One & Only Palmilla is among a handful of luxury resorts that travelers can choose from in Baja California Sur's Los Cabos region, but its history may be the most interesting. Built in 1956, the hotel's construction was commissioned by Abelardo Rodriguez, the son of Mexico’s president at that time. When it opened to guests, the property was accessible only by boat or plane, lending it an exclusive air that was highly appealing to Mexican and American celebrities seeking refuge from the limelight. Famous guests of the era included Lucille Ball and John Wayne. Since then, the 15-room hideaway has expanded exponentially; it now boasts nearly 200 rooms and is accessible by car, thanks to the Carretera Transpeninsular. It still retains its luxurious air and continues to draw famous guests—as well as the merely well-off—looking for relaxing vacations in a gorgeous area where the mountains, desert, and sea meet. Each one of the resort's large rooms faces either the Pacific Ocean or the Sea of Cortéz, and all are decorated with traditional Mexican handicrafts.
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One & Only Palmilla is located in the Los Cabos region of Baja California Sur, where desert, mountain, and sea create a unique climate and abundant opportunities for outdoor activities. The hotel sits right on a private beach, with plenty of sun, sand, and sea exposure. San José del Cabo is the closest town, just a few minutes off property, and that's where guests head when they want to re-immerse themselves in civilization. San José del Cabo has plenty of boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants to explore. For excursions, tours, and other activities—including golfing, sailing, and deep-sea fishing or diving—hotel concierge staff can help guests consider their options and book trips on land or on sea.
Need to Know
Rooms: 173 rooms; from $765. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining:Guests rave about the dining options at One & Only Palmilla, which include Market, a restaurant by world-famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Market's menu is “Euro-Asian,” and the restaurant claims to have Mexico's most complete wine list. Other dining options include Agua by Larbi, billed as a “Mexiterranean” restaurant; Suviche, a sushi and ceviche spot, also by Vongerichten; and Breeze Café, an outdoor terrace café offering light lunches and snacks. Spa and gym details: The hotel's spa features ingredients grown in the Baja California region, including rosemary and basil, and treatments can be administered inside or outside. Services are available for couples and for expectant mothers. The hotel's wellness center features Technogym equipment. Staff will be happy to set up personal training for guests, which can include outdoor exercise activities such as “beach boot camp” or a kayak-based cardio workout. Other specialized training and class sessions include a boxing-based workout and private yoga and Pilates.
Who it's for: Travelers who want a view of the water from luxurious rooms. Our favorite rooms: The Villa Cortéz is a splurge, but a memorable one. More than 10,000 square feet of living space were constructed and decorated to evoke a traditional Mexican hacienda. The villa also has its own 12-person screening theater, gym and infinity pool, and private beach and fire pit. Sail away:For an ultra-special experience, guests can book the hotel's private yacht for a Sea of Cortéz or Pacific Ocean excursion. This is particularly recommended during the winter, when gray whales migrate from Alaska to give birth in the warm waters around Los Cabos.