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One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico

Published July 12, 2013

As soon as you turn off the dusty main highway of Los Cabos and head up the ramp of the Palmilla exit, you can tell you’re in for something different than what you’ve seen so far en route from the airpot. First hint: the surrounding greenery. Enjoying a micro-climate at the edge of the peninsula, the One & Only Palmilla is a singular location, if ever there was one. Unlike any other spot in Cabo, the O&O is lush, verdant and unabashedly tropical. To call it an oasis reeks of cliché. However, the term could not be more fitting –particularly when referencing the spacious spa complex. Known to Hollywood figures for decades – it began as a private enclave of a Mexican producer who would often invite famous friends down for the weekend – and a favorite of the glitterati, O&O merits its revered reputation, and even upon first sight.

Catering to couples, though families are more than welcome and have their own designated pool (an infinity one, no less), O&O Palmilla maintains its renowned level of superior service with special touches like complimentary sunglass cleaning and poolside foot massages. Though despite the pronounced push towards lounging, I have never been to a hotel whose gym was so heavily utilized. Perhaps it’s the heavy California crowd or simply due to the sunny space and high-quality equipment, but unless you go at 5am, you’re liable to find yourself surrounded by toned gym-goers.

In Mexico, it’s all about the tequila. For me, it’s all about the guacamole, chips and michaladas (the mexican refresher of beer, lime juice and spicy flavors and peppers). I can say with full confidence (translation: multiple tastings), that the guacamole, tostada chips and micheladas are all top notch at Palmilla. And even though they have a Jean-Georges-helmed restaurant, they make sure to get the staples right, which for me is far more tell-tale at a hotel than any celebrity-chef led boite.

The Terrace Junior Suites are also exceptionally well-appointed, hitting all the necessities with aplomb: super large comfy beds with copious down comforting, a walk-in adobe-style shower and freestanding tub with water views and double vanities with ample counter space. The walk-in closet was a bit tight for two, but the sitting room more than made up for it, as did the terrace’s cozy cushioned daybed. Three nights was too short, yet enough to make you feel settled in and wonderfully spoiled.

For those traveling from the East Coast, do not discount Cabo. Flights are relatively painless (though mine was chock full of revelers who emptied the plane’s liquor supply within first three hours), the time difference works only in your favor with extra beach time and the two neighboring towns (Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo) are the ideal partner excursions: one quaint and laid back, the other loud and rambunctious. However, even if you stayed put at Palmilla the entire time, ideal would be an appropriate word to apply to the vacation.

One & Only Palmilla

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