How Cabo Is Making a Post-Hurricane Comeback
Hurricane Odile made mincemeat of Mexico's upscale resorts in 2014, tossing boulders into infinity pools and ripping roofs off presidential suites. A year later, the peninsula playground a two-hour flight from L.A. has upgrades, new hotels and even a Nobu on the way.
When Hurricane Odile hit Mexico's Baja peninsula in the fall of 2014, luxury resort Esperanza (where Barack Obama and Barbra Streisand have stayed) escorted 160 guests to the California border via buses. In San Diego, they were greeted by resort handlers, who helped with arrangements to get them home. Not everyone was so lucky: More than 30,000 tourists were stranded in Los Cabos when the Category 3 hurricane hit. Odile dealt $225 million worth of devastation to Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, but especially to The Corridor, a 20-mile stretch of beachfront lined with Hollywood vacation magnets like Esperanza, Marquis Los Cabos, One&Only Palmilla and Las Ventanas al Paraiso. One year later, all are back, many sporting new private villas, deluxe amenities and chef-driven restaurants. Several resorts have debuted in time for the (relatively) crime-free winter travel season, when Cabo temperatures hover in the mid-70s — similar to L.A. but still a desirable and easy getaway with four 2 1/2-hour flights daily from LAX on American and Alaska airlines.
The Cape, a Thompson hotel, was the first new property to open in Cabo. The vibe is midcentury modern meets Mexico, with leather and rich fabrics. The Hills' Whitney Port held her bachelorette party here, and David Arquette was one of the first guests. "Perched above one of Cabo's great surfing breaks," said Arquette in an email to THR, "I found it endlessly relaxing sitting in the infinity pool and watching the surfers for hours." Situated on famed Monument Beach, 161 suites (from $599) have views of the Sea of Cortez and The Arch rock formation. The most coveted panoramic two-story villa is Surfer Villa with a pergola, sauna and full kitchen (from $10,000). Don't miss Manta, a modern Mexican restaurant from chef Enrique Olvera of New York's famed Cosme. Hit The Glass Box, an all-window lounge, at sunset.
The specialty at Ganzo Downstairs, one of three restaurants at Hotel el Ganzo: tlocoyo de pollo, chicken cooked in corn milk with cactus slices.
The Olson Kundig-designed, five- star beachfront JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa debuted in time for the Los Cabos International Film Festival in November. Ocean views from 299 rooms (from $460), a modern- day temazcal (sweat lodge) and chef Thierry Blouet's Cafe des Artistes are highlights. The Griffin Club, a 45-room boutique hotel within the resort, offers the most privacy with its own beach, pool, butler and chef and movie theater (from $640).
Favored by UTA's Jay Sures and Jennifer Aniston, Las Ventanas al Paraiso features oceanfront villas with their own infinity pools, spas and hosts (rooms from $880; villas from $4,500). Most impressive: a sand artist who writes personal messages on your private beach. The restaurants now feature traditional Mexican fare like barbacoa and other wood-fired dishes. Go offshore in the resort's new yacht.
Panoramic suites at The Cape offer hanging daybeds on private terraces and plunge pools.
Fans Oprah Winfrey and Eva Longoria will approve of post-Odile upgrades at the One&Only Palmilla, which boasts one of the only swimmable stretches along The Corridor. Rehabbed ocean-facing rooms and suites (from $725) and Jean-Georges Vongerichten's new steakhouse, Seared, debuted in April. The four- bedroom Villa One — with a glass-edged infinity pool, screening theater and butler — opened Dec. 26 (from $11,000). For a jaw-dropping dinner for 12, concierge Melissa Schwartz of Destination Happiness recommends "Larbi's Table," a carved-granite banquette overlooking the ocean with a seafood meal by executive chef Larbi Dahrouch.
The rock walls that envelop the cliffside Resort at Pedregal's 66 rooms (from $775) induced Jared Leto to climb them in November. El Farallon restaurant still has waves crashing at its feet, but now a palapa champagne bar serves an excellent sea salt and bubbly flight.
At the base of Puerto Los Cabos marina, Hotel el Ganzo, where Adam Levine's wedding guests stayed in July 2014, required a full year of repairs after Odile. Now the 69-room boho-chic resort is back with sprawling suites, rooftop lounge, restaurants and a recording studio with musicians- in-residence (from $325). Still to come in 2017: The Ritz-Carlton, Starwood's Solaz Montage, Nobu Hotel Los Cabos and the Hard Rock Hotel.
Elizabeth Taylor's Love Nest
The Puerta Vallarta hill-perched hideaway Richard Burton bought for Elizabeth Taylor in 1963 opened Dec. 22 as a palatial nine-suite boutique luxury hotel. Casa Kimberly features blue-tiled staircases, 19th century art and antiques and individually designed, chandeliered suites (from $435). The Cleopatra and Velvet suites stand out with Jacuzzi-dotted terraces and panoramic views of Banderas Bay. Brunson Green, producer of The Help and A United Kingdom, starring Rosamund Pike, was among the first guests and described the spot to THR during his stay as "a touch of old Hollywood glamour tucked away in the Old Town with breathtaking views of the hillside." — Jimmy Im
Casa Kimberly suite bathrooms have high, brick-domed ceilings.
This story first appeared in the Jan. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.