Built in 1957 by the son of a former president of México, Palmilla was the first resort introduced to the Los Cabos area, and it retains an old-world ambiance and elegance that is without match in the region. This spacious, leafy, distinguished resort is home to renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's SEARED restaurant, and chef Larbi Dahrouch's more casual, waterfront spot Agua. Adding to the never-ending amenities are a sushi and ceviche bar that looks out over the Sea of Cortés, a Jack Nicklaus golf course, and a top spa. Two pools seem to flow over low cliffs into the sea, and each of the beach casitas has its own infinity pool. Hand-painted tiles edge stairways leading to rooms and suites that have Bose sound systems, flat-screen TVs, illy espresso machines, and handcrafted Mexican accents like studded antique doors, wool rugs, and a gorgeous bar stocked to make any cocktail. Some patios and terraces have daybeds and unobstructed sea views.
Spectacular terrace or patio views are available from each of One&Only Palmilla’s 174 rooms and suites, with exquisite contemporary Mexican décor courtesy of Chicago based interior design firm Anderson/Miller.
Private butlers highlight the resort’s commitment to next-level service.
Enormous ocean view soak tubs are among the posh bathroom amenities, which also include fragrant soaps, sprays, and shampoos made exclusively for the resort by Blue Agave.
Staff greet guests, and each other, with the resort’s signature Huichol salute, in which the right hand is placed over the heart. The first exposure to this charming gesture is typically in the “lobby,” an airy, rectangular entryway with ceiling fans, potted plants, and wrought iron lamps; where guests are greeted on arrival before being escorted to their rooms. Check-ins are done in the guest rooms.
The resort claims two large ocean view infinity pools: one reserved for adults, the other for families.
Playa Palmilla is one of the best of the corridor’s swimmable beaches. Cabañas and food and beverages are available at what the resort terms “Pelican Beach,” a specially serviced area of Playa Palmilla.
The pampering One&Only Spa offers a full range of massages and therapies in 13 private treatment villas, as well as the area’s finest collection of salon services: OBO Salon--ROIL by Beverly Hills stylist Amanda George, men’s grooming at Barber&Blade, and a mani-pedi studio from famed French podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez.
The state-of-the-art fitness facility features cardiovascular and weight-training machines by Technogym.
Preferred tee times are available at the Jack Nicklaus designed Palmilla Golf Club.
The headliners are celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who offers steakhouse specialties and fresh local seafood at SEARED; and Larbi Dahrouch, protégé of legendary chef Jean-Louis Palladin, and a pioneer of “Mexiterranean” cuisine at Agua by Larbi. Less publicized pleasures include delicious breakfasts at Breeze, sushi and ceviches at Suviche, and comfort food favorites at the Pelican Beach Grill.
Enjoy cocktails in one of three spots boasting gorgeous Sea of Cortés views: at the colorfully appointed, poolside Agua Bar; on the breezy One&Only Terrace; or in air-conditioned comfort in the One&Only Lounge.
Rentals cars are recommended for leisurely explorations of cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, as well as regional day-trip destinations like Todos Santos and La Paz.
Farm-to-table standouts Flora’s Field Kitchen and Acre (both 15-minutes by car, off the East Cape Road, in the Ánimas Bajas area on the outskirts of San José del Cabo) are two of the best restaurants in Los Cabos, and the best examples of the booming locavore movement.
Try the saki at Nick-San’s sushi bar in Las Tiendas de Palmilla (The Shoppes at Palmilla, just across the highway from the resort), or more upscale offerings at the restaurant’s Champagne Lounge Bar.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Hotel Palmilla was the first hotel of consequence to open in Los Cabos, in 1957, and 13 years after receiving the One&Only imprimatur in 2004, it remains the region’s benchmark lodging. The commitment to five-star service is unmatched, with a 3 to 1 staff to guest ratio, and some 60 gardeners working daily to maintain the lush, immaculately tended grounds.