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Reprinted from Travel Weekly  magazine
Article by: Tara Rosa, Nov, 2000

Sheraton's Hacienda del Mar, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Surrounded by 28 acres of gardens and boasting a private beach on the Sea of Cortes, the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort and Spa is a striking presence on the tip of Baja Peninsula.

This 171-room property, which opened in December 1988, became a member of Starwood Hotels & Resorts when it began flying the Sheraton flag in February 1999. The property sits between two towns - about 20 minutes by car from San Jose del Cabo and 10 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. The airport 30 minutes away. The five-story resort was built in an "H" shape surroundings. It was designed to resemble a Mexican village, with terra-cota colors that take their cue from the local environment. There are three swimming pools, including an infinity pool that appears to flow into the ocean. The property also has two outdoor Jacuzzis and two outdoor bars.

The resort's Cabo del Sol Ocean golf course was designed by Jack Nicklaus. 

Room amenities include private balconies with patio furniture, Jacuzzis, air conditioning, digital safes, hair dryers, minibars and robes and slippers. Room décor is reminiscent of a Mexican hacienda. The floors are adorned with colorful paintings. The spacious bathrooms feature walk-in showers tiled from floor to ceiling.

Nightly rates through December 21 start  at $280 for a deluxe gardenview and $320 for a deluxe oceanview, single or double. Luxury suites start at $660 and run to $1600 per night for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit.

According to Laura Bribiesca, the hotel's director of sales, 80% of the Sheraton's business comes from the U.S., with the rest coming from Mexico, Europe and Japan. Families will appreciate the Sheraton's Kids Club, open daily from 8a.m. to 6p.m, with supervised activities for kids.

The resort has three restaurants:

Tomatoes offers breakfast, lunch and dinner in an Old  World hacienda setting. Girasoles de la Hacienda features Mexican cuisine in a traditional Mexican setting with a view of the Sea of Cortes. Pitahayas opens at 5pm for dinners prepared by chef Volker Romeike, who serves up Pacific Rim cuisine. The Sheraton also features La Suerre Tequila bar, which pours more than 100 different brands of tequila. 

The property has a chapel for weddings and special functions, a spa, a fitness center and a beauty salon. A new restaurant, sports bar, shops and convention center are planned for the resort.

 Sheraton resort indulges guests with Cactus Spa

Travel Agent magazine's assistant editor Tara Rosa spent a few days sampling treatments at the Cactus Spa at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar in Los Cabos. Her report follows:

During my stay at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar here, I was able to visit the Cactus Spa on several occasions and sample a few of the treatments offered. The first time I visited the Cactus Spa was for a tour of the facilities. I viewed all 7,000 square feet of the complex, including the fitness center, treatment rooms, locker rooms and beauty salon. On my first visit as a client, I walked in the door of the spa eager to unwind. Luckily, the staff was eager to please. I was greeted by Caroline Winter, the spa's manager, and escorted to the ladies "locker room."

The decor was tranquil, with marble floors, lots of candles and potpourri appropriate for such an atmosphere. I was given my own private locker and key; inside were a robe and sandals for my use during the visit. The locker room featured showers with bathing amenities; a sauna; a steam room, and a changing area and vanity, featuring grooming accessories such as styling products, hair dryers and hair brushes.

The first treatment I chose was an aromatherapy massage. As soon as I was ready and wrapped in my robe, a masseuse was there waiting to escort me upstairs to the treatment room. The room, scented with floral aromas, was dimly lit with candles and soft, peaceful music was funneled in through speakers. An aromatherapy massage is a combination of a Swedish massage and the treatment of aromatherapy oils, such as lavender. It was an extremely tranquil 50 minutes, and the spa allows visitors to stay and relax for a few minutes after the treatment is finished.

I continued my pampering session with a deluxe manicure and pedicure. Next, I was escorted downstairs to the salon where another staff member was waiting. I was then shown to a chair that offered a heated massage as I received my treatments. The manicure and pedicure were done simultaneously by two staff members.

The next treatment I tried out was the Soft Pack System. The Soft Pack System is a body wrap offered in a variety of choices such as herbal for relaxation, seaweed for detoxification and evening primrose oil and goat butter cream for hydration. "The Cactus Spa is the only spa in Mexico that offers this kind of treatment," said Winter. I opted for the hydration wrap. Upon learning that I would be wrapped in plastic and encased in a box-like contraption during the treatment, I was a bit apprehensive due to a touch of claustrophobia. But I overcame my nervousness and began the session. The room was also dimly lit, complete with relaxing background music and floral scents.

I lay on a rectangular box/ table contraption as the mixture was slathered on me from head to toe. I was then wrapped in plastic, with my arms at my sides. I was then wrapped up to my neck in a heated, inflated plastic blanket.

Feeling like a human burrito, I was lowered down into the box, where I floated in warm water. Cold compresses were placed on my forehead to regulate my body temperature. Although my skin felt like silk afterward, I was eager for the session to be over toward the end of the 25-minute treatment. The session was intended to be relaxing, but I felt it was too hot and constrictive.

My spa treatments ended the next day with a Swedish massage. Winter said, "The most popular treatment is the aromatherapy massage. Aromatherapy is very big now." 

The Cactus Spa is open for spa and salon services from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m daily. The fitness center is open 24 hours.

In addition to its spa treatments, the Cactus Spa has a fully equipped fitness center and salon. The fitness center features treadmills, exercise bikes and Nautilus machines. Also offered are aerobics and yoga classes near the pool and the use of personal trainers for $45 per hour. Admission to the gym costs $10 per person, per day, and use of the spa facilities costs $15 per person, per day. Admission to the gym and spa is complimentary with the purchase of spa services.

The salon features services including haircuts and color treatments; manicures and pedicures, and waxing. The clientele here was proof that not just women enjoy being pampered at spas. "Nowadays you see more and more men coming in for everything, especially in today's stressful society. They want to relax their mind and body," said Winter.  Treatment prices range from $85 for a 50-minute Swedish massage to $140 for a Moor Mud Therapy body wrap.  Services at the Cactus Spa can be purchased a la carte.

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