Travel

Great Trips with Friends

goop

Whether it’s a fun bar scene, a mile-long spa menu, or activities galore, these spots are best experienced with buddies.

One & Only Palmilla

Carretera Transpeninsular Km 7.5, Centro, San José del Cabo | +52.624.146.7000

If the words Cabo San Lucas conjure visions of Sammy Hagar doing tequila shots, let the words One & Only Palmilla replace them with dreams of tropical paradise. Originally built in 1956 as a 15-room luxury escape for the President of Mexico, it's been transformed over the years into a 115-room resort with lush gardens, a pristine beachfront, and top notch service, food, spa, and amenities (think welcome tequila and pillow menus for everyone; personalized robes and an iPhone to communicate directly with the butler when you check into a villa). They experienced extensive damage from Hurricane Odile, but are open and thriving once again.

Cuixmala

Carretera Melaque-Puerto Vallarta Km. 40, 48983 Huejutla de Reyes, Jalisco, Mexico | +52.800.590.3845

Originally built as a private retreat for British billionaire Sir James Goldsmith, this Moorish-style, sustainability-minded manor is spread out over 25,000 acres of lush Costa Alegre beach and jungle, which you’ll share with the resident zebras, antelope, tropical birds, and other wildlife (guests are also encouraged to take part in Cuixmala’s Turtle Protection Program). Technically, there are only 13 rooms on property, but four of them are group-friendly palatial villas that come with pools, multiple bedrooms, and private chefs. For a more economical and decidedly more romantic option, the nine secluded garden casitas, with their private terraces and access to the stunning pool, are a great choice. The regional fare served at any of the multiple on-site restaurants either comes from Cuixmala’s own organic farm or sourced from neighboring farms.

Esperanza

Carretera Transpeninsular Km. 7 Mz 10, Punta Ballena, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.145.6400, 888.281.3171

This is a big, classic-style resort done well (it is an Auberge, after all), with an especially remarkable spa—we were particularly into the Four Hands Two Hearts massage. It’s definitely a place to be pampered—from the time you are greeted by a personal concierge at the resort with a house margarita to days spent by the pool, where intermittent mini massages, chilled bottles of water, and frozen fruit sticks are given without asking. The clifftop location on Punta Ballena (“Whale Point”)—between two private beaches overlooking the Sea of Cortez—is dramatic and stunning, especially in winter months when you can watch the humpback whales migrate past. The casitas and suites are as luxe as to be expected from an Auberge property but with muted colors and soft, natural handwoven rugs and blankets, and Mexican artwork. They're still fresh off a full redesign following Hurricane Odile.

Viceroy Zihuatanejo

40880 Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Playa La Ropa | +52.755.555.5500

The biggest draw to this luxury boutique hotel is the long, private stretch of white sand beach on the nicest part of Playa La Ropa. Lounge under the oceanside palapas with coconut palms from the tropical gardens swaying overhead and a cold piña colada in-hand. Though it’s on the beach, not all rooms have an ocean view (we've heard the garden rooms can be a bit disappointing).

Hacienda Beach Club

Gómez Farias S/N, El Medano, Cabo San Lucas | +52.624.163.3100

Hacienda Beach Club is for the active holiday: Outdoor yoga, spinning, and complimentary water sports, including stand-up paddleboarding are just a few of the activities offered. And then you can unwind the kinks at the spa after. Note: These are fully-equipped villas for rent, making it a practical choice for a longer stay with the family—they have kitchens, as well as washer/dryers. It’s centrally located next to the marina and people who stay here love that they can walk to the beachfront shops and restaurants.

St. Regis Punta Mita

Punta de Mita, Nayarit | +52.329.291.5800

The beauty of this 120-room St. Regis resort is in its idyllic locale. Sprawled out over 1,500 acres along the Riviera Nayarit, the hotel is steps from the water and within driving distance from Puerto Vallarta’s colonial streets and the Marietas Islands. Outdoor showers, sun beds, and spacious terraces are standard with every guest room, while the residential-style Suite Sueños boasts a private pool and a state-of-the-art kitchen—ideal for hosting intimate gatherings. Though kids are welcome throughout the property (daycare services can be arranged, too), those looking for a more serene experience should retreat to the adults-only pool. And though it’s unlikely you’ll want for much, St. Regis Butler Service is readily available.