Guests who prioritize easy beach access should consider another property
Though luxurious, Montecristo can feel cookie-cutter
Montecristo's own bar and restaurant might seem a little bland for this level of luxury
Friends and families with big budgets can stretch out in these pinch-me-now, three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom cliffside villas overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The luxury development is a few miles outside of Cabo San Lucas within a gated community under the umbrella of Pueblo Bonito, with sister resorts here and closer to town. Montecristo, for its part, offers 151 bi-level houses that can sleep eight guests each. Villas are similar in design with high-end amenities such as infinity pools, gourmet kitchens, and stainless steel Weber grills, to name a few. Guests are granted free access to Montecristo's own facilities, as well as Pueblo Bonito's beach, pools, and restaurants (all-inclusive packages are available). Golfers also have access to the award-winning Quivira golf course. Free shuttle service is provided to key points around the resort and to town, though a car will come in handy.
Private villas in a resort setting are perfect for those who want both worlds.
Pueblo Bonito is a big deal in the area, and it has an impressive gated entrance with a long driveway that winds its way towards the coast, suddenly turning for jaw-dropping ocean views that will likely cause newcomers to pull over, slam the brakes, and start snapping pics. The stark beauty of the deep blue water in the distance can feel Mediterranean at first. Upon closer inspection, though, the rugged landscape of mountains, sand, and cacti -- together with neatly constructed Spanish-style architecture scattered across layers of the cliff -- seems distinctly Los Cabos. For the check-in process, guests head to the lobby through another gate high up in the hills before the main road continues down to other Pueblo Bonito resorts closer to the shore.
Montecristo is just one of the sections of Pueblo Bonito -- a massive 1,850-acre development from Ernesto Coppel Kelly (a highly influential man in Baja, nicknamed "The King of Cabo"). It started in 2005 with the construction of 84 villas (Phase One), and then 2014 saw the completion of 67 more (Phase Two). It is clear that Mr. Kelly is nowhere near finished with this project, and he is a respected local figure not only for bringing tourism to the area, but also for keeping it healthy and thriving.
Most of the vacation experience at Montecristo happens in the villas themselves (truly a highlight) where up to eight people have the privilege of running free throughout ample living quarters. Days might be spent swimming, sunbathing, and watching whales in the distance, while evenings are for enjoying sunset cocktails before cooking on the grill. For a change of pace, there are plenty of resort facilities to enjoy within the gates. There is Montecristo's own cushy lobby, fitness center (with views!), larger infinity pool, and restaurant and bar, not to mention access to other resort amenities within the complex. The villa concierge can help make arrangements for restaurants and nightlife here or in town, but a car or shuttle is required to get around. Overall, this is a dream-like vacation experience combining the best of both worlds for all ages -- and hopefully someone who can foot the bill.
A gated community in a great part of town, near celebrity homes
At the southern tip of Mexico's rugged Baja Peninsula is Cabo San Lucas -- a beach town on the stretch of coastline collectively known as Los Cabos (The Capes). This has long been a popular vacation spot for sun-worshipping party seekers, but there are plenty of luxurious -- and yes, grown-up -- options for peace-and-quiet-seekers, too. Montecristo Estates is within the larger Pueblo Bonito development -- a 1,850-acre development that lies on the Pacific Ocean side, with striking views. This development is next door to the chicest neighborhood in the area, where celebs like George Clooney and Jennifer Aniston have vacation homes. This part of town is off the beaten track and it takes a 10-minute drive to get to downtown Cabo for fishing, water sports, whale watching, and popular restaurants and nightclubs.
Most guests arrive through Los Cabos International Airport, a 45-minute drive away, and take a taxi or rental car to get to the property. For those who choose to rent a car (most do), several parking spots are available at each villa at no charge. The villas are spread out on manicured streets that make their way back-and-forth across the cliff, so a car will definitely come in handy. Montecristo enjoys a higher altitude where breezes seem to keep the temperature cooler than other parts of lower lying Cabo, but it requires a trek to the beach. Free shuttle service is provided.
Design and decor is a bit cookie-cutter, but villas will impress with heated infinity pools and quality amenities.
Each of the 151 standalone villas is over 2,000 square feet with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths. Guests receive an intro from their personal concierge, who provides a tour, and are welcomed with a bottle of chilled bubbly and a fruit plate. Another wonderful touch is walking into the Master bedroom to find the bed adorned with a personable greeting to the main host.
In each, there is a King-sized Master Bedroom upstairs on the main floor with a private bath (separate jetted tub and walk-in shower) and large walk-in closet, as well as bathrobes, but no slippers. Two more bedrooms are on the lower level (one King-sized, and the other with two Queen-sized beds), each with their own full bathroom (with tub/shower combos). All full bathrooms include double vanity sinks and Armonía Spa brand toiletries.
Living areas each consist of a comfy seating area surrounding a gas fireplace, a dining room for six people, and another living room and working space with a flat-screen TV on the lower level. Every villa has a washer and dryer. Two spacious decks with views include the top floor with a whirlpool tub next to the Master Bedroom, and the bottom floor where the heated private infinity pool is located; note that this setup might be worrisome to parents who have little kids sleeping here that may be just a sliding door away from the water. Gourmet kitchens have island countertops and come equipped with full-sized refrigerators/freezers, stovetops, dishwashers, microwaves, blenders, coffeemakers, cookware, dishes, and utensils. There is a stainless-steel Weber Grill outside. Villas are not prepared with drinking water or coffee, and there is a bowl of fake fruit in the kitchen that slightly cheapens the experience.
Daily housekeeping is provided, and free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
Guests have access to Pueblo Bonito's private facilities, like the stunning golf course.
There are several areas of the development that guests of Montecristo can access. Shuttle service is offered to key points within the gates, and also to downtown Cabo San Lucas (service starts in the morning and stops running late in the evenings).
Montecristo's main hub for reception and concierge services is within a separate gated entrance, which divides Phase One from Phase Two. A plush lobby (great for working) leads to a restaurant, bar, and terrace where a gorgeous infinity pool is located for those who want a break from their own private infinity pools. Cushioned lounge chairs and umbrellas make this an ideal spot for ordering lunch while enjoying the views. Above the pool is a large fitness center with modern equipment and floor-to-ceiling windows. There is also a desert-themed spa with seven treatment rooms (two are for couples) and a salon. Guests can access other resort facilities, but it should be noted that only Montecristo guests can use these facilities, so they stay crowd free.
A major addition to the roster is the Quivira Los Cabos Golf Club, designed by Jack Nicklaus, which is a short drive to the end of the complex, not far from Montecristo Estates Villas. There are 18 holes, seven of which are along the ocean (more than any other course in Los Cabos). The course is truly stunning with a mix of elements including desert landscapes and white sand beaches. The open-air clubhouse is a stylish spectacle in itself with a rectangular see-and-be-seen bar, and glass-enclosed fine-dining.
Each villa is equipped with a personal concierge who handles 20 units at a time. Child services can be arranged for an extra fee.
All-inclusive packages are available for those who do not plan on cooking often.
The main restaurant and bar for this part of the property is CIBOLA, available for all-day international dining in a semi-casual setting with indoor and outdoor seating with views. Menus offer a mix of quality pub food and also high-end options for dinner like local-caught grilled fish. Guests also have a staggering number of bars and restaurants at sister properties, like the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach (which will be more lively than this one), and the concierge can assist with reservations. Casual quick-serve options like coffee shops, poolside cafes, and a convenience store for basics are also available. Guests have the option of all-inclusive plans, also, which include unlimited food and drink (and taxes and fees) at many of the above; not surprisingly, these packages are pricey.
For eating in the villas, room service is available 24/7. Major supermarkets, like Cosco, are within driving distance for stocking the fridges.
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