By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor
Photography courtesy of Velas Resorts.
The newest property in Grand Velas Resorts’ esteemed portfolio is Grand Velas Los Cabos—an all-inclusive spa resort with stunning ocean views and a wide variety of amenities and activities for guests of all ages. No ordinary destination, Grand Velas Los Cabos has pulled out all the stops in its readily apparent quest to provide an unrivaled luxury vacation experience for guests at every touch point.
Having stayed on-site to see for myself what all of the buzz was about, I can convey with full conviction that this resort proffers what would surely be one of the most impressive and memorable retreats of your life. Few, if any, other luxury property experiences I’ve enjoyed have made me declare “Wow” as often as this one, with one impressive interlude after another unfolding with unmitigated abandon throughout my stay.
Not only elevating industry standards for any luxe locale, Grand Velas Los Cabos has certainly raised the bar within the all-inclusive category world-wide. Its level of haute hospitality and impeccable service standards go well above making each guest feel pampered—but also genuinely cared for. Then, of course, the overarching offerings—the grounds, the accommodations, the amenities and more—are each standouts unto themselves.
Here are just seven of the many ways this righteous resort is upping the luxe all-inclusive ante.
1. A Prestigious Heritage
Since opening its doors on December 20, 2016, this $150 million resort is proudly carrying on the tradition of high-end hospitality that all Grand Velas Resorts are revered for. In fact, Velas Resorts in Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit and Los Cabos combined have incredibly earned more than 43 AAA Diamonds, including the prestigious Five Diamond Award. For its part, Grand Velas Los Cabos is making an indelible mark on its own. Located on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, well off the beaten path as far as typical Cabo visits are concerned (read: nowhere near “Cabo Wabo” and other such tourist attractions), this resort is perched on a pristine stretch of private beach between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo and is just about a 30-minute drive from the Los Cabos International Airport. The resort can, of course, arrange airport transports as needed.
As with all Grand Velas Resort properties, guests here enjoy spacious and sumptuously-appointed accommodations, numerous gourmet fine dining experiences, 24-hour in-suite service, substantial spa facilitates, fully-equipped and staffed fitness centers, pool decks to-die-for, noteworthy family programs, personal concierge service and much more.
2. Contemporary Mexican Design
The resort features 304 suites, each over 1,180 square feet and every single one with private terraces with cushioned lounge seating and breathtaking ocean views. Some of the suites also have personal plunge pools on the terrace as well. The half-moon design of the hotel is eye-catching and functional, maintaining the ocean vista as the prime focal point, with the three-story high open-air grand entrance having that same effect—drawing your eye right to the royal blue ocean ebbing and flowing in the not-so-far distance. The beachfront property sits over 300 feet above sea level and, with its natural hues and materials used throughout the regionally symbiotic architecture and the décor, alike, the resort exists in harmony with its rugged surroundings—an oasis unto itself.
3. Sophisticated Suites
The stylish suites at Grand Velas Los Cabos range in size from 1,180 to a whopping 3,412 square feet. Every one of them features wide open ocean views and a fully furnished private terrace in close earshot to the rumbling shoreline and jetties on which Pelicans are indelibly perched. Each of the rooms also boasts an extremely large high-definition flat screen TV with digital cable, premium mini bar with snacks and refreshments stocked daily, wine from Ensenada, Nespresso coffee maker, L’Occitane bath amenities and goose down comforters and pillows. Each of the expansive bathrooms include a Jacuzzi tub and steam shower with rain showerhead.
Other available in-suite services include personal concierge and butler service, daily turndown and a pillow menu. Guests in Grand Class Suites, Presidential and Governor Suites, and the Imperial Suite also enjoy their own private terrace plunge pools, offering an unforgettable way to gaze at the moon and stars amid fragrant sea breezes and the melodic surf. There are also six Wellness Suite options that feature an array of fitness amenities including recline bikes, Vitamin C sprinkler, spa concierge, healthy crudité mini bar, in-suite massage and an aromatherapy kit, among other health-minded enhancements.
4. Abundant Epicurean Adventure
The variety of gourmet dining options at Grand Velas Los Cabos is impressive, giving guests the opportunity to delight in dishes from around of the world without ever having to leave the resort. Ever. Choose from several fine-dining restaurants with both indoor and open air seating, including Frida—an authentic Mexican fine dining eatery that celebrates the legacy of the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and where each dish reflects the rich culinary heritage of the region. There’s also the French restaurant Piaf, an Italian eatery called Lucca, and the Velas 10 steak and seafood house—all highly authentic and with an elevated approach to cuisine.
But it’s Cocina de Autor, the resort’s premier signature restaurant, which shines above all as there’s a two star Michelin chef at the helm. This would be a ground-breaking achievement for any resort, and is nothing short of remarkable within the all-inclusive realm. Ingenuity is fundamental to keeping cuisine “interesting” and this property duly delivers. For example, Cocina de Autor offers what’s called a “sensorial dining experience.” Here there are no menu choices. Instead, all guests are “taken” on a singular gastro-journey: an 8-12 course tasting menu showcasing the finest fresh produce and local meats from the region, reflecting the culture and life that surrounds, while also exemplifying a tremendous amount of culinary creativity and skill. My own holistic dining experience here was one of the most extraordinary and impressive I’ve ever had—a magnificent mélange of fresh ingredients, technique, texture and visual appeal. It’s epicurean ingenuity at its finest.
Oenophiles also fare well while fine dining at this property with multiple sommeliers, under the guise of Master Sommelier Don Pedro Poncelis Brambila, executed a painstakingly curated wine program boasting varietals from the very best and most prestigious domains from around the globe.
There are other, more casual dinner options on-site as well. For breakfast lunch or dinner you can enjoy an open-air eating experience and panoramic views of the beach at Azul. This is a more casual eatery where local fare can be had, in bottomless buffet form or off the menu, sometimes while listening to mariachis and ogling local artisan wares on display as was the case the evening I dined there. I should also mention that during my visit in the February timeframe, while I was eating breakfast each morning at Azul’s patio with glistening ocean vistas, I could see breaching whales in the distance in all of their glory. Do bring the binoculars that are provided in each guest suite to breakfast so you don’t miss the action! For a quick pick-me-up any time of day, grab a specialty coffee drink at Amat Café. Of course, at your preference, you may opt to remain room side and relax with in-suite dining.
When you’re in the mood for a cocktail, there are various venues to suit your mood amid four bars: Sky Bar, Miramar Bar, Koi, and the bar at Cocina de Autor. All bars and restaurants offer stunning views from indoor and outdoor seating. During my own post-dinner visit to Sky Bar for a nightcap, there was an energetic live band playing some great American classics, urging folks to get on the dance floor. Then, to my surprise and delight, a fireworks display commenced just adjacent to the Sky Bar terrace sometime around 10pm. It was a magical end to what was already a perfect evening.
During the daytime, I can’t recommend enough eating some Chocolate Clams poolside. The Cabrilla café on the pool deck has a tank filled with the gorgeous, large-scale living clams known as Baja’s “candy-of-the-sea,” which have a brown shell—hence the name. At this all-inclusive, order as many as you want—sky’s the limit relative to supply, at least. They will fresh shuck the clam and serve the sliced meat in the shell, itself, accompanied by lemons and finely diced tomato, onion, cilantro. Eat them with just these ceviche-esque elements to truly appreciate the sweet flavor of this fabulous clam, or add ponzu or hot/picante sauce to vary the flavor profile. Pair with a side of their addicting spice-dusted tortilla chips, chunky guacamole and a crisp white wine to perfect the meal.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that Grand Velas Los Cabos’s Mexican eatery, Frida, also debuted a $25K taco for two, which is yet another example of how they’re innovating and breaking barriers in the food space and is not part of the all-inclusive package, of course. It’s the world’s most expensive taco, and this culinary masterpiece for two includes such premium ingredients as langoustine, Kobe beef, Almas Beluga caviar and black truffle brie cheese. An exotic salsa comprised of dried Morita chili peppers, Ley.925 ultra-premium añejo tequila and civet coffee tops the taco which is served on a gold flake-infused corn tortilla. For a beverage to complement, a hand-crafted white gold and pure platinum bottle of Ley.925 Pasión Azteca Ultra Premium Añejo can accompany the tacos for an additional $150K.
5. Astonishing Spa Facilities
Clearly this resort is making its mark on the gastro-travel front, but its spectacular SE Spa is giving the food and beverage program here a run for its money. The two-level, 35,000-square-foot facility is a not-to-be-missed experience. There are 16 treatment rooms–some with water views–in which all guests enjoy creative, authentic treatments that combine products of the earth with the latest technology and methodologies. Following the changing pattern of the seasons, this indigenous culture-driven spa follows a wellness path represented by a unique totem, in honor of ancient Mayan and Aztec traditions.
Signature treatments, like the one I had, make use of Mexico’s native Blue Agave plant and its ancestral healing benefits. All treatments of 50 minutes or more include a fabulous seven-step water journey like none other. This features a eucalyptus-scented steam room, sauna, polar pool, Jacuzzi and, the pièce de résistance, the multi-sensory pool. Here you can recline in the central, temperate climate pool and enjoy its range of massaging faucets for your neck, upper and lower back and even your feet. Once the kinks are worked out, be sure to relax in one of the pool’s whole body bubble beds. After your water journey, you’ll rest on a heated lounger with a warm neck pillow, scented towels, and cucumbers on your eyes to ensure that you are fully relaxed and ready for your treatment.
The spa center features three pools as well as an ocean-overlook Life Fitness Center with exercise programs such as yoga and pilates, meditation and personal trainers. There are also separate and quite impressive kids’ and teens’ club facilities and activities programs. Men, women and children can also all take advantage of haircuts, nails and other salon services as well as in-suite (or terrace) massages.
6. Laudable Leisure
When you stay at Grand Velas Los Cabos, you’ll enjoy leisurely, effortless days spent soaking up the sun, walking on the private beach (where you’re not being approached by vendors selling this and that), or lounging at one of several infinity pools or in a beach bed overlooking the Sea of Cortes. Be sure to take advantage of a foot or head massage while you’re sunning for a greater indulgence.
If you’re traveling with children, they’ll have plenty to do at the Grand Velas Kids’ Club, which provides a fun, safe environment for kids to explore various activities such as treasure hunting, soccer and cooking classes. A kids’ pool and splash pad are other options. The Teens’ Club is designed to entertain older kids ages thirteen and above with a huge variety of games including a pool table, ping pong, air hockey, foosball, an X-Box Kinect, and a karaoke set. There’s a dance floor, several video game “pods” and a bar where kids can sidle up to order smoothies, burgers and any other all-inclusive delights they desire on-demand.
For something fun for the whole family—or certainly perfect for couples—do some stargazing. Grand Velas Los Cabos’ Night Sky is a unique astronomy experience that takes place during each month’s new moon. Discover the stars, constellations, and planets amid an oceanfront bonfire and signature cocktails. The three-hour experience includes guided use of the largest telescopes in Los Cabos. If you’re lucky, you might even get to take in a meteor shower, which is common in the Los Cabos sky. Yet another great way to make lasting memories.
7. Eco-Friendly Practices
This resort is designed to exist in harmony with the surrounding fragile environment and, in many ways, goes above and beyond to sustain the planet’s natural resources. For example, to clear the land for the resort, hundreds of cacti and trees were dug up and, rather than being disposed of, were instead transplanted to protect the region’s native flora and fauna. Part of the potable water the resort uses is repurposed either for general use or to return to the subsoil. The laundry facilities also filter soapy water for rinsing reuse in a dedicated water treatment plant, and the residual water treatment facility processes all of the resort’s H2O so that it can be used to irrigate the exterior gardens, mangroves and jungle.
With the above points as proof, Grand Velas Los Cabos extends a truly unparalleled all-inclusive vacation experience. Dramatic ocean views, next-generation amenities, oversized designer suites, a world-class spa, a three-to-one staff-to-guest ratio and a demonstrated commitment to the environment are just some of the things making this an enviable escape—whether you seek to make memories with your family, a special someone, a girl’s weekend, a guy golf trip, or even for some alone “you time” where you can truly relax and recharge. In any scenario, you’ll be enthusiastically spoiled throughout.
As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***