every palate. Nine distinct restaurants offer full menus to ensure that guests’ taste buds never tire:

· La Bastille, presenting timeless French cuisine in an elegant, yet relaxed setting for adults only
· El Mercado, a bountiful buffet of gourmet international cuisine with both indoor and outdoor seating
· The Moongate, offering a variety of Asian specialties, from dim sum to an interactive teppanyaki table
· Tradewinds, a casual oceanfront grill by day and a classic steakhouse by night
· Lorenzo’s, serving Trattoria-style favorites for lunch and elegant Italian traditions for dinner, including brick oven pizza
· Habaneros, featuring tacos and fresh ceviche beachside
· Chevy’s, a classic all-American diner with burgers and milkshakes, and even a ’57 Chevy convertible that guests can dine in
· Pasteles, a delightful dessert parlor
· Casa Café, specializing in all things coffee, plus scrumptious pastries and snacks

In addition to the restaurants, mobile food carts roam the pool and beach areas with tacos, burgers, fresh fruit, sweet crepes, and cool refreshments. Plus, in-suite dining, is available 24-hours a day. This is something appealing to families because other all inclusive resorts like Club Med Cancun don’t offer this.

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Tres Cerveza’s – Onsite Microbrewery

Choices abound at Hyatt Ziva Cancún, not only for dining but also for nightlife and libations. Adults can enjoy unlimited signature cocktails and a wide selection of beer, wine, tequila, and premium spirits at seven distinct watering holes:

· Juana Margarita, a tequila tasting bar offering local tequila varieties and an onsite tequila sommelier
· Tres Cervezas, a sports bar and microbrewery featuring handcrafted microbrews and an onsite brewmaster
· Sassil Bar, a contemporary lobby bar inspired by the region’s Mayan heritage, featuring both indoor and ocean-view outdoor seating
· Punta Vista, a rooftop lounge with panoramic views by the adults-only pool
· Dips & Sips, featuring both outdoor and in-pool seating at the swim-up bar
· 24 Horas, a lively 24-hour lounge
· Bar del Mar, the exclusive Hyatt Club Level lounge overlooking the infinity pool, offering both indoor and outdoor seating

http://www.playaresorts.com/Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun

Club Med, Cancun Yucatan: Have Kids, Must Travel

Club Med

Saar Harel – International Traveller, Father, Lover of Global Cuisine, and Water Sports

Saar Harel, international traveller, amateur chef, IT consultant extraordinaire, and father of Little Zeus, takes our readers on his first no-nonsense trip to all inclusive resort.

If you have kids and want to travel, an all-inclusive resort might be the right ticket for you.

My wife, one and a half year old son, and I travelled to Club Med Cancun Yucatan for our first all inclusive family trip to see if all-inclusive (and Club Med) was as easy and fun as it’s made out to be.

Getting There

Getting to Cancun is likely one of the biggest draws. Almost every city has a direct flight and it’s often only 3-4 hours away, no matter where you’re located in the United States. That’s fantastic. From Chicago, our flight was direct, 3.5 hours, and smooth as fresh jar of Jiffy.

You come out of immigration, look for the Club Med sign, and a coordinator and a driver will be waiting to take you to the resort. The ride is only 10-15 minutes so that, too, was incredibly easy. In fact, my wife was such a huge fan of how convenient the travel was with a baby that she’s hesitant to take another connecting flight, or a flight over 3.5 hours, with the baby again!

Club Med Cancun

A view from our 2 bedroom family room at Aquamarine

Picking Your Accommodations

Option 1: Jade – Jade is an exclusive 18 suites, 37 deluxe rooms with a lounge and their own infinity pool. They also have their own concierges which only Jade residents have access.

Option 2: Main Area – These are the original buildings and they have a beautiful view of the lagoon and main beach.

Option 3: “Family” Area – On the other side of the property where the tennis courts are located, this area is less “happening” so families can have a little more space. The beach in this area is less luxurious.

Option 4: Under renovation when we arrived. It is basically between Jade and the main beach.

We stayed Option 3, the “Family” area, particularly in the Aguamarina rooms. To be honest, they are all the same for me as you can reach anywhere within a 5 minute brisk walk and they have golf carts to drive you from one side to the other, if you don’t feel like walking. You just need to wait 5-10 minutes.

Rooms
We had a fridge and everything inside was well laid out. We were also on ground floor, so we had a small ocean front yard. You won’t be spending much time in your room anyway.

club med cancun map

Club Med Cancun Yucatan Map I revised so that you can cross-reference alongside this review

Beaches

Main Beach – This beach has the best view of Cancun’s strip and was, very likely, the best beach for those with children in all of Cancun. Highly recommend. A+

This beach is also next to the bar and there are servers who walk around refilling your never-ending drinks. As new parents, this was one of the best features. Also, in Club Med you don’t tip, so, you can leverage them all day and avoid the annoyance of tipping each time. The water is crystal clear and turquoise, and fish will swim all around you. The waves are non-existent {at least for us}, so it was very safe with our toddler and enjoyable, no waves breaking on your head. The beach is also fine nice sand and there are no rocks.

Snorkeling Beach – On the east side of the resort, there is a protected park where you can dive. No need to bring gear as they will give it to you. This was a big highlight for me as I saw barracudas, plenty of colorful fish, and even a stingray and turtle. They have some chairs laid out for your partner so they can get a tan while you catch the sights.

Las Cazuelas Beach – I call it that because it is next to Las Cazuelas restaurant. It is somewhat rocky. However, it’s far from the crowd, so, if you want to relax without seeing many people, it’s perfect. As it’s next to Las Cazuelas, you have the added bonus of being close to the restaurant buffet (which is also less crowded than the main buffet) and it feels like a ‘real’ restaurant.

Sailing Beach – I call this sailing beach since the sailing is done in this area. The beach is ok for tanning. You can also watch your partner sailing away. There is an underwater weed in the water, so this won’t be much fun to be in. However you can swim to your heart’s content and tan to a crisp. There is no bar here. So prep in advance.

Las Cazulas View Club Med

The view from Las Cazuelas while dining

Classes

At Club Med, you can take classes. This is great for kids and some adults. For example, you haven’t played tennis. Well, take the 10 AM class and a pro will teach you. This is like getting a free lesson and people were definitely taking advantage of this.

Sailing – Unfortunately, we came when there was no wind, so we didn’t get to sail. A bummer for us, but that’s not Club Med’s fault and we still loved the idea that it was so conveniently located next to Cazuelas and our room.

Water Skiing – Water ski runs all year round inside the lagoon. You come in, wait a turn. Then start performing. If you don’t know how, then the beginner lessons are easily available.

Trapeze – They have trapeze lessons, they are not too daunting. You basically work on being able to use your muscles and core to swing and keep swinging. Easy peasy just make sure you arrive dry and clothed. My wife thought being in a wet bathing suit wouldn’t be an issue and didn’t want to have to go all the way back to the room so just a small detail to know.

There are many other classes, from gym to sports like beach volleyball, which all offer you an opportunity to perform an activity with others and a chance to bond about it and hopefully create an enduring friendship or just have fun while on the resort.

Club Med Children

Little Zeus knows how to chillax

Excursions
Day Trips – Every day, Club Med organizes and you can join a different trip. The trips change daily and are an excellent way to see Mexico in a safe, organized fashion. You wake up, you board a bus, it takes you to a site, for example the Pyramids, then it stops for food, another site, and you’re back. This is excellent when you have children or want a break from being on a break and can’t take another cocktail on the beach with the sun beating on your head #firstworldproblems. This sure beats getting a rental, getting lost, planning, drama, etc.

Diving – Club Med is famous for being a resort that caters to divers, they have a diving office and can easily arrange excellent, safe trips with vetted instructors who are proficient in your language. They can also match the trip to your experience level, so you enjoy yourself and not struggle against the current the whole time. They also can arrange classes if you want to get going and intro dives if you’ve never done it before.

Kids, kids

This place is perfect for kids. When they are small, they’re clingy. By the time they hit 5-10, they can barely stand you, and when they hit the teen years, they are too cool to be with you. So, this place is perfect. Safe, as this is a compound, plenty of activities for them, they can go play soccer, swim, hang, sit at the teen bar, and sip some juice, etc.

If they are 2 and above there is also “Petit Club Med” where incredibly kid-friendly instructors will take care of them for you. Trust me, at the end of the day, they will be exhausted and, during the day, they won’t ask you to build sand castles. So, you and your partner can enjoy “vacation” and not feel like scout instructors.

If they are less than 2, you can ask for a vetted baby sitter who can watch your baby while you charge your batteries.

Food at Club Med Cancun Yucatan

Gotta love the carved fruit

Food

Club Med has some set hours:

  • La Hacienda

A Baby corner is available during regular open hours.

  • Breakfast                                        7:00-10:30
  • Lunch                                             12:00-14:15
  • Dinner                                            19:00-22:00
  • Las Cazuelas
    • Breakfast                              7:00-10:30
    • Lunch                                   13:00-16:00
    • Dinner                                  19:00-21:30
  • La Estancia (Steak house at night)
    • Late Breakfast                     10:30-12:00
    • Snack                                    16:00-18:30
    • Dinner (Steak House)       19:00-21:30
    • Snack                                    22:00-00:30

Note: these hours are note set in stone and may vary. However, they also offer you the ability to eat outside those hours. You can simply head over to the La Estancia during  “Snack” hours and they will give you a menu and you can order like a restaurant.

Most meals are a huge buffet with a very wide selection including local cuisine and international one. So, you won’t be stuck eating Mexican rice and beans and can have your pasta, if so inclined.

Dinners are the best, there are two locations. La Estancia which is now an Argentinian grill and La Cazuela which is a Mexican themed restaurant. Both require a booking and then you can eat in them like a regular restaurant with your selection in the menu. If you don’t care for that, you can go to the Main restaurant and eat buffet for dinner.

Club Med Food

If you’re hungry and looking for a nibble in between drinks, they often serve appetizers like this near the main bar. Score.

All in all, there is a lot of fish near Cancun, so the selection mirrors that and you can get extremely good fish dishes.  The chicken is also very good. You won’t find lamb and the steaks won’t be Texas grade but everything was good and we would take seconds and thirds.

As a word of warning, sometimes in buffets some things can be a miss. For example, on Day 2 the rice was undercooked. However, there is such a huge selection you can just pick something else. So I recommend putting “mini” tasters on your plate in round one. Then come back for what you liked in round two.

Wine/beer

If you love wine but don’t know exactly how to describe a pinot grigio vs a pinot gris  then they offer a good basic red or white. If you are more discerning, try the Rosato {rose wine}. It was better than the standard free house red or white, I would rate it as a C. If you are very picky, ask for the wine menu, it’s an extra cost, but the prices are the same as you would pay at a resort. Their selection is quite good.

For beer, the tap was Dos Equis which was fine by me.

For cocktails, they are excellently done and not strong, but just strong enough. So, you can glue the cocktail glass to your hand and have them all day without passing out or embarrassing your kids. My wife recommends the caipirinha and was happy that they tasted good, had a decent amount of alcohol, but weren’t so strong to give her a hangover. I had never been to an inclusive and pretty much swore myself off of ever going this route, but once I had a baby, I was open to trying anything that was easy.

All in all, Club Med was an excellent way to vacation, without breaking the bank.  It is also extremely safe and well laid out so you can enjoy your time and your kids can enjoy their time without you hovering above them.

This place offers a lot of options. Coordinate with another family and enjoy a joint vacation, go out and see Mexico, take some diving, polish your tennis, try that water ski you always see on TV, relax with some bocce ball, try some trapeze, you get to choose and the staff was excellent.

Club Med Yucatan

A storm looked like it was moving in, but after a nighttime drizzle, the sky was clear and the weather was perfect. Beautiful colored canopies and ambient lightening make parents feel like they’re in a more hip version of a family establishment.

Big Positives

  1. No Tipping allowed – so no need to lug cash!
  2. Safe – this place is a compound, you can pretty much leave your phone on the chair and no one will steal it.
  3. Nice – staff are the nicest, they are recruited from all over the world, so they can speak French, Italian, Spanish, German, and English. We found them to be friendly genuine people. They are especially good with the kids as kids can tell a phony from 100 yards away.

Things to Know

  1. Make sure you bring Deet bug spray. The resort is surrounded by a mangrove and, at night, the mosquitos can be annoying. They don’t sell Deet, they only sell Citronella, which did not work for us.
    So, bring your Deet and you will have a perfect vacation.
  2. If you plan on learning to dive, there are pre-requisites. Like a medical exam, etc. So call them and make sure you bring all the paper work. Like I said, they are methodical and safe and won’t let you go without the requirements being met. I can respect that.

Grade: A-/B+

Club Med Cancun Yucatan

Your Boutique Guide to Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Merida, Mexico

Yucatan’s capital is famously called “the white city”, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find a mosaique of strong, passionate colors all around it. A walk along its famous Paseo Montejo is a trip within a trip: from Parisian-style mansions that will transport you from French classic architecture to traditional Mexican ice cream parlors that evoke the last remains of the golden years, the variety is exhilarating, specially because it all fits and matches. This is, at the same time a strong Mayan capital (Yucatan is home to Chichen Itza and Uxmal, and to more than one million people who still speak Mayan language), and the neat colonial city where visitors will find the boutique hotels of their dreams at quite affordable prices.
We are particularly thinking about two colors of luxury:
Rosas y Xocolate

Rosas y Xocolate

Rosas y Xocolate
The classic surreal dream about life in pink comes to life in Merida, covered with utter elegance, lots of roses and a velvety chocolate flavour. Two former colonial mansions located exactly at the Paseo Montejo were masterfully transformed into this sensual palace, where avant-garde design reigns. After a good sleep in their cozy, tastefully decorated rooms; wake up to their spa, specialised in choco-therapies that use 100% organic Yucatecan cocoa nectar (great for all types of skin). At the restaurant, go for the beautiful terrace and grab a lemon Margarita. Pair it with the exotic chicharrón de pulpo (crispy octopus with Mexican spices). On your way home, think pink and don’t foget to get some local chocolate for the people you love.
Address:
Paseo Montejo 480 x 41
Colonia Centro
97000 Merida – Yucatan, Mexico.
Call: +52 999 9242992

Casa Azul Hotel
This very accurately self-proclaimed historic monument-hotel is a majestic homage to the classic blue. It’s forged doors open the path to the colonial glory of the past. If you are into antiques, or a fan of Gabriel García Márquez’s ‘Love in times of Cholera’, look no further. Only 8 rooms that recreate the magnificent grandeur of the Mexican XIX century are the perfect location to experience what it’s like to be the Hacienda’s owner: every detail is carefully prepared to achieve lavishness and beauty. Take your favorite novel and enjoy it in the patio listening to the water running inside the imperial fountain, take a dip in the backyard’s pool or enjoy an evening conversation sitting at the blue terrace, watching people passing by.
Casa Azul

Casa Azul

Address:
Calle 60 No. 343 x 37 and 35
Colonia Centro
97000 Merida
Yucatan, Mexico
Call: +52 999 9255016
Ria Celestun

Ria Celestun

Our chromatic recomendation: You don’t have to choose between pink and blue to feel the daintiest combination of colors in the Yucatan Peninsula. Take a one-day excursion to Ría Celestún (check out the YouTube video), a biosphere reserve framed by the purest white of the sand and the strong turquoise of the Caribbean sea. The breath-taking azure of the sky is the perfect scenery for the pink flamingos that migrate there every winter. If animals and nature are your thing, be very alert: if lucky enough, you’ll find exotic birds (endemic ducks and pelicans are famous among the locals), crocodiles (watch out) or even turtles.
La Chaya Maya

La Chaya Maya

Foodie tip: Merida is the best place to enjoy cochinita pibil, one of Mexico’s gastronomic treasures. Run to my personal favorite of the city: La Chaya Maya (Calle 62 x 57, Colonia Centro; just ask the locals, they know the way), where you can have great handmade tortillas to taste it. Also, look for lime soup and virtually any other Mayan specialties that sounds good to you. This is the Yucatan, no matter what you order, it promises to be delicious.
Jaunt Magazine Contributor - Jesus Catalan

Jaunt Magazine Contributor – Jesus Catalan

Regular Jaunt Magazine Contributor, Jesus Catalan Meneses, ex-journo turned blogger (like me!) and very Mexican Taconnoiseur is back to give our readers a taste of Merida, Mexico. Whether he’s writing, researching social media, travelling, cooking or finding the greatest places for tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas, Jesus’s love for Mexico can only be matched by his love of Mexican food.