Through the years, my travels have allowed me to stay in some of the finest hotels in the world. I’ve been pampered in Bangkok, treated like royalty in Hanoi, and wined and dined in San Francisco. But I was also prohibited from walking into my Bangkok hotel because I was wearing heelless sandals, looked at with thinly disguised contempt in Hanoi because I arrived with a backpack, and felt uncomfortable in the San Francisco hotel’s exclusive restaurant because my fork was replaced every time I put it down.
When the new Rancho Pescadero Resort in Todos Santos, Mexico invited me to be their guest during a recent press trip, I expected the resort to be another cookie-cutter luxury property where I would be subjected to ostentation masquerading as authentic hospitality. But I was dead wrong. This four-month old resort has figured out the secret formula for a perfect vacation.
My experience began in one of 12 exquisite suites in four adobe-style buildings that arc in a semi-circle from the open-air lobby and restaurant. Each suite features a private patio with chaise lounges and breakfast table, sitting room, elevated bedroom overlooking the sitting room, and a luxuriant bathroom with a sunken tile shower (some also have deep soaking tubs).
I was impressed by the thought given to furnishing the suites. Giant pump bottles of shampoo and conditioner are provided in every shower, as are specialty soaps and bubble bath. Ceramic jars in the bathroom hold cotton swabs and makeup remover pads, and dispensers above the Mexican deep-well sinks hold soap and a luscious Damiana lotion. A safe, iron, ironing board, thick terrycloth robes, and games like Scrabble and Twister are concealed behind the sliding wood doors at one end of the bathroom, and another wicker basket in the bedroom contains flashlight for moonlight strolls and binoculars for spotting the amazing variety of birds that continuously flit around the property.
Surrounded by such luxury, you might be tempted to stay inside but the grounds will entice you back out. Settle onto a floating rafts at the edge of the pool and sip the smoothie of the day, created from coconut milk and fresh fruit. Sink up to your neck into the hot tub, take a walk along miles of nearly deserted beach, indulge yourself with a massage treatment at the oceanfront spa shack, or grab a barrel chair around the firepit as dusk falls. And when hunger finally strikes, choose from a half-dozen daily specials created from fresh seafood and meats, seasoned with spices from the surrounding organic farms.
Yet what makes Rancho Pescadeo so special is none of the above. Other luxury resorts have pools, hot tubs, and gourmet restaurants. What sets this resort apart is the philosophy of its owner, Lisa Harper, who learned during her years as CEO of a major corporation that people are happiest when they can just be themselves. She also realized how disconnected we are from nature. Harper kept those two ideas in mind when she designed Rancho Pescadero. “I wanted a place where guests could wander throughout the dunes, hang out on rooftops, or walk through adjacent fields of fragrant basil; a place where there is no pressure to be anywhere at any time. Harper insists that having time and space to reconnect is underestimated, adding that “the only thing you are expected to do at Rancho Pescadero is to be yourself.”
Frankly, I could barely tear myself away. I came for two days and stayed for five. I walked for miles on the beach, had a blissful-two hour massage, attended a roof-top Yoga class, and lounged for two hours over breakfast, enjoying the pot of fresh brewed coffee and fruit plate that is left outside of every room by 7:30 each morning. The members of the staff brought me into their fold and made me a member of their family. By the time I left, I even knew the names of the night watchman and his dog. No rules. No phony hospitality. No ostentation. Just perfection.
Rancho Pescadero Resort is located in the small village of Pescadero, just 15 minutes south of Todos Santos, on the west coast of Baja California, Mexico. Rates range for $185 to $235 per night, with select holidays priced slightly higher. To reach the resort, guests can fly into airports at either San Jose del Cabo or La Paz, and the resort can arrange for a van transport from the airport, which costs $200 each way for up to six people.
Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Photne: +52 612-135-5849