A Beauty in Baja

The Marquis Los Cabos blends art with design

By: Janice Mucalov

LOS CABOS, Mexico Stylish and striking, the Marquis Los Cabos is not only one of the newest luxury hotels to open on the Baja beach corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, it’s also a work of art. Finished last December, the oblong five-story building showcases a dramatic three-story arch in its center, under which is the open-air lobby and reception. As you enter, the welcome scent of sea spray fills your nostrils, and the first thing you see is the glorious aquamarine expanse of the ocean beyond.

Owned and operated by Hoteles Marquis a Mexican company based in Mexico City that also owns the Marquis Reforma in Mexico City the 237-room Marquis Los Cabos is a member of both the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and Leading Hotels of the World. It’s also the only completely non-timeshare property in Los Cabos, according to Ella Messerli, the hotel’s general manager.

But its tribute to art and design is what really distinguishes the property.

“We’ve invested in the belief that a beach vacation need not jettison the world of aesthetic delight, and that art can be the perfect reflection of nature,” said Messerli.

The hotel commissioned a special collection of some 400 original oil paintings by Latin American artists. Colorful clay jarritos, watermelon slices, guitars and other Mexican icons painted by the notable Mexican artist Agustin Castro Lopez brighten the walls of each guestroom. In the open-air bar sit two monumental bronze sculptures of Indian women.

Artistic touches carry through in the design of the guestrooms. The bathrooms, for example, have an arched opening above the bathtub, framed by a muslin curtain, through which natural light streams in. Washing my hair in the marble-and-glass shower, I could look out to the Sea of Cortez beyond.

In fact, all guestrooms take in this view. Luxuriously appointed, they have large balconies, high ceilings, king beds draped with goose down comforters and Frette bed linens, and contemporary, dark-wood, Mexican-style furniture that contrasts nicely with the cream marble floors and white-washed walls.

Honeymooners the setting is spectacular for a wedding, on the beach or perhaps under the arch and clients celebrating a special occasion may want to book one of the 28 Casitas or five Marquis Suites. Each comes with a separate living area, wet bar and, best of all, its own private outdoor pool.

The property itself is very desert-chic. Golden sand in color, it blends in with the surrounding landscape.

For a dip, you can cool off in one of two serpentine-shaped infinity pools nuzzling the water’s edge. Lying under a pool umbrella on a cushioned teak lounge chair, I was quite content, watching the thunderous surf crashing on the shore and the occasional ultralight airplane buzz overhead and land on a sand cliff beside the hotel.

I was even more content (if that’s possible) after my spa treatment. No detail has been overlooked in the design of the oceanview spa. Think floors of marble, wall alcoves with Mexican pottery and stone sculptures and raised alabaster bowl sinks.

Ten large treatment rooms await to coddle clients, including three couples’ massage and body-wrap rooms. A signature treatment is the ultra-indulgent “Holistic facial.” You begin seated with a cup of warm herb tea, while an attendant pours a pitcher of eucalyptus-scented water over your feet, which are then bathed and massaged with an exfoliating scrub. For the face, a small electric scrub brush is used to massage in a peeling mask.

The 15,000-square-foot Spa Marquis also includes a well-equipped fitness center. (But the air-conditioning isn’t turned on unless you ask an attendant.)

In addition to casual dining venues, the Marquis offers the 20-seat Canto del Mar for fine dining. There are no printed menus. Rather, chef Thierry Dufour, who boasts experience in a Michelin two-star restaurant in France, prepares the five-course dinners using only the freshest ingredients of the day.

Sample dishes include goose foie gras with artichoke and wine-soaked pears, frosted mussel bisque and lamb chops with cilantro couscous and red pepper sauce. For dessert there’s a hazelnut macaroon with a tarragon cream, and blackberries and tequila grapefruit sorbet.

“Our sights are set on being the best restaurant in Los Cabos,” said Messerli. Judging by our dinner, the Canto del Mar is likely to succeed.

Corporate and incentive clients will be interested in the 9,000 square feet of meeting space, which the Marquis claims is one of the largest and most state-of-the-art in Los Cabos. Everything from automatic projection screens to individual air-conditioning controls and Internet access is available.

Nestled between the signature Jack Nicklaus-designed El Dorado golf course (considered the top course in Mexico) and the Cabo Real course, and only minutes away from two other courses, the Marquis is ideally located for playing golf. Other activities include deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, mountain biking and eco-tours.

With so much going for it, the Marquis is sure to be at the top of any discerning client’s wish list of places to stay in Los Cabos.


Marquis Los Cabos
San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Hits: Each morning, a complimentary breakfast is placed in a small cupboard in the outside wall of each guestroom. Clients will awake to find a Thermos of coffee, fruit and a basket of chocolate croissants and sweet ricotta buns, along with a daily fax news sheet.

Misses: Bulgari toiletries and bottled water were not automatically restocked each day. Despite requests, I couldn’t get my mattress turned over from the firm to the pillow-soft side (as promised in the promotional material). You must struggle to open your own pool umbrella.

Be Aware:You cannot swim on the beach in front of the hotel because it’s too dangerous. But there are swimming beaches a short drive away.

Plugging In: Each room offers multiple telephones and high-speed connections for fax and computers.

Clientele: The adult-oriented property attracts many American couples of all ages. It’s ideal for honeymooners.

Rates: Until Oct. 10, rooms go for $325 a night, and casitas/suites with a private pool start at $455. From Oct. 11 to Dec. 18, rooms go for $400 a night, casitas/ suites start at $560.

Commission: 10 percent