Thursday



The Banyan Tree's fine dining delivers to your private villa, and at their magical locales on this very special property.  Read on and take a look at some of our favorites, as well a bit of Acapulco.






La Nao Restaurant

Brunch, Lunch and Dinner


We enjoyed this restaurant for breakfast most every day.  They served up a fabulous buffet in addition to menu selections, and their patio al fresco is graced by a giant banyan tree, with views over the main pool and the Pacific Ocean beyond. 




Completely casual, we loved being able to dip in the warm pool between course. 
 


Of course at night, the hanging lanterns create a romantic space that is complimented by the live music. 


The food selections on the morning buffet were vast and a fusion of eclectic tastes combining Latin and Oriental cultures, but we particularly enjoyed the handmade Quesadillas, especially the ones made with Spanish chorizo. 


Totally delicioso and the supply keeps coming to the table until you burst.  Or go swimming and take a nap in one of the poolside cabanas.





Saffran Restaurant




Sunday through Thursday:
From 6:30 to 11:00 pm
Friday and Saturday:
From 6:30 to midnight




This is the resort's fine dining experience and although they request long pants for me, we did see other diners in shorts since the evenings are warm and balmy. We also saw diners dressing up, and it's fun to have that opportunity to break out the white resort clothing for a special evening on the edge of a cliff over the Pacific Ocean.




Saffron is a Banyan Tree signature restaurant, and the chef is so Thai that we felt like we were in his home in Thailand.  The fare is contemporary Thai cuisine that is all very tasty, but a fellow traveler we met turned us to the true secret of this place: ask the Chef in advance to cook what he wants for you. 




We did this on the second visit to Saffran and the meal was exquisite, while we truly felt like we were back in our beloved Thailand.




Even the gentle breezes and flower-scented air bespoke of exotica, as one more fabulous dish than the other arrived at our table.  The cuisine included crispy and mouth-watering dishes such as Tom Yum Goong, which is always the litmus test of a quality Thai restaurant with this one coming in at the top of the scale. Although dining outside is the best, the decor of the restaurant is quite beautiful, and there's a wine cellar that seats 12 guests if you're planning a special event.



Las Roccas Restaurant and Beach Club
Lunch Every Day for Hotel Guests Only




This location on the property swiftly became our favorite for a variety of reasons.  It's a bit more remote than the main pool and so no one seems to be there.  In fact, in the three days that we visited here, we were either completely alone or shared the locale with only one other couple.  It is only available to residents of the hotel and no outsiders. Again, with a full house at Christmas time, we made it as if it were own little home complete with an accommodating and smiling staff at our service.  We can't stress enough how wonderful the people are who work here and although there are too many to mention, Irma stood out with her inviting smile, desire to promote Mexican hospitality and her command of the English language for our benefit.  The people working here genuinely care when they ask how you are, and in addition to that they are great looking young men and women, which of course completely add to the already glorious scenery of the property.




Overlooking the bay of Marques, there are private cabanas and lounges; but as we said, we had our choice of any of it so we followed the shade.  There is a constant breeze at this location which eviscerates the humidity of Mexico. The bartender is happy to whip up some exotic bloody Mary, margarita or serve up a beer or three. The long pool is cool and refreshing and the pounding waves on the rocks just under it make it exceedingly difficult to read without passing out for the fifth time that day.  After a little siesta, there's of course lunch (this area is only open during daylight hours) and there are a variety of tables perched along the edge of the cliff, or an entire private and more secluded area down dozens of romantic steps to the sea below.




We enjoyed the fresh lobster grilled to perfection and accompanied by a spicy tomato based soup, escorted by a Mexican cerveza. Somewhere in the distance across the bay someone was blasting some music, but by the time the sounds reached us over the pounding waves on the rocks below us, it was melodic and enjoyable. Fisherman in small boats did their jobs in the distance as large cabin cruisers and sail boats provided a show during lunch.  The menu looked enticing on other fronts, but during our second visit, we couldn't stay away from the lobster so we had to repeat the experience. 




This time we finished it off with house-made chocolate ice cream with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.  We also suggest trying the fried caramel banana desert with vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of chocolate.  And after all of this, we crawled back to our cabana for yet another snooze in the fading afternoon sun while the breeze massaged our sun grazed skin.


The Spa




"Come relax with us; rejuvenate the body and the soul" is the motto of the spa that embodies the best of South East Asia and combines it in the setting of North America, with the hospitality of Mexico.

As if this is not enough to entice you to indulge in their luscious services offered in visually spectacular surroundings, the resort tempts you further with, " be soothed by healing hands in the cradle of the Pacific Ocean."  We quote their self-descriptions because it's just that accurate.

We enjoyed a few services and they were all superlative.  The pedicure was offered in a room surrounded by windows and unlike the quickie U.S. version, it went on for an hour and a half.  It was less of a pedicure and more of a full-body chair massage. 


Whatever they called it, it was the best pedicure experience of our lives and they had to drag us out of the chairs when our time was over. 
 



The massages are offered in individual villas that are so luxurious and sensuous that you don't want to close your eyes lest you miss something.  After changing into a sarong, we sat in a chair overlooking the views, whilst the therapist washed and massaged our feet.  From three, it was onto an incredibly comfortable massage table, and then a combination Thai and Balinese massage that made our bodies melt into the table.  When this ended (sadly, it ended at all), we went back to the comfortable couch where we were served ginger tea and honey and sat as long as we wished enjoying the view.  It was just this side of Heaven and if we could have booked every single day of our trip, we would have.  In fact, we met another guest who booked two hours every day and we completely understood why. 


With this pampering of our bodies and the relaxation of our souls, the rich tradition of Asian healing allowed us to step into this rare world of hushed relaxation under the most proficient and trained hands.  We simply have to figure out a way to bottle this and bring it home.





Touring Acapulco


There really are so many fun things to do and see in Acapulco, but honestly, it was difficult to drag us away from this enchanting and relaxing resort.  That said, you can hire a driver and a guide from the hotel to take you where you want, and wait for you when shopping or exploring.  We met Oscar at the hotel and we drove with him all week.  He once lived in Texas, speaks English fluently, knows the city and environs backwards and forwards, and became our friend.  We recommend you ask for him as well.  Here's some ideas IF you really must leave the Banyan Tree:


Dolores Olmedo Patino House -- A private residence with a 1955 mosaic mural by Diego Rivera, Who once Lived there.


Acapulco Cliff Divers -- Great fun to watch hunky hot Mexican men nearly kill themselves as they swan dive into the rocky Pacific.  For a few pesos they'll pose with you for pictures, which is worth the ride.  Note that it's about an hour from the hotel and there are specific diving times, so don't miss it. Visit the famous "old school" hotel after and see the famous wall of celebrity signatures there.


Silver shopping -- Oscar will take you to the right factory, but there are shops everywhere.

The Craft Market -- We had so much fun losing our money here.  Great little shops to purchase t-shirts and such.  We bought a hammock for our yard and swing it remember the experience.  Watch yourself, these folks are expert negotiators and you will lose no matter what you do for a living!

Las Brisas Hotel -- Not great for meals but the setting is beyond amazing.  Drive above the resort for breathtaking views in the daytime, and go to the dining room for drinks at night for a view that will dazzle you beyond description.


Coyuca and Tres Palos Lagoons -- Untouched and otherworldly wonders of nature where you can voyage into the City's past.


Drive to Zihuatanejo -- do it in the daytime and it's a real adventure with twists and turns through local villages.  About 5 hours will take you there.  It's fun, different and then you can combine another Mexican resort experience with your trip.  We're glad we did.


Como Acapulco no hay dos. “There’s nothing like Acapulco,” the local saying goes. Or, to translate literally, "there is only one."  That's so true, and that's particularly the case for the one and only Acapulco when there's a resort like Banyan Tree Cabo Marques from which to enjoy it all.  Via con Dios, nos amigos.





Zihuatanejo




There's a saying that things happen for reason, and we seldom know exactly what that reason is.  We were scheduled on a flight to Acapulco and arrived two hours prior to the flight only to find that United Airlines in its infinite wisdom had changed the flight time and forgot to inform us of that little fact.  After missing the flight, we scrambled at the gate to find our alternatives and we found that could get a flight in a hours to Ixtapa and rent a car to drive the 4 hours up the coast to Acapulco.

However, we arrived at dusk, and the thought of driving through the hills on a dark country road in Mexico and unescorted gave us chills.  We called our friends at the Banyan Tree in Acapulco and asked for a recommendation for the best hotel accommodations in Zihuatanejo (just next door to Ixtapa, but much less touristy and much more enchanting).  They booked us into La Casa Que Quanta.


In the heart of Zihuatanejo Bay, La Casa Que Canta (“The House that Sings”) has a stunning setting overlooking La Ropa beach. As traditional and romantic as our imaginations could conjure up, Terracotta-hued walls and thatched canopies gave each luxury suite a hacienda-style appearance. The friendly and attentive staff gave us a flavor of warm, authentic Mexican hospitality. This intimate retreat felt like our very own sanctuary.





Escaping inside our suite, we discovered a cool, airy enormous space sprinkled with colorful Mexican charm.  The traditional décor included handcrafted furnishings, and our private terrace offered breathtaking views.  Throughout the villa there were thoughtful touches such as fresh flowers, a welcome message in flower petals on our bed, fresh fruit and tequila to make our stay superlative. We shook off the horror of the our travels with an immediate naked dip in our infinity pool, enjoying the Jacuzzi jets and tequila.  Had we ventured out, we could have also enjoyed the saltwater pool set in the rocks above the waves. There's also a fitness center for working out, plus an exclusive Clarins Spa in which to unwind.   


Sadly, we didn’t have the time to enjoy so much that this enchanting place had to offer and so we are putting it on our list for a return visit of many days.  We did have an incredible outdoor dinner with a food selection that matched the enchantment of where we were, and so we can’t wait to return and try out more meals, more spa time, more hidden relaxation areas and more time in our really special environment.  Hasta pronto La Casa Que Canta!


And tomorrow the Dining Duo is off to explore the Four Seasons Punta Mita and beyond.  Stay tuned for the next adventure in fine dining and top luxury resorts when we bring you a little bit of paradise so close to most of our homes.




Appetizingly yours,




Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo



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