Hilltop chapel with stunning sea views for weddings
Exclusive yacht available for excursions and entertaining
Free Wi-Fi and valet parking
Luxury of this level doesn't come cheaply
Nothing within walking distance
One&Only Palmilla is easily one of Mexico's most luxurious properties. The velvet-gloved treatment includes personal concierges, butlers, aromatherapy turndown service, and some of Cabo's best dining. The 173 rooms and villas blend classic Mexican design with contemporary accents like Venetian stucco and walls of windows to create bright, elegant spaces. All have terraces, many with direct ocean views, and some include private pools. Dining includes Asian-Mexican fusion and Mediterranean options, plus a steak house by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The resort has one of the area's only swimmable beaches, an elegant spa, and two gorgeous pools, all of which are hard to top -- the manicured-jungle setting doesn't hurt either. Esperanza, An Auberge Resort is the closest competition. It has a more intimate vibe, though isn't as seamlessly luxurious.
Ultra-luxurious seaside resort with a laid-back, chic, and exclusive vibe
It's hard to say exactly when the feeling begins, but by the time guests roll up to the entryway at this exclusive resort, it's clear that they've stepped far away from their everyday lives. It might happen upon realizing that every staff member seems to know your name, or when a glimpse of the sea is caught through the gorgeous jungle grounds, or when the smell of the perfumed air along the winding pathways through the resort hits you. In any case, One&Only Palmilla has the five-pearl game down pat, and nearly every detail feels perfect.
The vibe throughout the resort is casual, but undeniably chic. Families mingle with mature couples lounging by the pool. Young couples on their honeymoon sip cocktails next to the crashing surf at Agua by Larbi, while repeat guests are whisked down the palm-lined paths on golf carts to their spa treatments. Gleaming white buildings peek out from all of the dense tropical landscaping, while interiors make use of gorgeous hardwood, towering windows, Mexican handicrafts, and bright textiles. In fact, this is the kind of resort where even the smallest things matter, right down to the impossibly miniature origami swans that serve as chopstick holders at Suviche, its Asian-fusion restaurant.
With a six-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, it's impossible not to feel pampered here. Workers greet guests with a nod and a hand over the heart whenever they pass, and the fragrances that waft through the air in the evening actually feel a little magical. The Palmilla is something special, and it will be no surprise that rates here reflect that fact -- guests frequently include celebrities, and the majority of those staying here are couples in search of romance plus well-heeled families.
In Palmilla, a residential area that's a 15-minute drive from San Jose del Cabo
One&Only is located on the tip of Palmilla, a residential area known mainly for its golf courses. There’s nothing within walking distance here but the beach, and while most guests stay on the property for the duration of their stay, a car will be handy for exploring the Los Cabos region. The popular surfer breaks of Costa Azul are less than a 10-minute drive north, and San Jose del Cabo takes 15 minutes to reach by car. The town is the artsy cousin of Cabo San Lucas, farther down the shore. San Jose hosts Art Walks on select weeknights in high season, when gallery doors are thrown open until late and vendors pack the main plaza. The town retains some of its original Mexican charm, and it's home to lots of foodie-worthy cafes and restaurants, like La Lupita Taco & Mezcal. Those who want a taste of spring break year-round can head south to Cabo San Lucas, which will take about 30 minutes to reach by car. For a day trip, Todos Santos -- an even artsier alternative to San Jose del Cabo -- is about 75 minutes across Baja Sur by car. Expect a 25-minute drive to the airport.
Elegant blend of Mexican heritage and contemporary bohemian styles, with luxe details and outdoor space
While the offerings here range from single-room units to massive stand-alone villas with butlers' quarters, the style across the board remains quite uniform -- and that's to say that everything is elegant and sharp. Decor is a blend of traditional Mexican details and contemporary design, creating rooms that feel homey, but sophisticated. Dark leather panels and ornate carved-wood accents come together in details like oversized headboards, while patterned marble-tile floors keep everything bright. Colorful traditional textiles provide a little welcome color, while wooden and bamboo details give neutral-upholstered seating a bit of rustic-chic charm. Bold expressionistic wall art provides a contrast to traditional details like bolt-nail whitewashed doors, wooden ceilings, and Venetian stucco walls.
All rooms are spacious, with entry-level Ocean-Front Rooms offering 570-square-foot floor plans (52 square meters) that dwarf nearly every other luxury resort in the area. Things only get larger from there, with Villa Cortez -- the resort's flagship unit -- offering over 10,000 square feet of space (975 square meters). The Villas here are some of the most luxurious on offer in Mexico, and no detail goes unnoticed. Each comes with a 12-person staff that includes butlers, personal chefs, and even personal trainers. These have multiple bedrooms and private pools, and both offer amazing views -- be it Villa One's eagle-eye view across the property and sea, or Villa Cortez's oceanfront vantage.
Floor plans are open in every room on the property, making them feel that much larger. Standard amenities include espresso machines, massive flat-screen TVs, entertainment systems, air-conditioning, and terraces -- many with ocean views. These come in handy when whales are wintering in the Sea of Cortez, and binoculars are available for whale spotting. Otherwise, features are variable. Some rooms have hot tubs on their terraces or small lagoon pools, while others include private butlers that can be reached by cell phone day or night. Unpacking and limited garment pressing comes standard as well. Daily snacks are provided from a list of delicious bites, and we particularly loved the tree of chocolate truffles (and anejo tequila) that we found in our rooms upon arrival. Turndown service goes beyond typical luxury standards as well, and includes a menu of aromatherapy options plus traditional floral-petal art on the beds (and a brush and basket to help remove them -- a frequently overlooked detail).
Bathrooms, as expected, are massive and include all manner of luxury essentials. Expect to see brass fixtures, marble dual vanities, huge pebble-floor walk-in showers, and separate soaking tubs. Soft white towels, various types of bathrobes, and premium Lady Primrose toiletries come standard, and there's plenty of drawers and nooks for storage.
From casual to elegant, some of Cabo's best dining helmed by Michelin-starred and celebrity chefs
It's perhaps not surprising that a resort of this caliber has some of the best dining in the region, though we love the varied venues and styles -- not to mention the diversity of cuisine -- on offer. Seared is the resort's flagship restaurant. It's a fine-dining affair that's helmed by Michelin-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The menu features prime cuts of meat -- which are displayed in a stark and stylish butcher case -- as well as seafood, pastas, and one of the most extensive wine lists in Los Cabos, including international and domestic vintages. Suviche is a slightly more casual space -- with a subtle boho vibe -- that's adjacent to Seared. Soft live music happens here on select nights, and dishes are a playful take on Mexican and Japanese dishes, from sushi to ceviche. There's a lounge next to Suviche with arched windows that offer stunning views out to the Sea of Cortez.
The resort's other dining establishments are more laid-back, including the casually sophisticated Agua by Larbi. The menu blends classic Mexican fare with subtle Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors and the restaurant has amazing sea views from outdoor and open-air spaces. It's particularly romantic in the evening. Other dining options include the Pelican Beach Grill and Breeze, both of which are easy-going places for simple, but delicious, daytime meals and beverages. In-room dining, beachside dining, and private events in the resort's herb garden can all be arranged as well. Events like domestic wine and tequila tastings are frequently hosted as well.
One of Cabo's only swimmable beaches, gorgeous seaside pools, elegant spa, and kids' club
In a part of Mexico that's flush with scenic beaches, but lacking in ones where travelers can actually jump in the water, the beach at the One&Only is a rare gem. It's not huge, and has just a few private cabanas that are available on a first-come-first-served basis, but the rocky backdrop and relatively calm water are a welcome treat. Snorkel gear and non-motorized beach equipment is available for free, and surf lessons can be arranged. For those who don't want to splash in the surf, there are two pools, including the family-friendly Agua pool, which has shallower areas for kids and is conveniently located next to Agua bar. The adult pool, which is closer to the resort's main terraces, has a swim-up bar, hot tub, plenty of lounge chairs, and stunning views out to sea. Poolside drink service, neck and knee pillows, and free 10-minute foot massages are on offer as well.
The spa is a stunner, crafted from a seemingly endless amount of greenery and stone. Each treatment room has indoor and outdoor spaces, and services include synchronized four-hand massages and a wide array of treatments. There's also a beauty salon, men's barber shop, and spa boutique. The yoga terrace -- draped in a breezy white canopy -- is a highlight and sits next to the spa's juice and herb bar. Personal training is available, and the array of free classes includes pilates and spinning. The gym is large and bright, with hardwood floors and an abundance of modern cardio and weight-training equipment.
The hotel's kids' club is packed with all manner of entertainment for kids, including games, a jungle gym, movies, and video games. It's supervised all day long and kids are often taken to the pool to splash around. For more adult-oriented entertainment, the hotel has its own yacht that can be rented for day-long excursions. There's also a 27-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. In whale season, a conch horn alerts guests to when whales are breaching in the Sea of Cortez.
Given the romantic atmosphere here, the One&Only is popular spot for weddings, and the resort has its own chapel with views across the grounds. Luxury shops offer everything from home goods to bathing suits and resort wear designed exclusively for One&Only, all of which is curated by hotel staff to reflect the region's culture and style. Personal concierges come standard with every room. They work with guests well in advance of arrival to make sure any dietary restrictions, wants, and needs are addressed ahead of time. Other perks include free valet parking and free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
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