Best of Caribbean and Mexico

Popular as always, Mexico and the Caribbean had strong representation in our recent Awards of Excellence voting. Essentially Luxury Travel Advisor’s “readers’ choice awards,” this means these hotels are highly regarded among the travel advisor community. Here, we’ve rounded up the latest and greatest from three hotels across the region to keep you, our readers, apprised of what’s happening for Rosewood Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands (nominated for our “Top Luxury Hotel Worldwide” category), along with Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort (a finalist for that same category) and Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo (a finalist for our “Most Anticipated Hotel Opening for 2022” category).

Originally founded in 1964 by Laurence Rockefeller, Rosewood Little Dix Bay closed in 2016 to undergo a complete renovation, reopening in January 2020. Great for families, the Virgin Gorda hotel is home to a Rosewood Explorer’s Club. Complimentary for children ages three to nine, Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s holistic children’s program offers a range of immersive activities curated to “instill a sense of adventure, social responsibility and awareness” in the resort’s younger guests. Hosted within the dedicated clubhouse space as well as throughout the larger property, experiences and offerings include excursions into the island’s waters to learn about reef protection and marine life and cooking classes utilizing local ingredients grown at the resort’s sustainable garden.

When it comes to the best room for families, we recommend the multi-bedroom villas. They offer the most privacy—located either on the beach or hillside—and include their own pools, as well as impressive views of the sea. There are five such options, ranging from two bedrooms (1,743 square feet) to four bedrooms (4,500 square feet). Good to know: The two-bedroom Columbus House and three-bedroom Laurence House are located on the beach, while the second three-bedroom villa and both four-bedroom options are located on the hillside. 

One Bedroom Pool Suite Living Room
Rosewood Little Dix Bay’s One-Bedroom Pool Suite offers a separate living room and a private patio with a plunge pool overlooking the bay.  (Rosewood Little Dix Bay)

For couples, the Ocean View Cottage and Beach View Cottage are both popular picks. These accommodations have a king bed, a bathroom with dual vanities and a rain shower, and a furnished patio. The most popular premium room is the Rosewood Two Bedroom Suite; there are three such options. In all, Rosewood Little Dix Bay has 82 guestrooms, suites and villas. 

It’s best to book at least four to six months out if you’re seeking a specific room, and book even further out for busier times, like festive season. 

Tip: All rooms offer dedicated butler service, who can assist guests with anything they might need during their stay. 

Customized experiences include private beach dinners, local beach drops and day trips to nearby islands, as well as boat rentals, yacht charters and deep-sea fishing excursions, island tours, snorkel safaris, wildlife experiences, and more. Other popular excursions include a journey to The Baths, volcanic boulders on the beach that form natural tidal pools, tunnels, arches, and scenic grottoes that are open to the sea. For adults, the resort offers a spa treatment that begins with a visit to The Baths, where the waters of the Caribbean Sea are used to “lull you into a state of tranquility;” this is followed by a warm body scrub made of fig, bergamot, rose and ground apricot stone. Later, guests receive an aloe vera hydration mask, along with a hair and scalp pampering.

Other popular spa treatments include “A Summer Romance,” a body scrub, followed by a deep relaxation massage, and “Spa, Stars and Romance,” which includes a 60-minute massage under the stars, followed by a guided meditation. There are eight individual treatment rooms, to go along with one couple’s suite with a private terrace at the spa. Additional facilities include a two-tiered infinity pool, an outdoor yoga platform, a fitness center outfitted with the boxing and kickboxing equipment, strength and cardio machines and free weights, and a juice and smoothie bar.

As for the “beach drops,” there are seven secluded beaches on Virgin Gorda, several of which can be accessed only by sea. These remote beaches offer a range of snorkeling opportunities, sunset views, levels of privacy and varieties of sand. The resort will transport guests via water taxi to the beach of their choice, where they can spend a few hours exploring the sands and surf. An umbrella, towels and snorkel equipment are provided, and the resort’s chefs can prepare a gourmet picnic lunch to bring along.

What’s new on property? The resort is now home to six tennis courts spanning cement and artificial grass surfaces, as well as two pickle ball courts, with a resident tennis instructor available for private lessons. A wide selection of watersports is offered on the beaches, and the resort’s centrally located main pool, Pavilion Pool, offers food and beverage service on-site.

When it comes to dining, Rosewood Little Dix Bay has four dining experiences: Reef House, the resort’s signature “farm-to-fork” restaurant that’s open for lunch and dinner; Sugar Mill, which is housed in an open-air stone mill and serves tapas-style dishes for lunch and dinner; Pavilion, which serves international cuisine and is open for breakfast and dinner; and the Rum Room, offering over 100 different labels of rare and aged rums. It’s recommended to book dining reservations two to four weeks prior to the guests’ arrival. 

Note: The resort closes annually from late August to mid-October. Travel advisors may reach out to Emily Minor ([email protected]), senior sales manager.

Las Ventanas al Paraiso
Las Ventanas al Paraíso has 84 suites and villas, all with private butler service.  (Las Ventanas al Paraiso)

Heading to Mexico, another Rosewood resort made the cut: Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort in San José del Cabo. This year, the resort is celebrating its 25th anniversary with unique programming, such as a dedicated menu of favorites over the past 25 years at the resort’s dining venues, including an anniversary menu at the Sea Grill, and a signature anniversary massage at The Spa at Las Ventanas: The “Twenty Fingers Massage,” which has two therapists working on the guest. 

Beyond these, the resort has launched Flores del Paraíso, its very own flower shop specialized in larger-than-life bouquets. Guests can express their sentiments with floral creations of 250 roses or more. And, after a night of dancing at La Botica, the resorts speakeasy piano bar, or a starry night walk on the beach, sneak through the clandestine exit door to discover Las Ventanas’ new food truck. Guests can expect a late-night menu of mini tacos, hot dogs and hamburgers.

For something a bit more extravagant, guests can follow in the footsteps of Executive Chef Diego Stefan—a native of Venice, Italy—for a culinary adventure at sea. Guests can enjoy a Baja sunset and savor authentic culinary items aboard the property’s new 66-foot yacht. The yacht offers a VIP bedroom, a master bedroom, a bedroom with two single beds, two bathrooms, a dining area and flybridge dining area. 

Accommodations-wise, Las Ventanas al Paraíso has 84 suites and villas, all with private butler service (the Signature Villas, however, offer a higher level of service through their Villa Hosts). The 12 Signature Villas—the most requested premium accommodations—range from one to three bedrooms, making them well-suited for couples and families alike. While they all have expansive terraces and a private infinity pool, only some are located on the beach. Tip: For those looking to stay active, there are two One-Bedroom Signature Villas with Wellness Rooms; two other One-Bedroom Signature Villas instead have a Media Room. 

Good to know: Akin to a personal assistant, the Villa Hosts pamper guests from the moment they arrive, anticipating their every need. They have been extensively trained in several different areas—from language to culinary to housekeeping—and cater to guests’ every whim. Such experiences include a VIP class at the Taco Academy to learn how to prepare gourmet tacos with traditional flavors or dining in the resort’s grotto in the Oasis Pool. 

The crème de la crème on property is the Ty Warner Mansion. Totaling 28,000 square feet, the mansion has two king bedrooms, and guests will receive access to a private chef, a selection of wine, champagne and tequila in the private cellar, a signature massage for each guest, a fireworks display on request and chauffeured car service for the duration of their stay. 

Off-property, popular activities include golfing (there are four acclaimed courses nearby: Robert Trent Jones II’s Cabo Real, Tom Weiskopf’s Cabo Del Sol Desert Course, and Cabo Del Sol Ocean Course & Palmilla, both designed by Jack Nicklaus), snorkeling and scuba diving in the Sea of Cortez, sport fishing (for tuna, mahi-mahi, roosterfish, halibut, wahoo and corvina), whale watching and horseback riding. 

Back at the resort, the spa has eight treatment rooms (including two for couples), to go along with a salon and fitness center. We recommend booking spa treatments at least one week before check-in to ensure the guest’s requests, such as date, time, type of service/treatment room and preference of therapist. A popular couple’s treatment is “Romance Ritual for Two;” this treatment starts with an aromatic foot soak, followed by a full-body exfoliation and a Swedish or deep tissue massage. After you each receive an aromatherapy facial massage, you’ll enjoy a rose petal bath for two while you sip on Las Ventanas’ signature Passion cocktails.

Arbol is the resort’s signature restaurant, serving Asian and Indian cuisine; there’s also the Oaxacan restaurant Alebrije, Sea Grill (serving traditional Mexican fare), the Tequila & Ceviche Bar (also serving sushi fusion), La Cava, the resort’s private wine room, and La Botica, a Prohibition-inspired speakeasy. Book dinners at least one week prior to arrival. 

For booking or inquiries, contact Director of Sales & Marketing Marinette Giaquinta ([email protected]). 

In Puerto Vallarta, Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo is set to make its debut on November 1, 2022. Located on more than 3,000 acres of land, the resort sits on the largest privately owned natural reserve in the brand’s portfolio (only 2 percent of the reserve will be developed, leaving 98 percent wild). In total, there will be 157 accommodations, including 63 suites, to go along with a selection of private residences. 

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo
Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo is located on more than 3,000 acres ofprivately owned natural reserve.  (Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo )

Felix Murillo ([email protected]), who joined Four Seasons in 1993 and has held various management roles at a dozen properties worldwide, is leading the hotel as general manager.

The Cliffside Rooms are expected to be a popular pick. These 54 rooms are set along the ridges that expand to the north from the arrival building, affording impressive ocean views. These 750 square feet, adults-oriented rooms are reached by a cart that, according to the hotel, meanders up a path through the jungle. Good to know: Each of these accommodations will have its own private swimming pool. For families, however, we hear the Beachfront Suites, offering direct access to Majahua Beach, is the way to go. (There are three swimmable beaches that guests have access to.)

There will, additionally, be one five-bedroom suite—the Clifftop Presidential Suite—located on the north side of the resort and totaling over 5,700 square feet. Guests can expect a 200-foot-long pool, as well as a full kitchen, service entrance (to allow for at-home dining), and plenty of indoor and outdoor living space. Pretty cool: This suite is perched 250 feet above the ocean.

The resort’s standout F&B facet is its low-impact, 19-acre farm, Rancho Ortega. Culinary Director Nicolas Piatti works closely with the farmers to ensure his menus showcase the bounty of the season. Fun fact: The Reserve’s coastal climate has two big seasons that support crops such as corn, sugarcane, sorghum, wheat, tomatoes, bananas, chili peppers, oranges, lemons, limes, mangos, other tropical fruits, beans, barley, avocados, blue agave and coffee. Beyond the farm, Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo will be home to four restaurants and bars, including an ocean-view bar and restaurant, a beach bar and grill and golf club restaurant.

Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo
Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo is located on more than 3,000 acres of privately owned natural reserve.  (Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo)

One highlight of the property will be its Discovery Center, which aims to familiarize visitors with the natural cycles of the region, including the cycles of the climate, ocean, jungle, endemic species, and the celestial sphere in a simple and recreational presentation. The Center will host a series of demonstrations to complement the organized “back-to-nature” activities; these might include hiking, biking, horseback riding, surfing, fishing, paddle boarding and more. Through these demonstrations and activities, guests will be able to explore the 3,000 acres that the resort sits on. There are also staff astronomers, who can guide guests in exploring the night skies, pointing out constellations and explaining their importance to the pre-Hispanic people of the region.

The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, located in the jungle, will highlight “the intuitive elements of nature” to balance the mind, body and spirit. There will be eight treatment rooms—one of them a couple’s suite—as well as a sauna, steam room, hot and cold plunge pools a nail bar and hair salon. Guests can also make use of a temazcal; a shaman performs a ceremony and massage in the heated dome using scented herbs. 

Additional facilities comprise three pools, a young adults center and lounge, water sports center, two clay tennis courts, a boat dock for fishing and scuba excursions, and the 18-hole, par 72 David Fleming-designed golf course.

Reservations are set to go live on August 30, 2022. Travel advisors should reach out to Jesus Aguirre ([email protected]), leisure sales manager, or Nora Sheehan ([email protected]), group sales manager.

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