Tuesday, July 8, 2014

‘Out of this world’ hotel and dining experiences await guests of Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, has selected Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces and World Class Gourmet of Las Cruces, N. Mex., as its first official hotel and catering partners.

Hotel Encanto and pool
“By partnering with Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces and World Class Gourmet, we further our vision of investing in the local New Mexico community while we define the Virgin Galactic astronaut experience,” George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic CEO said in a statement announcing the selections. “Future astronauts will come from around the world to New Mexico, so it’s important that they experience the outstanding local offerings and character as part of their experience.”

The hotel, which was awarded the honor of being the official preferred Virgin Galactic hotel and resort, is in Las Cruces, about 45 miles north of El Paso, Texas. Spaceport America is located just west of the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in Sierra County, New Mexico, approximately 55 miles north of Las Cruces, about 60 miles from the hotel.

Hotel lobby
Even though we’re well into the 21 st century, words like “spaceline” and “Spaceport” and the notion of everyday people traveling into space still feel a bit like fantasy. However, hotel officials see the Spaceport and future commercial space flights as anything but.

“We believe Spaceport tourism will continue to bring jobs and help boost the economy here in New Mexico,” Jim Long, founder and CEO of Heritage Hotels & Resorts, which manages the property, said in a statement. “We … are fully committed to providing premium service to all future Astronauts and others who travel to our area as part of the Spaceport experience.”

The luxury property has undergone a series of major renovations and upgrades over the past year to meet the needs of Virgin Galactic executives, Spaceport America Astronauts and their families, with more to come.

Alcove Suite
Additional renovations that will continue through early 2015 include the conversion of several rooms into Executive Suites.

Guests in the Executive Wings will have access to VIP concierge service, private VIP areas, customized room service menus, and upgraded first-class rooms and suites. These hotel guest rooms are being remodeled with upgraded finishes throughout, marble-clad bathrooms, custom cabinetry, and artisan-built furniture.

“The new Virgin Galactic guest room design reflects the culturally rich style of Hotel Encanto along with an adventurous and contemporary attitude,” Adriana Long, the rooms’ designer, said. “The design will be timeless and luxurious.”

Additional hotel renovations include adding more poolside terrace rooms and outdoor spaces including outdoor Spanish gardens, patios and a resort style pool. The hotel has also remodeled its nightclub patio, which was also designed by Long. The new Azul Ultralounge now includes a large outdoor patio with luxury contemporary furnishings.

Coming soon to a Spaceport in New Mexico

Ten years after the first flight into space of the world’s first privately built spaceship – June 21, 2004 -- Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft are nearing completion by The Spaceship Company in Mojave, Calif.

The exhaustive test flight program for the VSS Enterprise and its carrier craft, the VMS Eve (named after Sir Richard Branson’s mother), is in its final stages leading to Virgin Galactic commercial operations, according to Virgin Galactic. The spacecraft will be able to carry up to six passengers or the equivalent scientific research payload.

Even though tickets are $250,000 each, to date the company has accepted more than $80 million in deposits from more than 700 individuals, 20% more than the total number of people who have gone into space to date. And you thought a ticket on the Concorde was expensive!

Virgin Galactic is a privately-funded space company owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS.

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Hotel photos courtesy Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces
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