CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
San Jose del Cabo | TravelDecember 29, 2010

Leaving Paradise

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              Today is my last day at Las Ventanas al Paraiso. I would like to share with you the magical, ethereal, unreal pool-beach experience of this place in just one, hopefully eternal post. Follow me…

Every morning after breakfast, around 8 o’clock, I like to leave my room and reserve my favorite seat in front of one of several world-famous infinity pools at the resort.

On the way, I pick up pre-releases of my favorite writers’ latest novels before they hit the bookstores using the Rosewood Hot Type program. I also sign up for an iPad and a pre-loaded music and video iPod at the pool bar. These are some of the many privileges Rosewood hotels offer to their lucky guests.

From its inception, Las Ventanas al Paraiso has stood out for its breakthrough innovation, and nothing better exemplifies this reputation than the resort's world famous Infinity Pool.

It was the original Los Cabos infinity-edge pool with a revolutionary concept and design that elevated the hotel swimming pool to an ethereal dimension.

A crest was then reached with the introduction of unprecedented, first-of-their-kind poolside services and amenities, overseen by signature Pool Butlers.

Actually one of them is running after me. “Miss Joelle, I have noticed that you are looking for reading glasses with your bestseller. Maybe I could be of help. Would you like to select the appropriate model for your sight from this box specially reserved for our hotel guests?”

When someone cleans your sunglasses for you it puts an entirely new perspective on the day! A pampered and luxurious poolside experience is created, the likes of which the hospitality industry has never seen before, turning Las Ventanas’ Infinity Pool into an international icon and a celebrity in its own right.

In the years that followed, the concept would capture the imagination of – and spread throughout – the hospitality world. Both the unique design and the innovative services and amenities of Las Ventanas’ Infinity Pool were widely emulated and recreated at hotels and resorts worldwide.

The concept and design of Las Ventanas was designed to blend into the natural ecological environment, reflecting the surrounding desert and sea, and incorporating water features that echo the original desert landscape.

Anchoring this concept is a network of serpentine waterways that meander down the gentle natural slope of the terrain, beginning with a water feature in the open-air lobby, spilling through several ponds and culminating in a series of swimming pools including the main Infinity Pool by the Sea of Cortez. Viewed from the lobby, and as you descend toward the sea, the infinity-edge design creates the image of an endless horizon.

I arrive at my favorite spot. One would wonder why it is my favorite, and it’s very simple: it’s the furthest of all the pools from the hotel’s lobby and it’s a quiet, adults-only reserved area. It directly faces the Sea of Cortez, offering a 180-degree view, wind blowing from different directions and best of all it’s just a few steps down to the beach.

Is it worth it to wake up early and save this space on time? I drop my hat, book, kaftan and straw bag with all my electronics inside.

Another butler quickly makes sure with a smile that the umbrella is open for some shade just in case, and immediately brings in a bucket filled with ice, two small bottles of water and two frosted Evian face sprays. Oh, I forgot, he brings a small tray with fresh towels as well.

I go back to my room for my morning prayers of gratitude and speak on the phone with my family. On my way, I cannot stop admiring over and over again the infinity-edge “acquascape” that captures the essence of Las Ventanas’ landscape connecting desert, sea and the infinite horizon.

“The designer’s fundamental goal,” my chief butler explains when she notices my gaze, “was to create in the resort a true sense of places flowing with the natural ambiance among them.”

”According to the landscape designers,” she explains, “this was achieved in four ways: having the network of waterways and pools follow the natural path of the arroyo that previously traversed the site, funneling water to the sea when it rained; rather than importing a tropical ambiance like at other Los Cabos resorts, employing landscaping that mirrors the local desert;  echoing the voluptuousness of the natural setting by endowing the waterways with a curvaceousness that mimics the curves of a woman (fulfilling another fundamental goal of making Las Ventanas one of the most sensual and romantic resorts anywhere); and creating the most natural swimming pools possible.”

It’s 11 am. I am back at my chair. The sky is bluer than blue. A seagull flies noisily just above my head. It’s really time to chill and not move anymore.

Mr. Pool Butler Angel is on his way with fresh orange and lemon drinks. Soon they will be followed with a few tropical fruit sorbets so I take two just for me, while Enrique Iglesias sings on my iPod  “Tonight I Am Lovin’ You” - a video recently filmed in Los Cabos.

From my sun bed I have the best view: a few horses, the waves, and the changing colors of the sea depending on the hour of this wonderful day. A $300 million yacht, the famous “A”,  is seen in Cabo waters this week. This is a one of a kind 394 ft. Philippe Starck designed-yacht and it belongs to a 38-year-old banking, steel and fertilizer czar named Andrey Melnichenko.

Life in paradise is truly beautiful. I watch the Pool Butlers. They have a singular mission: pamper guests to the ultimate and cater to their every need and whim.

As my skin is getting darker from the sun, I don’t notice the time pass by. I like to watch the busy butlers constantly challenging themselves.  They greet the guests by name when they arrive at the pool and, like me, the guests are settled in to a preferred location with towels and over-sized loungers adjusted to their personal preference.

Then the real service begins: If they need sun block, they just name the preferred SPF.  If they need something to read, they simply ask for the latest magazines. Rather than the usual poolside fare, the Pool Butlers serve an array of epicurean delights such as the finest meats and seafood prepared on wood-burning grills, Mexican delicacies, specialty sandwiches and salads, authentic Italian coffees, and every imaginable alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage.

Eschewing traditional artificial pool-bottom surfaces like plaster, geometric tiles and ceramics, Las Ventanas discovered a product being developed by Scottsdale-based Pebble Tech with unique characteristics that would complete, and exponentially expand, the "acquascape" concept.

I decide it’s time to check it out for myself while I dive into the fresh water.  Technically ideal for a pool bottom, these small, naturally polished pebbles create a slightly bumpy bottom texture that feels natural and is non-slip – while the visual effect was absolutely spectacular. The “Tahoe Blue” finish blends perfectly with the landscape while acting like a giant mirror, reflecting the sea, sky and moon and appearing to change color throughout the day and night.

It absorbs the surrounding environment, incorporating its hues, giving the acclaimed Infinity Pool its seamless edge. One can’t see where the pool ends and the sea and sky begin. They all blend together, creating a mood and atmosphere of tranquility and harmony that defines the Las Ventanas experience.

The poolside service is offered on the beach as well. Here, in addition to loungers, guests can opt for a hammock under a thatched palapa, which is a favorite napping spot and where the pool butlers also serve as personal alarm clocks.

You raise a flag to indicate the time you want to be woken – so you don’t get too much sun or are not late for a spa appointment – and a Pool Butler gently stirs you by playing an ancient Mexican percussion instrument.

But suddenly an unprecedented event strikes the shore of Las Ventanas today. My last day.

The pool butler make sure to call each and every guest in the resort to witness the arrival on land of a gigantic sea turtle.

All guests come running towards the beach with their cameras loaded and are told by the hotel security not to get too close to the beautiful reptile, as she has worked quite hard to come ashore and even harder at this time while she is laying her eggs.

Apparently this happens only once a year, but even more incredible is the fact that turtles choose to lay their eggs only at dawn or at night.

We hear from locals who sell hats on the beach that Las Ventanas is the only place on this very long shoreline that they choose to rest, and it is well known to be a sign of immense prosperity to witness such a natural miracle up close.

I decide to spend the rest of my afternoon chilling on a hammock by the sea under one of several authentic Mexican Palapas.

I am now reading my book and soon will be on my way to my room to finally pack and leave this paradise.

The breeze is my friend, the horses and caballeros make me feel safe, the shade is comforting, the lullaby of my dreams even more so.

In my dream I wonder how different or similar would paradise in the sky be?

I wake up, on a horse in my dream. I am taken to the area of the hotel suites.

Dinner will be served on this same beach, with fire and fresh white wine.

The sky is getting into a romantic pink mood . In Europe we call it  "l 'Heure Bleue" - the blue hour. The sad hour.

On my way to the room I find two items: a small note asking me to choose what I'd like from the "Take-Off  Menu", the ultimate flight menu preference, and my small night companion, a Mexican folk doll thanking me for my stay at Las Ventanas and wishing me good night.

It's time. Maurice Guisset, the resort chef, Angels and butlers all say goodbye.

Escorted to the airport with my ceviche salad and other delicacies I am now finally ready to go.

On a plane that takes me back home, I take a final look down at Paradise

and find that I have received a beautiful gift from Mr. Lionel. "We at Las Ventanas…"

Suddenly I realize a great truth... To be in paradise, all you need is to share a large, transparent, blue heart like the one of  the people from there....

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