Paceo Malecon San Jose, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico
The sprawling but understated Cabo Azul is the latest resort to grace the beach in San Jose del Cabo. The all–villa resort artfully mixes chic and sophisticated for an experience that's more like a swanky nightclub. With international billionaires and tabloid celebrities among its guests, privacy also comes standard with every stay.
This posh, 12–acre resort sits on 600 feet of white sand beach—some of the most prime real estate in all of San Jose del Cabo. Still, the understated entrance and classy white adobe buildings are testaments to the seclusion that has made Cabo Azul one of the most exclusive new properties in all of Los Cabos. The resort is the brainchild of celebrated interior designer Dodd Mitchell, who embraces exotic lighting effects and dramatic angles for a style that's familiar and innovative all at once. It's no wonder parent company Pacific Monarch Resorts immediately tabbed this as its flagship property.
For such a peaceful retreat, Cabo Azul is surprisingly right in the heart of it all. The gated, cobblestone entrance to the resort sits on the Paseo Malecon San Jose, the main resort strip in San Jose del Cabo. No guest room is more than 100 steps from the beach, and the resort itself is a short five–minute drive from downtown San Jose. If you've brought a vehicle, on–site valets will gladly give you directions to any place in town. If you've arrived on a charter from the airport or marina, the resort provides complimentary town car service as well.
Design is an art form at Cabo Azul. From the dramatic lobby, which is characterized by dark wood and comfy leather, meandering pathways lead to the courtyard, where a mix of colorful desert and tropical flora create the feeling of an oasis. Giant, earthen ceramics abound. In the center of the courtyard, interconnected infinity pools cascade toward the Pacific, and cement walkways go over portions of each pool so guests can quite literally walk on water. Wicker lounges and daybeds circle these pools. At dusk, open–flame torches illuminate your way through the hotel. Naturally, the torches lead down to the beach, where the crashing surf provides the perfect lullaby at any time of day or night.
Accommodations at Cabo Azul are located in several apartment–style buildings throughout the resort. There are 332 rooms in all (they're called "villas"), and each offers a full kitchen, dining area, living area and more. Airy floor plans range from 1,202 to 3,682 square feet including one, two and three–bedroom suites with private pools and terraces. All furniture is hand–crafted from mahogany and other dark woods; floors are wood as well. Each villa boasts one spacious marble bathroom per bedroom, and every master bedroom has a separate super–sized soaker tub with an unobstructed view of the ocean. All rooms also feature Mitchell's signature lighting: copper fixtures with yellow bulbs, a combination that creates a dim but inviting ambiance throughout.
Additional touches in most rooms include flat–screen televisions and DVD players, as well as spacious patios with sweeping views of the Pacific. In some of the largest villas, the patios also boast outdoor cooking areas and Jacuzzis. Naturally, these top–of–the–line accommodations also come standard with a private chef who will cook and cater to your every culinary need.
A smorgasbord of other dining choices is available, too. Start at the pool bar, a giant palapa–covered hut that serves scrumptious margaritas and light bites such as ceviche, tacos and carnitas. It's Mexico, so you can bet the tortillas and salsa are fresh––the resort employs cooks whose are exclusively charged with preparing these two staples, all day long. In the summer of 2008, the bar also plans to open a tequila–tasting bar where guests can sample tapas–style appetizers and some of the area's finest libations. Another option for dining: the on–site deli, which also boasts a bakery (try the croissants), coffee shop and complimentary Internet café.
More upscale dining is available at Javier's Cantina & Grill, the South–of–the–Border outpost of an Orange County restaurant by the same name. The scene at Javier's is modern and dark, but food at Javier's combines the best in regionally influenced home–style Mexican cooking with fresh ingredients. Menu highlights feature everything from tamales and enchiladas to carne asada and, on occasion, menudo, or beef tripe stew. Of course equally stunning is the restaurant's outdoor patio—a covered beachfront area with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. There's no better place to watch the sunset than right here.
Cabo Azul's newest addition is Paz, its full–service spa and salon. Against the backdrop of cascading waterfalls, the spa offers 3,000 square feet of pure, pampered indulgence. There are 11 treatment rooms in all, and a menu of treatments that features a dozen different massages and facials. The spa also operates two secluded treatment cabanas on the beach, and a fitness center with Cybex equipment and a host of complimentary yoga classes throughout the week.
Sunbathing is the main pastime at Cabo Azul, though the property's beach volleyball court does get hopping around 2 p.m. every day. More adventuresome guests can spend their time sportfishing, shopping or playing golf—four courses sit within seven miles of the resort. Of course the hustle, bustle and Spring Break mayhem of Cabo San Lucas is never too far away if you desire. After an entire visit of pampering at Cabo Azul, the question is: will you really want to leave?
Web Address: www.caboazulresort.com
Total Number of Rooms: 332
Published rates: $350 to $2,000
Review by Matt Villano; photos courtesy of Cabo Azul.