Having visited for the first time as a high schooler at the ripe age of 17, I can confidently say that I experienced Cabo before Cabo experienced its boom. Well over a decade later, the place looks completely different to my eyes.
When the first hotel, Palmilla, opened in 1956 essentially as a sports club, Cabo San Lucas and its older brother San Jose del Cabo (combined to make Los Cabos) made up a quiet beach paradise…and then Jack Nicklaus came in the 60s for his go-to golf vacays. As time went on, the sleepy fishing village kept bringing in hotel rooms and groomed golf courses. Cut to 2019. The secret was out.
Luxury hotels are definitely keeping up with population growth, and nothing pairs better with a jacuzzi suite than a world-class golf game and a side of guac. I was keen on participating in this renaissance.
Last week I checked into a hotel I’ve heard about many times. Esperanza Resort from the Auberge collection had me at HELLO HOLA HI HEY HOW YA DOIN? Sorry for the caps, but the emphasis was necessary. Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. Esperanza should probs be featured in the Cheers opening credits because it’s exactly that way. “Hola Ms. Murphy! Como estás Mr. Murphy?!” It’s funny because Alex is so often referred to as Mr. Murphy during our travels. I think he’s totally fine with it The many highlights included…
Cocina del Mar
I’m not sure I’ve ever dined in a more beautiful/romantic setting. Maybe so, but it’d take a while to think about and wonder if it truly competed with a setting perched atop cliffs overlooking Esperanza’s two private beaches as waves crash below. The entire resort blends well with the surroundings, almost like it arrived with the land itself. So much soul, so much nature, so much LET ME LIVE HERE PLEASE.
I digress. Order the ravioli and banana soufflé. My mouth is watering just thinking back on it…
This seaside experience centered around a colorful cabana, food, and relaxation nestled in the resort’s private beach where each palapa features a day bed, playful swing, a speaker, and private butler service (shoutout Roberto!). We began the day with a yoga class followed by breakfast and then an I’m-really-full-need-to-lounge session. Life was really good in that palapa.
Room 54 was a masterpiece. Not only designed beautifully with beachy vibes and relaxing hues, but the room came with a massive terrace and jacuzzi AND puppies. Yes, puppies. One blissful afternoon I puppysat Ricky and Rosa, long-haired Chihuahuas from central Mexico who will be the cutest hotel mascot ever created. If you can beat that hotel amenity, let me know. I’ll wait.
Chileno Bay Resort
I have to be honest. While change is healthy, change is challenging. I did not want to leave Esperanza Resort. I could birth my babies, live out a wonderful life and retire here. I drove up to Chileno Bay for check-in still holding onto this hope. (I was in denial.) I didn’t want to like Chileno Bay. It was a contemporary take on the classic Baja escape with an airy, open aesthetic that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor. Terrible, right? A red cart named “Tony” met us at check-in and gave us a Corona. Okay, Tony with the beers. I see you. Chileno Bay was brand-spankin’ new with beautiful young palm trees and pops of color and relaxing sounds coming from the pool area. Sounds horrific, right? The room had two showers and a bathtub decked in blue tile alongside an outdoor jacuzzi. So many bodies of water, so little time. The hydrotherapy kicked in and I realized I’d become obsessed with my new home. I think I’m gonna like it here…
I was told the 7,500-square-foot spa had a healing “ritual” I needed to partake in. Twist my arm, I did just that. The salt room, steam room, ice bath, and reflexology pool were quite the highlight indeed alongside the massage and facial I experienced.
The standout of Cabo was hands down the cuisine. I ate WELL and thus, gained 5 pounds, maybe six. Who knows? I don’t believe in scales. The only thing I’m sure about is this: The Auberge chefs are extremely talented and the creativity that went into meal settings was next level. One night we were eating at a spa after a 90-minute massage and then next on a cliff overlooking the sea at Mirador Point. Order the chicken. Don’t ask questions, just DO IT. And then follow up with churros.
I work out so that I can eat well and eat a lot. My relationship with fitness actually goes far deeper than that, but I want everyone to know that you don’t have to skip out on all the local yumminess when traveling. Eat the churro(s). Have the margarita. Just move the next day Your body will appreciate you! Chileno Bay Resort & Residences offers group fitness classes like yoga, Zumba, beach bootcamp, and AQUA SPIN where you literally spin on a bike in the water. I KNOW. The only resistance is the water (yay low impact!), and I wish I could do this exercise daily.
The most desirable beach in Los Cabos resides here, known for its tranquil, swimmable waters and coral reefs where a short venture out to sea unveils an underwater world of tropical fish and sea turtles! With that being said, this beach is not private like Esperanza’s beach (which is rockier). Pros and cons but both beautiful in their own way!
They say third times a charm, and my third trip to Cabo was exactly that. For once, I let a lot of the craziness that I typically do take a backseat. Instead of a jam-packed itinerary, I allowed myself to actually lounge and enjoy the scenery as I’ve experienced this town to epic proportions in the past. Cabo was where I was certified to scuba dive. I’ve been whale watching on a boat trip (totally recommend), and a visit to downtown Cabo requires a stop at The Office for margs and Ediths for everything else. Flora Farms is crazy beautiful, almost like Pinterest threw up in the desert of Cabo. I’ve never been one to plan out my wedding, but I left here thinking I could do the damn thing on these grounds.
I adore Cabo and the people in it. To Euanice, Mario Lopez, Lizabeth, Caesar, Javier, Yanni, Marc Rodriguez, Roberto, Miguel, Antonio, Francisco, Raúl, Saira, and Juliana: mil gracias por todo.
This little paradise has overcome hurricanes and tropical storms and cartel violence. 2018 saw a record 2.6 million visitors. I commend its perseverance. While I’d say it’s predictable because you know what you’re going to get…you know what you’re going to get! Lots of people like this and I, too, enjoy the certainty at times – no surprises, lots of sunshine, tequila in abundance, and a 2-hour flight from LA. What’s not to love?!