24-Hour Room Service: The Esperanza Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Saturday 06 May 2006
Set between two secluded coves overlooking the Sea of Cortez, the hotel is a temple where the faithful come and worship at the altar of pampering and relaxation. In private walled gardens with man-made waterfalls for showers, the spa offers treatments such as the papaya-mango body polish or grated coconut and lime body exfoliation with a Corona beer face lift for the male visitor. And just to prove the treatments are as natural as they claim, you end your session in a soak pool drinking an agua fresca made from the very fruits and plants which minutes earlier were being slapped on your thighs.
On the tip of the Baja Peninsula where the sea meets the Pacific Ocean, the rocky coastline provides a spectacular backdrop to infinity pools where disciples spend an arduous day sunbathing before a spot of whale-watching or yoga. Tranquillity is a byword of the hotel and - while children are welcome to vocalise their excitement in two of the pools, the other is strictly adults only.
After a day of "replenishing body and soul", you have ample opportunity to undo all the good work by diving into a decadent menu of Mediterranean dishes with indigenous influences such as grilled lobster tail with red chile corn cream and pistachio lasagne.
Protected from the cool night air by soft wool ponchos and open fires, you can then retire to the bar to sample something from the Tequila and Cigar Menu. After all, tomorrow is another day of purification and rejuvenation.
The Esperanza, Punta Ballena, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (00 52 624 145 6400; www.esperanzaresort.com).
A prime spot to enjoy diving, snorkelling, whale-watching or riding through the desert. Nearby Cabo San Lucas is a mass of high-rise hotels and late-night bars, while the prettier colonial town of San Jose Del Cabo is crammed with craft shops charging exorbitant prices.
Time to international airport: Thirty minutes to San Jose del Cabo airport.
Elegant rooms in muted tones are adorned with local hand-crafted furniture as well as artwork, and open on to ocean-view balconies or terraces with hammocks and (in some cases) private pools. Large marble bathrooms boast double power showers and deep baths adorned with bougainvillaea petals.
Italian linens cover the huge beds where the staff place a different hand-made Mexican craft doll each night. Other touches include whale-watching binoculars and foot-massage sandals.
Freebies: Yoga classes. Fresh fruit and soft drinks. Custom-madebath products.
Keeping in touch: TVs, DVD and CD players, complimentary internet access.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Rooms start at US$375 (£220) a night going up to US$5,750 (£3,382) for a three-bedroom beachfront suite with private pool and 24-hour butler service. Seven nights at Esperanza, in a garden-level ocean view casita, with return flights and private airport transfers start from £2,100 per person room only with Exsus Travel (020-7292 5050; www.exsus.com).
I'm not paying that: El Encanto Inn, Calle Morelos 133, San Jose del Cabo, offers rooms and suites ranging from US$75 (£44) to US$169 (£99) (00 52 624 142 0388; www.elencantoinn.com).
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