Travel

Mexico

Establishment neighborhood
Impressions Moxché by Secrets
Ctra. Federal, Playa del Carmen
The all-inclusive Impressions Moxché is part of a larger Secrets complex, and guests benefit from everything the wider property has to offer: several pools, tons of restaurants, and a location on the edge of Playa del Carmen. But Impressions itself is more luxurious and intimate than its parent resort; it’s sequestered away from the rest of the hotel, and its pools and restaurants are exclusive to Impressions guests. Every room is a suite with plenty of room to spread out, with a private pool or hot tub on each terrace.
Hotel Esencia
77734 Xpu-Há, Riviera Maya
Hotel Esencia was originally built as the private getaway of an Italian duchess. Now, it buzzes with chic clientele who choose the resort for its privacy and discretion. (The current owner is an art collector, whose connections and influence are apparent in the crowd and art curation on the property.) The beach is swimmable, although seaweed blooms might hinder that effort if you’re here in the spring in the early summer; the pools, in any case, are lovely, and divided between family-friendly and adults-only. And on top of daily breakfast baskets delivered to your room, there’s a café and juice bar, a sushi spot with Mexican inflections, a seafood grill under a grand palapa, an outpost of a Monaco steakhouse, and a beachside spot for margaritas.
One&Only Mandarina
Carretera Federal Libre 200 Tepic-Puerto Vallarta Municipio de Compostela El Monteón, Monteón
Surrounded by white-sand beaches and tropical rainforest, this resort is drop-dead amazing on all counts, but the spa—which uses much-obsessed-over Tata Harper products for all of its facials—is next level. The Remodelage Facial is 90-minutes of remodelage (a sculpting massage technique) and facial cupping that boosts skin detoxification, long-lasting hydration, and some pretty major contoured effects.
The WELL at Chileno Bay
Playa Chileno Bay, Carr. Transpeninsular Supermanzana Km. 15, Chileno Bay
Set on a protected cove with gorgeous reefs and warm pristine water, this resort is luxe and deeply restorative—and so is their spa. There is only one facial on the menu, and that’s because the master aestheticians personalize everything to your skin’s needs. After a consultation, there’s cleansing, exfoliating, masks, and serums to get your skin silky-smooth and seriously radiant. The best part is the lymphatic-drainage massage that leaves you firm, sculpted, and walking out in a trance.
Ignacia Guest House
Jalapa 208 Casa B, Colonia Roma
You don’t quite expect the quiet chic of the Ignacia Guest House as you’re walking down the gorgeous, tree-lined street it sits on in Roma. Roma is cool in the vein of say, Greenpoint, where the Ignacia seems more like a secret hideout in Milan. Named for a housekeeper who worked at the casona for over seventy years (there are gorgeous block-print portraits of her in numerous alcoves), Ignacia’s a stunning combination of historic restoration and modernist architecture. All of it overlooks the leafy central garden overrun with cacti and trees dangling with fruit; a bubbling, rusted square cast-iron tub bubbles meditatively at its center. The rooms are exquisite and earthily cushy. Beautiful expanses of wood and velvet are punctuated with low, sexy lamps, and the marble bathrooms are stocked with fluffy bathrobes and large brown bottles of local organic beauty products. But sitting in the garden is the ultimate. After a long day, sip a handmade cocktail stirred with artisanal mezcal as you watch sun-dappled lily pads float lazily across the central tub, and feel more at sexily at ease than you’d have thought possible in the middle…
SEARED
Carretera Transpeninsular, San José del Cabo
SEARED, the One&Only Palmilla steakhouse run by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is where you go if your dream dinner phrase is “Wagyu beef.” The place has fifteen different cuts of the finest meat, vegetable sides best described as “crazy” (in a wonderful way), and views of the Sea of Cortez that will take your breath away. The resort is a quick taxi over from town if you’re staying in San José del Cabo. And while you’re there, take advantage: A post-dinner walk on the winding resort grounds makes a great dessert. (But still: Order dessert.)
El Wine Bar y Café
Carretera Transpeninsular, San José del Cabo
The drive up the long, winding dirt track to Flora Farms can be discombobulating. You’ll repeatedly look at your GPS, wondering whether this really is the right road. It is. And the bumpy drive is worth it. First, order the bloody Mary—a masterpiece of a drink in which the garnishes could make up a meal. Then indulge in one of their sticky buns, with crunchy caramelized walnuts, and afterward, walk over to El Wine Bar y Café. The small space is impeccably kitted out. Aside from their wide selection of Mexican and Napa Valley wines (there are dozens of options by the glass), their coffee is easily the smoothest cup in Los Cabos. We couldn’t help but purchase a few bags of beans to take home, plus a few of their delicate cups to sip from.
El Merkado
Carr. Transpeninsular, San Jose del Cabo
El Merkado was a new (and very welcome) discovery for us on a recent trip to Cabo. The large, warehouse-style building just off the Transpeninsular Highway looked so rustic, so out of place amidst all the resorts, we had to pull in for a closer peek. Inside, we found an assortment of restaurants, including Italian (the pizza and pasta dough is made fresh daily) and Mexican, plus a salad bar, burger joint, and everything in between. Toward the end of the building is a little shop selling beautiful stemware, enamel dinnerware (we couldn't resist a set of red-rimmed ceramic espresso cups), and cocktail-making accoutrements. For a casual meal, El Merkado nails it.
La Esquina
Calle Horizonte, Todos Santos
A resident recommended this all-day spot to us for breakfast. A few moments down the Topete road outside town, La Esquina spreads its shady seating (and reliable Wi-Fi) across a plant-packed courtyard. The fresh OJ surpassed any we have ever had, and the breakfast burritos, spicy chilaquiles, and omelets were the perfect start to our day. They also have sandwiches on whole-grain toast, oatmeal, and smoothies packed with organic fruit and veggies grown on the property. Spend a slow morning working through the breakfast menu and people-watching from a cool corner before stopping by the farm stand next door.