México 1 Km 7.3, Tourist Corridor, 23455 Cabo San Lucas, B.C.S.
A new edition to the Los Cabos booming tourist trade, Vista Encantada, as its name suggests, has dramatic views and old-fashioned luxury great for an extended stay.
Los Cabos has the magnificent good fortune of having gorgeous desert and crystalline sea that butt up against one another. Rather than the wild abandon of a tropical getaway, this landscape exudes an elegance, a properness, that is more reminiscent of a stately retreat than the sultry sipping of daiquiris by the pool or lush rainforest in the distance.
Capitalizing on that ambiance, all the properties in the Encantada Hacienda complex—including Vista Encantada, the 600-room Hacienda Encantada, and several dozen timeshare properties—share a certain old-fashioned elegance, despite their relatively new arrival.
Anyone traveling from a freezing climate will immediately fall for the seaside romance of the Vista Encantada lobby. Grandiose, with sweeping, high ceilings, to one side of the reception's small bar is an open-air terrace view of the ocean below. The decor is heavy, antique, commanding, perfect for important guests and after-dinner sherry.
Brought to you by the same owners of Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa in nearby Cabo San Lucas, the Vista Encantada hotel has a mere 36 rooms, and is perched atop a hill with lovely views of the Pacific ocean. My first thought upon entering my room was how ample the two-room suite felt. With a full dining room in the center and two connecting bedrooms (one with a single king and one with two queens) it felt like a wonderful size for a family or two couples to share a suite without feeling like they were on top of one another.
Additionally surprising was that the kitchen, again full size with a bar and bar stools, was stocked more fully than other luxury suites I've stayed in. This kitchen had a food processor, a Nespresso coffeemaker, a full set of pots and pans, a can opener, a toaster, and cloth towels. The only thing it lacked, oddly enough were regular glass glasses. I guess the hotel expects everyone to drink out of water bottles (the fridge is stocked with beer, soda and water) but as someone who is looking to decrease the quantity of plastic in my life I found this detail a major oversight. I was disappointed in general to see the hotel following more eco-friendly practices, with lots of single-use plastic on site. This seems oddly behind-the-times for a new property since this is a trend that even luxury travel seems to be veering toward at full speed in this current climate (no pun intended).
That said, the terrace was also grand, with a plunge pool at one end and a full gas grill at the other, running the entire length of the suite. Again, a great option if you want to grill out with friends or family and take a night off from the hotel's wide array of restaurants. The view was beautiful but, with no access to the beach, a little sad for me. (There is beach access at the Hacienda Encantada Hotel, just not directly from Vista Encantada) The bathrooms are the size of tiny apartments, with a creamy white ceramic tub, changing room, separate WC, and a rain-style shower heads.
There are one-bedroom, two-bedroom (like mine), three-bedroom, and penthouse categories. The penthouses have four bedrooms. All rooms have private bathrooms and more or less the same amenities that mine did—full kitchen, living room, outdoor terrace and grill, and private plunge pools. Rooms vary between King size beds or two queens.
I highly recommend taking advantage of the hotel's spa, with a list of massages and treatments, as well as a beauty parlor for wedding groups or girls' weekends. Accented with warm wooden benches and furniture, the spa has a delicious whirlpool in each of the mens' and womens' spa area along with steam rooms and saunas. The piece de resistance is the central plunge pool in an underground grotto where you can chill out after your treatment. The café and juice bar next to the spa is one of the sunniest places in the hotel (besides the rooftop pool maybe), right next to a row of floor-to-ceiling windows and birdcage-like swinging seats.
That rooftop pool is most definitely the center of the action at the hotel. Most days from its opening time at 9am until 6pm when it closes there are guests hanging out, taking a dip or sipping from one of the cocktails offered at the pool's bar and café, Atico. The pool deck has several different areas for lounging, including very private teepee-like daybeds to one side. If you start to feel a little bit guilty about all the leisure there is a small, but well-outfitted gym with great 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape.
On site is the previously mentioned Atico, the pool bar and café, with light fare like ceviches and hamburgers, Mestizo del Mar, the hotel's principal restaurant, features an international menu of seafood and other specialties for dinner and an al a carte breakfast menu. On the entire property, however, there are nine more restaurants, ranging from pizzas and sandwiches to upscale Mexican or Italian cuisine. The final night of our stay we had a sumptuous dinner at the cliff-side Los Riscos Mezquite Grill that included scallops with avocado mousse, grilled plums with Parmesan cheese and red wine vinaigrette, lobster tails, duck, and mango creme brulée, all served with pairings of delicious Mexican wine.
Other amenities on the development's site include tennis and basketball courts, a putting green, business and meeting facilities, and wedding spaces. The complex's other hotel, the Hacienda Encantada, has another collection of pools that is available to Vista Encantada guests. The staff will arrange (in fact you can get your own personal concierge if you are so inclined), local excursions including boating, horseback riding, tours and more. Having your own vehicle will make life a little easier if you want to move around and see lots of local things: Los Cabos and Cabos San Lucas are a bit of a distance from this corridor location and taking taxis from the hotel can start to add up.
If you go and love the location and atmosphere, do ask to get a tour of the timeshare homes. While at $200,000 for one week a year they are not exactly a steal, the houses, their backyard pools and all the additional services of the hotel, including private chef service if you want it, make them a tempting option for those who know they'll be coming back here year after year.
Located one of Mexico's most popular destinations, and its most upscale, Vista Encantata has its work cut out for it. It's not easy competing with award-winning, legendary resorts like Rosewood Las Ventanas or One&Only Palmilla that have already been wowing guests for a decade, or the luxury all-inclusive hotels with a similar array of facilities. The intimate room count and spacious suites make this a good bet for families or small groups though that want a high level of service with their room to spread out.
Web Address: www.vistaencantadaresort.com
Total Number of Rooms: 36
Published rates: $350 to $2500, All-in Gourmet Indulgence Plan (All Inclusive) $179 usd per person per day
Review and photos by Lydia Carey.