Cabo Calling

by Editorial
Oceanfront, Junior Suite at The One & Only Palmilla

Oceanfront, Junior Suite at The One & Only Palmilla

The One & Only Palmilla Hotel has 172 rooms and suites, each with a private entryway.

The One & Only Palmilla Hotel has 172 rooms and suites, each with a private entryway.



KM 7.5 Carretera Transpeninsular
San Jose Del Cabo 
BCS, CP 23400 Mexico
Tel (52) 624-146-7000

The five-diamond, five-star Palmilla re-opened under new management after a $90 million renovation with a tsunami of buzz when the resort hosted John Travolta’s 50th birthday party, which brought Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Robin Williams, and many other A-list celebrities to the resort for a long fiesta weekend.  Soon after, Demi Moore, AshtonKutcher, Jessica Simpson and Will Smith were pictured in People magazine vacationing at the resort

While there is genuine intrigue about celebrity guests (on my visit I spotted Steven Tyler of Aerosmith in the hot tub, most of the cast of Grey’s Anatomy A and a who row of Ford models at the pool), the resort’s beauty, service, and luxury are the real stars.


The rooms: The 50-year-old resort was once a small (15-room) hotel only accessible by private plane or yacht and a favorite getaway of Ernest Hermingway and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Today, the resort has 172 oceanfront rooms with modern amenities (TV, Bose CD player, phone and wireless Internet service that works faster than my cable in D.C. – even on the beach!). Most rooms feature a terrace with lounge  chairs large enough to sleep on.  Amenities are impeccable, from the handwritten goodnight notes and the beach and heat protecting sun lotion carrier to the complimentary tequila bar that is re-stocked twice a day by your personal butler.

The amenities: The staff knows your name even before they’ve met you and will massage your feet while you sit by one of the two infinity edge pools.  By the second morning, the waiters remember that you like a cappuccino with a half shot of espresso and extra foam, and it is there by the time you sit down.  The resort also features a world-class 27-hole Jack Nicklaus course, which has hosted the PGA Tour senior Slam.  The concierge can also set up a number of tours including deep-sea fishing and hiking. 

The Spa: The resort puts emphasis on incorporating local atmosphere. Latin rhythms beat in the workout facilities.  The Aztec Ritual spa treatment begins with a floral foot massage inside one of the private treatment villas.  The body wrap includes a warm mixture of cloves, ginger and cinnamon and finishes with a 60-minute deep tissue massage.

Dining: The resort houses two restaurants Charlie Trotter’s (of Chicago) “C,” which specializes in local fish and salads.  Aqua at the other end of the property, also puts emphasis on local flavors.  Head chef Larbi Dahrouch hails from Washington and once trained with Michel Richard.  He refers to his menu as “Mexiterrean” and specialties range from tomato caprese salad to pork chops with intense chili pepper paste.  Both restaurants promote local Mexican vineyards located in the Northern Baja strip.  Daytime dining is less sophisticated, but just as appetizing.  Choices range from freshly made quesadillas and fajitas to salads and burgers. 

The Bottom Line: Rooms start at about $500 a nigh in season.  Breakfast for two can easily reach $80 and margaritas begin at $12.  If cost is not a concern, this is a unique luxury resort that will not disappoint. 

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