Colonial Charm

El Encanto Inn offers historic Mexico in a charming hilltop setting

By: Andréa R. Vaucher

If you had clients who wanted to experience colonial Mexico, you might send them to San Miguel de Allende or Guanajuato. You probably would not point them in the direction of Cabo, which is associated more with uber-luxury resorts nestled between white-sand beaches and designer golf courses than colonial-style plazas, Spanish missions and quaint cobblestone streets.

Actually, San Jose del Cabo the town that bookends the corridor of high-end beachfront hotels on the east, just as the spring break-mecca Cabo San Lucas does on the west is one of the oldest settlements in Baja California.

Founded in 1730 as a Jesuit Mission, this charming hilltop town happens to be chock full of colonial ambiance with its authentic adobe buildings, lush garden courtyards and wrought-iron, bougainvillea-covered balconies.

And, compared to other provincial Mexican towns, it’s a lot easier to access for clients traveling from the western U.S.

If your clients decide to spend part of their Cabo resort vacation actually experiencing Mexico after they have overdosed on golf, massages and the beach direct them to the El Encanto Inn in the historic section of San Jose del Cabo. For about a quarter of what they would likely pay at one of the five-stars, they’ll find themselves drenched in colonial charm in a Mexican village that has remained pretty much as it was before it was discovered in the ’60s by surfers and sport-fishermen.

At the El Encanto, your clients won’t have a jaw-dropping sea view or a tanned hunk to spritz them with Evian poolside, but they will have Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, satellite TV and a sparkling clean room with great linens and pillows.

The Inn’s 26 rooms emphasize decor made by local craftsmen wrought-iron headboards, indigenous pottery, tile floors and are located in two traditional haciendas built around lush tropical courtyards. One courtyard features a heated pool. Accommodations range from standard rooms, which have two double beds and a rate of $79 per night, to deluxe two-bedroom, two-bath suites, which go for $240 a night.

El Retiro, the hotel restaurant, serves breakfast and lunch through late afternoon, featuring burgers, salads and Mexican fare. Room and pool service are available. Several nearby restaurants, offering everything from Mediterranean to Thai cuisine, also deliver room service to the hotel.

In July, a spa will open on the premises; presently in-room Swedish, Thai and reflexology massage are available.

Outside the door of the Inn, your clients will enjoy people-watching in Plaza Mijares, the town square or drinking a cerveza in a cafe on the tree-lined Mijares Boulvard. They can visit the mission and explore San Jose Estuary, the palm-filled flood plain where the Rio San Jose meets the Sea of Cortez, and home to over 350 wildlife species. Clients can also fish the Gordo Banks for dorado, tuna or marlin.

But best of all, your clients will get to experience the real Mexico.

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