In Depth: The Reopened One&Only Palmilla

Casa Arena and Casa Gardenia Patio Junior Suites at One&Only Palmilla come with a personal plunge pool.
Casa Arena and Casa Gardenia Patio Junior Suites at One&Only Palmilla come with a personal plunge pool.

When Hurricane Odile ripped through Los Cabos, Mexico, last September, it left a trail of shuttered resorts in its wake. Many bounced back within weeks, while others needed more time to come back. One of the most anticipated reopenings was that of One&Only Palmilla, which opened its doors again to guests this spring, reintroducing its trademark hospitality with great fanfare. It was worth the seven-month wait as the resort emerged with an updated look and a host of new, high-gloss offerings. We visited a few weeks after its opening and found a One&Only Palmilla that’s back and better than ever.

Your “A-List” clients may be interested to know that the likes of Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney and Charlize Theron have been know known to frequent One&Only Palmilla — and they likely took advantage of one of its top perks: 24-hour butler service. During our stay, we spotted actors Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger, who we understand stayed in a One-Bedroom Beachfront Pool Casita, a prime room category on the property’s southern side with private pools and uninterrupted views of breathtaking Turtle Beach. (Swimming isn’t allowed there, but its giant waves are marvelous to watch.)

Here’s a tip: #2214 in Casa Sirena, and #2315 and #2318 (the Master Pool Casita Suite), both in Casa Playa, have the biggest pools and best views in that category, plus Jacuzzis. At the northernmost corner of the property, Beachfront One-Bedroom Suites in Casa Arena and Casa Gardenia have private plunge pools (lagoon-style in ground-floor rooms) and easy access to Pelican Beach, where swimming is allowed.


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Casa Tres Palmas, an original structure from the property’s days as a private hacienda, houses entry-level Superior Rooms, which are among the best we’ve seen in the category. Their terraces have wide daybeds and 180-degree beach and pool views. All told, the resort has 173 accommodations.

For maximum space to stretch out and enjoy uninterrupted alone time, there’s the four-bedroom Villa Cortez on One&Only Palmilla’s southern side. It has 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space, a private beach and infinity-edge pool, a 12-person screening theater, a gym and a spa.

Fine-Dining Choices

One of the most-anticipated additions to the resort is Seared, a sleek steakhouse by Michelin-star Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, with a 550-label wine cellar and a glass-walled curing room. Standout menu items include excellent Kobe beef and fresh oysters. Note: If you don’t make reservations when booking your clients’ room, they might just miss out. Insiders anticipate tables filling up two months in advance.

There are other fine-dining choices, of course. Steps from Seared is Suviche, also run by Vongerichten, which serves artful sushi — such as tuna and black truffle — and ceviche by Chef Yoshiaki Akaike, as well as sake pairings chosen by Wine Director and Sake Sommelier Sabrina Sanchez. The restaurant’s alabaster bar, or the adjacent One&Only Lounge overlooking the Sea of Cortez, are prime spots for pre-dinner cocktails.

A favorite of guests and locals alike, the open-air Agua by Larbi got a new contemporary aesthetic by designer Adam D. Tihany to nicely complement Chef Larbi Dahrouch and his team’s farm-to-table Mexican dishes and 50 Mexican wines. The trio of moles is a highlight. A nod to Dahrouch’s Moroccan heritage, guests will find dishes inspired by his home country, too, such as fragrant vegetable and lamb tagines and a savory chickpea stew.

Just taking a break from the beach? Grab a table at Breeze Café overlooking the resort’s main freeform pool. It serves breakfast (try the Spicy Eggs, served over chilaquiles), light lunches, and all-day snacks, to a soundtrack of thunderous waves.

Superior and Deluxe Rooms at One&Ony Palmilla have shaded terraces with day beds overlook the bay.
Superior and Deluxe Rooms at One&Ony Palmilla have shaded terraces with day beds overlook the bay.

Spa and Fitness Center

Another recipient of a complete refresh during the resort’s recovery was its 22,000-square-foot spa, with 13 villas tucked away in private gardens behind arched wooden doors. Advise your clients to request one with a plunge pool and swinging day bed for lazy après-service lounging. At the refurbished modern fitness center, make way for evening indulgences with a core-conditioning, spin or Pilates reformer class.

The Fitness Center offers Technogym equipment, including cardiovascular and weight-training machines, Pilates reformer, Kinesis technology system, TRX Suspension training and more. Group and individual classes are on offer for all fitness levels, ranging from yoga and transformational breathing to nutrition and personal training, as well as outdoor activities such as Sunrise Yoga and Beach Boot Camp. The entire space has been reoriented to enable those using the equipment to enjoy the views of the resort’s gardens and ocean beyond.

For those going straight from the spa to dinner and who want to look their best, book a blowout at the new OBO Salon by Jonathan & George, a salon concept by Beverly Hills hairstylists Jonathan Antin (of Bravo’s “Shear Genius”) and Amanda George. They can follow that up with a warm paraffin manicure and pedicure at Pedi:Mani:Cure by Bastien Gonzalez, the French podiatrist renowned for his Podiatry & Pedicure Clinic in Paris. Guys can lose their out-of-office scruff with a hot shave at the new Barber&Blade men’s salon, which uses Murdock of London products.

Thanks to a total refresh inside and out, you won’t want to venture far from the resort, but a couple of off-site experiences are too special to miss. Excursions can be arranged to Los Tamarindos, an organic farm and restaurant in San José del Cabo. There, One&Only guests can harvest fresh vegetables, take a cooking class and have lunch alongside farmer and Chef Enrique Silva, who will welcome them warmly with homemade chilled lemongrass tea.

And for an experience at sea they won’t soon forget, arrange a day of sailing the Sea of Cortez aboard One&Only Palmilla’s 95-foot yacht, Catari. It has four guest cabins, each with a private bath, a formal living and dining area, plus enough toys to keep your group entertained for days. Good thing, too, because One&Only will soon be offering a Land & Sea package that combines three nights aboard Catari and three at the hotel.

For Families With Children

Families with children are warmly welcomed at One&Only Palmilla, with the complimentary Kids-Only Club. A full program of supervised entertainment and activities is tailored to the interests of various ages and offered daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. KidsOnly Club is available for children ages 4 to 11, while kids under four are welcome to participate with a parent or guardian. There’s also a TeensOnly Club for 12-to-17-year-olds. For babies and toddlers, the resort offers professional baby-sitting and nanny services (24-hour notice required), and baby cots are also available.

If you have less-than-affluent clients who nonetheless want to splurge, One&Only Palmilla currently has free night offers — book four nights, pay for three, or book seven nights, pay for five — available for travel through December 19.

Who to Call or E-mail

Here are some names, numbers and addresses to keep handy when booking your clients at One&Only Palmilla:

Room Bookings and Dinner Reservations: Reach out to Yun Dorado ([email protected], 011-526-241-467-000), guest relations manager. (She’ll also bring special in-room requests to fruition.)

Excursions: Get in touch with Dorado or Head Concierge Alejandro Flores ([email protected], 011-526-241-467-000).

The Spa: This is managed by Vanessa Infante ([email protected], 011-526-241-467-000).

For Destination Weddings

For brides and wedding parties, OBO Salon offers make-up and natural tans. The OBO Look Book offers inspiration for those looking for a fun, new look, with a series of styles designed to reflect the personality of each of the world’s One&Only resorts. The Salon also has a curated selection of retail hair products sourced from the U.S. and Europe. For grooms, Barber&Blade’s team of grooming experts offers male guests a series of shaving and barber shop treatments, as well as pampering for the face and body. They’ll relax in a handsome caramel-and-chrome 1920s barber chair as an impeccably dressed — and coiffed — barber sets to work.

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