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Las Brisas

November 15, 1987|JERRY HULSE | Times Travel Editor

ACAPULCO, Mexico

— This haven for honeymooners nestled into the hills above Mexico's Acapulco Bay isthe top destination choice among newlyweds, according to the National Bridal Service.Here couples find romance in a setting of serenity and privacy that rivals resortsworldwide.

Ifyou're searching for the ultimate love nest, scratch the Poconos, the Mediterranean and those heavenly hideaways in the South Seas.

It turns out that the No. 1 choice among a whole pack of honeymooners is that pink Elysium in Acapulco, Las Brisas. In a poll conducted by the National Bridal Service, Las Brisas won hands down as "the ideal honeymoon resort" over such dreamy destinations as French Polynesia, the romantic haunts of Jamaica and a number of cliffhanging villas along the French/Italian rivieras.

For Las Brisas, the disclosure comes at a most propitious moment, just as the resort is gearing up for its 30th anniversary blowout in December.

Over the years thousands of newlyweds have tuned in to romance at the hillside destination, what with its 300 casitas, 250 swimming pools, 266 Jeeps and half a dozen elegant villas.

There's more.

Those who've seen Rio at night from the top of Sugar Loaf and others who've been mesmerized by the sight of the harbor at Hong Kong insist that the view from Las Brisas of Acapulco Bay wins hands down.

If you will believe the bridal survey, few settings in Mexico (or for that matter in all of Latin America) compare to the nighttime scene at Las Brisas.

The resort has been a phenomenal success from the very beginning, operating with a simple formula by which it features serenity and privacy in a setting that sparks romance.

It is said that if a couple should choose Las Brisas to discuss a divorce, by nightfall they'd be responding like teen-agers on a first date.

That's an exaggeration, perhaps, but close.

There simply is no other resort, the bridal people insist, that compares to this world-renowned honeymooner refuge. For one thing, the terrain sets it apart, the magnificent manicured hillside with its splendid gardens. Service is impeccable. Casitas are spotless. Out of nowhere each morning a lovely girl appears to scatter hibiscus petals across one's private swimming pool.

Score another point for romance.

For the remainder of the day and well into the evening the flowers float like blooms in a giant bowl.

Still earlier, someone steals forth to deliver breakfast that is waiting when couples awaken. Refrigerators are stocked with platters of fresh fruit, soft drinks and Mexican beer, as well as spirits of a stiffer sort. Pink carnations and gladioluses are flown in daily from Mexico City to help hype the image of a true lover's hideaway.

The thought of designing a resort for romantics was no mere accident. It has been choreographed from the very beginning. Every endeavor to foster romance has been played out--from the privacy of the casitas to dining at Bella Vista, Las Brisas' hillside restaurant with its breathtaking view of the bay.

The resort's success is legendary. Couples have slipped away to Las Brisas since its inception. Lynda Bird Johnson played out her honeymoon here. Tom Jones has been a regular. Barbra Streisand chose Las Brisas for its privacy. So did Richard Burton, Placido Domingo, Clint Eastwood, Julio Iglesias, Liza Minnelli, Ringo Starr, Peter Ustinov and dozens of other name entertainers.

Celebrities have made it their private refuge during 30 years of wine and roses.

New arrivals are greeted in a lounge with trays of tequila coolers. In addition to the pink-and-white casitas, the resort's other trademarks include a fleet of pink-striped Jeeps that are skillfully steered over pink-striped streets by bellmen and waiters all gussied up in pink-striped uniforms.

Although he's retired now and occupying an aerie overlooking the world-renowned resort he helped develop, the genius of Frank Brandstetter is as indelible as the bay itself. Brandstetter, an ex-U.S. military officer, arrived in the '50s to guide the destiny of Las Brisas' 600 employees into the '70s.

It was Brandstetter who topped off the mountain for a tennis stadium and opened a hilltop restaurant, La Mexicana. And although Las Brisas was founded as a small cottage colony in 1954, the number of casitas and swimming pools under Brandstetter's direction grew, along with the resort's reputation as a honeymoon hideaway that this year put it in the forefront of the poll that tracks honeymoon retreats.

A Zoo Installed

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