ELEVATING THE ALL-INCLUSIVE
Written by Bridget Williams
“There aren’t any ‘sneaky views’ here,” said Alan Del Blanco, general manager of Marquis Hotel Spa and Resort in Los Cabos, of the property’s 235 full oceanfront rooms. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, the independently owned, all-inclusive, adults-only property reopened in 2015 following a $10 million refresh.
Unobstructed views of the Sea of Cortés from every room are just one of myriad ways the resort differentiates itself from its neighbors in this de rigueur destination. One of the most striking distinctions is the architecture: as viewed from the beach or Highway 1, the unique open-air lobby in the whitewashed exterior calls to mind a partially agape mouth of the majestic whale sharks who can be spotted in the area’s waters from winter to early spring each year.
Standing in the space while sipping your freshly squeezed watermelon welcome cocktail, your gaze cannot help being drawn to the lobby’s central reflecting pool, whose waters seems to meld with sea and sky before falling off a cantilevered edge and into another pool some 40 feet below. Adding to the whimsy are a pair of life-sized mythical sculptures by Mexican artist Jorge Marin on either side of the installation. Like many of the artworks on property, they were culled from the owners’ private collection. These pieces, when combined with the ample application of native natural materials and regionally influenced textiles, impart a definitive sense of place to the physical spaces, both public and private.
Guest accommodations, which range from a 650-square foot Deluxe Suite to the 2,600-square-foot Presidential Suite, are outfitted in a fashion best described as a contemporary take on traditional Mexican motifs, utilizing custom-made case goods from Guatemala and original paintings by Mexico’s own Agustin Castro. Luxurious marble bathrooms boast hydromassage tubs, double-basin sinks and L’Occitane toiletries. An amply stocked minibar and 24-hour room service means that you’ll never go hungry or thirsty. Each morning your foodie fiesta commences with the Marquis Wake Up, which includes a basket of fresh sweet rolls and piping hot coffee, waiting to be discovered in a secret pantry next to your room’s front door. The 26 one-bedroom casitas and five Master Suites have private plunge pools and kitchens, while the Presidential Suite sports a terrace that spans the width of the lobby arch and includes private butler service.
When it comes to on-site culinary experiences, Marquis Los Cabos obliterates the sub-par stigma frequently associated with all-inclusive properties. Frenchman and Executive Chef Thierry Dufour oversees the menus at the resort’s signature Canto Del Mar restaurant and its other specialty dining options: Vista Ballenas, Dos Mares, Pergola and Sakke restaurants and the Suspiro Bar. The buffet-style Vista Ballenas serves traditional breakfast offerings, regionally inspired Mexican cuisine for lunch and Italian-themed dinners, with seating inside the colorful dining room or oceanfront on an elevated terrace (their made-to-order omelets at breakfast are a thing of beauty). As much as I wanted to eat my way through the entirety of the lunch offerings, including stone-oven pizzas served up at Pergola, I found that the craveability quotient of the ceviche and guacamole at Dos Mares lured me back each day. Sushi and teppanyaki table service in a contemporary setting are found at Sakke, along with a lineup of craft cocktails exclusive to this outlet.
For the ultimate dining experience, opt for the upcharge for Canto Del Mar. Chef Thierry has carefully orchestrated every act of this prix-fixe dinner theatre, from the Provençal blue walls and terracotta tile floors in the intimate dining room to the artfully composed plates. Adept and attentive service mirrors the elevated cuisine.
A published daily calendar of events aims to offer something for everyone, and includes active pursuits such as oceanfront yoga, water aerobics, air rifle shooting, beach and pool volleyball, and free throw competitions, to culinary focused diversions such as tequila and wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. It was interesting to watch how group activities made quick friends of strangers, who ran the gamut from honeymooners to parents with their adult children.
A quick glance around the grounds evidenced that the most popular activity was congregating around a trio of pools: a large central one flanked by two with an infinity-edge. Because the surf is too tumultuous for swimming but quite spectacular for wave watching, it is easy to take advantage of an abundance of loungers and attentive pool staff and while away an afternoon being lulled into a dreamlike state by the rhythmic pounding of the surf. If swimming in the sea is a must, a calm cove can be accessed a short beach stroll away. Activities extend into the evening hours, although I found stargazing on my balcony with a nightcap to be the optimal way to ease into a restful night’s sleep.
Equally relaxing is the 13,000-square-foot Spa Marquis. Indigenous ingredients including cactus oils, agave, sea salt and seaweed factor heavily into the lineup of facial and body treatment options. Following your service, you can retreat to a trio of oceanfront whirlpools reserved for spa guests.
Tempting as it is to remain in a state of supreme satiation without ever leaving the property, there are a few places within easy reach that are worth a visit. Numerous tour companies nearby provide paddleboard and sailing options to the famous arch of Cabo San Lucas, which marks the sport where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. The quaint and quiet Gallery District in San José del Cabo includes a mélange of art purveyors, ranging from listed artists to indigenous artisans. There are also excellent bars and restaurants in the area—La Revolución, Baja Brewing Company and Paleteria Tropical were among our favorites.
Travel a little further afield along a dirt road to reach Los Tamarindos, an organic farm and restaurant that dates back to the 19th century. Seated at a rough-hewn table in the shadow of a late 1800s stone brick farmhouse, we feasted on delicacies including their signature dish—octopus on a bed of arugula with house made habanero sauce—as well as a salad made of heirloom tomatoes so naturally sweet they could have sufficed as dessert. Our farm-to-table feast was complemented by wines from Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe.
From foodies to fitness enthusiasts, Marquis Los Cabos Hotel and Spa makes it easy to go all-in for their all-inclusive experience.
Rates from $435 to $2,308 double per night all-inclusive with taxes.
For more information or reservations