Occasional beach vendors (they’re usually not aggressive)
Rates for food and drink will add up
Not much within walking distance; taxis can get expensive
Guests will have to rent beach chairs and umbrellas
This family-owned, upscale boutique hotel in San José del Cabo enjoys gorgeous Pacific Ocean views from its two infinity pools, hot tub, and most of its 36 rooms. The somewhat hidden beach is a highlight here and continues to attract guests and locals for consistent waves; Mike Doyle Surf School (attached) offers quality instruction and rentals including paddleboards and beach chairs. Guests should expect (and will want) to spend money at the seafood restaurant and bar often, but there are more restaurants and a grocery store within a short drive. Also on-site: a spa, fitness center, and gift shop. Families willing to sacrifice the beach location may prefer the two-bedroom, kitchen-equipped suites at Alegranza.
An unpretentious and laid-back surfer vibe for those seeking an alternative to big resorts
Cabo Surf Hotel is a hidden gem that remains out of sight from the main road, accessed through a gate that leads to a steep hill. A cheerful white facade with thatched roofs stretches across a garden with palm trees and winding pathways, which makes the hotel feel bigger than it actually is. Luckily, Hurricane Odile's wrath in 2014 didn't cause much damage to the hotel, and it was able to reopen quicker than others. Postcard-worthy views of the Pacific Ocean, dotted with surfers, are enjoyed from all common areas (and many guest rooms) including the lobby, restaurant, two pools, and terrace. There are dramatic rock formations on either side of the hotel that deter tourist foot traffic, so this beautiful beach sees mostly guests and locals who come to enjoy the surf. The small size of the hotel and its discreet location allow it to exude a cool West Coast vibe not found at other chain-name resorts not too far away.
Mauricio, the friendly Mexican owner, is often around to keep an eye on things (he and his family have other properties in Mexico's Copper Canyon). The resort opened in 1997 with just 14 rooms, and today has 36 -- newer units are more romantic and have the best views. All rooms tend to get reserved far in advance so book early. Guests include a mix of families with young kids, romantic couples, and groups for destination weddings -- many from the U.S. Sunrises from the property are not to be missed and early risers can often also expect to see surfers arriving to ride the first waves. Most guests spend the day at the two pools or using equipment from the surf school, playing frisbee, or just lounging. The sound of margaritas shaking starts in the afternoon, and as sunset turns to dusk, the restaurant attracts a lively crowd (as at the beach, expect both locals and tourists). Both pools light up for evening swimming, and cooler nights provide the perfect environment for a dip in the hot tub under moonlight.
A hidden beach near San Jose del Cabo, right off the main highway
The hotel is conveniently located off the Transpeninsular Highway that connects San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico's Baja California Sur. Guests arrive to Los Cabos International Airport, a 25-minute drive away, and can either take a taxi or rent a car to get to the property. For those who choose the latter, free parking is protected by a gated entrance and security guard. Many guests are here to surf, and surf only, finding that they do not need to leave the property very much (other than to stock the mini-fridge), while others will want to get out and explore. There is not much within walking distance, but shopping and dining in downtown San Jose del Cabo are a 12-minute drive away. The quaint, historic section is worth a visit -- especially near the Town Square -- with its charming restaurants and art galleries. Also worth the trek is Flora Farm in the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, a destination in itself with a 10-acre organic farm and restaurant. There are several golf courses and excursions like whale watching and diving nearby as well. Younger guests searching for bumping nightlife will want to head to Cabo San Lucas, a 30-minute drive away -- but be forewarned, taxi fares from the hotel are quite high.
Beach-chic rooms with balconies and at least partial ocean views; many have kitchenettes
This small hotel only has 36 rooms, but there are a variety of categories, as the hotel has doubled in size through the years since it opened in 1997. There is a newer section of rooms that are more modern and bright with stunning balconies that face directly onto the sea (some with jetted tubs, which are hard to snag). That being said, the original Garden Rooms, with less light and older furnishings, still enjoy partial sea views and are significantly lower in price.
Room decor across the board is modern and streamlined, with a color palette of beige, white, and blue that reflects the sand and surf. Amenities include air-conditioning, digital media players, flat-screen TVs, and large closets with bathrobes. Bathrooms have walk-in showers and L'Occitane toiletries. Some rooms have hammocks on the balconies, and most have kitchenettes equipped with sinks, microwaves, mini-fridges, and a few sets of dishes and cutlery. Couples staying in the lower-floor rooms in the main building may be annoyed by the lack of privacy on their balconies, which front a public terrace. Many use this terrace as a hallway to get from the upper infinity pool to the restaurant. Some Garden Room guests may also have balcony privacy issues, as it is possible to see neighbors over the half wall dividers.
Eco-friendly additions to the rooms include water-saving showerheads, the use of LED lights, and cross-room ventilation systems.
Two infinity pools, a nice spa, and free yoga every Saturday
Guests can choose between two infinity pool and hot tub options, both with direct Pacific Ocean views, so there is never a fight for space. One option is located on the lawn near the entrance, and has a free-form design, cushioned lounge chairs, and white umbrellas. This is the unofficial favorite with families, probably due to its larger size and easy access from the lobby. The other infinity pool and hot tub are on the other side of the hotel, up a flight of stairs, with a higher vantage point -- perhaps better suited for couples. There are nice sun loungers here, as well as on the terrace connecting to the restaurant. Both pools have have a saltwater ionic system (safe for skin and environmentally friendly). Towel cards are given to guests when they check in.
The indoor spa near the entrance and has three treatment rooms: two for singles and one for couples. They offer facials, massages and body treatments, as well as a separate salon with hairstyling, manis and pedis. The fitness center offers cardio and weight equipment. Free outdoor yoga classes are offered to guests every Saturday morning.
The open-air lobby has shaded lounge areas for working or socializing. There is a concierge desk for restaurant reservations and booking excursions, and the 24-hour front desk has a flavored water station for staying hydrated. Near the restaurant, there is a gift shop selling essentials and beach attire. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and free parking in a guarded lot.
A scenic beach for sunrises, surfing, swimming, and lounging -- though chairs will need to be rented
This is one of the best surfing spots in Los Cabos with few crowds, and -- depending on the year -- small to medium waves, which are great for beginners and intermediate surfers. (The current can get strong so only strong swimmers should attempt to swim here.) The beach is accessed down a set of steps next to the restaurant and through a locked door (private for guests). The wide, golden white sand has dramatic rocks on either end, and sunrise views are not to be missed. Mike Doyle Surf School is located under the hotel, and is open year-round, with three quality instructors who offer classes one-on-one or in small groups. The peak surf season runs from March to November, but the shop remains open all year. They provide rentals for a range of boards, wetsuits, boogie boards, paddelboards, and kayaks. Guests who simply want to lounge on the beach with a frisbee can rent chairs and an umbrella for a daily fee.
A see-and-be-seen restaurant and bar with great margaritas and a loyal following from locals and tourists
Health-conscious guests will love Seven Seas Seafood Grille, open daily for all three meals in an open-air dining room with stunning ocean views. A la carte menus offer casual Mexican and Mediterranean fare with a focus on fresh-caught seafood from Baja's waters, as well as homemade baked bread and locally grown produce. Bartenders typically start shaking margaritas and mojitos by mid-afternoon when beachgoers come in for a break, while business meetings might be taking place over a bottle of wine from the global list. After sunset, the restaurant begins to attract guests from other hotels as well as locals, and plays upbeat music that helps it feel both lively and romantic.