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HEIGHTS OF LUXURY IN A CLIFF AT THE TIP OF BAJA, A TOP-NOTCH HOTEL AWAITS.

Byline: Cynthia Corpuz www.greatescapes.com

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, Mexico - Tucked away into a cliff overlooking the Sea of Cortez and hidden from Los Cabos' main highway is a jewel of a hotel, the Westin Regina Spa and Resort.

When the $200 million hotel opened in 1994, it was at the time the most expensive hotel ever built in Mexico. The vision of renowned Mexican architect Javier Sordo Madaleno, the resort's grounds were designed in a unique avant-garde style combining geometric shapes and curves to offset the rugged desert and beach landscape.

Its architectural magnificence is not immediately visible from the highway. Only after driving down a short, winding road do visitors begin to see the vibrant pink, yellows and blue of the front entrance, which contrasts beautifully with the earthy red and browns of the desert cliffs.

Inside there is ample opportunity for fun in the sun: seven swimming pools, a nine-hole putting green overlooking the ocean, two grass tennis courts, pool volleyball, sand volleyball, and a state-of-the-art spa and fitness center.

Seven championship golf courses are just a short distance from the hotel. El Dorado and Cabo Real Golf are two 18-hole courses closest to the Westin. Others can be found up and down the Los Cabos Corridor.

The 15-acre resort offers 243 rooms, all of them considered suites and each with a balcony view of the ocean (rates from $350).

The basic suite is furnished with the Westin's signature luxuries, including comfortable beds, satellite TV with movie channels, air conditioning, ceiling fans, mini-bar, in-room safe and high-speed Internet access.

When upgrading to a Baja Junior suite, Governor suite or the Presidential Suite, guests may find themselves mesmerized by the ocean view while relaxing in their very own private balcony Jacuzzi or sipping cocktails on a siesta bed.

For those who just can't seem to get away from work, the Westin offers the newly renovated Cyber Cafe Business Center. Guests can surf the Internet on high-speed access, as well as copy, fax, telephone or avail themselves of secretarial services - all while enjoying coffee, tea or juices.

There are four restaurants at the Westin, including the renowned Arrecifes, which offers international gourmet dining. There is a romantic ambience here, with waterfront seating and live soft jazz. Reservations are recommended for dinner.

The menu includes such dishes as fresh red snapper topped with a creamy white wine and butter sauce, and braised lamb chops. The crab bisque, topped with small, delicate crab cakes, is an ideal appetizer.

For dessert, a popular choice is the simple Mexican, which is just warm chocolate cake topped with vanilla ice cream. What makes this dessert special is the presentation. The dish is topped with a molded caramel hat and the plate decorated with red raspberry sauce, a green tangy kiwi sauce and white cream. Diners will discover that their ice cream mound has a face!

La Cascada is a more casual, all-day dining area overlooking the pools and ocean. In the evenings, the restaurant features an all-you-can-eat themed buffet. At the seafood buffet, guests can eat as much grilled lobster, shellfish and other decadent dishes as they wish for $50.

The newest addition to Westin's culinary options is the Asian Corner and Sushi Bar, housed in the Arrecifes Restaurant. There is bar seating only, and the fresh sushi delicacies include spicy chipotle tuna rolls, maki and nigiri. Guests can also choose from about 25 flavorful martinis.

--(888) 625-5122; www.westin.com/regina.

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4 photos

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(1 -- 4) If the avant-garde architecture, top left, doesn't turn your head then the views of the private beaches at the Westin Regina Spa and Resort, top right, are sure to do so. The hotel was built to take full advantage of Los Cabos climate, from the open-air lobby, above, to any of seven swimming pools, right.

Cynthia Corpuz/greatescapes.com
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Title Annotation:Travel
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 13, 2005
Words:645
Previous Article:DODGERS NOTEBOOK: WERTH MIGHT NOT PLAY OPENER.
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