The 20-mile corridor uniting San José del Cabo to the east and Cabo San Lucas to the west possesses an astounding natural beauty where desert and ocean collide. Past the pockets of gimmicky hotels and all-inclusive motels, this aquamarine crossroads known as Los Cabos harbors some of the most luxurious resorts in the Americas. Here, we explore a duo of showstoppers that form Mexico’s celeb-studded Holy Grail of luxury travel.
Sea and Mountain
A stunning feat of architectural and engineering ingenuity, Capella Pedregal proves the age-old adage of good things come to those who wait. Building the hotel’s grand entrance—which includes a near quarter-mile tunnel through Pedregal Mountain to an oceanfront promontory—took 10 years alone. This was followed by a series of high-design, boutique low-rises, erected either into the mountainside or along unspoiled beachfront, where all units face ocean panoramas and feature private plunge pools to soak in the scene. Next came 10 overwater pavilions anchoring the 12,000-square-foot Auriga Spa, inspired by the phases of the moon—ever-present in Cabo’s lucid skies—and a collection of slick infinity-edged swimming pools, enveloped by sand and surf. Today, this former quixotic fantasy is a jet-setter’s reality (though a firm pinch is necessary to confirm it’s not a dream).
Capella Pedregal’s 96 suites and villas embody Mexican coastal elegance. From the dramatic, studded mesquite wood doors to the handcrafted dark wood furnishings and colorful textiles, the decor is a blend of Mexican majesty and international chic.
The seaward-facing arrangement ensures a front-row seat to the many splendors of this tract of Pacific Ocean: breaching humpback whales; charismatic dolphins riding the waves; endless vistas of the natural arches composing the iconic Land’s End; incredible hues of orange, red, pink and purple painting the sky at sunrise and sunset; and sublime stargazing come nightfall. Adding to this “once upon a time in Mexico” reverie is supreme service across the board, from an in-house personal assistant to the welcoming wait staff, eager to fulfill any request.
With a culinary team led by Executive Chef Yvan Mucharraz and Food and Beverage Director Marco Bustamante of French Laundry and Per Se fame, respectfully, the resort’s four restaurants fall nothing short of experiential. In particular, signature restaurant Don Manuel’s focuses on reinvented Mexican cuisine in an elegant hacienda-style setting while El Farallón recreates a traditional outdoor fish market with fresh catch prepared to order on the sea-sprayed boulders of Pedregal’s foothills.
During non-peak hours, Capella’s restaurants transform into classrooms for a variety of culinary programs. Muddle, swizzle, invent and sample at the signature cocktails class with the resort’s lead mixologists. Strap on an apron and prepare to feast on your assignment at Capella’s cooking classes, where the syllabus includes making ceviches, tamales, moles and salsas.
Go to page two for a look at Las Ventanas al Paraíso.
Luxury suite at Capella Pedregal.
Windows on Paradise
The resort that wrote the book on Mexico luxury travel has penned a new chapter. With the addition of 12 luxury villas, starting at 4,500 square feet and packing a palpable “wow” factor, Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort, delivers a new incarnation of seaside opulence.
These immaculate waterfront sanctuaries truly have to be seen to be believed. Blending the use of indoor and outdoor space, floor-to-ceiling glass panels open onto a full-sized swimming pool and Cabo’s downy sands. Dive in directly from the master bed or the dining room table, descending the shallow steps that lead to an in-house swim-up bar and a duo of umbrella-capped lounge areas.
Never miss the panoramas of sea and sky, as natural light illuminates these vistas through French windows while skillfully placed raised mirrors reflect endless expanses of blue. Relax in the open-air bathroom that includes a hydrotherapy circuit of a steam shower, an outdoor shower and infinity bathtubs for two. Frolic on your own swathe of beach while a 24-hour butler serves homemade guacamole and margaritas at your whim.
From beginning to end, this new chapter is an unrivaled experience. Guests arrive to complimentary en-suite massages, savor the amenities of their own waterfront villa and still have access to all amenities of the greater Las Ventanas al Paraíso resort, including the superb restaurants, seven swimming pools and other facilities strewn across the cactus-speckled landscape.
Perched along a serene micro-peninsula at the tip of the prestigious Palmilla resort community, the One & Only Palmilla redefines the concept of barefoot luxury.
Its genesis was a private beachfront hacienda for the mid-twentieth century’s rich and famous; 10 years ago, it blossomed into 250-acre glory. Today, 12 one- to three-story casas—all inspired by the original colonial farmhouse—immortalize Mexico’s golden-age glamour. The resort houses 172 rooms and suites, while the haute hacienda that started it all has been transformed into a sprawling communal area replete with posh restaurants and bars and a multitiered pool deck.
Accommodations all face the ocean blues, strut sprawling terraces and patios and offer the brand’s signature butler service. In late 2013, the resort elevated 24 units to the next level of decadence with the introduction of lagoon pools and terrace tubs. To complement these new private plunge pool suites, the resort also upped the ante on its double beachfront excess. Sixteen full-service beachfront cabanas were added on Turtle Beach, while on Pelican Beach, the new Pelican Beach Grill was christened the resort’s eighth food and beverage outlet.
Prior to recent additions, the One & Only Palmilla was already established as one of the world’s finest resorts. Its destination spa champions a mantra of “Unwind, Restore and Elevate” through the dexterity of top industry professionals and offers specialized services such as pedicures and manicures from the famed French podiatry clinic of Bastien Gonzalez.
The “Mexiterranean” cuisine by award-winning Executive Chef Larbi Dahrouch at Agua by Larbi Restaurant and the eclectic flavors at Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Market Restaurant constitute pure foodie fantasia. The 27-hole, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course—immersed in ocean and desert—is often named one of the world’s best (and most beautiful).
Though the resort is rightfully exalted, it never rests on the laurels of its existing excellence—though it certainly could—and travelers are richer for it.