|photography by Brad Eakin|
WHY NOW: During the month of February, when greeting card companies, floral shops, and chocolatiers remind us daily that this is the month to celebrate romance, a quick beach getaway can be just the ticket. So head to Esperanza, nestled on a bluff overlooking the Sea of Cortez, where beaches, infinity pools, multiple restaurants, and a relaxing spa can keep you busy for days. MASSAGE ENVY: Esperanza offers six couples’ spa treatments, all performed in the seclusion of a couples’ suite. Though the staff does give you the privacy you require, these treatments are not for the modest, because by the end of the two-hour experience, your therapist will most likely catch more than one glimpse of your naked bum. We love the Fruits of Passion ritual, which begins with a dip in a private saltwater plunge pool. Then choose from two body polishes: grated coconut with lime or papaya mango. (Go with the more refreshing grated coconut and lime, because the papaya mango gets a little messy.) After a hearty rubdown, rinse off in the outdoor shower and get back under the sheets for a full-body massage. By the end of it you’ll be ready for a nap—or at least ready for bed (wink). DILLY-DALLY IN THE DAYTIME: Wake up with a cappuccino on your patio, or throw on your bathing suit and sunglasses and kick off your day with excellent huevos rancheros. Park your posterior in a chaise lounge near the infinity pool, and enjoy the serenity of your surroundings. If you must, you can sea kayak or snorkel. But why leave the chaise when the cheerful staff is ready and willing to bring you some ceviche and margaritas while you sunbathe? Learn more about that tequila in your drink at the informative tequila tasting, or check out the art gallery (www.lagaleriaatesperanza.com) on the premises. The resort features a rotating selection of pieces on the grounds and in the rooms from Mexican artists, including the fantastic devotional sculptures of Jorge Marín. Like what you see? The staff can move the piece into your room so you can live with it for a while. Then you’ll know you love it before you buy. DRAMATIC DINNERS: There are worse ways to enjoy a fillet of fresh fish than perched on a terrace overlooking the sea, with a cool ocean breeze brushing your cheek and crashing waves providing the soundtrack. This kind of ambience can only enrich the Mediterranean-influenced cuisine of executive chef Flynt Payne, who uses local ingredients and regional flavors to create such dishes as achiote and sage-dusted cabrilla or honey-baked lenguado with crispy potato pancakes. (Don’t recognize the fish? The menu explains them nicely.) Try a bottle of wine from Baja, which your server will happily recommend. Then sit back, hold hands under the table, and take in the scene.
|photography courtesy of Las Ventanas|
Very nearby, and too tempting to ignore, is Las Ventanas al Paraíso. In contrast to Esperanza, with its dramatic, rocky coastline and hilly accommodations, Las Ventanas embodies serenity and peacefulness, with its relatively flat architecture and soft palette. Though Esperanza is a lovely place to dine, you must experience the tasting menu at Las Ventanas, created by executive sous chef Juan Pablo Loza, a rising star in Mexico, and the newly appointed executive chef, Fabrice Guisset, a native of Avignon, Provence. Each of the five courses includes two “tastes” of, say, parrot fish, each artfully presented and meticulously prepared, reflecting the freshness of local ingredients and the best of regional flavors. And don’t say we didn’t warn you: each dish is generously portioned, so eat light before you go. The night we dined, for one course we enjoyed a crisp-skinned baby red snapper “a la talla” style, matched with roasted red snapper with goat cheese and sweet tamal. The next course brought beef filet with cactus paddle salad and garlic chile sauce and beef “tlacoyo” in yellow mole—both were some of the most tender cuts of meat ever to cross our lips. For dessert, plantain with blue cheese was surprisingly divine and made us rethink our chocolate addiction. The sommelier expertly matched wines with every course, making this a meal that lingered on our palates long after the plates were cleared.
|photography by Brad Eakin|
How To Get There
American Airlines (www.aa.com) flies daily nonstop to Los Cabos International Airport. The resort can arrange an airport transfer.
Where To Stay
Esperanza, An Auberge Resort
Rates through June:
$675-$1,325 per night for casitas; $1,500-$3,500 per night for villas; $4,000-$5,500 per night for oceanfront luxury suites