Capella Shines Brightly in Baja Sur

A sneak peek into the brand-new Capella Pedregal resort

By: By Joseph Bisoglio


Capella Pedregal
Rates: Average room rates begin at $775 per night.
Commission: Agent commission is 10 percent.

A rendering of Capella Pedregal depicts a sunset over one of the resort’s infinity pools. // (c) Capella Hotels & Resorts
A rendering of Capella Pedregal depicts
a sunset over one of the resort’s infinity pools.
(c) Capella Hotels & Resorts

Imagine yourself waking to a sweet ocean mist and gentle, rolling waves. You’re surrounded by exquisite, handcrafted tiles and wine-red wood. In the living room, your newly assigned private assistant has arranged a breakfast prepared so specifically to your tastes, you’d think she had known you for years. Later, you’re whisked through a magnificent, private tunnel and dropped off in the heart of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. After a few hours of exploring, you stroll to the Cabo Marina where your assistant has arranged your first sailing lesson. Moments later, you’re sailing out of the marina and into the sun-filled horizon of the Sea of Cortez. Sounds remarkable, doesn’t it? This, and no less, is the ambition of Capella Pedregal, one of the newest hotels in the burgeoning Capella brand, located on the tip of Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Too good to be true was my first concern. Capella makes some grand claims in their marketing materials and who can afford to promise their clients paradise yet deliver only its facade? Furthermore, most of the property was still under construction when I stayed there, save for a few villas open only for display. The resort officially opens Jan. 8, 2009.

No one can say whether Capella Pedregal will live up to its promises. However, if past success is any indication of future fortunes, legendary hotelier and Capella Hotels and Resorts CEO, Horst Schulze, is a man who can deliver.

Schulze spearheaded the revival of The Ritz-Carlton brand. When Schulze joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in 1983, they had a mere three properties; by the time he resigned in 2001 it had grown to 54 properties worldwide and annual revenues had increased from $69 million to $2 billion. With the help of his partners, Schulze has raised a phenomenal amount of investment capital and seems to be striving for his magnum opus, perhaps the world’s first six-star hotel chain.

At Capella Pedregal, every guest will have an individually appointed assistant to provide an experience that is 100 percent individualized and anticipates your client’s every need. Of course, this level of service would be impossible in a larger hotel, which is why all of Capella’s hotels will have less than 100 rooms. Capella Pedregal will top out at 66, not including a few dozen full and fractional ownership residences.

Capella Pedregal was originally the concept of Manuel Diaz Rivera, who came to Cabo San Lucas in the ’70s and proceeded to buy 360 acres of land that became the most sought after in Cabo — the Pedregal community. Diaz Rivera always envisioned a grand project on the 24 acres that will soon be home to Capella Pedregal, previously undeveloped due to limited access. Decades later, with the help of his grandson, Juan Diaz Rivera, he broke ground on the Dos Mares Tunnel, a 1,000-foot privately owned tunnel that cuts directly through Pedregal Mountain, linking the resort to downtown Cabo. The tunnel will be the sole mode of access to the hotel and will be reserved entirely for its guests.

Even though Capella is still a relatively new hotel chain, Juan Rivera, who, along with his family, serves as the project’s primary developer, is confident that he and his family made the right choice.

“Although [Capella was] not yet an established brand when I first met them, [it] had the best minds in hospitality, all of them committed to making Capella a force in the hospitality industry,” Juan Rivera said.

Since the guestrooms were yet to be fully furnished when I visited, Capella set up Casa Capella as an off-site model. The design by Paul Duesing Partners is superb — the architecture is very much in the vein with old Mexico haciendas, with large villas and casonas spread gracefully along the beachfront and mountainside. Indigenous materials have been used and each room has a unique identity with hand-designed tiles and customized lighting fixtures.

Other amenities will include a massive, 10,000-square-foot signature spa, Auriga. The spa, designed by famed spa designer Sylvia Sepielli, is intended to immerse clients into Mexican folk-healing traditions, or curanderismo. Ten different treatment suites will be fashioned into round, pod-like dwellings that open to an outdoor, saltwater spa pool area, offering sky and pool views. The spa’s four signature services are designed for each phase of the moon — the new moon (stimulation), the waxing phase (nourishment), the full moon (reaching full potential) and the waning moon (cleansing body and spirit).

Casa Pedregal also brings the spa to each guestroom with personal dipping-pools on the balcony of each room. It also boasts a gym and four private restaurants headed by chef Marco Bustamante. The chef’s previous posts include assisting in the opening of Capella’s first two hotels — Schloss Velden and Capella Castlemartyr — as well as working at New York’s Per Se and Arizona’s L’Auberge de Sedona.

“I’ll be involved with all of the restaurants,” Bustamante said, “but it’s important that they all have their own identity and that each chef be allowed the freedom to create.”