One of the smaller luxury properties in Los Cabos, Esperanza Resort packs plenty of luxury punch. With a dramatic cliffside setting, stunning ocean views are available almost everywhere, and the many terraces at the hotel's gourmet restaurant jutting out into the ocean. The 123 casitas and villas are rustic, bright, and refined, with romantic extras like bathrooms with side-by-side showers and separate soaking tubs. Balconies include plunge pools or hammocks, and pampering services include in-room check-in and personal concierges. The hotel has an elegant spa and large fitness center, and the main infinity pool is a stunner, though the beaches aren't swimmable. This is one of the more reasonably priced luxury properties in Los Cabos, and while the Resort at Pedregal is closer to San Lucas, rates will be higher.
Casually elegant luxury resort with a more intimate vibe than its competition
Along a stretch of coastline that's dominated by mega-resorts and exclusive residential developments, Esperanza stands out for its humble, yet luxe, personality. Set within a private residential community, the compact resort is arranged on a series of bowl-like hills that all dip toward the resort's real star: the jagged cliffs and sandy beaches battered by waves day and night. All around, tan buildings with thatched roofs blend into the green landscape, as massive palm trees tower over the impeccably landscaped grounds. Decor has bohemian elements, but is undeniably refined, with chunky patterns, plus lots of jute and hardwood detailing. Special details, like hand-blown light fixtures from Guadalajara, give the resort its authentically local flavor.
Esperanza is about kicking back in refined elegance -- this isn't the place to come for a buzzy social vibe, or to feel like you're above it all. Instead, the atmosphere is casual -- chia-seed lemonades or cilantro margaritas are offered as guests roll up to the welcome area. A bit of mingling might take place at the open-air lounge above the stunning main pool, during the theme nights at the hotel's La Palapa restaurant, or at the fire pit overlooking the ocean, but the vibe is subdued. The resort's restaurant -- Cocina del Mar -- is one of the most iconic in Los Cabos, with multiple terraces that are perched dramatically out into the Sea of Cortez. It draws guests from across the region. This is a family-friendly property, with many of those guests choosing to stay in the hotel's villas, but of course the sophisticated style draws mostly couples looking for a romantic escape. And with a five-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, guest needs rarely go unmet.
In Punta Ballena, a 10-minute drive to the center of Cabo San Lucas
Tucked inside of an exclusive vacation-home development, the resort can be a bit tricky to find -- Google maps isn't exactly good at providing directions here. Keep an eye out for the Punta Ballena sign; this is the development that houses Esperanza. Given its setting, well off of the highway along a winding, slow-going road lined with desert landscaping and upscale homes, it's not surprising that there's really nothing to do within a walk. Don't expect a stroll to shops or restaurants. Additionally, while the resort is on the beach, this stretch of coast isn't swimmable. Those looking for nightlife should head to Cabo San Lucas. The town's lively marina is just over a 10-minute drive from the resort. Alternatively, for something more artsy and quaint, San Jose del Cabo is a 25-minute drive in the opposite direction. Those who want to swim can do so at Medano Beach in Cabo San Lucas, at parts of Costa Azul (25 minutes by car), or at Pelican Beach (a 25-minute drive north). Costa Azul is popular with surfers as well. The airport is a 40-minute drive from Esperanza.
Hacienda-inspired rustic-chic elegance with romantic bathrooms and hammocks or hot tubs on balconies
It's a special thing when a resort is able to balance elegant and casual styles, and the rooms at Esperanza manage just that. With an abundance of whitewashed finishes, details like woven hats, chicken-wire cabinets, and chunky furniture crafted from off-white linen and hardwood, the look is polished without pretense. Handsome iron sconces with intricate carved stencils, hardwood trunks, and suspended canopies over the beds blend local flavor and classically romantic accents. There are also walls of sliding pocket doors that open to massive balconies with banquettes and hammocks or hot tubs -- perfect for taking in the glimpses of the gardens, pools, or ocean. If that's not romantic enough, every night 700 lanterns are lit by hand throughout the resort, many on the balconies of the rooms.
Features are abundant, and on par with much of the luxury competition in the area. Free baskets of fruit are available, as are Nespresso machines with a variety of free coffees, plus free bottled water. There are also minibars, large flat-screen TVs with media hubs, free Wi-Fi, and tablets that connect to concierges and porters. Sleek Bluetooth speakers and radios are included, and all rooms are air-conditioned and have ceiling fans. Beds are firm, but yielding, and were some of the most comfortable that we slept on during our last trip through Los Cabos in 2016. Binoculars are on offer and particularly handy when whales are wintering in the Sea of Cortez. At night, it is essentially silent.
Casitas -- the hotel's entry-level rooms -- offer 920-square-foot (85 square-meter) floor plans and things only get larger from there. Multi-bedroom suites and villas are also available. The latter are in a separate part of the resort built around multiple pools and a market. These have multiple balconies and full kitchens; the style is impeccable and similar to lower category rooms. Luxury Suites come with butlers and private chefs. Bathrooms in all categories are especially romantic, and every unit has at least one bathroom that's built especially for couples, with two separate vanities, and side-by-side rainfall showers. There are also luxe soaking tubs; the resort's own citrus toiletries are provided, as are bathrobes and generous amenity kits.
Stunning coastline and main pool, elegant desert spa, and large gym with free classes
It's almost a challenge to pick a highlight at this resort, given its large number of outstanding features. The craggy cliffs and two stretches of white sandy beach make for lovely walks, and are set up for sunbathing. However, neither are swimmable. Thankfully, the hotel has a number of pools, including a family pool, a villa-area pool, and a stunning main pool. The latter is for adults only. It's framed by palm trees, monitored by attentive staff, and has an infinity edge that looks out to the crashing surf. Multiple terraces of lounge chairs ring the perimeter, and cabanas can be reserved for a fee. There's also a hot tub.
Relaxation continues at the resort's spa. It's at a remove from the main areas of the resort, further upping the tranquility factor. After crossing a lotus pond, the thatched-roof cabanas are arranged along narrow winding passageways of desert stone walls. Cacti and flowering plants appear here and there, and both chlorophyll and cinnamon-orange water are available in the relaxation area. The same water is available in the large gym, spread across two buildings attached to the spa. Equipment is all modern and covers free weights, weight machines, and cardio. A lengthy list of free classes offered by local and international and experts is also included in room rates.
The hotel also has a market and a kids' play room. Personal concierge services are included in all room rates, as is valet parking. Wi-Fi is free throughout the resort, and aside from a few dead zones on the lawns, it works well everywhere. Car services to local beaches can be arranged and porters are on call to transport luggage to and from rooms.
Excellent dining, including a dramatic cliffside restaurant
Dining is one of this resort's strongest suits. The main restaurant, Cocina del Mar, is constructed along a series of dramatic terraces jutting out above the crashing surf, surrounded by torch lamps. The food is an upmarket twist on Mexican traditions, with abundant Mediterranean flavors. While the ambience is excellent and the quality good, prices are steep -- even for a luxury property. Additionally, the electronic ordering system for cocktails feels a little gimmicky. Breakfasts here are excellent, with an array of healthy and indulgent options plus an extensive menu of fresh juices. Lunch centers on a ceviche bar. La Palapa restaurant -- on the other side of the resort -- is equally popular for its themed nights, and also has an excellent seaside setting; s'mores are frequently toasted at the adjacent fire pit. There's also a breezy lounge that overlooks the ocean and main pool for drinks throughout the day.
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