Bliss Springs Eternal at Esperanza

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At about 80 percent occupancy right after the crazy-busy holiday rush that included a for-the-books New Year’s celebration, Esperanza, an Auberge Resort is still quiet and calm, perfectly encapsulating the Cabo experience: rocky shores jutting off deep-blue waters, date palm trees mixed in with prickly cacti and nonstop sun shimmering off of everything. Not missing a luxury-saturated beat, it signs off daily with sunsets lined with fat stripes of tomato juice-red and wakes up the next morning with not a hair out of place.

A stay at this critics’ favorite uncovers the best of everything you need, plus so many other things you didn’t realize you wanted until you get it here: yoga mats in your closet for an anytime stretch, tiny just-baked scones while you wait for breakfast or an impromptu mini smoothie by the pool—in our case it was made of mango, basil and lime, an oddball combo that proved delicious and refreshing.

The surprises that Esperanza bestows on guests are no doubt one of its most exciting components, yet there’s much more to this luxury retreat than meets the eye. A constant, along with its spa, on the “best” lists of Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, this is one of just three Relais & Chateaux properties in Mexico and leaves nothing but warm-and-fuzzies in the hearts of visitors.

Water, Water, Everywhere

The Sea of Cortez plays a pivotal role here. Esperanza, which means “hope” in Spanish, overlooks private coves in Punta Ballena, outside of the hubbub of Cabo San Lucas. Recent down time by the two-tier infinity pool revealed whales putting on a show in the morning as they breeched and preened for onlookers, with the green landscape within the resort perking up the sea beyond it. What followed was no less exciting: a masseur from the spa stopping by to offer sun seekers a complimentary foot or neck-and-shoulders massage. When they’re not at the spa, this is the most popular area among guests, so they show up very early to reserve their extra-roomy lounge chairs by the pool or on the private beach.

Because of the resort’s horseshoe-like design, all suites, casitas and villas at Esperanza offer views of the sea, so you’ll find binoculars when you walk in. Another surprise: a welcome amenity that can take the form of a ceviche “carrousel” or a hot tea or kicky margarita—probably the best we’ve had—made right on your terrace as you arrive. Accommodations are decked out in warm colors, all-natural bath products made exclusively for Esperanza, wireless Internet and low-key handcrafted furnishings, most splendidly an Oscar de la Renta-designed divan that is ideal for a read that turns into a nap. Many casitas and suites come with hammocks on their terraces, yet a few feature outdoor jacuzzis that are more like mini-infinity pools.

Opened 10 years ago this month, the resort has 57 rooms and suites, plus 36 villas of two and three bedrooms—each with its own pool—that are perfect for families, with the third bedroom completely separate from the rest of the villa. Garden villas are particularly popular among families and groups, with grills and quick access to the beach.

More resort innovation comes in the form of the fine art pieces displayed throughout—sculptures in common areas, and paintings within each casita and villa. Many of these have tags next to them that guests can scan with their smart phone to review additional information and pricing on each. They can also stop by the onsite gallery to find out more or purchase their favorite items.

Worldly Delights

The Spa at Esperanza is yet another reason why this is one of Los Cabos’ celebrity hotspots (stars’ names are well guarded, but they include a couple of Academy Award winners). This haven of relaxation has a water passage that lets you move from steam “cave” to warm-spring pools and cold outdoor showers. Afterwards, you’ll rehydrate with “aguas frescas” or fresh juices and move on to an array of individual and couples’ treatments that incorporate everything from red clay to papaya. A recommendation: the Damiana Alegre, which encompasses a full-body exfoliation with amaranth grains followed by a honey and damiana leaf wrap. Once you’ve rinsed off—the ample treatment rooms include outdoor showers—you’ll get a coconut oil massage.