Marriott Puerto Los Cabos -
JW MARRIOTT HOTEL & RESORT
(Los Cabos, Puerto Los Cabos - east of San Jose del Cabo)
Perhaps the quality sought by any resort hotel the world over is an atmosphere of unassailable tranquility. The new JW Marriott Los Cabos has achieved this aim with striking architecture that celebrates various Mexican architectural styles without sacrificing contemporary modernity or local environs.
The approach to the hotel is perhaps deliberately disarming—the boxy brown building is neither striking nor imposing from the roadway, distracting little attention from the azure blue ocean almost incongruously juxtaposed against a rocky sun-baked coast. However, pulling into the porte cochere and stepping behind an imposing partition reveals the payoff: a cool, soaring hallway that draws the eye across terraced reflecting pools and to the sparkling sea. Check-in is conducted at minimalist desks with peripherals hidden away in drawers, while guests sip on Arnold Palmers with or without alcohol.
There’s the sound of the distant waves, of water babbling through the hotel’s seemingly infinite number of infinity edge pools, and breeze rustling through the palms, bougainvillea and plumeria that punctuate rooftop gardens and end with glass-walled sunken firepits with commanding views. Below the terraces, the hotel services are on offer set away from any distraction in shaded alcoves interrupted in just enough places for just enough natural light to filter through, perhaps evoking the cool shade of the mountain valleys that beckon just beyond San José del Cabo.
Entryways to the spa and the fine dining restaurant Café des Artists have their own open-air courtyards with fragrant trees and reflecting pools, while surprise vistas wait around virtually every corner. Any turn throughout the property can result in a stumble upon a quiet space for reflection or meditation, but strangely, few other guests, outside of the swimming pools.
There’s an adults-only pool and Jacuzzi with a swim-up bar, which during our visit was one of the most popular. The adjacent family pool sees similar traffic, while the pools up and down one terraced side of the hotel were more tranquil, although many of them were designated for infants, children, or teens. There’s also a saltwater pool in a quiet corner, since strong undertows make ocean swimming inadvisable.
Guest rooms can best be described as indoor-outdoor, with balconies and large glass sliding doors that open the entire room to the outside. Stone floors and local art objects punctuate throughout, with recessed lighting and modern furnishings. Sumptuous bathrooms with soaker tubs, monolithic step-in stone floored showers and a host of amenities (including a fine selection of Nespresso coffee pods) don’t disappoint, and there are pleasant surprises throughout.
The first evening of my stay I returned to my room to find a bubble bath drawn by the turndown attendant, with a note explaining the amenity was offered for elite guests of the Marriott Rewards program (a nice added bonus as resort properties are often exempt from providing elite benefits such as lounge access).
Guest rooms also manage to have preserved some of the architectural style of the period when visitor traffic to Mexico’s Pacific Coast was nascent – the recessed lighting and grillwork patterns in the lamps and wooden latticed screen separating entryways from bedrooms almost make one feel transported back to a more jet-set era.
The hotel’s design has also done away with the dreaded connecting room door – sets of room doors face each other across a vestibule, the entry to which can be closed by a single “Magic” door to effectively combine the spaces of the two rooms.
Speaking of a lounge, the resort also operates The Griffin Club, a sort of hotel-within-a-hotel with its own pool and lounge, which serves several separate food and beverage presentations daily.
While walking around the property the first evening, I kept getting hit by the smells of classic French cooking—butter, wine, garlic, fat, and after being told it came from the hotel’s signature restaurant Café des Artists, I decided I had to stop in for a visit. It was worth the splurge. An impressive menu of seafood and steaks in classic French preparations with local twists yielded a memorable menu. The catch of the day that evening was a lovely seabass which was seared in local spices and served atop a huitlacoche enchilada.
úa Culinary Artisans is the hotel’s main restaurant, which serves both buffet and a la carte for meals throughout the day. To be honest I’m never terribly impressed by buffets because I find the quality to be difficult to control, but pretty much everything here was spectacular.
One dinner buffet had on offer a salad bar, two soups, vegetable sides, grilled pork ribs with a sweet citrus glaze, beef tenderloin, rosemary chicken, pizza, breads, cooked-to-order shrimp, chicken, or steak fajitas, beef and tuna carpaccio, smoked salmon, (strangely) breakfast cereal, bacon potato salad, a selection of cheeses, and a sumptuous dessert table with cakes, macarons, chocolate truffles and atole de fresa, a Mexican strawberry soup.
Service was gracious and personable, if not a bit on the slow side. On more than one occasion the employees working in Auka Deli seemed overwhelmed by the crowd, and servers in Café des Artistes had noticeable difficulty with the service flow but throughout it was all punctuated with a genuine willingness to provide service and appreciation for the guests’ patronage. Regardless of the dining outlet, the higher-than-average-for-Mexico price point was easily offset by both quality and quantity.
The hotel’s location in the up-and-coming gated Puerto Los Cabos development helps keep the atmosphere tranquil. A relatively intimate 299 rooms, the property trends even quieter when guests are out on excursions, which range from golf to sport fishing.
A complimentary shuttle offers drop-offs in the main shopping district, and a kids club keeps younger ones occupied during the day. There are also periodic complimentary demonstration tables where chefs show guests how to make classic dishes like guacamole, ceviche, and pico de gallo.
Given the general price point of the hotel one can expect to find fellow guests who are well traveled, with sophisticated tastes and a generally reserved character, even among the few groups of young adults. The multitude of pool choices allows guests to choose whether they prefer quiet solitude or a higher energy resort experience.
The Takeaway: While there are plenty of luxurious hotels in Los Cabos, this stunning JW Marriott property has memorable architecture and services that will leave worldly visitors easily satisfied.
The Damage: Nightly rates start at around $400 USD, subject to availability. Discounts and special offers are also available. All-inclusive plans are also available, but they’re around double the room-only rate.
Good to Know: There’s no currency exchange benefit – all prices are published in USD and are charged in MXN at the day’s exchange rate. Like many other resorts in Cabo, the beach is not swimmable.
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