There’s no other five-star resort that rivals the first-class repute of One&Only Palmilla (Carretera Transpeninsular KM 7.5. Tel: +52-624-146-7000. www.palmilla.oneandonlyresorts.com). It opened in 2004 with a birthday celebration for John Travolta with guests like Oprah Winfrey. Since then, this luxury-drenched celebrity magnet has lured discerning travelers the world over for its dedication to all things glam, yet in the most understated way. Luxury is all about service, convenience, and privacy at One&Only Palmilla, which makes it a priority for travelers who want to feel completely removed from the rest of Cabo. The self-contained, tropically lush oasis awes with swaying palms, vibrant flora, and some seriously manicured landscape. After substantial hurricane damage, the resort gave all guest rooms a con- temporary, fresh facelift that’s more bright and cheerful than ever. The main lobby area now sports a brand-new lounge that overlooks a completely embellished fire pit, and an alfres- co seaside deck set against waves crashing against rocks.
Jean George Vongerichten’s new Seared (Tel: +52-624-146-7000) restaurant is imaginative for a steakhouse (the pata negra is carved tableside, straight off the pig’s leg), and Suviche is the new highbrow lounge with live music and floor-to-ceiling views of the sprawling sea. Signature cocktails here (like Pomegranate Serrano Infused Margarita) hit all the right spots. Also new, the swank Barber & Blade men’s barbershop is making headlines with its easy-on-the-eyes barber that snips and shaves guests in a vintage barber chair while George Clooney’s tequila is poured freely for maximum comfort. The only thing that hasn’t changed at this resort is the privi- lege of the beautiful beach just steps away. One&Only Palmilla is one of few resorts in Cabo that is located right on a swimmable beach (the riptide limits most Cabo beaches as “long, romantic walk” and “sunset” friendly and nothing more), and private beachfront cabanas are perfect for lazing the day away. Oceanfront junior suites from $1,530.
The Resort at Pedregal (Camino del Mar 1. Tel: +52-624-163-4350. www.theresortatpedregal.com) is just as demanding for splurging visitors who celebrate all things five stars. The convenience of its location (flanked between a gorgeous beach and lively downtown Cabo San Lucas) amps the allure, and guests swoon over the magnificent 66 villas equipped with their own private plunge pools. With high ceilings and spacious bathrooms that flaunt stand-alone tubs and separate patio doors, one can feel quite Lilliputian. The Resort at Pedregal has become iconic for its thoughtful touches like complimentary cerveza and guacamole delivered to your room daily and neck massages at check-in, and there’s no shortage of “wow” factors. The soulful Luna Y Mar spa (Tel: +52-624-163-4300), which recently embraced a brand-new, moon-themed philosophy and spa concept, features cabana treatment rooms right on the edge of a glittery infinity pool, and guests receive a traditional Mayan foot ritual before treatments.
The main restaurant, El Farallon, is raved as Cabo’s best; it’s built dramatically into the cliffs like a fairy tale setting, and the seafood is as fresh as it gets, straight from their own backyard (the Pacific Ocean, of course). El Farallon now offers a new al fresco champagne terrace where dapper bartenders pour expensive champagnes (think Krug, Dom Perignon and Taittinger) by the glass, interestingly paired with a variety of sea salts. The terrace is a great nightcap option for guests who want to admire that awe-inspiring coastal landscape late into the night. Rooms from $716.
While The Resort at Pedregal and One&Only Palmilla are both longstanding magnets to the gay community, The Cape (Carretera Transpeninsular Km 5. Tel: +52-624-163-0000. www.thompsonhotels.com), a resort by Thompson Hotels, is a new property to debut in the recent wave of big brandname chains taking up Cabo residence (like Ritz-Carlton, Montage, and JW Marriott). Like any Thompson Hotel, guests at The Cape embrace a hipster-heavy, jetset-friendly lifestyle. Young Millennial guests Instagram and Tweet their stays, and with good reason. The contemporary-cool rooms feel like a surfer’s dream pad with swinging benches on the balconies; the towering, concrete building is like a piece of art; and the infinity pool has the perfect view of surfers riding waves at Medano Beach with the backdrop of the famed El Arco, a natural rock formation that’s become Cabo’s emblem. While visitors go nuts over the spa cabana just 100 feet from the crashing waves (you feel like you’re getting a massage on top of the water), it’s Enrique Olvera’s Manta restaurant that will blow your mind. Mexico’s most famous chef has brought his innovative flair with trademark Japanese and Peruvian influence to Mexican cuisine and seafood. The sunset views from the dining room are commanding and mesmerizing, and the creative dishes here (ie: octopus anticucho with chorizo mayo, black miso fish tacos, and cactus salad with limes and purslane) are as memorable as the culinary journey. Rates from $699.
For travelers on a “budget,” the all-inclusive scene is quietly growing in Los Cabos, starting with Hyatt Ziva. There’s a whopping 591 rooms, with guests sprawling the number of facilities that include 12 restaurants and bars, four pools, and plenty of family-friendly adventures and cool attractions (like an island in the mid- dle of the main pool). Best of all? Unlimited alcohol and 24-hour room service. Rooms from $570 based on double occupancy ($285 per adult).
For a more intimate all-inclusive experience, Marquis Los Cabos (Carr. Transpeninsular km 21.5. Tel: 52 624 144 2000. www.marquisloscabos.com) a member of Luxury Hotels of the World, reopened to new management this past year. With only 235 rooms and casitas, it doesn’t feel cramped. It’s also adults only (18+) so it’s couples-heavy. Guests chill out by the two infinity pools and six outdoor hot tubs but the spacious rooms give little rea- son to leave, especially when gourmet in-room dining is terrific (and included in the rate!). Rooms from $705 based on double occupancy ($352 per adult).
With emerging outdoor activities, restored beaches, new properties, and buzzing resorts flaunting improved facilities and upgrades, Los Cabos feels like a brand-new destination, though its spirit has never changed. Here, romance brews and landscapes awe, EL Arco forever anchoring Cabo’s backdrop for centuries to come. And while celebrities are let loose, the elevated dining scene booms, and the gay scene grows, Los Cabos is mastering the art of new meets old where heart and soul will always be in perfect balance.