Matthew Hardeman checks into one of Baja’s hottest promises (and where Trump’s wall couldn’t seem stranger...)
Known for its jet-set regulars and peerless blue skies, the Pacific retreat of Los Cabos is something of a peculiarity — and not just for Mexico. It perhaps shares more in common with its northerly neighbour, California, with its hordes of A-list actors, billionaires and super-prime real estate (George Clooney owns a house here, for one). It’s a quiet place, down on the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula — at least along the white-sand shoreline and dirt roads that carve up vast stretches of cacti desert. The natural peace the scenery affords led to its humble beginnings as the Pacific coast’s dreamiest escape, long before the super-rich arrived, but today, it contends with grand designs and ambitions.
The brainchild of Mexican entrepreneur Miguel Ángel Aragonés (and the fruit of many millions of dollars of investment), Mar Adentro’s ultra-modern take on luxury is more reminiscent of an alien mothership than a hotel. It’s a towering architectural statement as much as anything else; a striking formation dominating the shoreline with its sleek lines and bright, pearly tones and glassy pools. The cubic ‘floating’ designs of the rooms were designed to resemble islands, we are told, with their reflective and light wood surfaces blending with the horizon, flat screens behind lacquered glass and sleek, laser-like lighting fixtures that lead out onto the balcony, where each suite has its own Jacuzzi (there are twin walk-in Hansgrohe showers inside). The Tron-like lights lining the walls and ceilings come with endless colour controls — which won’t appeal to all, but it’s nice to have some choice. If Apple designed a hotel, this is what it would look like (it certainly couldn’t be further from any picture of Mexico painted by Donald Trump).
The facilities are state of the art — from the lounge cinema to its hi-tech gym. Same goes for its spa — Mar Abierto — where yoga classes are encouraged. The health-strict spaceship vibes at Mar Adentro won’t be for everyone — more laid-back visitors may want something a little less manicured, but the service is impeccable. Staff are friendly and attentive (and not cloyingly so), and the rooms are well appointed. The linens are soft, the beds are comfortable (and king-sized).
Just a mile outside from San Jose Estuary, guests are within easy reach of the palm tree-lined parks and plazas of old colonial town San José del Cabo — particularly with the free bikes the hotel loans to guests (it’s a little over a ten-minute walk to Playa Las Palmas, and a few miles from the Art District). As a result surfers, golfers and whale-watchers will find plenty to stay for, Los Cabos offers some of the best you can find anywhere in Mexico, not to mention one of the world’s largest reefs, in Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park.
For more nocturnal pursuits, the clubs and bars of Cabo San Lucas make for an intriguing alternative to more typical Mexican nightlife — both with its more polished establishments, and the slightly less refined Spring-break-style watering hotels (we recommend checking out the more upmarket Acre restaurant for rarer cuts). The food at Mar Adentro offers plenty of colour and fizz. The outdoor ‘farm to table’ restaurant offers Modern twists on traditional Mexican (the fish lives up to all expectations and more), best served with its excellent margaritas. It’s here that the vibe works its best: watch the sun rise, piercing the gaps in the bird’s nest-style dining ‘cocoon’ on the water, from the Tetris-esque al-fresco area behind the hotel lobby over a perfect huevos rancheros.
Walking down onto the private beach through a spiralling stone maze, it’s hard to pull yourself away, which of course is precisely the point.
Book Mar Adentro with Small Luxury Hotels of the World from US$496 per night (two sharing) on a B&B basis (www.slh.com/maradentro; 0800 0482 314)
Aeromexico flies from London Heathrow to Mexico City 6 times a week (daily from April 2017) with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Prices start at £2129,00 in Clase Premier, £636,00 return in Economy.
**Mar Adentro is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World groups**