From east to west, extraordinary landscapes and plenty of creature comforts top our list of favorite romantic escapes.
the mexican caribbeanAs pretty as the region is from land, there’s nothing quite like admiring it from the sea. Kensington Tours has a fully customizable 7-night escape aboard a luxury Lagoon 440 catamaran with three guest cabins—each with their own bathroom—plus forward trampolines, open deckside and air conditioning. The catamaran sails smoothly at night so days are spent exploring the coves, bays and reefs of the region. Meals and refreshments are included, as are all accoutrements for a day in the water—kayaks, snorkeling gear, fishing poles, towels and more. Clients with diving certificates can also enjoy some of the region’s most famous dive sites for an additional fee.
Departing from Marina Hacienda del Mar, on the north end of Cancun, the journey begins with a stop in Isla Mujeres for snorkeling and a golf cart tour of the island. Then it’s off to Isla Contoy for exploring and birdwatching with snorkeling halfway through the sail. Clients will also visit the ruins and say hello to the spider monkeys of Boca Iglesias, splash about the waters of Isla Blanca and then head back to Isla Mujeres to visit a turtle farm before diving into the sparkling blue waters of Playa Norte and Punta Nizuc, ending their stay with a jump into Cancun’s famous nightlife. The week-long trip starts at $3,312 pp dbl.
Clients who want to spend more time on land can now take advantage of the new Kensington Villa Collection, which offers private villa rentals combined with personalized itineraries.
Contact: (888) 903-2001; kensingtontours.com
guadalajara The Old World appeal and simple elegance of this city is exemplified in Villa Ganz, a beautifully restored mansion perfectly situated in one of Guadalajara’s main boulevards with a neighborhood feel all its own. From here, it’s easy to explore many of the city’s attractions without feeling overwhelmed by Mexico’s second largest metropolis. Clients can walk to nearby restaurants and head out a little farther to the city’s historic center for a peek into the twin-towered cathedral, the Rotunda of Illustrious Jaliscans and the Governor’s Palace, filled with impressive murals by social realist artist Jose Clemente Orozco. They’ll also want to spend some time shopping, one of Guadalajara’s most popular activities.
But once you step inside Villa Ganz, all is left behind. It’s no secret—this is considered by most to be the best hotel in town, so celebs and regular folk might cross paths during their stay. A multiple award winner showered with love by the likes of Fodor’s andNational Geographic Traveler, this is a private gem known for its personal touches and an exemplary staff that showers guests with attention. Each of the 10 suites is individually and luxuriously decorated, with delicate duvets and antiques adding character and grace. A fragrant garden and romantic courtyard can be the setting for a candlelit dinner put together by the hotel’s chef, while the garden terrace, complete with fireplace for chilly winter nights, is a favorite spot for visitors. Rooms start at $150 for a jr. suite through Aug. 31.
Contact: (800) 728-9098; mexicoboutiquehotels.com
baja sur Rancho Pescadero is no place for fancy shoes or frilly wear, although guests do enjoy plush bathrobes and handmade soaps. The oceanfront hotspot, separated from the beach by just a handful of dunes, is set on 15 acres off the main road that leads to Todos Santos from Los Cabos. What clients will find: a deserted shoreline perfect for spotting whales during season, fishing for dinner, surfing and napping.
Guests can begin their day with beachfront yoga, then kayaking or hiking the nearby Sierra Laguna Mountains, or else head to town for a day of shopping and gallery hopping. There’s also a nice swimming pool and jacuzzi for lounging under a large sun hat. The onsite restaurant serves just-caught seafood and organic produce from the property’s own garden, plus a well-stocked bar tends to sun seekers nearby.
The staff at the property will also arrange for surfing instructors, outings with local fishermen, onsite salsa lessons or a movie under the stars, not to mention overnight hiking, ATV or biking trips with pack burros. From October to February, guests can help release recently hatched baby turtles into the sea. Rancho Pescadero also has an oceanfront spa pavilion with a temazcal, an outdoor shower built for two and a nice list of treatments, including couples’ massage lessons.