Todos Santos, Mexico

Wander off the beaten path—or,in this case, off the paved roads—to Posada la Poza in Baja California Sur.


WHY NOW:
Mexico, our neighbor to the south, is a logical choice for a quick winter escape. But forget about all the big resort towns. You’ve been there, done that. Instead, venture off the beaten path (you have to turn off onto dirt roads to get there) and discover Posada la Poza (011-52-612-145-0400; www.lapoza.com), a slice of paradise near the dusty arts community of Todos Santos. The nights are a bit chilly, but the hospitality is warm, thanks to proprietors Juerg and Libusche Wiesendanger, who run this seven-suite boutique hotel just a stone’s toss from the Pacific Ocean. Grab a pair of binoculars, wander up to the observation deck atop the restaurant, and try to spot the gray whales that pass through the Pacific waters this time of year. Or simply watch the sun as it sinks into the ocean. LABOR OF LOVE: Todos Santos is a long way from Switzerland, where Juerg, a former banker, and his wife Libusche, an artist, once called home. Now Juerg is the hotel’s chef and Libusche is its interior—and exterior—designer. Libusche’s paintings, most of them lovely, alien-like female forms in shades of blue and orange, hang throughout the restaurant and in the suites. Outside, Libusche applied her creative touch to the incredible tropical garden filled with fruit such as banana, mango, papaya, pomegranate; various herbs and flowering bushes; an array of cacti; and easy-to-recognize birds of paradise. Libusche may be the one pleasing your eyes, but Juerg is the one pleasing your palate. His

A soothing waterfall spills into the saltwater pool.

unique blend of Mexican dishes and Swiss specialties makes for an unforgettable dining experience. Using fresh herbs from the garden and quality ingredients from local organic farmers, he prepares dishes such as thick and spicy tortilla soup; just-caught sole with mango-chile “chutney” and sautéed organic vegetables; and züri gschnetzlets, tender strips of pork in a supreme cream sauce. QUIET TIME: There are no televisions or phones in the rooms, so although we’re sure you can dream up other things to do in the boudoir, outside is where you want to be, lying on a chaise next to the refreshing (and environmentally friendly) saltwater pool. Snacks are never far away, of course, and we recommend an order of Juerg’s crispy tuna flautas and homemade guacamole. Should you need to move around, lace up your walking shoes and head for the path that takes you alongside the fresh-water lagoon and down to the Pacific Ocean, where you can stroll along with nary a soul in sight. After your beach walk, relax in a hammock and watch the snowy egrets and the belted kingfishers—only two of the 70 species identified here—in the lagoon, which sits between the hotel and the ocean. But it won’t stop the sounds of crashing waves from lulling you to sleep.

________________________________________

Tropical fruit grows in the garden.

FASTFACTS
How to Get There
American Airlines flies nonstop daily to San Jose del Cabo International Airport. The drive to Posada la Poza is about one and a half to two hours from Cabo. (The La Paz International Airport is a bit closer, but you’ll pay more and you’ll have to change planes in Mexico City.) A rental car is a must. Once you’re in Todos Santos, you’ll turn off the highway and onto dirt roads to get to the resort. There are several signs along the way, but you’ll never see them in the dark. Take our advice: don’t drive from Cabo to Posada la Poza at night. E-mail [email protected] for detailed driving directions.

Photos by Jennifer Chininis

________________________________________

Out on the Town

Libusche’s paintings hang in the hotel and in her gallery in town.
True, Todos Santos is still a little shanty of a town with dirty roads and stray dogs. That certainly hasn’t stopped the volume of visitors who venture out here to see the Hotel California. Whether or not it’s the actual place the Eagles sang about doesn’t matter; thanks to them, this offbeat little boutique hotel, with eclectic furnishings and a beautiful outdoor pool and lounge area, is famous. The attached restaurant is a hopping place, though we recommend you stop in only for a drink on the patio. (The food is so-so.) If you want a fine meal away from Posada la Poza, head directly to Cafe Santa Fe, a jewel of a restaurant with a gorgeous patio, where you can dine on Italian-inspired plates of ricotta-stuffed ravioli with shrimp, enormous tomato-mozzarella salad, and perfectly grilled scallops.

So what about the art in this “artsy” village? American Charles Stewart, whose colorful abstracts are catalogued in the Smithsonian, is probably the best known of the local artists who call Todos Santos home. And more of Libusche Wiesendanger’s work hangs in the Posada la Poza gallery near the Hotel California. But the best way to see what Todos Santos has to offer is to simply do your own exploring.

Photo Courtesy of Posada La Poza

Newsletter

Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.

Comments