A desert by the sea—that’s Cabo San Lucas in a nutshell. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the calming Sea of Cortez in Mexico’s Baja California, what was once a quiet fishing village has now matured into a booming tourist mecca where adventure seekers can experience an encounter with a humpback whale, travel across a sandy desert terrain atop a camel, or discover an underwater world of marine wildlife snorkeling in Chileno Bay.
Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa was our home base during our recent sun-filled days in Cabo San Lucas. Literally at Land’s End—the southernmost tip of the sliver-finger-shaped peninsula near El Arco, the natural rock formation in the shape of an arch adjacent to Lover’s Beach—Grand Solmar’s effortless blend of luxury, fine dining and top-notch accommodations made it the ideal refuge for winding down the night once the thrill of the day’s outdoor adventures in Cabo came to an end.
“There are several adventure activities in Los Cabos for our guests to experience. One of the most popular is deep-sea fishing, followed by scuba diving, surfing, ziplining and off-roading, where guests can experience dirt racing and the adrenaline of being in a vehicle that travels over 150 miles per hour over dunes, dirt and rock,” says Ricardo Orozco, managing director of Solmar Hotels & Resorts. “There is a lot of selection to choose from and Cabo is a different kind of destination. It’s not only the resorts and the relaxation, but also the nightlife like the famous Cabo Wabo Cantina and several bars and nightclubs around town.”
For guests wanting more than spending hours on a lounge chair by one of Grand Solmar’s heated pools while hearing the riveting boom of waves crashing on the beach, which is an enticing option to while away the hours, the concierge steers them to Cabo Adventures, a tours and activities company conveniently located at the Los Cabos Marina, about a 10-minute walk from the resort.
We signed up for the 3-hour Snorkel & Sea Adventure tour ($75, adults; $60, children), which combines snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking. Before heading to Chileno Bay on a high-speed inflatable Apex boat, the tour guide made a detour to Land’s End for an up-close look at the landmark arch—and with resident sea lions sunbathing on the rocks and a few swimming in the ocean, it was a great start to the tour.
For three full hours the cove at Chileno Bay was an outdoor water enthusiast’s dream come true. The sea life was abundant, visibility was clear and equipment was readily available for snorkelers and those wanting to paddle to the rock formations in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard.
Our tour guide, Beth, pointed out to us the diverse marine life while we snorkeled, and taught a few first-timers how to balance their weight on the paddleboard—a somewhat difficult feat for this writer, but a fun challenge. The ride back to the Los Cabos Marina, where we had a date with a few dolphins at Cabo Adventures’ dolphin center, included a tour of the coastline to see the luxurious homes of the rich and famous like Michael Jordan and former owner of Cabo Wabo Cantina, Van Halen guitarist Sammy Hagar.
The 30-minute Dolphin Encounter experience ($109, adult; $89, children) had us swimming, feeding, and learning about the anatomy and physiology of these graceful mammals that, according to our trainers, can eat up to 28 pounds of fish a day. Cabo Adventures offers a variety of dolphin programs: Trainer for a Day ($299 pp), Dolphin Kids ($99 pp) and the Dolphin Experience ($149 pp).
Another adventure worth noting is the 3-hour Outback & Camel Safari ($99, adult; $70, children) that starts with a laid-back guided trek through Baja’s desert landscape followed by a camel ride along the beach (best time to book is during winter when whales are seen breeching), then a visit to a Mexican ranch to taste authentic tortillas to serve up with toppings like beans and different salsas, and a sip-and-savor tequila tasting session—a culinary adventure for the palate, if we say so ourselves. For clients into extreme outdoor adventures like ziplining, rock climbing and rappelling there is the Outdoor Zipline Adventure tour and the Mountain Bike Adventure on all-terrain bikes through cactus-lined desert paths.
be a voluntourist
Now that you know all your clients can do while visiting Cabo San Lucas, there is one other aspect of this trip worth mentioning before we get into the nitty-gritty of Grand Solmar’s accommodations and amenities.
For clients who love to immerse themselves in the community, recommend a half-day excursion with Solmar’s Helping Hands tour, a guided tour of the Los Cabos charitable organizations sponsored by the Solmar Foundation, a non-profit organization created to better the community through social services that are not provided by the government.
“We have had a great response from our guests with our Helping Hands tour,” says Orozco. “Most of our guests are very willing to help and donate their time or money to this program.”
The excursion departs every Wednesday morning to three local organizations that assist the elderly, families and orphans—the San Juan Diego Shelter, the San Miguel Senior Center and the Cabo San Lucas Orphanage—from Playa Grande Resort & Grand Spa, located adjacent to Grand Solmar. The tour is free and reservations can be made with the concierge at Grand Solmar; upon checkout, there is an optional donation of $10 for the Solmar Foundation. Art supplies, toys, and other essential items are welcomed from families taking the tours for donation at the orphanage, and guests can contact the Solmar Foundation’s director, Dinorah de Haro (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly to volunteer at the numerous charities and centers that the foundation supports.
at land’s end
Appearing to be carved from the immense rock formation that cradles it, Grand Solmar opened its doors in February 2011 with 119 suites.
A second phase of construction is currently underway, completion scheduled for 2014, which will increase the room capacity to 289 suites. The new building will also include the property’s first indoor spa; for spa services, guests use the Grand Spa at Playa Grande Resort or opt for the Grand Solmar Sea Spa at the Land’s End Terrace with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop.
We stayed in a Grand Studio suite that can accommodate up to three guests. The 737-sq.-ft. suite includes a king-size bed, a Murphy bed, full kitchen, a quaint sitting area with a table that seats four, and a private terrace with two plush lounge chairs facing the ocean and the property’s only non-heated pool. Grand Solmar offers 1-bedroom Master suites and 1- to 4-bedroom Penthouse suites.
We broke bread at La Roca Restaurant during our stay, a charming venue with ocean views and staff that was attentive and eager to please. The restaurant serves a breakfast buffet every morning, but chefs are present to whip up delicious omelets or eggs, any style. The fruit smoothies and fresh guacamole with chips at Las Brisas Snack Bar near the resort’s heated pool is the ideal stop after a day outdoors. We recommend the taco salad and tuna ceviche.
Solmar Hotels & Resorts is also planning to expand its portfolio by adding a new 660-acre development on the Baja peninsula that will include a resort and golf course—word is Solmar is partnering with golf course designer Greg Norman. Rates at Grand Solmar start at $303 per night and meal plans are also available for purchase.
Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa is located about 35 minutes from the San Jose Del Cabo Airport (SJD), which services American Airlines, Aeromexico, Interjet, United, Alaska Airlines, US Airways, and Delta Air Lines.