Stop # 1: Cabo San Lucas

text by Robin Collins and Ron Jenkins

There’s a lot to be said about the value of taking a break from your regular routine. A change of scenery helps to put things in perspective. But given only three, four or possibly five days, deciding which destination to visit can be daunting. So we’ve done our research and found locations that are easily accessible, offer superb accommodations and excellent dining options and have a wide variety of things to see and do. Whether you prefer a rural setting, seaside retreat or bustling inner city, we’ll cover it – the choice is yours.

AboveThe Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez meet at the spot known as Land’s End, where the rocky outcroppings form the backdrop to one of Mexico’s most splendid natural wonders: El Arco.

The first stop in our Quick Getaways Series is Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. In about two hours, both US Airways and American Airlines fly nonstop to this Baja paradise. Cabo is having something of a hotel renaissance. With recent resort openings and major renovations to existing properties, it’s fair to say the area is officially on fire. And there’s plenty to see and do; swim with dolphins, shop native markets, hike the nearby rugged terrain, dance the night away, snorkel, golf on world-class links, go whale watching, scuba dive, indulge in spa treatments, sail, ride the dunes, visit local art galleries, wander on a sea glass beach, explore the protected UNESCO Biosphere, kayak, workout on the beach, parasail, birdwatch, ride horseback, surf at Costa Azul Beach or simply relax – it’s all here. 

Above: Las Ventanas al Paraíso takes the business of love quite seriously.

In Spanish, the resort’s name translates to “the windows to paradise.” And that it is, with its dazzling infinity pools, open-air lobby and luxurious accommodations. A butler is assigned to each suite to coordinate spa treatments, recommend where to eat, arrange car rentals, set up laptops, and generally prevent guests from lifting a finger (they even dare you to try to adjust your own beach chair or fetch your own margarita). Taking the business of love seriously, the resort even has its own romance director who specializes in unforgettable moments: crafting love letters, booking a musician to serenade your partner and even providing a white stallion to carry you and yours off into the sunset. www.rosewoodhotels.com/LasVentanas/LosCabosResort


With its sleek-lined infinity pools framing perfect views of the sea, the JW Marriott, Cabo property is the creation of Jim Olson, an architect known for his “industrial-meets-organic” residential designs. Chef Thierry Blouet runs the Mexican-French fusion restaurant Cafe des Artistes. The resort is home to a multi-million-dollar art collection that includes works from artists like Jaume Plensa, Ursula Von Rydingsvard, and Angel Otero. And did we mention the private marina, the 10 swimming pools and the golf course designed by Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus? If you’re looking for white-glove treatment, check into the hotel within a hotel: The Griffin Club is a boutique property offered within the resort that gives guests a more personalized stay, including their own butler. https://www.marriott.com


An Auberge Resort property, the Chileno Bay Resort & Residences manages to balance top-notch service with a relaxed feel. Set on a protected cove with pristine reefs and tranquil waters, the property stands apart for its clean, contemporary design and premier location on Cabo’s best beach. We love the understated guest rooms in natural woods, with floor-to-ceiling windows, terraces and outdoor showers. We also can’t get enough of the zero-edge, triple-tiered swimming pool, where attendants offer aloe ice cubes for cooling off; the massive Auberge Spa; beachfront Tacos and Tequila (TnT) bar; and signature waterfront restaurant, Comal, which serves fresh Baja Med seafood. https://chilenobay.aubergeresorts.com/ 

 Above: Tucked between two scenic bluffs, Esperanza Resort is a lush 17-acre property.

Waves crashing against the rugged coastline create a beautiful backdrop for this intimate resort that’s also part of the Auberge Resorts group.  Overlooking the Sea of Cortez, each room has a single wall that slides open to a private veranda with sweeping views. Esperanza is designed for guests who are looking for a private vacation retreat with all the comforts of home plus the advantages of award-winning resort amenities. Tucked between two scenic bluffs, the lush 17-acre property boasts a full-service spa, championship golf courses, a beachfront infinity pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga and pilates studio and secluded beaches. https://esperanza.aubergeresorts.com


The just-opened Montage, located on 39 quiet acres of beachfront between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, is one of the only spots in Cabo where you can just walk right into the ocean. All of the 122 guest rooms, suites and casitas have ocean views, large terraces with daybeds, dining areas and outdoor showers. And in a town where the décor can go from appropriate to cliché with one accent serape too many, Montage gets the design vibe right. Interiors channel the surrounding desert landscape—lots of sand, cream, and native wood. With its signature spa, a breezy open-air beachfront restaurant and a more formal seafood-focused restaurant, it’s a great choice. www.montagehotels.com/Montage/Los-Cabos


The Resort at Pedregal is dramatically accessed through a private tunnel carved out of solid mountain rock. The benefit of the resort’s location is that it’s highly secluded, but also within easy walking distance of downtown Cabo San Lucas and its bustling marina. Guests can relax in their room’s private plunge pool on a terrace overlooking the sea and the Pedegral Mountains or the resort’s infinity pool that flows into the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. At the oceanfront spa, Luna y Mar, treatments are inspired by the cycles of the moon and Mexican folk healing traditions. For the adventurous, have the concierge arrange scuba diving, horseback riding, snorkeling  and parasailing sessions off-site. www.theresortatpedregal.com/ 

AboveOne&Only Palmilla affords extraordinary views and beachfront access.

Located on Monuments Beach, a prime surfing spot, this sleek boutique property from the Thompson group has a cool vibe. There’s a modern-Mexican restaurant from chef Enrique Olvera, four bars serving over 100 perfect cocktails, two pools, an amazing spa and not a trace of hacienda-style architecture. With uninterrupted views of El Arco and the Bahía San Lucas horizon, Mexico City architect Javier Sanchez has combined a relaxed ‘60s Southern California-meets-Baja aesthetic. Every room has a balcony to view the Pacific (some with private plunge pools and butler service), plus Cabo’s only rooftop lounge to relish each and every sunset. https://www.thompsonhotels.com/hotels/mexico/cabo-san-lucas/the-cape


Alongside the Sea of Cortez, One&Only Palmilla affords extraordinary views and beachfront access to one of the few swimmable beaches in the entire region. Schedule scuba diving and snorkeling adventures, or try sport fishing with captain and crew. Two ocean view infinity pools are onsite; one for adults, and the other for families. Dine on fine cuisine as Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten debuts his newest creations at SEARED, a refined steak and seafood restaurant, in addition to the sushi and ceviches served at his Suviche venue. French-trained Larbi Dahrouch presents his signature seasonally-driven Mexican farm-to-table cuisine at Agua, a perfect spot for light fare and speciality drinks. https://www.oneandonlyresorts.com/one-and-only-palmilla-los-cabos


If you’re wanting to rest your head at the newest resort, select The Viceroy near the colonial town of San José del Cabo. Formerly Mar Adentro, the landmark was designed by one of Mexico’s preeminent architects, Miguel Angel Aragonés. The property has undergone renovations and enhancements, and just reopened on May 23 with 194 rooms, suites and villas, a refreshed lobby, a new beachfront infinity-edge pool and bar, five redesigned restaurants, a movie theater and fitness center. Guest rooms have a clean, streamlined look with white-on-white linens, blond-wood accents, outdoor bathtubs, indoor rain showers and loads of sophisticated tech amenities. Connect with the hotel’s “Head of Vibe” to arrange activities such as surfing lessons from a local pro, a private fishing experience with one of the resort’s chefs, scuba with underwater photography or tequila-making classes. https://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/loscabos



An open-air setting overlooking the Sea of Cortez plays host to Chileno Bay Resort’s principal restaurant, Comal. At the helm is chef Yvan Mucharraz, who trained under renowned chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in Napa Valley. Presenting a contemporary, Latin American-inspired cuisine, Mucharraz takes a new approach to local recipes. Be sure to try the chef’s Baked Lobina, a local sea bass with pistachio, fennel, carrot and papalo (a spicier cousin of cilantro). There’s also an expansive oceanfront bar serves craft cocktails alongside an impressive Raw Bar. https://chilenobay.aubergeresorts.com/dining/


Located inside the Auberge’s Punta Ballena private residences, Toro is a cool addition to the Los Cabos dining scene. Conceptualized by chef Richard Sandoval, the menu is a blend of Spanish and Japanese cuisine, with dishes that include a spicy crab guacamole, tuna chicharron and a miso chipotle escolar fish. https://www.richardsandoval.com/toro-cabo/


A mainstay for authentic Mexican fare in Cabo San Lucas is just a short drive up the hill from downtown. The vibrant restaurant features an outdoor patio covered by a thatched roof and is adorned with colorful, traditional décor. Besides having fantastic margaritas, Edith’s also offers dishes like zucchini turnovers, fresh grilled lobster, shrimp enchiladas in a guajillo pepper sauce, and blue corn quesadillas. www.edithscabo.com


Situated at the base of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains in San Jose del Cabo, Flora Farms is a working, 10-acre farm. There are two dining options: the 12-seat fine-dining Flora’s Table restaurant, as well as Flora’s Field Kitchen, where diners sit at long communal tables and enjoy family-size portions of ricotta gnocchi with carrot and beet dumplings, cucumber-almond gazpacho and pork belly confit with mango marmalade. At Sunday brunch, diners line up for Neapolitan-style pizza from a wood-burning oven. There’s also a market stocked with house-made granola, local honey and crafts from area artisans. https://www.flora-farms.com/


We found the ultimate in high-end beach shacks at Chileno Bay Resort & Residences. TnT, which is an abbreviation for “Tacos and Tequila,” the authentically prepared tacos and fresh tortillas are made-to-order. A menu written on the board tells of the daily offerings, such as tacos al pastor and Baja fish. Complement your meal with tequila, mezcal or a local beer. Better yet, have celebrity mixologist Osvaldo Vasquez shake, stir and serve you a festive Mexican-influenced, artisanal tiki-themed cocktail.  https://chilenobay.aubergeresorts.com/dining/


Tucked away in the cliffs overlooking the ocean at The Resort at Pedregal, dining al fresco at El Farallon is a magical experience. Dimly lit lanterns, spectacular views and live music set the mood as guests are treated to a menu filled with fresh seafood such as a crab and chipotle soup, parrot fish ceviche and a mixed grill option that include various catches of the day. Begin or end the evening on the adjacent Champagne Terrace where selections are served by the glass and paired with either mole or mineral salts. https://www.theresortatpedregal.com/diningsite/elfarallon


We’re on the fence if the wandering sombrero-hatted fella offering tequilla shots is corny or cool but, whichever, The Office is a true Cabo classic. This lively restaurant, located on Médano Beach, is owned by the same group as Edith’s and has a similar menu of traditional Mexican dishes. Serving both lunch and dinner, guests actually eat on the beach with one’s feet in the sand. It’s a fun place that guarantees a rowdy good time. www.theofficeonthebeach.com/