The always inventive Auberge Resorts Collection offers two distinct takes on the Cabo experience at its sister resorts. Fathom contributing editor Larkin Clark sizes them up.
LOS CABOS, Mexico — Auberge is known as a trusted go-to for top-tier hospitality in unique, visually captivating settings. In northern California, where I live, Auberge du Soleil, Solage, and Calistoga Ranch are some of the most beloved destinations in the Napa Valley region. There’s no doubt the hotel group's focus is on luxury, but an approachable, down-to-earth energy and one-of-a-kind experiences are what keep people coming back.
In Los Cabos, one of Fathom’s Top Places to Travel in 2019, Auberge finds its home at Esperanza and Chileno Bay, sister properties situated on a prime stretch of shoreline between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas. Just a few minutes’ drive from each other, the resorts offer their own distinct takes on the Cabo experience.
Both resorts can coordinate excursions and experiences (diving for clams at a local fishing village, dining on the beach, movie night for kids). With shuttles scheduled between the two properties and the ability to charge things to your room at either one during your stay, it feels like one cohesive resort experience.
Let’s get into what makes these two properties so special, depending on what kind of trip you’re planning to book.
If You’re Looking For Romance
Esperanza’s brand of romance is iconic Baja, with traditionally inspired architecture and vistas that sweep you off your feet as soon as you pass through the grand, palapa-roofed entry.
Perched on a bluff overlooking two coves at Punta Ballena, the resort is one of the most private hotel properties in Cabo San Lucas. Due to its seclusion, it’s been a top destination for some impressive guests, including Barack Obama. The rooms are warm and airy, recently updated in textured neutrals that echo the seaside locale. Many balcony rooms have ocean-facing hot tubs — a big plus for any escape, whether you’re with a partner or on your own.
For a next-level romantic dinner, it’s hard to top Cocina del Mar, the resort’s main dining attraction that reopened last fall after a renovation. By day, the open-air restaurant lives up to its name (translation: Sea Kitchen), with breathtaking ocean views just a few steps from the resort’s impressive palapa bar, AIRE. A twist of the pirinola (a traditional six-sided Mexican spinning top) will help determine the contents of your custom-made cocktail.
At night, candlelight transforms Cocina del Mar into a spectacular setting for inventive, sustainable seafood dishes from executive chef Guillermo Gomez. Try the totoaba fish, a local specialty. If you go on a Wednesday around 7:30 p.m., you just may see fireworks.
From Cocina del Mar, you can see two open-air palapas on the beach below. You’ll want to make the short hike down to see them up close and maybe snap a pic or two: They’re the stuff Instagram dreams are made of. Better yet, rent one for the day — you can request a private BBQ in the afternoon, rinse off post-swim in the outdoor shower, watch the sunset from the open-air bedroom upstairs, then pull down a screen to take movie night outdoors. (Yes, really.)
Renting a palapa is a pretty enticing way to relax, but it does come with a price tag (starting at $560 per couple). For more relaxation, book a few hours at the spa, a lush haven that offers a range of treatments performed with True Botanicals products. As part of Auberge’s Spa After Dark program, couples can opt for the Sueños Spa Experience from March through November, which grants access to the spa’s grotto and steam cave, plus a couple’s massage under the stars.
If You Want Fun in the Sun
Chileno Bay has a modern, upbeat vibe that makes you want to rosé-all-day at the pool and take advantage of the water sports at the swimmable cove out your front door. Less than a ten-minute drive from Esperanza, it’s a prime spot for group escapes, from weddings and bachelorette parties to family getaways. But if you’re looking for a romantic getaway for two, you can find that, too.
Like Esperanza, Chileno Bay keeps its rooms bright and breezy, but with more contemporary design flair. In most guest rooms, highlights include an outdoor shower, a luxe walk-in closet, and deep-soak tub set against a striking, tiled wall. The resort’s pool situation is pretty epic, but should you prefer an even more VIP experience, reserve the 2,100 square-foot Spa Suite with its own plunge pool off the living room.
The pool is the centerpiece of the resort, so make time to curl up on a daybed or pool lounger. During the day, a vintage food truck pulls up to serve popsicles and fresh coconuts, and you can request water-friendly playing cards for games in the pool. The place is an adults’ day party heaven, but families can rest easy knowing there’s a pool for kids that’s just as impressive as the one for grown-ups. In between dips, head to the beach bar, TnT, for snacks and a sip of snake-infused sotol — or at the very least, take a photo with the bottle (the snake’s still in there).
Chileno Bay has one of the only swimmable stretches of beach in Cabo, making it a must-hit during your stay. At the sports activity center, you can rent kayaks or grab a complimentary snorkel mask to explore the surrounding reefs. If you forget your underwater camera at home, don’t sweat it, as the masks are outfitted with GoPros.
After dark, beach-side fire pits are a good excuse to curl up with a cocktail under the stars. If you don't want to venture out to downtown Cabo's infamous bar scene, the resort often hosts unique events that take place right on the beach in front. For example, Savor Baja, an annual food and spirits weekend that features fire-inspired cocktails and dishes by top mixologists and chefs from Baja and the U.S. (Jim Meehan of NYC’s beloved PDT, Flora Farms’ Chef Guillermo Tellez, and Blackberry Farms’ Chef Cassidee Dabney, to name a few.)
Like Esperanza, Chileno Bay offers the Auberge Spa After Dark program. So if you want to keep things more private, head to the spa for a Dos Almas couple’s treatment, which includes side-by-side massages, facials, and a bottle of champagne to pop fireside.
You’re probably wondering which one to choose. My recommendation: Book a night or two at one resort, then complete your stay at the other, depending on whether you want to end your trip on a romantic or more high-energy note.