Last September, the Category 3 Hurricane Odile walloped Los Cabos, Mexico, leaving widespread devastation in her wake. That included a number of top-shelf resorts, which were left shuttered during what should have been their busiest time of year. I made my first visit to Los Cabos in January 2010, during that sweet spot in the year when skies are clear, the air is crisp, and Humpback and Gray whales make their electrifying annual appearance offshore. Add to that experience the fact that the trip was my first-ever to Mexico and that it brought some respite during a personally trying time, and you can understand why Los Cabos holds a special place in my heart. It was painful to think of that little slice of paradise uprooted and overturned by the monster storm. So, five years and six return trips to Mexico later, I was ecstatic beyond measure when an opportunity came up last month to not only go back to Los Cabos but to stay at One&Only Palmilla, the famously posh resort at the tip of the Baja California peninsula. It had been on my bucket list since I first experienced—and fell in love with—Los Cabos. The resort re-opened on April 20 with a laundry list of post-storm upgrades, improvements, and additions, including a new Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, completely refurbished guest rooms and suites, and an all-new spa. This being my first stay at One&Only Palmilla, I had no frame of reference for pre- and post-storm comparisons, but I didn’t need one to know that this place was back and better than ever.
As a first-timer to One&Only Palmilla, had I not already known about Odile, I would’ve had no clue that a hurricane had ever roared through here. There was not a pebble, palm frond, or blade of grass out of place.
Beaches in Los Cabos aren’t ideal for swimming. They’re rocky, and the waves are no joke. But at One&Only Palmilla, guests can take a dip at Pelican Beach.
On the other side of the resort, these vendors sat patiently for ages on Turtle Beach, awaiting beachgoers to buy their wares.
They gave up on me quickly when they realized I was only trying to get close to the insane sea spray.
Have you ever seen such chicness in your life?
These cabanas on the very un-swimmable Turtle Beach quickly became my favorite spot on the property.
This woman was stopped in her tracks by the giant waves like I had been a few minutes before. I watched her watching them, which yielded a few of my favorite photos from the trip.
We didn’t have sunny weather the entire time, but even under cloud cover there were lots of colors to enjoy. These painted tiles were my favorite design touch at the resort.
Views of the Sea of Cortez from the lawn of Agua by Larbi, the resort’s Mexican restaurant, were, as you can see, bananas.
The Sea of Cortez made for some of the best guest-room views I’ve seen in all my travels.
Mexico is home to some truly darling churches, like this tiny, pristine white one. It sits atop a hill overlooking the property and is used by locals.
I happily checked in at a temple of a different kind—the spa. Its treatment villas were each tucked away behind an arched wooden door, Secret Garden-style.
Tiny bouquet of flowers swirled around a copper sculpture in its courtyard. So. Much. Serenity.
The opening of Seared, a steakhouse by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, seemed like one of the highlights of the resort’s re-opening. And rightfully so. So attune to my melt-in-your-mouth yellowfin and buttery burrata was I that I almost missed seeing Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger slink away from their table seconds after asking a server to pass their compliments to the chef.
Seared has its own display-style meat curing room, which, well, okay.
A few steps away is Suviche, which, as the name implies, serves sushi and ceviche. What it doesn’t imply is that it’ll ruin you for life. Don’t eat here until you’re ready to swear off everyone else’s sushi and ceviche. Forever.
Once in their rooms, guests are treated to a little tequila welcome amenity…
…which I appreciated from this spot on my balcony.
Details, details. Painted sinks, pebbled backsplashes, and intricate tiles were a few of my favorite in-room elements. They made the place feel like it was filled with love.
I’m always a little sad to see the sun rise on the last day of a trip, but never more so than on this one. I woke up early and headed straight for Turtle Beach for some more wave watching, followed by breakfast overlooking the pool.
Sipping coffee, savoring the view, and feeling pretty grateful for an amazing experience. Welcome back, One&Only Palmilla!
P.S. Stay tuned for a couple more posts about my stay at One&Only Palmilla, including an awesome yacht and an Eden-esque farm.