Las Brisas Hotel & Resort – Playa Vistahermosa, Ixtapa, 52-755-55-32121
Formerly the Westin Las Brisas, this hotel left the Starwood chain in 2001 but is still widely knows at "the Westin" by the locals. Located 20 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from Zihuatanejo, this orange, pyramid-shaped building was built into the side of a mountain, separated from the rest of the hotel strip. This resort is surrounded by incredible views and lush vegetation (on a private beach). It’s definitely the most stunning of all the hotels in Ixtapa, hands down. Pictures cannot really relate what a beautiful hotel this is. The drive up was unimpressive and was sort of a disappointment, since we heard what an incredible resort we were going to. Valet parking is free, and after walking past the carport and into the lobby, we realized that this was going to be a great vacation. The lobby is absolutely huge, with tremendous columns, lots of bright colors, a huge front desk, unbelievable open views, clay tile floors, and a funky lobby lounge. The lobby lounge has shag carpet, brightly colored pillows, a large bar, and a large sitting area both inside and outside, with unparalleled views. The bar has live music at sunset every night, and it’s usually still hopping into the wee hours. The front desk staff was attentive, quick, and very helpful. The concierge desk was off to the left of the front desk, and she had baker’s hours, it seemed, but was very sweet.
There are 416 oceanfront rooms (every one with terrific ocean views) and 26 suites with a contemporary Mexican design. The rooms are done in a minimalist style with Mexican flair—white with brightly colored bedding and decorations (ours was all royal blue). The headboards are done in artisan tile, and the floors are clay. There are white "shutter" sliding doors that open completely to your terrace. Depending on the room, the oversized terraces have everything from hammocks and picnic-style tables to Jacuzzis. The terraces have both full sun and fully shaded areas. The way the building was constructed, everyone has privacy on their terraces and a full ocean view at the same time. All rooms come equipped with a minibar, hair dryer, coffee maker, ceiling fans, satellite TV, safe, and purified water system. They do offer Internet connections, but they have a very slow server, so it took a lot of time to connect or stay connected. The air-conditioning works very well but turns off automatically when you open the shutter doors or when you take the key out of the air-conditioning control (the room key is what turns the a/c on and off, making it impossible for you to leave the ac on when you leave the room—unless you get two keys, that is). The closet door is actually a fishnet, which I thought was different and gave the room a different feel. Housekeeping was excellent—probably some of the best we have ever had. They left us floral pictures on our bed every day, made out of hibiscus, and performed turn-down service with treats on our pillows every night.
Although this hotel is great and we would go back in a second, I think it’s fair to say that it is less glamorous than a place like the Four Seasons. By that, I don’t mean to suggest this is like a Best Western or Days Inn—which it is NOT in any way. But there aren’t expensive draperies or expensive wood furniture anywhere. People are not on their cell phone at the pool getting Evian spritzes and moist scented towels etc. Things here are simple and clean, with a natural/nature look and feel. To get to the pool or the beach, you must take the elevator down (way down). I thought that was different and fun. The walk to the pool area is sort of a long one, but it’s beautiful, as you walk through a "jungle-esque" atmosphere with the ocean on your right (the hotel also has a shuttle). The hotel offers four (different-level) pools with tons of seating and a pool grill nearby. Each pool is done in royal blue tiles and white grouting with fountains, waterfalls, ocean views, privacy, and they are all kept extremely clean. There are places to sit in the shade and plenty of lounge chairs in the direct sun. The pools even have "seating" areas in the water, where you are in the water but only waist deep or lower. There are ample and very clean bathrooms (so you don’t have to trek it back to your room) and a great pool staff. While at the pool, you almost feel like you are somewhere else, since you can’t see the hotel at all and everything is so lush. There is no vendors & no music— so it’s total relaxation. And.. no kids while we were there!
The beach is clean and private, and there is always room, so there is never a need to rush down there to get a spot. The only way to the beach is through the hotel, so there is a high level of privacy here. You definitely get what you pay for, without question. On the beach, the Las Brisas staff rescues sea turtle eggs that are left by their mothers. They put them in salt-water tubs on the beach and let them hatch and grow before releasing them. It's interesting to see (especially for a kid) and so heartwarming that the staff does it at all.
Most of the hotel’s activities are off-site due to the rough water behind the resort, but all are within 5 minutes. The hotel uses both Palma Real Golf Club and the Marina Ixtapa Golf Club for their guests. There is a gym, beauty parlor, small shops, car rental booth, activities booth (separate from the concierge), kids club, and six restaurants on-site. The Portofino restaurant is the Italian restaurant on the premises, and it was delicious. The service was as good as the rest of the hotel. We paid for a Royal Club Level room and received free continental breakfast every day and a cocktail hour every night starting at 5pm. Cocktails included wines, margaritas, guacamole, cheeses, salsas, and dessert. The concierge desk runs/maintains the club level, so there is always a concierge person on-site for questions. The actual club room was okay, cafeteria-like with a TV, but it did the job. It’s definitely a place to forget about life at home and be totally relaxed and pampered. The activities desk setup a sunset horseback riding trip for us and a day trip to Ixtapa Island. Both excursions were great and went off without a hitch, transfers included.
We went in the fall, which is rainy season here. Although it didn’t rain one day during our vacation, the bugs were out in large supply. Due to the fact that the resort has so many plants, trees, and just vegetation, in general, you must bring bug spray. My legs got so bitten up, I looked like I had the chicken pox. (of course, my husband did not get bitten once) Although the hotel had kid-accomodations, to me, this is not a place for children. For that matter, it's not a place for large groups of rowdy friends either. This is not Cancun, and you will not find that atmosphere anywhere in Ixtapa or Zihuatanejo, especially not at the Las Brisas. The staff here was gracious and so helpful—they actually seemed happy we were there. Although the resort is large, we never saw many people and never felt rushed or like a number here. Lots of honeymooners and couples just looking to get away.
Very Highly Recommended.