Pack your bags, invite some friends, and live la vida luxe
By Rebecca Louie
Comfort and convenience await the discerning traveler who is able to ignore the bawdy spring breakers flocking to the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. The stunning vacation spot features a cool combination of outdoor adventure, elite resorts, burgeoning culture, and decadent amenities. Pack your bags, invite some friends, and live la vida luxe
Morning: Don’t be creeped out if Mexican officials give you a federal health survey to complete upon arriving at SJD Los Cabos International Airport. (Despite all the knuckle biting, at press time Baja California Sure, the state in which Los Cabos is located, only had three cases of swine flu this year, and all were successfully treated.) Instead, fill out the card, then hop in a rental car and ride down the Los Cabos Corridor—a 21-mile stretch of highway between the area’s two towns: Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo. Pull into the One&Only Palmilla Resort, where Oprah, John Travolta, and Tom Cruise have all stayed.
The O&O has 172 beautiful guest rooms, decked out in Mexican handicraft, all with a view of the Sea of Cortez. But why settle for a room when you can live in a lush villa? Check into O&O’s heartstoppingly lavish 8,500-square-foot four-bedroom Villa Cortez. As you nosh on welcome margaritas and canapés, get acquainted with your personal staff of 12, ranging from butlers and housekeepers to a massage therapist and nanny. Relax in your stone-floor digs, which includes a spa, a gym, a 12-person screening room, an office, and a 2,000-square-foot beachfront veranda with whirlpool, fountains, and fire pits. Have your chef whip up lunch to eat under the traditional open-air palapa roof. Take in the sun on a plush daybed beside your infinity pool and contemplate the Sea of Cortez, then hit the town.
Afternoon: Stroll through the historic fishing village San José del Cabo, which is also the heart of the local art scene. Buy crafts and knickknacks from small shops, and go gallery hopping in more than 20 classic and contemporary art showrooms. The Corsica Galeria de Arte has exquisite and edgy Mexican works. On Thursday nights from November to June, the area dons a fiesta feel with Art Walk, when vendors host special events, cocktails, and wine. To maintain your midday buzz, stop at tequila boutique Los Barriles de Don Malaquias. The owner is a descendant of Jose Cuervo, and the selection of sips is daunting.
Evening: The deserts of Los Cabos teem with flora and fauna. Tour the land via two popular auto expeditions, the Hummer Adventure Tour and the 4×4 Desert Safari, or see nature on horseback. The steeds of Cuadra San Fransisco appeared in the film Troy, and celebs, such as Ben Stiller and Serena Williams, have ridden them. If you crave the seaside, gallop down the beach. From December through March, you can sometimes see gray whales—another Los Cabos attraction— frolicking in the waves.
Late night: Shower, grab a cocktail, then head downstairs to Market, O&O’s restaurant by Michelin-starred top chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Designed by Per Se and Le Cirque’s Adam D. Tihany, the elegant haunt incorporates local produce and fish to create mouthwatering dishes. Afterward, hit the sack. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.