The golden beach stretches on to either side, trimmed with a fleet of resorts that have long been a permanent fixture in this long corridor that connects lively Cabo San Lucas with the more reserved San Jose. Ahead is the Sea of Cortez, as sparkling and spirited as ever, with mating manta rays leaping a few feet above its surface some miles out. Up above, the sky is wide and blue, and bedecked with feathery clouds and majestic birds. And behind are Cabo’s desert hills, which may not be as impressive as the rest but make quite a striking contrast to the turquoise of the water.
Owner Eduardo Sanchez Navarro couldn’t have picked a more idyllic spot for Casa del Mar, the first of its kind when it opened in 1995. One need only walk to the beach to see the most spectacular sunrise, sit by the infinity edge pool to watch the setting sun paint the landscape pastel orange, and look straight up to see the constellations at night.
Still, it is Navarro’s boutique hotel that’s the centerpiece here.
Just 21 minutes from San Lucas and 14 minutes from San Jose, Casa del Mar is the very stuff of Baja holiday dreams, a lush hacienda-style oasis in a sea of sand. And it comes with two watering holes, one of which is a swim up pool bar that serves excellent margaritas, fabulous piña coladas, and addictive grilled shrimp tacos; as well as a complete fitness room, several pools and Jacuzzis, and gardens of palm trees and flowering bougainvillea. Let’s not forget its three onsite dining options, one of which—Tapacano—happens to make amazing chilaquiles (order it with both green and red sauces if you want the best) and the tastiest freshly squeezed orange juice (because you can’t have fruit juices any other way).
It also boasts the highly acclaimed Suenos Del Mar Spa, which might just be its best feature. The spa’s sundry massages and treatments include the usual offerings as well as global traditions like the Traditional Mayan, Thai and Shiatsu. Predictably, I jump at the chance to sample the Balinese. How could I resist? It’s essentially a delightful medley of several massage techniques—from Jasmine aromatherapy to kneading, stroking, rolling and light pinching to hot stones—designed to relax, relieve muscle pain and reset the system. It’s exactly what I need.
Things haven’t always run smoothly here. A little over two years ago, Casa del Mar was a wreck, the aftermath of the devastating hurricane that had jostled its way through the picturesque region and stomped on infrastructure like a giant child throwing a fit.
Following a major do over, however, the beachfront luxury hotel is back to its stunning self. The courtyard, whose heart is a modest fountain often sprinkled with purple bougainvillea petals, remains open on both sides to receive the breeze. And the antique pieces that Navarro had brought back from his grandparents’ hacienda in mainland Mexico—from the mirrors and paintings to the grand, intricate doors—continue to adorn its walls.
The resort now also sports a few modern updates. With its days of being an all-inclusive property far behind it, Casa del Mar is also fast moving towards an eco-friendlier and more community supportive approach. Their in-room toiletries are locally sourced and organic; most of their wine is from Ruta del Vino in the north; and much of the produce, seafood, meats and cheeses used in the kitchens are from local farms and producers like Huerta Los Tamarindos.
The transformations don’t stop there. Each of Casa del Mar’s 50 beautiful suites, which are divided into seven categories from Junior suites to a two-bedroom Presidential suite, now boasts a fresher and brighter aesthetic: white with splashes of color. Topping that off are new furnishings and key pieces such as rain showers and white marble in the bathrooms, 42” plasma flat screens, and teak furniture on the oceanfront terraces. I myself am quite attached to the transformative beds. Dressed in luxurious white beddings to match the rooms’ airy look, they seem to have a knack for enveloping guests in dreamy plushness and sweet slumber.
All these and yet my favorite might just be the delicious morning yoga session set on the sun deck at the beach. It’s not because it’s the best yoga class I’ve ever had or it’s even marginally special. As Casa del Mar’s very first offering in its budding wellness program, the class is so stripped down even the most inexperienced novice could do it.
But as I stand there in Vrksasana with sand on my arms and legs, the sun on my face and the sounds of the lapping waves in my ears, I suddenly have a complete epiphanic understanding of why Navarro had picked this particular spot for his small paradise. Caught between the powerful sway of the ocean and the wildness of the desert hills, there’s something magical and irreducible about it. With or without the resort, it’s the perfect place to just be.
http://casadelmar.com.mx/ | (866) 505-4530 | Doubles start at $198 per night