Publication’s UK editors select the best hotels in Mexico worth the long flight time
LOS CABOS, Mexico – Conde Nast Traveler, a leading consumer travel magazine, conducts numerous reader surveys of the world’s best hotels, resorts and destinations. But when its editors speak, everyone listens. These well-traveled experts have an eye for detail and an unerring sense of what makes a hotel truly exceptional.
According to the publication, “Over the last few years a slew of new openings in Mexico has drawn attention away from Cancun’s supersized resorts and towards boutique stays with a focus on local artisans, design and sustainability.”
Los Cabos has successfully rebounded from the pandemic, welcoming a record number of visitors in the first quarter of 2022, but it remains an exclusive destination. In and around the 20-mile corridor linking lively Cabo San Lucas with charming San Jose del Cabo are several deluxe resorts set back from golden sand beaches.
Here are the editors’ selections of the three best resort hotels in Los Cabos. Happily for golfers, each property is affiliated with a world-class golf course.
Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve – “The high-stakes Cabo hotel scene has been particularly frenetic in recent years with fresh openings from big-name players,” the editors stated. “Amid the fray, Ritz-Carlton managed to seek out a peaceful 20-acre plot overlooking the Sea of Cortes and, for their fourth Reserve, built this retreat partially into the sand dunes.” In common with other Reserves (in Puerto Rico, Bali, and Thailand), Zadun offers “vast living rooms decorated in blue and white textiles, decorative objects (woven leather baskets, painted pottery) made by local artisans, and terraces with fire pits for a feel that’s more home than hotel room.” This splendid property also offers Spa Alkemia, a sanctuary of wellness and a veritable oasis in the desert. “But it’s the staff who are the real standout, remembering favorite breakfast tables and knowing where in the ginormous L-shaped pool – so large you can’t hear splashes in the other end – each swimmer will want that salt-rimmed Margarita served. In this town of elevated hotels, Ritz-Carlton shows that the bar can always be raised.”
Zadun is five minutes from Puerto Los Cabos Golf Cub, a 27-hole facility with an 18-hole course by Jack Nicklaus; and a nine-hole layout by Greg Norman. Three 18-hole combinations are available. Subtly contoured greens, sharp elevation changes and dramatic coastline views characterize the Nicklaus I & II nines. Flashed-faced bunkers, inspired by Melbourne’s Sandbelt courses, defend the fairways and greens on the Norman Course. Complimentary snacks and refreshments are served at a pair of on-course palapas.
Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas – “The eastern cape of the Baja California peninsula is like the Cabo of the 1960s, when a trip down to its tip was still largely about dirt roads and drinking tequila in the sun,” the editors reported. Located 90 minutes from Los Cabos, the cactus-studded landscape at Costa Palmas appeals to travelers seeking an alternative experience. A beachfront resort backed by the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, the Four Seasons is a remote hideaway and a favorite getaway for L.A. celebrities. All 141 rooms are designed to blend into the surrounding desert. Sliding glass doors lead to private terraces overlooking the Sea of Cortés, which welcomes swimmers to its tranquil waters. There’s a strong outdoor-adventure pull, from snorkeling in nearby Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park to kite-surfing in season and quad biking the dunes. For casual dining, toes-in-the-sand El Puesto is the spot for ceviche and Margaritas. For a proper sit-down meal, an outpost of beloved Greek restaurant Estiatorio Milos serves seafood dinners.
Four Seasons guests enjoy exclusive access to Costa Palmas Golf Club, which sprawls across a rolling “dunescape” set above the sea. Broad fairways and firm, fast conditions characterize the windswept course. Upland holes on this Robert Trent Jones II design bring a mesquite grove and strategically-placed bunkers into play. Lower-lying, links-style holes invite golfers to play bump ‘n run shots. There’s also a six-hole, par-3 loop and a one-acre putting course. Bouchie’s, an open-air café at the practice center, attracts adults and kids alike.
Montage Los Cabos – Only a few selected beaches in Los Cabos are “swimmable.” So when a great hotel debuts on the shores of a “dive-right-in section of sea,” it’s pure magic. Montage Los Cabos, the first international property from the southern California-based brand, is the region’s unicorn. Located on 39 acres of beachfront within the corridor, “Montage looks out on the serene, divinely swimmable waters of Santa Maria Bay,” the editors stated. “Just as impressive is the fact that all 122 guest rooms, suites and casas have ocean views, expansive terraces with daybeds and dining areas, and outdoor showers – just the sort of breezy indoor/outdoor set-up you want on a beach holiday.” Interiors favor local materials and a sophisticated desert palette (native wood, creamy sandstone, earth-toned woven throws), while landscaping embraces native, drought-resistant plants. The food at fine-dining Mezcal and casual beachfront Marea is executed with a light touch and an eye on health. (Marea has a separate vegan menu). Seafood – lobster ceviche, scallop tiradito, grilled Baja prawns – is the way to go at Mezcal.
Montage guests have exclusive access to Twin Dolphin Golf Club, a Fred Couples Signature design routed across a broad sloping plateau bisected by three major arroyos high above the sea. This naturalistic, unembellished course, framed by tall rocky peaks, has broad welcoming fairways and open-entry greens. The golf club occupies the site and retains the name of the iconic Hotel Twin Dolphin, a Cabo hospitality legend. Guests have access to a Tour-quality practice facility and two “Red Door” refreshment stations.