Situated on the sunbaked tip of Mexico’s Baja peninsula, Los Cabos is a short two-hour plane ride from Los Angeles and a popular getaway for the Hollywood celebrity set.
Amongst Cabo’s regular visitors are such famous stars as Cindy Crawford, Carrie Underwood, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Lee Ann Rimes and the notorious Kardashian clan.
Despite the large number of A-list celebrities who make Cabo their favourite weekend getaway spot, star watching can be a tricky business.
Big celebrities don’t stay in budget friendly all-inclusive resorts like average Canadians, so if you want to spot them at your resort you will need to visit one of Cabos’ luxury properties.
You can expect most luxury resorts to be very tight lipped about which celebrities have visited their property in the past and absolutely silent about who is actually staying on the property now.
But staying at one of the luxury resorts or even visiting for a day or evening is more than just an opportunity to star watch; it’s a chance to experience the good life — celebrity style.
On a short visit to Los Cabos, I had the chance to visit several of the top luxury retreats and stay for a few nights at the Esperanza, a 57-room boutique resort property.
Esperanza offers all the little extras that celebrities appreciate and the service began right at the airport with a transfer in a comfortable luxury vehicle along with a cold drink, snacks and a cold cucumber-scented washcloth. While I enjoyed a backseat buffet on the 30-minute drive to the resort, the driver explained some of the sights we passed along the way.
When I arrived at the resort, I was greeted with an icy margarita and the bellboys immediately took my bags to my room while I received a tour showing me all the features of the resort. By the time I made it to my thatched roof casita, my luggage was already waiting.
Moments later, a private bartender arrived with chips and salsa and made a fresh margarita in my room. I spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach, swimming in the infinity pool and exploring the resort. Later that evening, I checked out a tequila tasting class and then enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the resort’s signature restaurant, the Cocina del Mar.
Food at the resort is not included in the cost of a stay — unless you opt for the breakfast plan, and it’s a bit on the pricey side. That said, all of the restaurants I experienced were exceptional and invariably had gluten-free menu items. The servers always inquired about food allergies and preferences and I got the feeling that no request would have been too much for the kitchen staff to handle.
It’s very important for celebrities to stay fit — even while vacationing — and Esperanza has excellent fitness facilities and programs that are included in the cost of a resort stay. On the second morning of my stay, I arose at 7 a.m. to experience sunrise yoga on the beach. I’d like to say that I was joined by Meryl Streep for the sunrise yoga class, but the truth is that all of the other resort guests chose to sleep-in that morning. I was alone in the class.
The upside was that I got a private one-on-one session with a top yoga instructor.
I certainly felt like a celebrity during my stay at the Esperanza Resort, though I didn’t manage to actually spot anyone famous. Part of the problem may be the fact that I am not sure if I would recognize a celebrity if I saw one.
On the last night of my visit, I did spot something unusual, though. As I was walking back to my casita after a moonlight swim, I saw a man running across the grass with lightning speed. It occurred to me then that he might be paparazzi trying to escape notice — either that or he just needed to use the bathroom really badly.
The Big Four — top spots to feel like a celebrity (or see one)
Esperanza: This boutique Auberge Resort is ultra-luxurious and has a top-notch security team. It was the accommodation of choice for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the G20 summit and also handled the wedding of Gwyneth Paltrow to rocker Chris Martin in 2003. Rates start at $600 per night for a double room, but the alfresco dining area is open to non-resort guests if you want to visit without booking a room. (www.esperanzaresort.com)
Las Ventanas al Paraiso: The name of this resort means “Windows of Paradise” and it has long been popular with celebrities. It is a favourite of both Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston, who celebrated her 41st birthday there along with best friend Courteney Cox. Attention to detail is what makes this resort a standout. In-room fireplaces, tequila tasting sets, butlers who pack and unpack for guests and sewing kits customized to the colour of the guest’s wardrobe make the rooms a haven for guests. Room rates start at $564 per night, but the dining facilities are open to non-resort guests. (www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/las-ventanas-los-cabos)
One and Only Palmilla: Situated on a swimmable beach, one of the highlights of this resort is its Market Restaurant from Michelin-starred Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Most resorts won’t reveal which celebrities are onsite, but when I dined at the restaurant the manager let it slip that chef Gordon Ramsay would be checking in later that evening. If anyone knows where to go for good food, it would be Ramsay. Rates start at $540 per night, but non-guests can visit the Market Restaurant anytime. (http://palmilla.oneandonlyresorts.com)
Capella Pedregal: Frequented by A-listers like Christian Slater, Zoe Saldana and Joss Stone, you reach this beachfront 66-room boutique hotel through a stunning rock tunnel. The rooms feature open bathrooms with private plunge pools on the balconies. A highlight of the resort is the award-winning Auriga spa, which by many estimates is the best spa in Cabo’s luxury corridor. Room rates start at $675 per night, but non-guests can visit the restaurants or the onsite spa. (www.capellahotels.com/cabosanlucas)
Approximately 10 per cent of guests at Cabo’s luxury resorts choose to travel with their pets and resorts go out of their way to accommodate them.
At Las Ventanas al Paraiso, dog owners receive in advance a personalized pet profile where they can request special food or other items to make their pet comfortable upon arrival.
Pets are greeted with special pet beds and toys.
On the beach, small dogs can enjoy private pet cabanas with customizable pet music.
Perhaps the ultimate pet indulgence is the 10-minute pet massage, which costs about $40.
Cabo’s other luxury resorts have similar pet-friendly offerings.
Debbie Olsen is a Lacombe-based freelance writer. Follow Debbie’s travels at www.wanderwoman.ca. If you have an interesting travel story you would like to share, please email: DOGO@telusplanet.net or write to: Debbie Olsen, c/o Red Deer Advocate, 2950 Bremner Ave., Red Deer, Alta., T4R 1M9.