Paseo Malecon San Jose Lote 8, Zona Hotelera, San Jose del Cabo, BCS, Mexico
Unabashedly modern and minimalist, the Viceroy Los Cabos Resort is all about the water, the white, and a healthy you.
After a brief stint as the independent Mar Adentro Resort, the Viceroy organization took over this quirky, aggressively modern resort in 2018 and exponentially upped the marketing and publicity efforts to pull in well-heeled guests from the north. They inherited a white-on-white set of buildings from famed Mexican architect Miguel Angel AragonÃ©s that is perfect for Instagram shots of fashionable millennial women in red bikinis and flowing dresses. It may seem rather stark, however, to some of the middle-aged and up vacationers who can actually afford to stay here.
Management has taken a few steps to soften the palate and add a splash of color here and there, by hanging contemporary art in outdoor passageways and sometimes projecting colors onto the walls at night. You can't deny that the design effect of the complex is mesmerizing though, with white blocks that appear to be floating on water and a giant dome-shaped nest in the middle enclosing a bar. The upside-down nest idea continues down at the beach, where the design aesthetic continues all the way to the sand.
The idea was to blur the line between land and water, bringing "the sea inside" as the old Mar Adentro name promised. While the resort follows the typical plan of having rooms in the back and pools spilling down to the sea, here every vista feels fresh, each passage noticeably different from the usual beach resort scene. The elevated paths and ubiquitous water features make watching your step extremely important here though. Although families are welcome, one look at the layout is going to make most mothers think it'll be hard to relax while their kids are running around. There is a kid's club on site though for the little ones.
Five swimming pools in various configurations are surrounded by cushioned lounge chairs and waiters float around filling drink orders. Umbrellas provide a break from the strong Baja sunlight, around the pools and at the beach.
This resort goes further than most when it comes to what's out of the sun though, especially for fitness freaks and those who don't want to drop their wellness focus while on vacation. The extensive gym here just might be the best in the whole region, with a wide variety of innovative equipment (water bikes, Hoist Roc-it strength equipment, a turf slip for sled pushing). It's a huge space with most everything a gym rat could desire, plus the resort offers complimentary spinning, TRX, and boot camp classes.
The spa at Viceroy Los Cabos is equally impressive, with 11 treatment rooms, plunge pool, whirlpool, steam room, sauna, and ice shower. It offers locally inspired massage and facial treatments, as well as a beauty salon with manicure and pedicure options.
Restaurants are also strongly focused on keeping you healthy, with a majority of items being organic and/or sourced locally. Two of the three dining options are outdoor spaces: Nido by the beach and CieloMar, a rooftop bar and seafood restaurant. The main "healthy Mexican" restaurant Casero is an indoor-outdoor space with the A/C cranking behind the glass. You're never very far from a bar, including ones in the two nest structures.
Rooms at this Viceroy resort are as minimalist as the exteriors, though a simple light wood headboard and end tables soften the white-on-white color scheme a bit. Marble and wood floors also provide a bit of earthiness. The focus is on the sea and water though, of course, with blue views out most windows and a furnished outdoor space for relaxing—complete with day bed and tub. Standard rooms aren't huge, but it's not much of a step up in price to get a junior suite, which has 1,000 square feet. All rooms come with huge 65-inch TVs, a Bluetooth sound system, Nespresso machine, a minibar, and an array of quality toiletries in the bath with rain shower.
There's also a Premier Suite category that's larger, with a full dining table, and has a full ocean view. The top option is the two-bedroom suite, which requires a big leap in price for only a few hundred square feet more space. The main reason to book this option is if you have a family: there are two double beds or a king in another room, plus a kitchen.
As with many other luxury resorts in Los Cabos, the extras are going to pile on high when it's time to pay the bill at Viceroy Los Cabos. Add 19% in taxes and 15% in service charges to the first rate you see on their website or at online booking site. With Viceroy at the helm now though, at least you can be confident that the service will be above average.
This striking beach resort offers a one-of-a-kind architecture and design experience, plus it is close to the city of San Jose del Cabo instead of being isolated in the middle of the tourist corridor. There are better (and less treacherous) options in the region for families, but for modern design lovers and photogenic couples looking for something different, this will be a good choice.
Review and photos by Timothy Scott.