The vegetation in and around Acre is so lush and green, visitors can easily forget for a moment the surrounding desert climate that makes Baja California Sur so famous. At this “treehouse resort,” in a fertile valley on the edge of San José del Cabo, palm trees form the borders of outdoor rooms, punctuated by 12 luxe treehouses built of sustainable materials. On a recent night, the well-dressed crowd at Acre’s farm-to-table restaurant seems giddy about the food—or perhaps it’s just the mezcal. Chef Kevin Luzande’s cuisine blends Mexican and European influences (cashews, say, in a black-bean tamal) while never straying too far from locally available ingredients.
Though the resorts of Los Cabos have never been posher or more comprehensive in their strategies to please and pamper guests, the range of options to lure visitors off-property has never been more tempting. The chic new Acre, along with Flora Farms, the more established agri-resto-complex right next door, make getting up close and personal with the food production process an integral part of the pleasure of eating. They also provide an excuse to explore the southern end of Mexico’s 1,200-kilometre-long Baja California peninsula. Passing through the gorgeous yellows and browns of the hilly desert landscape, punctuated by cacti nourished by 350 days of sunshine each year, can feel like a dream.
While Californians have long headed to Los Cabos for party weekends, the destination has more recently attracted global attention for the increasing number of high-end resorts dedicated to design, pampering and pleasing. The building boom that followed the 2014 hurricane has brought a wider variety of accommodation and dining options. Certainly, the 30-kilometre coastal corridor between the region’s two anchor towns — Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo — has become a showcase for some of the most stylish resorts on the planet.
Montage Los Cabos, which opened on Santa Maria Bay this spring, is part of the 1,400-acre master-planned Twin Dolphin community on the corridor. The luxury resort has 122 guest rooms and suites, three private casas and 52 private residences on a beautiful property sitting on a sheltered beach known for its snorkelling. The architecture and interiors, created by Robert Glazier and design studio Bernardi + Peschard, use bold shapes and colours to create an homage to modern Mexican design.
Also newly opened, and extremely design-focused, is the eye-catching Viceroy Los Cabos. A reimagining of Mexico-based architect Miguel Angel Aragonés’s design for Mar Adentro, in San José del Cabo’s Zona Hotelera, the 194-room resort uses super-modern white structures and white, minimal interiors to showcase the natural beauty of its surroundings.
The allure of Los Cabos is so great these days that even Caesars Palace is claiming a spot, announcing this spring that Dallas-based Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects (NMDA) will design its new US$200-million beachfront resort, with 500 guest rooms, scheduled to start in the first half of 2019. Meanwhile, Paradisus by Meliá, which opened in December 2016 following a multi-million-dollar renovation, has just been welcomed into The Leading Hotels of the World, a curated collection of independent and distinct luxury hotels.
But the impressive architecture and design in this latest wave of Los Cabos resorts and hotels is not the sole reason for the destination’s renaissance. There’s romance, yes, with some of the best wedding planning services in the world, but there are other adventures lurking everywhere.
That includes culinary adventures. On the more traditional side of things, Cabo San Lucas’ Edith’s, where, for two decades, cuisine from Baja California and from the state of Guerrero have been served with a stellar view of Medano Beach and Cabo San Lucas’ famed arch rock formation. At Cocina de Autor in the Grand Velas resort, Dutch chef Sidney Schutte experiments with Mexican and European ingredients, while Los Tamarindos, whose owner and executive chef Enrique Silva has been a local food pioneer for two decades, has been cooking up many of the products produced on Silva’s large property. For a more casual experience, visitors can enjoy cocktails and fish tacos shoulder-to-shoulder with locals at the funky El Marinero Borracho (The Drunken Sailor), near the artsy Hotel El Gonzo in La Playita outside San José del Cabo. Needless to say, seafood is the star attraction coming out of all these kitchens.
Exploring the many local beaches can be a full-time job itself. Los Zacatitos, on the east cape of Baja California Sur, is far enough under-the-radar that you may find you have it all to yourself. Solmar Beach, next to the aptly named Divorce Beach and Lover’s Beach, is easy to get to and provides a sense of calm just steps beyond the busy Cabo San Lucas beach scene. For those with solid sea legs, there are an extraordinary number of boating excursions available, many of them originating from the large marina in the heart of Cabo San Lucas.
Road trips also abound. In La Paz, a small quirky city about two-hours’ drive north, visitors can hire a boat to Espíritu Santo Island in the Gulf of California/Sea of Cortes. This UNESCO-protected biosphere reserve has some of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches where visitors can kayak, run with wild goats and swim with sea lions. About an hour’s drive from Cabo San Lucas, the town of Todos Santos has an artsy and hippie vibe, where surfers hang out and hang ten. Art lovers needn’t venture far either as San José hosts a weekly evening arts walk every Thursday from November to June, with local shops staying open late for a refined street-party atmosphere.
ESSENTIAL LOS CABOS EXPERIENCES
Established in 1996, Flora Farms is an organic farm in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains outside San José del Cabo. In addition to the famous farm tours, cooking classes and locally sourced shopping, last year Flora Farms added spa offerings, with a wide range of services offered amongst the papaya trees and the herbs and flowers of the intimate spa garden.
Art District Mix and Mingle
During the Thursday evening Walk in San José del Cabo’s Art District, hipsters and jetsetters drop by the minimalist boutique hotel Drift San José for a maximalist taste of mezcal, carefully selected from some of the country’s best producers. driftsanjose.com
Address: Miguel Hidalgo (between Obregon and Comonfort), Centro, 23400 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico
The desert landscape of Baja California Sur is so starkly beautiful, why not take a camel ride through it? Of the many adventures offered at the Wild Canyon adventure park—boating, ziplining, ATV off-roading—this might be their most unusual experience. Wildcanyon.com.mx