From the moment that we arrive in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, it feels like we’re on a James Bond set.
We’re collected from the airport in an air-conditioned car and driven past cacti and desert to reach the five-star Capella Pedregal resort and spa, where it’s clear that they’ve been expecting us.
“I just have one question for you,” says the friendly, uniformed man at the resort entrance.
We pause, expecting him to ask for our passports.
“Do you take salt with your Margueritas?” he asks, with a cheeky smile.
We are then driven James Bond-style through a 300m tunnel that has been carved through a mountain – this is the only hotel in the world with completely private access – and staff are waiting to greet us. Standing in front of the breathtaking sparkling Pacific Ocean, some of the staff are holding trays with our freshly prepared drinks, while others inform us that they will be our personal assistants during our stay.
This is a resort where every guest is treated like a Hollywood star. With a 10,000m2 ocean-view spa at it’s heart, Capella Pedregal also boasts a plunge pool for every room and the opportunity to do a spot of whale-watching from the comfort of a hammock on your private balcony.
There is a mouthwatering abundance of fresh, healthy Mexican food – the resort gets through 120kilos of avocados a day to meet demands for guacamole – and the executive chef provides Mexican cookery lessons.
The resort’s unique roster of staff also includes an in-house astronomer – Capella is named after the brightest star in the Auriga constellation that shines overhead – along with a personal trainer, who has worked with celebrities, a hairstylist and a “tequila master”. There is also a curandera, a Mexican folk healer who uses locally grown herbs to provide treatments in the Auriga spa.
There are more memories to be made in Cabo San Lucas itself. Situated on the Cabo Peninsula, where the desert meets the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean, this beauty spot has some of the best weather in the world, with around 340 days of sunshine a year.
The surrounding ocean is a natural aquarium and home to an array of colourful fish and sea lions.
We start our trip with a visit to Land’s End, a distinctive rock formation at the southernmost trip. We hop on board a planga, a glass-bottomed boat, which takes us to the photogenic Playa del Amor (Lover’s Beach).
According to Rancho tours, a company that takes guests on the scenic sea route, it’s “like hearing one of those relaxation tapes… except it’s for real.”
The highlight is El Arco, a natural rock formation archway and a hangout for sea lions, which partially fills with the tide.
We’re also taken round the Pacific side of Land’s End, and spot Divorce Beach, whose nickname derives from the more turbulent waters.
If you want to spot even bigger marine life, Whale Watch Cabo offers small group tours, led by marine biologists, where visitors can watch in awe at Humpback or gray whales, depending on the time of their trip.
Cabo San Lucas is also a sports-lovers paradise, with snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing and water sports.
Golfers are spoilt for choice, but our favourite was the Cabo del Sol ocean course. Jack Nicklaus, who designed the course, described it as “the best piece of golf property in the world” and it’s the only course in Mexico to be ranked in the Top 100 Courses of the World. We’re visiting in March, so the temperature is pleasantly hot, and the views from the views of the ocean are outstanding.
Exploring Cabo helps us work up an appetite, and we head to the alfresco El Farallon restaurant at Capella Pedregal for the evening. There’s something magical about El Farallon, which means “a rock that comes out of the ocean”, and we sit gazing at the stars and listening to the ocean crashing on the rocks underneath. To add to the romance, lights have been strung along the cliffside, and waiters are on hand with torches to help you see the menu more clearly, or provide ponchos if the sea breeze picks up. The menu is derived from the surrounding waters, and we take our pick from moon scallop, huachinago (red snapper), cabrilla (Mexican sea bass) and spiny lobsters, that are displayed on piles of ice.
The next day there is even more indulgence with a visit to the Auriga spa, where staff are so friendly it makes each person feels as if they’re the most favourite guest. The spa is designed around a pool and waterfall, making it possible to swim to your treatment room if you so desire. There’s also a steam, sauna and ice room to relax in between treatments.
The spa’s signature treatments are those that correspond with the lunar cycle: New, Waning, Waxing and Full Moon. My visit corresponds to a waning moon, which is apparently the perfect time to cleanse the body.
Just the first part of the treatment is heavenly; a therapist cleanses my feet detoxifying oils and applies pressure point techniques, which aims to release toxins and stimulate the inner organs.
The therapist then takes my hand and leads me into an ocean-view treatment room, where I’m given a gentle body exfoliation using silk garshana gloves, before a purifying seaweed wrap and a massage that’s designed to further eliminate toxins.
My skin is glowing after the last part of the treatment, a facial massage using Organic Pharmacy products, and before I leave, I’m handed a detoxifying supplement and glass of water.
I realise that I’ve spent three hours in the spa, but could have spent longer. And even though I’ve been detoxifying, I can’t resist some of the treats that have been left out for spa guests, and pop a couple of their freshly made flapjacks, which are supplied with takeaway paper bags, into my robe pocket.
This is a resort where you never go hungry – every day at 4.30pm, nachos, guacamole and beer, or a drink of your choice, is delivered to each room.
Cabo San Lucas itself also has a selection of waterside bars and restaurants offering local dishes, but if you want a more genuine experience of Mexican culture, it’s worth making a day trip to the tranquil town of Todos Santos, which was founded in the 18th century.
Officially designated a Pueblo Magico (magical town), in 2006, Todos Santos is full of colonial charm, with shops, restaurants and boutique hotels. It’s popular with artists, so a great place to pick up a souvenir painting.
We decide to complete our trip with a group cookery lesson at Capella Pedregal. Executive chef Marcus Bustamente teaches us how to make variations of the seafood dish ceviche. My favourite is the Asian-fusion ceviche with sea bass, coconut milk, apple and lime.
We eat the products of our work, sitting in the shade of the Don Manuel restaurant, overlooking the resort’s plunge pool.
When we eventually have to leave Cabo, it’s a wrench. This is a holiday that us left us feeling sublimely relaxed – as well as shaken and stirred.
British Airways has flights from London Heathrow to San Diego, www.britishairways.co.uk. From San Diego, take an Alaskan Airlines flight to Cabo.
For information on Capella Pedregal, visit http://www.capellahotels.com/cabosanlucas