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One&Only Palmilla Resort – Los Cabos, Mexico

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Monday, December 20th, 2010
Categories: Golf LifeGolf LifestyleReviewsTravel

I’ve now had a little time to decompress from the high I had on my trip to Los Cabos, Mexico a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve been processing hundreds of photos and gathering my thoughts about this spectacular trip and the amazing resort I stayed in, the One&Only Palmilla.

One&Only Palmilla Overview

The Palmilla is located in Los Cabos, Mexico, on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula.  A few minutes away is Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Horizon pool at Palmilla in Los Cabos – click for larger version

The southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula is about 1000 miles (1.5 hours by air) south of San Diego, California and looks out over the Sea of Cortez.  That should give you an idea of how great the weather is in Los Cabos, any time of year.  The “worst” time of year, if there is one, the temps are in the mid 70’s.

The property is located on a spectacular 250 acre beach area and features 173 rooms and suites which all overlook the beautiful blue Sea of Cortez.  The 250 acres is part of a larger 900 acre master-planned community which also includes eight residential communities and the resort’s 27 hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, Palmilla Golf Club.

If the best beach in Cabo, and 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus golf isn’t enough, the resort boasts fine dining, numerous pools, a spa, local area activities and a wine cellar in which I almost locked my self and threw away the key.

Accommodations

Of the 173 accommodations there are 61 oceanfront guestrooms, 78 junior suites, 17 one-bedroom suites, 16 pool casitas as well as the four-bedroom Villa Cortez.  The Villa Cortez is an 8,500 square foot rental estate with four bedrooms and four bathrooms.

View from inside room to patio and the Sea of Cortez in background

My ocean front suite was spectacular.  A large sliding door opened to two patios, one covered and one exposed.  Through the sliding door and from the patios, I had a view of the Sea of Cortez.  Sleeping at night with the door open and the sound of the ocean waves pounding the beach was wonderful.  With my telescope, part of the room’s amenities, I could watch whales splashing out in the ocean or check out some of the local “scenery” on the beach.

Along with my great king sized bed, couches and Bose entertainment center, the bathroom was fantastic.  A huge shower and bathtub area were open-air, with hand crafted rock work and masonry.

4.5 / 1

The service at Palmilla is at such a high level, I’m at a loss for words to describe it.  But that little ratio I posted in this subheading may give you an idea.  From the moment we entered the property through the main gate, we were amazed at the number staff members.   What does 4.5/1 mean?   It is the ratio of resort staff members to guests, if the resort is full.  So for every guest, there are an average of 4.5 resort staff members.

Our butler pours us some Tequila

The first staff member we got to know was Jacob, our personal butler.  You see, our suite came with 24 hour butler service.  If you needed something, like having your bed turned down, you call your personal butler.  If you needed clothes pressed or some additional amenity or service, the butler is at your service 24/7.  The first “service” Jacob performed for us after bringing in our luggage, was pouring my lady and me a Tequila, and showing us the right way to do it with the salt and lime.  That is what I call service!

The service in the other areas of the resort is no different, if not even more amazing.  Poolside there were several staff members whose sole job was to make sure we had everything we needed.  One staffer polished our sunglasses while another gave us complimentary foot massages.  Of course there’s the waiter bringing fresh and frosty beverages from the poolside bar.  If we got to the point where we wanted some privacy, we simply put a little table side trinket to the “privacy” side.

 

Beach & Pools

Leaving single digit temperatures and sheets of ice which I nearly broke my neck on at home, to go to the warmth and sunshine of Cabo was great.  I couldn’t wait to hit the pool and the beach as soon as I got to the property and my lady and I didn’t waste any time.  We hit the adults only pool.  The “horizon” style pools (first photo) at Palmilla are very unique looking.  They extend toward the ocean and are the last thing you see on the horizon before you see the sea.  So at some angles, it looks like the pool extends for miles, especially since they’ve made the color of the water in the pools an exact match to the color of the Sea of Cortez.

The other pool, which accommodates adults and children, also has the horizon design as well as fun waterfalls and shallow areas for even the smallest of children to enjoy.

Palmilla Beach – click to view larger image

The beach at Palmilla was spectacular.  We spent some time in our own private cabana, amongst the rocks, pelicans and ocean waves.  The sand was marvelous and walking along the beach was like a dream.  I shot some great images of the waves crashing into some large rocks on the beach, as well as many pictures of local birds and iguanas.

Dining

Palmilla has three restaurants which offer a variety of dining options.  We enjoyed food from two of the three, the Breeze Restaurant and the fine dining of Market.  Market’s offerings were very good as well they should have been.  The restaurant was the collaboration of Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges and the Palmilla.

Setting up breakfast on the patio

We also enjoyed room service for breakfast, set up on our own private table in our patio which overlooked the Sea of Cortez.  How relaxing and enjoyable it was to sip coffee and munch on breakfast while overlooking the ocean and listening to the waves crashing on the beach.

Spa

Unfortunately time didn’t allow us to experience any of the offerings from the Spa & Wellness center at Palmilla.  I’ve got the spa on my list for my next trip to Palmilla, and there will be one.

The list of “experiences” one can enjoy at the Spa & Wellness Center at Palmilla is very long and I couldn’t possibly cover everything in this article.  A very condensed list of offerings includes body detoxification, relaxation journeys, massages, exfoliation, hand and foot treatments, aroma therapies, holistic obsidian stone treatments, couples treatments, water treatments, body wraps, yoga and Kinesis.

 

Vibe

It is hard to convey the vibe and atmosphere at Palmilla.  They’ve gone to very extensive lengths to make sure every last little detail has been covered to guarantee that their guests enjoy their experience to the fullest.

One of the best aspects of Palmilla’s vibe is the setup at night.  There are not a lot of electric lights to light up the property.  The facility is lit up by hundreds of natural flames, fires and candles.  In fact, when inquiring with the staff, I found out that every evening over 1500 flames and candles are lit throughout the resort, and it can take a team of workers 45 minutes to an hour each evening to ignite them all.

 

Golf

Of course I have to mention the golf at Palmilla.  With a 27 hole Jack Nicklaus signature course on premises, there’s no need to go anywhere else, though there is plenty of great golf outside of the property as well.

I go into fairly deep detail on the Nicklaus course, so check out my Palmilla Golf Club review.  And if you do happen to play Palmilla, you get a nice personal note welcoming you to the course and signed by none other than Mr. Jack Nicklaus himself.  That’s one cool way to get Jack’s autograph.

The Los Cabos Area

Outside of the Palmilla property, there are hundreds of other fun activities, places to explore and things to see.

Of course, one can find many dozens of tourist oriented shopping areas.  Pick up some handmade items and apparel to bring home memories.  I did.

Many ocean related activities like boating, sailing, sport fishing and diving are on the radar.  We had the great privilege of sailing on the America’s Cup racing yacht “New Zealand 82,” which was spectacular.  We visited the famous arch at Cabo San Lucas at sunset (image below), while sipping champagne.  I highly recommend that sail.

The famous arch at sunset – click for larger version

The quote of the evening during our sail on the Americas Cup racing yacht came when we passed a small sail boat very closely.  Our captain yelled over to the captain of the other sail boat, “wanna race?!”

Safety

Yes there has been a lot of bad press for Mexico regarding safety and the dangers related to the illegal drug trade.  This press has really hurt tourism in the entire country, despite the fact that those dangers are no where near many of the tourist destinations like Cabo.

Los Cabos, Palmilla and all the surrounding areas of this region are many thousands of miles and light years away from that danger.  It is safe in Cabo.  No worries.  Just go there and enjoy it.

Conclusion

This trip to Cabo was my first and certainly will not be my last.  The weather is spectacular, year round.  The ocean is a beautiful blue and the sand on the beaches softly trickles between my toes.  The golf in Los Cabos is world class.  The area is safe.

Palmilla as a resort is unmatched.  I’ve had the opportunity to visit some very high end resorts and Palmilla ranks up there with the best of them, if not better.  Atmosphere, location, cuisine, accommodations, service, amenities… Palmilla is as good as it gets.

Related Links

Palmilla Image Gallery, over 200 photos

One&Only Palmilla web site

Palmilla Golf Club Review

Palmilla Golf Club web site

HOG Palmilla Golf Club photo gallery with roughly 120 images of the course and facilities

Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau

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