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My workout regimen is based on location, location, location.

April 15th, 2013 6 Comments

Mary Rambin exercise 2013

@JaclynDayBlog tweet

As a matter of fact I have!  But that could have been 3 years ago…after so many years of blogging I lose track :)

If you’ve been following me through those years, you know I’ve moved a handful of times – New York, LA, Houston, Mexico, Atlanta.  As much as I would like to take my workout with me as I bounce around, I can’t because of the facilities and studios specific to each city.   In some ways that’s good so I don’t get burned out and my body doesn’t become accustomed to a routine.  As we all know, one of the most important parts of changing our bodies and getting stronger is challenging your body.

The basis of my workout is always the same:  cardio, weights/strength, aerobic/zone 3 heart rate/fat burning days, yoga.  How I accomplish those things is based on where I am and my heart rate goal for the day (cardio = zone 4-5 for 1 hour, fat burn = zone 3 1 hour).  Here is an approximate breakdown of what I do where.  If you click the links, you’ll get more details on what my workouts entail.

New York

  • SoulCycle – 3 days a week = cardio
  • Blink/Equinox – 2 days a week = weights + zone 3
  • Yoga – 1 day a week (haven’t found a studio here yet)

To answer Jaclyn’s question, SoulCycle isn’t enough FOR ME because it misses 2 major muscle groups (chest and back) during the arm segment and doesn’t allow for building muscle with heavy weights.  However, the arm section is amazing to tone your shoulders, biceps, and triceps.

Los Angeles

  • SoulCycle – 2 days a week= cardio
  • Runyon Canyon – 2 days a week = 1 day cardio, 1 day zone 3
  • Equinox – weights or group fitness classes (they have THE BEST!), 1 day yoga

**I still haven’t figured out my scheduling of these yet.

Houston

Atlanta

Mexico

  • My beach workouts – 3 days a week = 1 day cardio, 2 day zone 3
  • Gym – 2-3 days a week = weights + cardio
  • P90x – weights, resistance bands, 1 days a week = weights
  • Yoga DVD (haven’t found a favorite yet)

Traveling

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Mexico has more than just beaches and ritas

September 16th, 2011 No Comments

I didn’t get a chance to show you pics of art or local culture from my trip to Mexico City, which happens to have the most museums in the world.  The country has such a rich past. I won’t go into a lot of detail, I just thought a glimpse of some of the things I saw might inspire you to reconsider your day trips and intentions on your next visit south of the border

First up, Chapultepec Castle, which was originally the home of Emperor Maxamillion and his promiscuous wife Carlota.

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Maxamillion became the Emporer of Mexico in 1864, but was captured and killed in 1867.  The Mexicans took over the palace and renamed it Chapultepec which means “grasshopper.”

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Check it out.  My initials are engraved in all of the windows.  This is the Lock Screen on my iphone right now.

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The castle isn’t overly ornate in comparison to the European palaces, but they certainly lived a privileged life.

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Catholicism is a large part of the Mexican culture, I’m sure you already know that.

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Throughout all of the museaums I visited, the virgin Mary was reinterpreted in many different ways in the art.

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Frida Kahlo is one of the country’s most notable figures.  They revere her as an idol and replicate her colorful style whenever possible.

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One of the things I that surprised me the most was the modern perspective and collection of styles the Mexicans brought into their art.

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Around the city, neighborhoods are centered around fountains.  They’re EVERYWHERE!

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Of course you can visit most parts of Mexico and explore the Indian ruins.  See the photos from my trip to Pulque, the Aztec ruins, here.

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Definitely try some of native favorite liquors and food.

In the back you’ll see the cactus fruits.  They’re very sweet, full of seeds (which I was not a fan of), and healthy.  The focus of this picture is not so healthy, but definitely fun.  It’s called Mexican champagne:  almond tequila and grapefruit soda.  You shoot it fast and then swirl your head around.  Quite a tradition!

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When I’m in a forgein country, I always try the “traditional” meals.

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Sure, that looks like a normal enchilada.  But inside is a rich, charcoal, smooth substance.  After I said I liked it, I was informed it was in fact corn fungus called Huitlacoche, aka the Mexican truffle!

Most of the food you’ll recognize in Mexico and is very healthy.  Don’t be scared, you can safely eat the fruit and veggies, even from the street vendors.  I get a fresh squeezed orange and carrot juice every day and have lived to tell the tale.

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Having a local guide can make all of the difference in your adventures.  So if your friends are living abroad, I highly reccommend saving up to visit them.

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But I can’t promise they’ll be as fun or as sweet as my Pinche Bob!

If you don’t have a friend living in your destination, there are guides for hire.  When Bob had to leave, he hired Gibran, a driver and tour guide, to show us around.  In Mexico City specifically I think it’s important for your safety to have a driver anyway.  Cabs seemed a little sketchy.  You know I believe 100% that Mexico is safe, but only when you’re smart about your travel.

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Soooo many fitness options when you travel

August 29th, 2011 No Comments

People always ask how I stay in shape when I travel.

As far as facilities and options, I’ve always found plenty to keep me occupied. The hardest part is staying motivated when exploring and overindulging.

During this trip to Mexico City, I had every fitness option I wanted and then some WITHIN A COUPLE BLOCKS. No cab or subway necessary.

In other words I had no excuses.

Even after a long night of partying, I hit up the gym at 8am before a day of sightseeing.

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The brand-spanking new gym (SW on Sonora in Condesa) was much nicer than my gym in Houston and had every piece of equipment I wanted and offered classes.
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The day pass was $17.

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We also visited 2 different yoga studios: Bikram Yoga (which they taught in Spanish and English) for $25 a class or unlimited 10 days for $35. The studio was exceptional and surpassed my expectations. The other was vinyasa for $17 a class.

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Pole dancing for $15/class. It was refreshing to try something new in a foreign city. If you can let go of your inhibitions, you’ll find stepping out of your comfort zone as much fun as I do.

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So many parks and pedestrian streets with paved paths. A run or walk around a neighborhood is a great way to watch local culture unfold authentically. I took a 30 minute jog before my yoga classes.

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Historical sites. Yes, people think you’re a little crazy, but who cares. In our case, the pyramids gave us a killer cardio workout. We took on 3!

Finally, there were tons of smaller gyms in our neighborhood that offered the basics for a lower day rate ($6-8).

Granted, I speak Spanish fluently so the classes were accessible, but if you frequent classes at home and pay attention, you should be able to keep up in a foreign country without a problem.

Other travel fitness options I recommend:

No excuses now, ok?! Especially if you have a hotel gym at your disposal!

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Pyramids and Pulque Day Trip Outside Mexico City

August 28th, 2011 1 Comment

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I’m so sorry to hear about Irene dominating the east coast.  Fortunately she’s losing strength, but according to officials, it sounds like the biggest threat of damage will be to the electrical system which lies underground.

Right now in Mexico City, it rains daily, but only for a half hour or so.  Afterwards, the sun rips through the clouds again and we are able to get out for another adventure.

An hour northeast of Mexico City are the ruins of the pyramids in Teotihuacan, a civilization that started around 100 BC.

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Gribran – our driver, tour guide, and Mason’s new BFF – took us around and told us a little bit of the history.

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The remains of the town span 22 kilometers of which we ventured around about a quarter. Built in alignment with the stars, the pyramids were used by the priests to worship and communicate with their gods.

All of the animals on the pyramid used to have obsidian eyes, but the stones were stolen over the years.

Whenever you see those big round circles on structures, those signify a god who is guarding the temple and people around it. (Apologies I forgot his name.)

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The entire town was painted/stained red with cactus juice so that when the gods looked down they would be pleased to see “blood,” meaning the people were sacrificing to them. Can you imagine having to do that??!

In those days knowledge was power so the priests who could “predict” rainy seasons, cold weather, etc were at the top of the food chain. They were smart guys and already understood how the sun and moon dictated the seasons, so they just got drunk on their ceremonial wine and spread the same messages as the years passed.

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See how the pyramid looks worn at the top? Well, it’s not due to weather. All of the peaks of the pyramids are gone because of the stupidity of a Mexican president who used TNT to expedite the excavation for Mexico’s centennial anniversary party. Unbelievable.

But thankfully that means the climb to the top wasn’t as long!

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It doesn’t look that steep, but oh my goodness it is! We learned that at the little platform at the entrance.

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On this trip I finally figured out how to dominate steps like these. I’ve done hikes up mountains and steps, and the idea to hunch over like I would on a spin bike never occurred to me.

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Lisa and I flew up that thing in minutes while everyone else trying to walk up standing straight were dying from burned out quads.

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Such a great day way to spend a beautiful day! When it’s not raining, the weather is a glorious 75 degrees.

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Gibran took us to a little local shop nearby so we could learn about the local products instead of just having vendors bombard us with trinkets.

This lady explained the differences in agave, aloe, cactus, and other native plants.

They have learned to fully utilize the manguey. From it the outer layers of the leaves they get natural paper, deeper in they discovered a natural soap, and in the center are natural fibers strong enough to make clothes with. The tip was their first needle.

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The juice in the middle is called aguamiel – a sweet honey juice that’s filled with vitamins and can be fermented into pulque, a deliciously smooth drink with a low alcohol content. Apparently it’s an aphrodisiac. Lisa was a huge fan.

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(You knew I was going to Instagram it.)

Cactus is a huge source of food and drink for Mexicans. Nopal is an alcohol made from cactus that is like a Mexican limoncello. Obviously you’re aware of the uses of agave. Mescal is a much stronger and smokier tequila. Locals love it. As for Renee and I, not so much.

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Of course they eat the cactus. I like it grilled for a veggie fajita. See it hanging out under the meat there?

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Before cactus flowers bloom, Mexicans cut them off to eat too. Called atun, the buds are sweet pulpy fruits filled with tough seeds.

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Finally, we come to the stones mined in the mountains. The most popular is obsidian, which they use to make idols and masks. Polished these are all really beautiful. The one in the back is gold obsidian.

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Ok, well, we’ve learned a lot today! Signing off from Mexico…

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Hasta la vista baby.

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Our big night out in Mexico City

August 27th, 2011 1 Comment

You’ll be happy to know the twenty-something party girl inside of me has not been suffocated to death by my current southern domesticated lifestyle!

Of course I’m not coming to one of the largest cities in the world and not finding out how the locals let loose.
So last night we got all dressed up for a night out on the town.

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My Fiesta Head to Toe:

– Humidity hair
– Claudia Laboa hoops
– Jean Paul Gautier dress
– Dolce Vita shoes
– 2 silver cuffs
– MCL and turquoise ring

I was excited just to get out, and with Lisa at our side, Renee and I knew we were in for an adventure.

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Thankfully this would be the last “pole” I would see tonight ;)

The best place to go for fun restaurants is the Polanco neighborhood. I told you about the strip of restaurants along Lincoln Park, so we headed back there to Ivoire to see if the scene lived up to the hype.

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Thankfully our group of three girls could pull a prime table without a reservation. Drinking and eating for hours, we chatted up all the people around us (which could have been tough but we all speak Spanish). I’d say the scene delivered in my book! As you would expect, the food wasn’t fantastic but that’s not why we went anyway.

Two interesting features besides the people:

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Purse racks, which most restaurants have here.Why this hasn’t caught on in the States is beyond me.

Unique to Ivoire that won over this southern girl:

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Sterling koozies!

I know, this is a little boring, so I’ll move on to the rest of the night/

After a loooong dinner, Lisa hit the horn to scare up some trouble.

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As predicted, she did! (Had to instagram the pic. It’s like that first filter was made for Lisa.)

Without any enhancement, check out Marco’s condo.

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Quite the unique sense of style….

We grabbed a drink with his group and then made our way to….the mall!

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Yep, no joke. Joy, one of the most popular clubs in the city right now is in a mall!

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You would be hard pressed to find me anywhere near a club these days, or even out of the house after 11, so I was totally game (with the help of a few martinis of course).

Thankfully we didn’t have to wait in the line and within minutes were in the midst of the party.

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Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been in this kind of crowd. Honestly I was impressed. It looked and felt exactly like a club in New York, Miami, London, you name it. Pretty people, modern furniture, solid remixes, attentive table service. After an hour of dancing we called it quits.  So glad we did it. Check that one off for another year :)

When we got back to Condesa around 2am, people were still drinking and partying in the mellow bars and lounges.

The more I learn about this neighborhood the more I love it. If I moved to Mexico City, I’d tuck in here and never need to venture out.

Anyway, the night was a blast. Somehow I was able to get up at 8 and hit the gym before we ventured out to the pyramids. It wasn’t easy, but I did it!!

Next post will be about our day trip to Teotihuacan.

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Can’t wait to meet you Mexico City

August 23rd, 2011 1 Comment

 

I really had no idea what to expect, so before we head south of the border, I did a little research.

THE FACTS

A few of the facts via Wikipedia:

There are 21.2 million people,[12] making it the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere and the fifth largest agglomeration in the world.

In 2008, it was named the 8th richest city in the world.

The city was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, which was almost completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan, and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards. In 1524, the municipality of Mexico City was established.

After reading and talking to a few people, it seems teaming with culture and trendsetters!

Vogue recently featured it as the “Destination of the Month” in which writer Richard Allenman blogged about the exciting metropolis with dazzling museums, stylish boutique hotels, and happening restaurants and neighborhoods.” Click here for his enticing descriptions of his favorite places.

GUIDES

Before I go anywhere I always check to see if the NY Times has done a 36 Hour Guide. Of course there’s one for Mexico City along with several other articles.  They seem to be in agreement with me that now is good time to visit the city.

Travel + Lesisure says that Mexico city is now “on every style-setter’s radar” and calls it “one cool capital.”

THE SITES

Everyone keeps telling me the museums are the crown jewels of the city. There are more museums in Mexico City than in any other city in the world. I’m excited to stroll the artifacts, paintings, and sculptures to dive back into history. I don’t get the chance to do that as often as I’d like. A few that are on my list:

  • Museo Soumaya
  • National Museum of Anthropology
  • Museum of the Templo Mayor
  • College of San Ildefonso
  • Franz Mayer Museum

And of course I want to see the galleries.  There are hundreds!  Not being an art aficionado, I’m sure I’ll be happy with what I stumble into.

TO STROLL, SHOP, AND STAY

I’ll be staying in the Condessa neighborhood which is said to be fun, trendy, and most importantly safe.  Another diverse and popular neighborhood is Roma.

If I had to find a hotel, I’d check out the hotels on Michelin’s list.  Boutique hotels (like Condessadf that EVERY publication raves about) are supposed to be amazing in Mexico City, but if that’s not your thing, there is a JW Marriott, W, St. Regis, Westin, and Four Seasons (which the NY Times recommends).

TO INDULGE

Of course you know I’m dying to taste their local food as well as their interpretations of other cuisine.  Blogger and American living in Mexico Kristin White responded to my tweet for local insight and sent this list of restaurants she loves:

  • Biko – Basque in Polanco
  • Dulce Patria – modern Mexican in Polanco
  • La Nacional – mezcaleria in Roma Norte
  • Los Danzantes – Mexican and mezcal in Coyoacan
  • The Courtyard of the Four Seasons for Sunday Comida – on Paseo de la Reforma

Her runners up:

  • Astrid y Gaston in Polanco
  • Pujol in Polanco
  • Ivoire in Polanco to see and be seen

and of course street tacos, which don’t really fit on a restaurant list but are a must do in DF!

On her blog ThisGringoHoneymoon (where I found the video above), she shows trips to Tepoztlan and Xochimilco that look like fun.

(Side note: Kristin travels all over the world and does a great job at posting her local finds and the fashion.  I really enjoyed reading it! )

WHAT’S MISSING

The shopping of course!  No idea what I’ll find.  But I’m going with my fashionista friend Renee and we are sure to stir up the best the city has to offer!

Thankfully I have Bob to show us around.  He’s a seasoned gypsy who sniffs out the hot spots within a couple of days.

Sooo excited!  Photos start tomorrow!

(Photo via Kristin’s blog)

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“Mexico Lives On In Luxury” Part 2 of 3 – The Rosewood in San Miguel de Allende

June 3rd, 2011 3 Comments

My three part series on Mexico continues.  I wrote a huge feature for The Houston Chronicle on three gorgeous resorts, but I want to offer you more here than what you’d see in the paper.  Last week I showed you The Capella Pedregal in Cabo.  Now I take you to central Mexico that looks and feels more like Italy.  The Rosewood just opened its doors to sprawling resort and residences that assimilates perfectly into the historic town.  Their property has boosted the economy on so many levels as well.

The most notable feature of the town is the Parroquia, the church in the center of town you see above.  It’s truly breathtaking so you’ll see it featured a lot.

Read on for my review, a tour of my suite with the most amazing view, and photos from the town.


“On my first morning at the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, the chirping birds beckoned me out onto my expansive terrace, where my eyes opened to feast on the early-colonial-era terra-cotta skyline teeming with jewel-toned flowers and bright lilac jacaranda trees against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. It was one of the most picturesque vistas I had ever seen.


Reminiscent of Italy but distinctly Mexican, San Miguel de Allende embraces its history and manages to unlock your subconscious desire to enjoy the simple details in life. The town is located in central Mexico, hours from the beach, but its beauty is an even trade for the ocean. And I believe the dozens of Houstonians who live there would agree.

Despite its corporate origins, the Rosewood fits in perfectly with the local sensibilities. With 67 suites, three restaurants, a delightful spa, a modern lap pool, an amphitheater, a tequila bar and a private street of residences, the resort is sizable but feels quaint.

My suite boasted a bed I didn’t want to get out of, a terrace that was larger than one of my New York apartments, two fireplaces, a delicious tub and a walk-through closet with enough space to accommodate Mariah Carey’s wardrobe. Rates start at $529.  (See my video below)

Overall, the property is quiet but seductive. A signature Mole massage at Sensa spa is a must. If you’re looking for action, head to the rooftop for a variety of fresh margaritas, distinct tapas and a hip crowd at La Luna.

During your stay, I also recommend an ATV tour of the town (starting at $50 per person for two hours; sanmiguelrentalcar.com) and meals at a few local restaurants such as The Restaurant, Hotel Matilda and La Azotea.”


READ THE FULL ARTICLE AS WRITTEN IN THE CHRONICLE HERE.

I wish more hotels offered candid videos tours of their suites.  It’s always nice to know the accommodations before you spend a substantial amount of money on a room.  So when I go anywhere, I always shoot a video so you can see if it fits your taste and needs.  I saw many rooms while I was at The Rosewood.  All of them were wonderful in their own way.  Check out where I had the pleasure of resting for 4 days:

The rooms here start at $529 as I mentioned.  If you’re looking for something more affordable so you can stay for a long period of time, Bob’s friend Katherine who lives in SM now (pictured with me above),  rents private houses to visitors.

Here are more pictures and comments on this beautiful destination.  I can’t wait to go back!

Garden terraces are hidden treasures behind the small doors that line the streets. Seek out restaurants in these lovely little gardens.

She’s chopping up my breakfast – fresh pineapple – for $2.  Yes, it’s safe.

It’s just not right…. That’s the Virgin Mary on the corner….


Trying Cactus liquor for the first time.  It’s actually really good.

The original church of San Miguel is located on the outskirts of town.  The history of the city is impressive.  When you visit, make sure to have a native tell you the story.  The ATV tour will take you here if you request it.

Tequila tasting at the Rosewood bar.  The Mexicans are loving Mescal right now, but I find it to be really harsh.  I fell in love with Clase Azul Reposado – what he’s pouring.  Check out the bottle!  It’s only $50.

Sunset.

I had to put this picture in again.  Mole is the specialty of the chef at the Rosewood.  Wish I could take a picture of the rooftop bar at the Rosewood.  The view is awesome and the scene is a good mix of  young tourists and trendy locals.

The Rosewood open-air interior at night.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

From my bed I can see the Parroquia in the distance.  Tour of my room coming soon!

(Full disclosure: The Rosewood provided a generous media rate and treated me to dinner.  Many thanks for your hospitality!)

Photo credit for the first four pics in the post: the beautiful and talented Nejla Sosa.

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“Mexico Lives On In Luxury” – Part 1 of 3 – Capella Pedregal

May 28th, 2011 1 Comment

It’s a shame your biggest fear when considering a vacation to Mexico is no longer Montezuma’s revenge, but rather for your personal security.  After a year of travel throughout the country, my only concern was whether or not they used fresh lime juice to make my margaritas.  Seriously.  The U.S. Department of Defense has issued warnings against travel to 15 states in Mexico, but the other 17 have proven statistically to be safer than the US.

My mission was to discover the luxurious side of Mexico, far away from the civil hostility and spring break debauchery that has come to define the country.   I found the breathtaking getaways I was looking for at The Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, the Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas and the Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, all of which have raised the standard of luxury for south of the border resorts. And they’re just a two-hour plane ride away from Houston.

Today my article that offers reviews on all 3 is running in The Houston Chronicle.  Because it’s lengthy I’m going to break it up into three parts and offer you videos and pictures so you can see each come to life!  Come back on the next two following Fridays to see Banyan Tree (click here for my city guide to Playa del Carmen) and The Rosewood in San Miguel (click here for the video of my Rosewood suite).

Right now, feast your eyes on The Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas.

“Without any colorful visualizations, I’m just going to come out and say it: The Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas was my favorite resort. I’ve been anti-Cabo for a while, so when I found myself perfectly content tucked into the Pedregal hillside, I realized they had built something special.

When I opened the hand-carved wooden door to my room, I was overwhelmed. The wooden floors, handmade furniture and iron chandelier defined a contemporary living room that opened to a patio with an infinity plunge pool and fire pit. To complete the picture, there are three other fixtures worth mentioning: a one-of-a-kind driftwood headboard, an oversize claw-foot tub and a bottle of Don Julio tequila for complimentary sipping.

During the day, I passed the hours chatting with other guests by the infinity pool or taking little excursions.

The concierge arranged kayaking and snorkeling off property, which I highly recommend, and I enjoyed running through the neighborhood of private houses behind us. Golfers will be impressed with the sprawling course, and the celestial Auriga spa has the remedy for anyone who gets a little too much sun.

By night, you could find me three courses deep in amazingly fresh and traditional dishes from on-site restaurants Don Manuel’s and El Farallon. Perched atop a cliff and lit with candles, El Farallon sets up one of the most romantic dining experiences in Mexico.  Here they let you pick your own fish from the day’s catch and select its preparation.  Here they let you pick your own fish from the day’s catch and select its preparation.

Barbecues on the beach often are scheduled, or you can have the concierge set up a private one for you. And whatever you do, don’t leave the Capella without having a s’more.

Barbecues on the beach often are scheduled, or you can have the concierge set up a private one for you. And whatever you do, don’t leave the Capella without having a s’more.” (Originally published in The Houston Chronicle)

Below is a video tour of my gorgeous Estrella suite, which is their standard room if you can believe that!  What I didn’t have room to say in the article:

The rate for the room starts at $1200.  Other beachfront suites are obviously more expensive, but unless you need the extra space I would recommend not staying on the beach.  The winds are so strong that it can shake the doors and be really loud at night.

Check out pics from the press trip I took to the property.  You’ll see my fire pit, many of the delicious dishes I devoured, our beach bbq, and more! Click the first picture to get a light box slide show.

To read my entire article on all 3 Mexican resorts I love at Chron.com, click here.  Next week I’ll post the segment on The Rosewood San Miguel and the following you’ll see Banyan Tree in Playa del Carmen.

(Full disclosure: Media discount was extended by The Capella Pedregal.)

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