Shandana A. Durrani
From the Print Edition:
Daniel Craig, November/December 2008
When Jennifer Aniston needed to retreat from the public eye during the holiday season a few years ago, she chose a resort known for its attention to luxury as well as privacy. Although paparazzi tried to infiltrate the hotel and take photos from the water, they couldn't get close enough to succeed due to the vigilant staff and the resort's position on a rocky portion of the Sea of Cortez.
While not everyone requires as much protection as Aniston does, you'll certainly feel cocooned and away from prying eyes at the secluded, exclusive Esperanza resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, near the tip of Baja California. Situated on two private coves, the six-year-old Esperanza features 60 privately owned villas, some of which occasionally may be rented by those looking for even more seclusion, as well as 50 rooms (called casitas) and seven luxury suites, including a one-bedroom penthouse with a private elevator and two terraces. Ranging in size from 925 to 4,000 square feet, the rooms are decorated in a coastal Mexican style with handmade wood furnishings, stone floors and palapa-style thatched roofs. Local art adorns the walls, Oaxacan pottery rests on tables and Italian linens envelope the large, airy beds. A deep soaking tub dominates the expansive bathroom that also includes a large shower built for two with a window that opens onto a balcony and an infinity hot tub. Sip on a Margarita made by the staff as you settle into your room.
While one could spend hours enjoying the view, it would be a shame to spend too much time in your casita as Los Cabos is not your average sleepy Mexican town. The area is known for its sportfishing, with marlin being a particular favorite. Whale watching, horseback riding and sailing can all be arranged. Esperanza guests can golf at four nearby championship courses, including the Jack Nicklaus—designed Ocean Course and the Tom Weiskopf Desert Course at the Cabo del Sol club.
Dining at Esperanza can be as delectable as it is picturesque. Carved into the bluffs, El Restaurante affords guests three terraced levels on which to eat, whether it's under a palapa or the stars. Executive chef Sergio Howland uses local organic produce and ingredients to create his signature Mediterranean cocina del sol (cuisine of the sun). The result is flavorful without being heavy or greasy. Savor the snapper bouillabaisse with seared scallops and saffron broth. The extensive wine list covers the requisite old-world choices as well as new-world examples, some of which are local. Guests may also dine at the family-friendly La Palapa Bar and Grill, and La Terraza Americana, a casual alternative to El Restaurante.
After dinner, retreat to the open-air El Bar. A walk-in humidor is filled with premium Cuban marques, including Cohiba, Montecristo and Partagas, and there is an ample choice of Tequila with which to pair it. Relax by the stone fire pit and watch the waves crash onto the beach as you savor your smoke in a private hideaway that enthusiastically welcomes cigar smokers but not the paparazzi.
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