Great Trips with Friends
Whether it’s a fun bar scene, a mile-long spa menu, or activities galore, these spots are best experienced with buddies.
Hacienda Beach ClubGómez 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.
EsperanzaCarretera 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.
One & Only PalmillaCarretera 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 fifteen 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.
CuixmalaCarretera 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 thirteen 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.
Viceroy Zihuatanejo40880 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).
St. Regis Punta MitaPunta 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.
Rosewood MayakobaCarretera Federal Cancún Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya | +52.984.875.8000
Rosewood Mayakoba is a huge resort that’s very well run and well-manicured. You’re surrounded by water, with the Caribbean Sea on one side and freshwater lagoons on the other, which you traverse by boat to get around. (You can always get around by bike, which is popular with guests.) It’s hard to get a bad room as they’re all villas—private plunge pools, sun decks, and outdoor showers come with each. (They’re really spacious and great for friends traveling together.) If you want to hole up at the spa every day of your visit, you wouldn’t be blamed—it’s a totally special space, housed on a private island overlooking limestone lagoons and offering up an extensive menu of Mayan-influenced spa treatments and rituals. Come evening, be sure to book a spot at La Ceiba Garden & Kitchen—an 18-seat dining experience under a large Ceiba tree on the property’s 20,000-square foot garden where everyone from hotel guests and staff dine together on a menu crafted from locally-sourced produce and sip wines and tequilas from the region.
AcreCalle Sin Nombre, Animas Bajas, 23407 San Jose del Cabo | +52.624.171.8226
Whether you come for a meal at the farm-to-table restaurant, or to check-in and unplug in one of the twelve tree houses on the property, this place is a bucket-list must. Situated on twenty-five acres of farmland up a winding dirt road adjacent to Flora Farms, design-forward hotel offers some of the most incredible amenities (note: tree houses, fifteen feet off the ground, each with their own alfresco shower, plus terrace with palm grove views) and experiences like hiking, yoga, and access to roam the totally gorgeous on-site farm. The staff and owners are incredibly hospitable, so much so that you'll jump right into their awaiting Mezcal tasting upon arrival.