Published on April 27th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut
Group Splurge: Villa Sábalo, Acapulco
Last night, I sipped tamarind-infused cocktails and gazed at the sunset from the glamorous hills of an Acapulco neighborhood called Las Brisas. It was a cocktail party hosted by the Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau (during Tianguis Turístico, Mexico’s annual tourism conference), but it was a classic Acapulco experience.
The locale is called Villa Sábalo, a 13-room private home owned by a Mexican family that is now based in Miami. They rent out their magnificent home — supposedly the largest rental villa in all of Acapulco — for special events and also to individuals for overnight stays. After a presentation made by Los Cabos tourism officials about the ever-increasing array of luxurious vacation options in that Baja California hotspot, we enjoyed a healthy serving of local Acapulco luxury. Las Brisas is one of the hillside areas where the wealthy and famous from Mexico and abroad build their glorious vacation getaway homes, and each home is designed to make the most of the view of Acapulco Bay.
Hors d’oeuvres and dinner was created by celebrity chef Susanna Palazuelos, who has organized banquets for royal families from Asia, Africa and Europe, including Queen Elizabeth II. (Plazuelos’ son, who was also at the event, is an excellent chef in his own right. On my last visit to Acapulco, I joined a cooking demonstration he led at his own restaurant, Zibu, which specializes in “Mex-Thai” fusion cuisine.)
Guests draped themselves over outdoor sofas to savor Susanna’s creations, which included mouthwatering marlin tacos, as a multilingual singer regaled us with song from her post next to the spacious swimming pool. After I’d stuffed myself, the property’s manager, Rafael Escalante, gave us a tour of some of Villa Sábalo’s high-end amenities, including an elegant meeting room and a spacious private discotheque, complete with bar, stage, DJ booth and lighting, and decorated with interesting elements including giant statues of Buddha. There is also a tennis court and gym, and after the tour, we peeked into a few guest rooms and wandered the paths of the lush private gardens, which lead to several lovely gazebos that are perfect for a quiet drink or relaxing. This is the kind of setting where I can picture James Bond wandering around in a tuxedo, with a martini in one hand and a pistol in the other. In my case, I just had another fish taco.
Rentals may be arranged through a variety of companies, including Acapulco 1. The minimum rental rate is for six rooms, maximum two people per room. Rates start at U.S.$3,500 per night for six guest rooms.