If your idea of heaven is a gorgeous pool with a view of the surf, plenty of sunshine and truly polished service, then a stay at a posh hotel in Los Cabos may just be your honeymoon fantasy. At these tony properties, infinity-edge pools line the Sea of Cortés, surrounded by perfectly manicured palm trees. Walk toward your chaise of choice, and waiters will run—literally—to open your umbrella, stretch out your towels and bring you ice water. Sure, the waves are too rough in most places for you to swim in the sea, but we think you'll agree with the Hollywood types who make Los Cabos their weekend getaway that you won't miss diving into the surf. Spend a week at one of these three decadent resorts, relaxing each day in the glorious sun and cooling off in the pool, and we promise that all the stresses of the wedding week will disappear forever—and all you'll remember will be the joy of being together.
If you think that pools get boring, the stylish 56-room Esperanza resort may just change your mind. This luxe property has two pool areas—the sprawling, kidney-bean-shaped "family pool," with a swim-up bar and plenty of inflatable toys, and the stunning "adults-only" pool area, with a duo of rectangular pools, lined with smooth navy tiles and ingeniously tiered into the hillside for optimum privacy. You'll want to spend your time here, of course, where you can thrill in the blissful quiet, and eventually make your way down to the rocky shoreline where there are lounge chairs, as well as sexy canopied sun beds upon which you can bask with your new husband, curtains drawn, all afternoon. Gwyneth Paltrow and Nikki Hilton both honeymooned here, and you can see right away why the place is popular with the young and famous, as well as the famously reclusive, like Usher and Will Smith. All you need are a big hat and oversized sunglasses, and you'll feel ready for your close-up in this posh environment.
While the pools are spectacular, especially when they sparkle in the sunlight, what really stands out is the service. Chilled bottles of water arrive in silver buckets, along with refreshing body misters scented with "Baja Lime" (the hotel's signature fragrance) and iced towels. Every half-hour, on the dot, waiters bring around complimentary snacks. The treats range from lime sorbet in little glass cones to coconut-cream and coffee-cream Popsicles to pumpkin seeds or nuts that have been roasted with chilies. They're all delectable—and the perfect reason to put down your book and chat with your sweetie.
Order lunch by the pool, or wrap yourself in a sarong and head up to the hotel's open-air, palapa-topped restaurant for lobster tacos, roasted vegetable salsa and (of course) fresh, rich guacamole. Another option: Wander over to the family pool, where you can order seared fish or fried calamari at the poolside Palapa Grill.
In addition to the pools, the hotel has a small, well-equipped gym; a yoga studio, which offers classes every morning; and an outdoor spa, complete with a steam room, a soaking tub and a lovely outdoor shower, all built into a landscaped rock garden. At the spa, choices include the decadent, couples-only "Fruits of Passion" treatment ($520 for two), a two-hour indulgence that starts with a dip in a private pool, followed by coconut body scrubs and soothing Balinese massages.
In the evening, reserve Table 60 (located on the furthest point of the restaurant's outdoor terrace, which stretches out over the cliff) and order the tasting menu, paired with local wines from the northern part of the Baja Peninsula (approximately $200 for two, including wine). Just be sure the chef serves up some of his amazing tuna ceviche, a memorable version of the local favorite, made with fresh locally caught yellowfin.
After dinner, retire to your cabana, where, from the hammock on your terrace, you can watch for shooting stars and admire the way even a trace of moonlight reflects off the smoothest parts of the otherwise frothy, churning sea (Carretera Transpeninsular Km 7 Punta Ballena, Cabo San Lucas; esperanzaresort.com).
If Esperanza is warm and low-key, then Las Ventanas al Paraiso is cool and chic. Here, the main pool is set up so that it curves around the edge of the sea, making it possible for members of the see-and-be-seen crowd to check one another out, while at the same time admiring the horizon. LeAnn Rimes and Kate Beckinsale honeymooned here, and countless other celebrities jet down for romantic weekends. (Ask your pool butler, and he'll regale you with stories of the day that Robin Williams organized the guests into teams for pool games.)
The butlers keep the drinks flowing, and loan out iPods (loaded with jazz, hip-hop, electronica or rock and roll), miniature TVs—with Web access and cable—and Hot Type monitors, which are clever little computers programmed with the most talked about new novels.
Bathers never have to go far for food, since the Sea Grill restaurant keeps a couple of tables right in the pool. Guests can savor fish tacos or octopus ceviche with a couple of margaritas, and then swim back to their lounge chairs. Our advice: Don't paddle away without trying the creamy yogurt-coconut sorbet—it's the perfect antidote to the midday heat.
The 61 guest rooms are as stylishly chic as the pool area, with stucco walls and built-in tiled "headboards," as well as beamed ceilings and terraces topped with miniature whirlpool tubs, which, when the temperature rises, are filled with cooled water.
Here, too, the spa is open-air, and treatments include products derived from local agave and cactus plants. There's also a gym, an Internet-access room and a tequila bar, with tasting lessons every Friday night. Best of all, golf lovers don't have to leave the resort to work on their swing: The 18-hole Cabo Real Golf Course stretches around the edge of the property.
At dinnertime, head down to the main restaurant, where the Swiss chef uses local ingredients in his Continental dishes, or reserve a table for two on the beach, surrounded by tiki torches, for a private dinner ($150, plus the cost of dinner). Just don't wear your best shoes—you never know when the cool seawater may tickle your toes (Carretera Transpeninsular Km 19.5, San Jose del Cabo; lasventanas.com).
At first glance, the 172-room One and Only Palmilla offers many of the same services as Las Ventanas—pool butlers clean your sunglasses, housekeepers scent guest rooms with aromatherapy fragrances at turndown and personal butlers place sewing kits (with thread selected to match your clothes) in your room (once they've had a chance to peek at your wardrobe). But the most immediate difference between Palmilla and Las Ventanas (as well as Esperanza) is the setting. Fifty years ago, Palmilla was the first hotel to be built in the area, and when it was renovated and rebranded two years ago it retained its signature dense foliage and jungle-like landscape. In contrast to the arid settings of the other two properties, Palmilla feels downright lush.
It's also considerably larger, with many more rooms. The sprawling design has guests calling for chauffeured golf carts to pick them up and take them around. This bustling resort—which is more popular with families than the other two—is always hopping. Carts buzz back and forth, and children play catch with the lifeguard in the family pool. Even in the adult pool, people seem to be more social—striking up conversation with those around them, and pointing out iguanas on the deck.
There are also more dining choices here. In addition to the casual restaurant by the pool, and the more formal dining room that serves a Mexican-influenced menu, Palmilla also has C restaurant, an outpost of Charlie Trotter's popular chain. Inside C, the wine is housed in chilled, glass-enclosed rooms, so that guests can watch as the sommelier pulls their bottle off the rack. Wine-lovers will find the sommelier to possess a wealth of knowledge on wines from the Baja area as well as from around the world. And, at night, the bar at C comes alive with a band and a boisterous crowd. If you want a more private meal, consider booking the hotel's "Bougainvillea Dinner," a catered supper on your terrace with a full menu from either of the resort's two restaurants, brought to you—course by course—by waiters in golf carts. It's pricey, but unforgettable. The experience begins in your room with a flower- and candle-lined path leading to your terrace, where a table set for two is surrounded by glowing candelabras. The waiters put your favorite music on the stereo, pour you each a glass of wine, and then bring out course after course, from cheese-stuffed poblano chilies to empanadas (little turnovers filled with stewed chicken) and, finally, dessert.
Whether you order the chocolate-covered caramel tart, the Oaxacan cheesecake or the traditional tres leches cake (which is soaked with sweetened condensed milk), we guarantee you'll want to clean your plate. After dessert, the waiters leave you to finish your wine and bask in the candlelight—and how you spend the rest of the night is up to you (Carretera Transpeninsular Km 7.5, San Jose del Cabo; onenandonlyresorts.com).
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