By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Ever since it first opened its doors as a private hotel for a discerning public in 1957, Las Brisas, Acapulco’s premiere luxury resort destination, has always been about seclusion and indulgence.
For decades, the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Sean Connery, Ringo Starr and even John F. Kennedy would make unpublicized visits to the hotel’s exclusive — and very independent — casitas, each with their own private swimming pools and handy little no-see-no-touch passageways for food delivery so that they could indulge themselves in utter splendor, far away from the unwanted attention of fans and paparazzi.
For honeymooners and celebrities with Greta Garbo I-want-to-be-alone complexes, there was no more suitable vacation destination than this tropical paradise perched atop of an alabaster hillside overlooking both the azure bay of Acapulco and that of Puerto Marques, and caressed by soft ocean breezes (hence, the name, Las Brisas).
But with the onset of the Age of Covid-19, Las Brisas has become the destination of choice for an entirely new category of clientele: those who are looking to enjoy the sun and beauty of Acapulco (and after months in shuttered pandemic hibernation, who isn’t?) without the noisy bustle of packed crowds and over-populated beaches.
Unlike most hotels in Acapulco (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter), Las Brisas offers guests the chance to have their own personal little Shangri-La of sun, sand and magnificent views, where they can lounge by a pool, sip freshly made piña coladas and savor gourmet food prepared by world-renowned chefs, far from prying eyes and — most importantly — possible covid infections.
Indeed, Las Brisas is the ultimate vacation destination in terms of social distancing in the midst of luxury.
Nearly every single room is a self-contained cottage with its own cloistered entranceway, manicured garden and crystal-watered pool adorned with fresh hibiscus blossoms (although there are some semi-private casitas that share a pool with an adjoining house, ideal for larger families or small covid social bubble groups).
There is round-the-clock epicurean room service meticulously prepared by Las Brisas’ award-winning culinary staff (the hotel’s Bella Vista restaurant ranks among Mexico’s top 20).
For those who want to feel the briny warmth of the Pacific, Las Brisas has its own private beach club straddled between columns of towering rocks with two salt-water pools, one with its own beach and a protected harbor with gentle waves, colonies of coral and starfish, and armies of black soft-shell crabs, as well as an open-air seafood restaurant (known for its incredible ceviche), all available exclusively for hotel guests and with enough room to spread out comfortably without the worry of social contact.
Las Brisas also has five tennis courts, a full range of water sports and nearby golf and fishing, not to mention those ubiquitous pink-and-white flamingo jeeps that have become synonymous with the hotel, so you can easily zip around Acapulco and the surrounding area in style.
But while Las Brisas seems almost to have been built with the coronavirus pandemic in mind, the hotel has gone above and beyond in adjusting to the new tourism reality of expanded safety and sanitary measures.
Part of the high-end Westin Hotels & Resorts chain and a member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World portfolio, Las Brisas has implemented every conceivable hygiene and disinfecting practice.
Everyone on the Las Brisas staff — from the bellboy who receives your bags with hospital gloves and sprays them down with disinfectant to the receptionist who welcomes you from behind a plastic partition and offers you a sanitized pen to fill out your registration to the gardening crew — wears masks and face shields (and they wear their masks correctly, i.e., covering both their nose and mouth).
All food is prepared, served and delivered in strict accordance with enhanced global hospitality sanitary regulations designed to minimize risk and enhance safety for guests and workers alike.
Housekeeping is performed with masks and gloves, and always with doors and windows fully open.
Las Brisas also employs special technologies including electrostatic sprayers (the highest classification of disinfectants, recommended by the the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization) with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotel premises.
Every item in every room is specifically sanitized with hospital-grade disinfectants to ensure safety and hygiene.
In the hotel’s ample and airy lobby, check-ins and check-outs are expedited to reduce direct, person-to-person contacts, and social distancing protocols are maintained with clear signage and plenty of hand sanitizer stations strategically located at the entrance of every public area.
Like almost every hotel in the world today, Las Brisas has had to make some accommodations to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
The menu has been culled down due to a reduction in both staff and guests, and some of the hotel’s boutiques are currently closed.
But the luxury, beauty and personalized attention that have always been the hallmarks of the Las Brisas brand have not been compromised.
Las Brisas is still a perfect place to enjoy a breathtaking view of the twinkling lights of Acapulco Bay, watch a salmon-hued sunset over Puerto Marquez or relax in the lap of luxury as you plunge into your own private pool and bask in the golden rays of sun.
But now it is safer and more secluded than ever, which makes it the destination par excellence in these trying times, far from the madding crowd … and covid.
…Dec. 29. 2020