With old-time glitzy favourite Cabo San Lucas and rising boutique star Todos Santos, Baja is well and truly on the luxury destination hit list. But what about those looking to swap mega-resorts for something a little more hip, quirky or off the beaten track? From glamping escapes in Baja’s northern wine region to secluded beach boutiques in Baja Sur, here are the hottest places to stay in Baja California.
Like something out of a sci-fi film, Encuentro Guadalupe is a collection of 22 box-like “lofts” clinging to the side of Baja Norte’s Valle de Guadalupe mountains. Each room has a beautifully minimalist design, with ultra-modern smooth grey floors, crisp white linens and retro light bulbs and exposed pipes. With floor-to-ceiling windows, private outdoor terraces equipped with burning clay kivas, and an infinity pool and hot tub overlooking the vineyards, this hotel is all about getting out into the great outdoors – and disconnecting from the clutter of the outside world. Highlights include the underground cellar and tasting room, as well as their stunning farm-to-table restaurant, Origen.
If you really want to get into the thick of Baja California’s wine region, how about some glamping? Nestled amongst 144 acres of Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo and Cabernet Franc grapes, Cuatro Cuatros consists of 19 private cabañas: rustic canvas, wood and steel tents beautifully decorated with locally-crafted furniture, woven reed mats and colourful tapestry. Luxurious double tents come with queen beds, wood-burning stoves and the piece de resistance: a large, private wood decking to take in the vineyard views and star-filled sky in the evenings. The property also boasts epic ocean views from their chic, perfectly simple Bar Bura: a cluster of haystacks sitting 660 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
Over the past 10 years, Todos Santos – with an influx of renovated hotels, quaint cafes and world-class restaurants – has undergone an impressive cultural revival – and is fast becoming the boutique capital of Baja California. One of the leaders in this revolution is Guaycura Boutique Hotel Beach Club & Spa. Not only does it offer luxurious, design-conscious suites in a beautifully renovated 19th-century historical building, but guests can expect exclusive access to secluded El Faro Beach Club (currently the only beach club in the area) and shuttles to the best restaurant in town, El Mirador. Owned by the same family, romantic El Mirador serves exquisite, fresh-off-the-boat seafood with an unrestricted view of the Pacific Ocean. The huge, beamed-ceiling rooms here come with king-sized canopy beds, plush bed linen and vintage copper bathtubs and oversized rain-showers. The rooftop bar, restaurant and swimming pool are no less impressive.
Home to the oldest house in Todos Santos, La Bohemia Baja Hotel Pequeño brings the character and charm of old-school Mexican architecture with the added touch of chic design: palm leaf thatched rooms are brought to life with colourful fabrics, bathroom sinks are hand-painted by Mexican artists, and mosaic tiled floors lead you through a lush garden and small plunge pool. Compared to the other boutiques listed here, La Bohemia has a very laid back feel (including an outdoor chill-out area with Netflix, a book exchange and a small bar). This is perfect for those looking for a hostel vibe, but with the luxury touches of plush linens, memory foam mattresses and soft towels. Home-made eucalyptus shampoo and pomegranate body wash, personal service, and a delicious Mexican brekkie are just some of the lovely touches you can expect here. Guests can also enjoy access to Guaycura’s El Faro Beach Club.
Hidden amongst lush palm trees and just a few steps away from a deserted Pacific beach, Rancho Pescadero has managed to offer its guests all the luxuries of a 5-star resort (including a beachfront spa, two swimming pools and an exquisite farm-to-table restaurant, where almost the entire menu is made from ingredients grown in the on-site organic garden), while retaining all the personal touches of a small boutique hotel. Each of the 28 rooms come with bathrobes, a beautifully designed, intimate outdoor living space, and a breakfast box delivered to your door with coffee, fruit and something sweet. If lounging around isn’t your thing, the hotel offers an awesome selection of activities, including complimentary yoga, surfing lessons and, most impressively, cooking classes with Executive Chef, Cesar Pita, where you’ll learn to prepare garden-fresh Mexican classics with a Mediterranean twist in the stunning, open-air Garden Restaurant.
A popular haunt for the rich and famous, Cabo San Lucas takes much of Baja California’s international limelight when it comes to luxury accommodation, fine dining and a glitzy nightlife. However, the nearby and much quieter San José del Cabo has just as much (if not more) to offer. San José gems such as Casa Natalia are offering options for those who want a slice of the famed Cabo luxury without the mega-resort vibe. Featuring 19-rooms and the restaurant Mi Cocina, artsy Casa Natalia also offers jaw-dropping scenery, private hot tubs and ultra chic lounging areas. Cool down in the half moon courtyard pool or spend the afternoon swinging in a hammock – you’re guaranteed to never want to leave.
In a town where bigger, glitzier and wilder mean “better”, Los Milagros Hotel has, refreshingly, got its own thing going on in Cabo San Lucas. Dainty spiral staircases decorated with hand-painted tiles, a colonial style patio covered with lush trees and blooming flowers, and art hanging from the ceilings are just some of the thoughtful design touches that make this hotel special. Self-contained rooms are delightfully simple and spacious, and are brought to life with splashes of blue, green and yellows found in the Mexican kitchen tops and fresh flowers decorating every room. Think laid-back comfort and understated, less-is-more vibes.