The Many Moods of Los Cabos

This romantic Mexican honeymoon mecca has a resort for any taste

It was not all that long ago that most visitors to Los Cabos were more interested in reeling in marlin than sipping margaritas. The fishing here still ranks among the best in the world, but these days the destination—poised at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean meet in a tempest of blue­—has morphed into honeymoon central, offering year-round sunshine, sophisticated dining, exuberant nightlife and resorts to suit every personality.

Spanning 20 miles of coastline between happening Cabo San Lucas and historic San Jose del Cabo, the region is renowned for its emerald green golf courses, rugged mountains and enticing mix of land and water sports. You can race ATVs over sandy mini-Matterhorns dotting the desert (amigosactivities.com), fly above treetops and jaw-dropping canyons on a zipline tour (canopycostaazul.com) or hop aboard an America’s Cup racing yacht (cabo-adventures.com) and tack your way to adrenaline-fueled bliss.

Foodies will be equally happy. At La Panga Antigua Restaurant & Bar (lapanga.com) in San Jose, savor grilled snapper, tuna and dorado, served under almond trees in the courtyard of a 158-year-old home. Get your sushi fix at Nick-San (nicksan.com) or fulfill your romantic fantasies with a custom menu in a private dining alcove steps from the ocean at One&Only Palmilla (oneandonlyresorts.com). And at Mexican eatery La Fonda, you might just be tempted to try the maguey worm tacos (go ahead—they’re a delicacy).

Postsundown, you can party all night or embrace just-the-two-of-you quiet. Indulge in tequila shots and people-watching at The Nowhere Bar in Cabo San Lucas (nowherebar.com); dance beneath purple and red lights at ME Cabo’s trendy Passion nightclub (mecabo.travel); or sip champagne in the alfresco lounge at Esperanza (esperanzaresort.com), where you can almost touch the moonlight as it dances across the Sea of Cortez. And when it’s time to slip into your room, the romance will follow. Read on for descriptions of 10 resorts offering a range of sensual experiences.

Ten Top Resorts

Elegant Oases
Casa Natalia: Just steps from San Jose del Cabo’s town square, this boutique-style gem has an exuberant, quirky charm that’s perfect for couples who crave art and culture rather than sand between their toes. Its tiny lobby features brick walls and vibrant mosaics, and its 14 whimsical rooms are filled with local art. Soak up morning sun in the palm-shaded courtyard, where hibiscus blossoms float on a waterfall-fed pool. Have lunch at Mi Cocina, the hotel’s alfresco restaurant (and one of the hottest tables in town), then spend the afternoon exploring the shops and galleries that line San Jose’s narrow streets. And when the sun has set and Casa Natalia’s pool is bathed in a torchlit glow, slip in for a sexy midnight swim (doubles from $285; 888-277-3814 or casanatalia.com).
Esperanza: This artsy yet sophisticated enclave’s alluring combo of modern luxury and Mexican charm has redefined casual elegance. Stone paths lead to 57 newly renovated rooms, all featuring colorful paintings, Mexican textiles in Baja-inspired hues and private terraces equipped with infinity-edge Jacuzzis. Fun extras include free daily yoga classes, an onsite art gallery and access to a fleet of convertibles. Don’t miss a visit to the nature-based spa, where treatments such as a lime- and coconut-infused massage begin with the Pasaje de Agua, a water ritual designed to purify. For the ultimate in newlywed bliss, however, book the after-hours Pasión de la Noche, which begins with wraps and massages selected to promote togetherness and ends with drinks made with damiana liqueur, derived from a flowering shrub that’s said to induce feelings of amor (doubles from $475; 866-311-2226 or esperanzaresort.com).

Chic Design Palaces
Las Ventanas al Paraíso: Mystical and utterly serene, this five-diamond resort will vanquish any lingering wedding-day stress the moment you exit the Mercedes SUV that transports you from the airport. It drops you at the circular open-air lobby, where the only sounds are water trickling over stones and the soft whoosh of the ocean. Just beyond, a serpentine river of lapis blue twists through the landscape and ends in an infinity pool that seems to melt into the ocean. Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten something: Butlers offering iPods, Evian mists, binoculars for spotting whales, sunblock, books and sorbet will take care of any request. The 71 suites are equally calming: Decorated in sea-glass shades, each boasts a fireplace, telescope and a plunge pool with ocean views; Rooftop Terrace Suites on the third floor have aeries for side-by-side daydreaming or a moonlit massage (doubles from $500; 888-767-3966 or lasventanas.com).
One&Only Palmilla: With its history of pampering celebrities—among them, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher—this stunning property starts the star treatment as soon as you step into the porte cochere. From there, a golf cart whisks you along paths shaded by parasols of tropical blooms past white stucco casas fronted by wrought iron gates and massive wooden doors. Behind one is your room, one of 172 imbued with old-world Mexican ambience: hand-carved furnishings, travertine floors and bathrooms with deep soaking tubs. If you can tear yourselves from these luxuries, you can enjoy two pools (the Vista Pool is adults-only), a beach calm enough for swimming, and floating beds for two set in a private cove (doubles from $525; 800-637-2226 or oneandonlyresorts.com).

Contemporary Playgrounds
Cabo Azul: They say that opposites attract, but at Cabo Azul, one of the region’s newest resorts, opposites are downright sexy. Outside, white Bali beds with room for two offer a dramatic contrast to the eye-catching black tile of the round, three-tiered pool (for maximum privacy, opt for one of the woven chaise pods scattered about). In the suites, mod living room decor and stainless steel kitchen appliances lend a 21st-century vibe, while bedrooms fulfill ancient Arabian Nights fantasies, with ornate Moroccan-inspired lanterns and ceilings tented in gauzy white fabric. All suites have large patios; request one outfitted with heavy drapes to transform it into a secluded nook. At night, when the fire pits blaze, these elements come together in a spectacular display of light and dark that’s certain to ignite passion (doubles from $263; 877-216-2226 or caboazulresort.com).
Marquis Los Cabos: Your first thought as you step into the dramatic arched lobby is apt to be “Wow!”—and that feeling will never fade. This 209-room and 28-casita property is all about unencumbered personal space and decadent service. The pool, a gorgeous curve of blue that meanders through a grove of palms and past a waterfall, was built to create isolated areas to enjoy the sun. Breakfast is delivered each morning into a niche that opens both from the hallway and your room, so you can drink your coffee without having to face another living soul.Come nightfall, just ask, and when you return from dinner, you’ll find the soft glow of candles illuminating a tubful of bubbles and rose petals scattered across the bed. For extra privacy, book a secluded Marquis Suite, with a plunge pool, two terraces and a large bathroom (doubles from $380; 877-238-9399 or marquisloscabos.com).

Budget-Friendly Lodgings
Casa Dorada: Located on lively Medano Beach in downtown Cabo San Lucas, this property melds the best of two worlds. Medano, the area’s most popular beach, is known for terrific swimming, great bars and uninterrupted views of photogenic landmark El Arco, while around the corner, Cabo’s shops, restaurants, bars and galleries brim with energy. The 186 stylish rooms, all featuring full kitchens and balconies with bay views, are outfitted with modern dark wood furnishings and luxe accents, like raw silk comforters and original artwork. During the day, settle into a lounge chair at the pool or at the beach club. Transition into evening beside one of the fire pits that rim the pool deck, where you can watch the sun slip into the ocean before taking a short stroll to town for dinner (doubles from $250; 866-448-0151 or casadorada.com).
Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort: Like a beautiful hacienda owned by a wealthy friend, this 375-room resort is warm and welcoming. Bright tropical flowers spill from urns, fountains splash gently, and stucco archways frame the paths. After check in, you’ll be handed a frosty margarita to sip as you contemplate the impossibly blue water from your room’s balcony. Upscale touches—carved mahogany headboards, L’Occitane toiletries and a concierge offering fruit, cold towels and magazines at the crescent-shaped infinity pool—are lovely. For can’t-sit-still types, there are Jet Skis, kayaks and volleyball on the beach, plus tennis courts and a newly enhanced spa. Sate your appetites at four restaurants, offering everything from sushi to burgers to pastas, or if the mood strikes, book a romantic torchlit feast on the beach (doubles from $209; hiltonloscabos.com).

Party-Centric Properties
Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa: With its terra-cotta tile roof and open-air lobby filled with bubbling fountains, this 308-room resort resembles a sun-drenched Mediterranean villa. Rooms feature crisp white linens, marble floors, terraces and large sitting areas. Commanding an imposing stretch of palm-lined beach with a cove for swimming, kayaking and launching Jet Skis, this all-inclusive has a stunning infinity pool with a waterfall and a serene spa. A swirl of activities­—salsa and merengue lessons, cooking and bartending classes, beach volleyball matches and ping-pong tournaments—keeps the energy level high. And thanks to movie nights, theme parties and live music in the lounge, the action doesn’t stop when the sun sets (doubles from $392, all-inclusive; 866-237-3267 or dreamsresorts.com).
ME Cabo: Looking for the next hot thing? Follow celebs like Adam Sandler and Adrian Grenier to this ultracontemporary 150-room resort in Cabo San Lucas. ME Cabo has “aura experience managers” on hand to ensure your happiness, as well as specialty rooms (in addition to Deluxe Garden and Ocean View rooms) to suit every mood: Stylistas can choose Chic Suites, with their haute decor and private terraces; social butterflies can check into Energy Suites, which surround the pool and share Jacuzzis with the room next door; and seclusion-seekers will find nirvana in The Level Lofts, with their customized minibar and iPod preloaded with your favorite drinks and tunes, respectively. By day, drift away in a daybed. After dark, join the party at Nikki Beach Club and, later, at Passion, where the dancing doesn’t end until the sun comes up. Recover at the Yhi Spa so you’ll be ready to do it all over again (doubles from $240; 800-336-3542 or mecabo.travel).

For more info, visitloscabos.travel.

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