From S.A.B., San Francisco, CA
Where I went: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Why I went: Long weekend/family vacation.
Who was on the trip: Myself, my wife, our daughter (age 4 ½ years old), my father/mother-in-law and my brother/sister-in-law and their two sons (ages 4 ½ and one).
When: Late October. TIP: Late October is “bridge” season in Cabo. The weather is beautiful; it’s less crowded than peak season (November through April) and there’s still great fishing, golf, etc.
Who organized it: Exclusive Resorts (but it could have easily been arranged directly through the hotel).
Where we stayed: The Villas at Esperanza (the residential club at Auberge’s Esperanza Resort). Esperanza was recently renovated and is very well appointed. We stayed in a four-bedroom villa which was great for our large group. It was 4,000 square feet (indoor/outdoor living space) with a huge living area, a full kitchen, wireless access, flat screen TVs, a huge pool, a Jacuzzi, a laundry room with a washer and a dryer and four oversized bathrooms (with huge showers and Jacuzzi tubs). Three bedrooms had king beds while the fourth had two queens. All villas have ocean views and are within walking distance to all of the resort’s facilities, including three pools and a private beach. (TIP: The ground floor villas allow for easier access to the resort as the upstairs involved stairs).
What I’d go back for: Fantastic, reliable weather; good, local Mexican food and the overall relaxing environment.
Where We Ate: Generally we ate at our villa or at one of the resort’s restaurants.
We had light meals (toast, fruit and coffee) at our villa. There are a couple of grocery stores located close to the hotel that we shopped at though the concierge can arrange for groceries (at an added cost). The hotel also offers breakfast (via room service or at the restaurant).
-The Restaurant at Esperanza has a Mediterranean-influenced menu as well as extensive wine and tequila lists. Its three levels are built into a cliff that overlooks the Sea of Cortez.
-The Palapa, which serves lunch and dinner daily, is the private grill located at the residence club (the Villas at Esperanza). It offers great views as well as a swim-up bar.
-Tapas is Esperanza’s newest restaurant and is only open for breakfast and lunch. The menu includes sandwiches, burgers, salads, pastas and fresh seafood.
Esperanza also offers several “dining events.” We attended (and liked) one called Mexicanisimo, an oceanside party that occurs every Thursday from 6:30 to 9: 30 p.m. A Mariachi entertains; there’s Mexican food and drinks, and local artisans display and sell their various crafts. The evening ends with fireworks.
(Editor’s Note: Other Esperanza dining events include: Carnavalisimo, a beach BBQ with live music and salsa dancing (Wednesdays, 6:30-9:30); tequila tastings with a master tequilero (Tuesdays and Saturdays, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.) and cooking classes led by the resort’s executive chef Flynt Payne (Saturdays, 11:30 a.m). You can also sign up for a cigar, or puro, appreciation class in which you’ll learn the history of cigars and how to roll them.
-There are several restaurants at neighboring resorts (like One and Only Palmilla, Las Ventanas, etc.) and in Cabo if you feel the need to venture out. The concierge at Esperanza can provide recommendations and a list of restaurants can be found at http://www.loscabosguide.com/dining/dinintro.htm. We ventured over to Las Ventanas, which is about a 20-minute drive away, for dinner one night. The atmosphere and food were both great but be advised it’s very expensive and not kid friendly. We left the kids at Esperanza with baby-sitters.
Cabo has lots to offer for those looking to actively engage themselves (versus lounging by the pool or on the beach). Some of the more notable activities (all of which the concierge can arrange) include: ATV Tours (http://www.cabosanlucastours.net/ATV-Tours.htm); fishing (Cabo is world famous for it’s deep sea fishing); golf (Cabo has world-class offering most of which can be viewed at www.golfcabosanlucas.com); horseback riding (Rancho Collins Horses 624/143-3652 and Red Rose Riding Stables 624/143-4826); surfing (again the water can be dangerous with rocks and strong undertows. A good guide to surf spots can be found at www.loscabosguide.com/cabosanlucassurfing.htm swimming with dolphins (we took the kids to do this and they loved it. It is a bit expensive but again the kids thought it was well worth it. www.cabodolphins.com) and whale watching (Between January and March gray whales migrate from the Bering Strait to area waters, where females give birth).
The Spa at Esperanza was recently renovated and has indoor steam caves and waterfalls as well as outdoor pools and gardens.
Esperanza has several pools including two kid-friendly and two adult-only. (TIP: The pool at the hotel side is very peaceful, offers mesmerizing views as well as free foot massages when the spa is “slow.”)
Esperanza offers baby-sitting services (and all of the women we had were terrific) as well as a “kid-Zone” program during the day with various activities like piñatas and puppet making. Our daughter loved going every day and the staff could not have been nicer.
Esperanza has a great gym set-up (complete with fitness instructors) and a separate yoga studio with daily yoga and pilates classes.
Esperanza can arrange for a private chef to come to your villa and cook. We did this one night and found it to be a wonderful, easy experience with the kids.
Esperanza offers a business center complete with two laptops (free of charge) and daily New York Times faxes.
Most US rental car agencies offer cars in Cabo. However, Esperanza provides transportation to and from the airport (in air-conditioned SUVs complete with water and wet towels) and can arrange cars for other excursions so it’s not essential to rent one.
What I wish I knew in advance: More about the local restaurants.
What to skip: Swimming in the ocean. There are very strong undertows and steep drop-offs at most beaches and the resort recommends using extreme caution when swimming in the ocean (Hawaii is a better bet for this activity).
What not to miss: Enjoying a margarita and/or dinner while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
What we loved: The fantastic weather, the relaxing (very kid friendly) environment and the wonderfully accommodating staff.
Read our insider report on Cabo
Read our insider report on Costa Careyes
Read about Cuixmala, a special Mexican hideaway
Read about Betsey Johnson’s favorite Mexican escape
Read our insider report on the Riviera Maya
Read Liz Lange’s postcard on the Rosewood Mayakoba
For information on renting villas in Mexico or special offers and rates at hotels, contact our booking department by calling 212-988-2611 or by sending an inquiry