The Finer Things: One&Only Palmilla

In Los Cabos, Stay by Suzanne Koch

It’s like the best parts of Mexico gathered together in my room to greet me on arrival. There was a massive bowl of chips and guacamole, a pitcher of Agua de Jamaica (hibiscus tea), a fancy bottle of tequila, ocean views and hacienda-style design in every nook and cranny of the oversized suite that was likely larger than my home. There were even custom made blue agave-scented lotions and soaps in containers designed after Don Julio tequila bottles. Viva Mexico, am I right? After being slightly confused as to where the lobby was to check in (there isn’t one) and whisked off to my room by my own butler, I didn’t know where to start. Remember being a kid in a toy store and you couldn’t decide which direction to run first? It was kind of like that.

My insanely luxe room was modest compared to the rest of the resort which was picture-perfect ready at every turn. There was a large lawn sprinkled with hammocks that stretched out over the rocky shores and even the stone steps down to the beach looked worthy of a castle. The lounge chairs were about as plush as the beds and the décor as pretty as the views. And while it sounds cliché, no detail was ever left unnoticed. I even returned to my room the first night to find a sewing kit left by housekeeping to “match my wardrobe,” bright blue thread that perfectly matched my dress hanging in the closet. And although there was a very low chance I would actually be able to use it if need be, my butler would no doubt be able to sew it up in no time. I had come to learn there was nothing they couldn’t and wouldn’t do.  

With views of the Bay of San Jose del Cabo behind skinny, towering palms, the place was nothing short of a tropical palace. Burrowed into the Palmilla neighborhood in San Jose del Cabo, and long a favored getaway of celebrities, athletes and Hollywood big shots, One&Only Palmilla is literally the lap of luxury among Baja’s five-star retreats. Even NEO boutique (read: gift shop), normally stocked with boring trinkets, is something off Rodeo Drive. Shelves are lined with Christian Louboutin shoes and designs by Stella McCartney, Missoni and more, plus a variety of collections made exclusively for the resort.

Steps away, the steakhouse Seared is basically a runway for beefy meats. An eye-catching glass-walled cellar is packed with dangling cuts available to handpick for your dinner, while the low-light atmosphere and swanky furniture give off the vibe that someone important might casually be sitting behind you. I don’t think I would have even noticed though; my heaping plate of filet, ribeye, New York Strip and lamb with six different dipping sauces was way more enticing than any famous face could ever be.

Sweat Sesh

Since it was the week post Thanksgiving, I decided to do something other than just eat. I wandered down to the spa to check out their newest Temazcal experience, which is essentially an igloo-shaped clay structure that works like a sweat lodge, only better. For 120 minutes (that sounds less intimidating than two hours right?) I was sealed in, breathing in fresh-burning herbs and copal incense while real-life resident Shaman—Raul Retana from the Sonoran Mayo tribe—led the ceremony. As an Arizona-native, profusely sweating with my face near a burning flame was just another day in the life but as an ancient regional practice, the steamy wellness experience was an ultra-relaxing way to sweat out all the margaritas I had drank. I recommend giving it a try in the late afternoon so you get a blast of cool air when you exit. Follow it up with some fresh-off-the-boat sushi at Suviche, the resort’s posh French-Asian outlet, and you’re on your way to embracing that wellness life you keep talking about.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2018 issue of Arizona Foothills Magazine.

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