Crème de Los Cabos: The Top Five Resorts

In a previous post, I wrote, quite eloquently might I suggest, about various things to do once you arrive in Cabo San Lucas.  Working backwards (my normal orientation), it might be worthwhile to give some serious thought as to where you are going to reside during your upcoming holiday in Cabo San Lucas.

I should warn you at the outset that even with my vaunted (or is it taunted?) descriptive powers, after reading this post it will not be an easy selection.  That is because I intend to lay before you the five most luminous objects in the entire Cabo San Lucas panoply.

Five Gold Stars

Whether your intent is to impress a partner,  indulge a passion, or ingest a prawn the size of a West Indian manatee, you can’t possibly go wrong booking your stay at any one of these little gems.  OK, there is one way to go terribly wrong – booking with another travel company – but let’s not even go there!

Here are my recommendations in no particular order.  I am already destined to offend all those resorts who failed to make this short list so inflaming the passions of hotel partners who were selected by ranking them seems both provocative and ill advised.

Las Ventanas Al Paraiso

Las Ventanas al Paraiso

As fate would have it, I have already written a captivating little treatise about the first of our five resorts which you can read here.  Another aspiring blogger, Larry Olmsted, who writes for such obscure publications as Forbes, USA Today and Golf Travel also contributes his modest insights.  By some miracle, should you find your thirst for knowledge still unslaked after reading my mesmerizing piece, I suppose you could trundle over here and read Larry’s workmanlike article.   Don’t blame me if it pales in comparison to mine.  Just lower your expectations and you should be fine.

Capella Pedregal

Capella PedregalYou will search long and hard to find any resort in the world with a more impressive setting.  The picture you see above is your first view after exiting a long tunnel cut through the heart of a mountain.  The infinity view framed by the dancing tongues of fire elicits an audible gasp from most first time guests.

I was a guest there a couple of years ago and several fond memories still float like dainty lily pads on the tranquil surface of my memory.  The Auriga Spa was a spectacular setting to relax and rejuvenate.  One of my favorite recollections is taking a cooking class from the well-known chef Marco Bustamante on ways to prepare three unique varieties of ceviche, one of my favorite delights.

One&Only Palmilla

One And Only Palmilla, Cabo San LucasIf you go to this resort’s website, which I strongly suggest you do, you will find this rather immodest description, “One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos Resort, a retreat of gracious splendour, where exhilaration and serenity thrive in blissful harmony.”  Bear Bryant, longtime head football coach at Texas A&M and the University of Alabama famously said, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.”   This property has every right to extol its virtues however loudly it cares to.

Every stay includes complimentary welcome Tequila, golf, a bottle of wine, spa and more.  As for accolades honors and awards, if these were medals and ribbons, the entire resort would be draped like the chest of a tin horn Generalissimo from some third world military junta.  Let’s just say if Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure are singing your praises, there must not be too many flys buzzing about!

Secrets Marquis Los Cabos

Secrets Marquis Los CabosLet me share a little insider secret I have learned from extensive personal experience.  There are no bad Secrets Resorts.  I have stayed at Secrets the Vine, Secrets Vallarta Bay, Secrets Silversands, Secrets Wild Orchid and Secrets Maroma Beach and visited a couple of others.

Each and every one of them exhibited the same exemplary personal service and luxurious accommodations.  AMResorts, the parent company and a division of Apple Vacations, has every reason to be proud of what they are quietly crafting from the Caribbean to the sun-drenched shores of western Mexico.  As a bit of a wordsmith myself, a personal tip of the hat to whoever creates these incredibly alluring names:  St. James, Wild Orchid, Aura, the Vine, etc. Their very names are siren calls to serene settings.

Esperanza, an Auberge Resort

Esperanza, an Auberge ResortAuberge is truly more than just an incredible string of resort pearls.  It is not an exaggeration to say it is a lifestyle.  If you question that assertion, just spend a little time dawdling over the pages of their iconic blog, The Art Of Living.  The blog itself is a destination! The resort in Cabo, as do all their resorts, reflects the worldly charm of the CEO Mark Harmon.  You might enjoy this interview with him in the May issue of Robb Report

One of the nicer features of the dining experience is the fact they showcase ingredients from local farmers and fishermen.  As followers of this blog well know, I am a great aficionado of spas.  You should know that The Spa At Esperanza has been named the number one spa in Latin America by Travel & Leisure magazine.

OK, the table has been set.  Five glorious, unique, stunning slices of paradise.  For most of my readers, devouring all five courses is impractical due to lack of time or financial resources.  As a quick aside, if you don’t possess those two limitations, we really should get to know one another better!

Given those limitations for us mere mortals, which resort will you choose? 

Sandals Sans Sandals

By writing posts about the sort of trip I am about to describe,  I am not unaware that I run the risk of reinforcing the reader’s most inflated notions of the opulent not to mention indolent lifestyle led by humble travel entrepreneurs like myself.  This is owing to the fact that in the travel industry some of our key suppliers express their appreciation for our efforts with reward trips to appealing destinations.  This reality is made abundantly clear on my Fool Disclosure page.

In our industry, you had better be prepared to endure frequent comments along the lines of “Wow, it must really be rough being you.” and other equally witty remarks.  They are usually offered in a jocular vein with a nonetheless discernible tinge of jealousy.  I will be the first to admit that we in the travel business often travel like kings but our ugly, dark little secret is we are too often compensated more like kitchen help.  When quizzed about the travel business, my usual retort is “If you want to travel as if you had a lot of money, it’s great.  If you want to actually earn a lot of money, not so much.”  But enough self-indulgent whining.  Truth is, if the trade-off were not acceptable, none of us would not be doing this for a living.  And hey, when I am working as a greeter at Wal-Mart at age ninety-four, I will have incredible memories!

A few weeks back I was invited by Funjet Vacations to participate in a five day, four night stay at the Sandals Grand Riviera Beach and Villa Golf Resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  One nice thing about going to a sun and fun resort, it makes packing relatively simple.  On the whole, I was pleased with the selection of clothing items I brought alongSandals with one exception.  Apparently, if you are going to go to Sandals, male or female, you must bring a pair of nice sandals.   I am pretty sure that I was the only dweeb in the entire resort who did not get the memo.

I consider myself a reasonably natty dresser but I am obviously way behind the trend in male sandals.  Note to self:  Before your next reward trip (coming up in December), scrape together a few shekels and invest in a pair of nice leather sandals.  For you fashion aficionados out there, here is a note for you.  If I am so far behind the trend that male sandals are actually now on the way out, please keep that bit of knowledge to yourself.  Once I pony up for a pair, I will be wearing them until the leather looks like Keith Richards’ face under strobe lights.

For those of you who tune in to this blog hoping to actually get a little travel insight now and again and not just my fascinating personal peccadilloes, here is my impression of the resort.

Sandals Grand Riviera Beach & Villa Golf ResortTheir website describes it as a “sprawling paradise” and that is pretty accurate.  The resort consists of a series of villas spread over an entire verdant hillside but the “sprawling” part presents no obstacle thanks to the ubiquitous jitneys always flitting around.

If you are a golfer, you can play as many rounds as you like without green fees at Sandals Golf and Country Sandals Golf And Country ClubClub about half-an-hour away.  (There are caddy and cart fees).  Shuttles run regularly to the course.  The property has had a recent $60 million dollar upgrade and is in beautiful condition.  The Ochi Beach Club with its babbling brooks, fragrant gardens and a great stretch of beach offers the perfect way to spend your day.

I can promise you that you will never be bored.  Take a look at the activities page here for a truly amazing selection of options.  If you want to really pamper yourself, book a private cabana where your whims will be catered to by your cabana concierge!  Then further indulge yourself at the Red Lane Spa.

A final word: if you prefer smaller, quieter and more upscale, check out the Sandals Royal Plantation just down the road.  I had a great private dinner there sitting at the same table frequented by Winston Churchill.