Passion Passport Shares Instagram Spotlight on Romana Lilic

Sayulita street scene. © LA76 Photography

We like to keep our passports handy.  Traveling – even if it’s just exploring small streets and remote places nearby our hometown – is just one of the things that keep us inspired, curious, and grateful for everything that surrounds us.  We were flattered when Passion Passport‘s team reached out to our owner Romana Lilic and asked if they could do a feature about our adventures and favorite places in Mexico.  Continue reading

Capella Pedregal and Capella Ixtapa Earn Accolades by Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler

It’s an honor to share with you today that LA76 Strategic Design clients, Capella Pedregal and Capella Ixtapa, have been – again – named among the best resorts in the world!

Capella Pedregal was named the #1 Hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico, by Travel + Leisure, and is named to Conde Nast Traveler’s 2014 Gold List and selected as one of the “Best Beach Hotels” in the world.  Hotel Capella Ixtapa, located in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico, has been named to Conde Nast Traveler’s 2014 Gold List and also named as one of the “Best Beach Hotels” in the world.

Capella Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Capella Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Capella Pedregal in Cabo, Mexico continues its rise unabated as one of the region’s undisputed premier luxury hotels with recognition from esteemed publications such as Travel + Leisure which named the property to its “Top 500 Hotels” list and ranked as the #1 hotel in Cabo for the third consecutive year in a row.

The list announced in December 2013 also sees the property ranked among the “Top 50 Hotels in the World.” Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List which is based on the publication’s Reader’s Choice survey also saw Capella Pedregal named to this coveted list and listed as one of the World’s Best Beach Hotels.

Capella Ixtapa, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Capella Ixtapa, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico

“What truly sets Capella Pedregal apart is the attention to detail and the high-levels of personalized serviced based on the Capella zeitgeist,” said Horst Schulze, CEO and Chairman, Capella Hotels and Resorts. “The exceptional and dedicated staff deliver unforgettable experiences to guests – constantly striving to ensure all their requests are fulfilled. Every employee at Capella Pedregal is constantly thinking of new ways in their roles to innovate and create new experiences for guests so that although it is a familiar face you see, there is always a welcome surprise during every stay.”

This dedication to guests’ needs is complemented by Capella Pedregal’s spectacular and carefully guarded setting, often cited as one of the key reasons it tops awards – the resort is accessible only through a private tunnel entrance in Pedregal Mountain, and yet is only a five minute walk into the town.  The elegantly designed 96 rooms and suites all come with one or two private plunge pools, spread across 24 acres of delicious mountainside and oceanside land.  A key feature is the resort’s stunning One, Two and Three-Bedroom Suites located directly on the beach with beautiful ocean front views of the Pacific Ocean and guests enjoy signature experiences such as a dining cabana with your own private chef on the beach and an outdoor fire pit ideal for a romantic night under the skies of Cabo.

Cabo is also fast becoming a rising hot bed of culinary ingenuity and this movement comes at the hands of three culinary stars that collectively helm the kitchens and wine cellars at Capella Pedregal.  Along with a deep appreciation for Baja’s food culture, this trio shares a level of formidable epicurean expertise: Food and Beverage Director Marco Bustamante spent his formative years creating haute cuisine at, among other places, Thomas Keller’s Michelin-starred Per Se in New York City; Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz earned his stripes in the kitchens of The French Laundry in Napa, and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris; and Wine Director Juan Carlos Flores Mazón has twice been chosen to represent his home country of Mexico in the international World Sommelier Competition. In true Capella innovation, this rich culinary inventiveness begins “before the kitchen.” Mucharraz, Bustamante and Mazon are major proponents for Cabo’s rich ecosystem of breweries, vintners, fishermen and farmers, working with each to ensure quality at every stage from selection all the way through plating. With easy access to a diverse array of produce, fresh catches and other ingredients, the resort’s culinary team can custom-tailor and change the menus weekly and in most cases daily; showcasing the Baja peninsula’s richest flavors.

The culinary team emphasizes local ingredients and unique interpretations of classic Mexican dishes while drawing on influences from across Mexico, the Mediterranean and Asia. Homemade inventive dishes are thus a key feature at Capella Pedregal as Mucharraz and his team bake their own breads and pastries including croissants, doughnuts and churros; developing their own condiments including jams and sauces; producing from scratch, sorbets and sherbets; and even working with local pig farmers to breed their own type of “pata negra,” (Iberian ham). The culinary team at the resort cures meats on-property including aging the pata negra; and making such treats as duck prosciutto; bresaola; smoked pork belly; and lamb chorizo. Complementing the cuisine is the resort’s expansive wine list curated by the property’s award-winning Wine Director, Juan Carlos Flores Mazon who was named “Champion Sommelier” in Mexico in 2004.

Capella Pedregal’s three distinctive dining establishments feature refined, traditional Mexican dishes which embodies that authentic Baja feel and flavor. The signature Don Manuel’s restaurant is named after the hotel owner’s family patriarch and is located at the heart of the resort and comes with a “kitchen within a kitchen,” namely Su Cocina which is perfect for private meals.  Cuisine at Don Manuel’s uses local organic ingredients grown specifically for the resort, prepared using modern interpretations of old world techniques. El Farallón, Spanish for “a rock that comes out of the ocean,” is a restaurant with a dramatic locale where fresh fish specialties are served in an alfresco setting suspended over the ocean. This casual seafood venue features a “catch of the day” menu enabling guests to choose from fresh fish caught from local waters.  The Beach Club is an informal, pool-side dining venue serving Baja coastal favorites from intricate sashimi creations to flavorful ceviches.

Another award-winning feature of the resort is the acclaimed Auriga spa, home to eight treatment ‘pods’ ringed by a cascading waterfall that falls into a private saltwater pool.  Designed by renowned spa designer, Sylvia Sepielli, the 12,000-square foot spa features treatments created by U.K.-based Organic Pharmacy and reflects the different phases of the moon, based on the energies of the lunar cycle.