Hang Ten in Baja

The Cabo Surf Hotel keeps clients active in and out of the water

By: Skye Mayring

The Cabo Surf Hotel
Hotel pool
Guests at the Cabo Surf Hotel share more than a temporary address. There’s a certain camaraderie among the fortunate few who stay at the 22-room beachfront destination hotel in San Jose del Cabo, something I learned from a brief visit in December. While paddling my longboard between the hotel’s two surf breaks, Old Man’s and The Rock, I met and chatted with hotel guests from Napa, Calif., Scottsdale, Ariz., and San Diego who invited me to join them for dinner or sunset cocktails after our surf session.

“Our guests get to know each other,” explained general manager Mauricio Balderrama, “probably because Cabo Surf Hotel has the feeling of a beach house or a club, instead of a big tower hotel.”

Launching in 1996 with limited amenities, which amounted to little more than its prime beach location and a continental breakfast, Cabo Surf Hotel has expanded to include an infinity-edge pool and Jacuzzi, two restaurants, a surf school and a full-service day spa (for the non-surfers).

Though the boutique hotel remains a quaint two stories, Balderrama recently added three 625-square-foot Junior Villas outfitted with kitchenettes, king or queen beds that sleep four to six people, and rooftop terraces with personal Jacuzzis and views of the Sea of Cortez. Two of these villas happen to be ideal for families and large groups since they share a door on the adjacent bedroom wall, creating the combined capacity of 14 people.

The Cabo Surf Hotel
One of the contemporary island-style Junior suites
Every room at Cabo Surf Hotel is decorated in contemporary island style, featuring cedar furniture, peach travertine floors and Tommy Bahama ceiling fans. Flat-screen TVs come in each of these oceanview rooms and wireless Internet access is available in some, although it’s unlikely that your clients will get much use out of either, given the wealth of outdoor amenities.

Most guests can be found around the pool, soaking up the Baja sun and sipping on the popular house mango margarita (made with the hotel’s own brand of 100 percent agave tequila) or dining in one of the open-air restaurants. Overlooking the pool and Playa Acapulquito, the 7 Seas restaurant serves Mediterranean-Mexican cuisine and American comfort foods like seafood-stuffed chile, bouillabaisse, an apple-smoked bacon burger and of course, surf and turf.

While nibbling on breakfast underneath a palapa roof, clients will likely find themselves entranced by both longboarders and shortboarders showing off on the nearby crashing waves. After meditating on this seductive display, even the most timid individual will want to give the sport a try, especially since the surf school guarantees that clients will stand up and surf on the first day.

Surely, first-time surfers can’t help but to feel safe in the hands of instructor Mike “Ironman” Doyle, who has won hundreds of surf competitions and was voted World’s Best Surfer twice by Surfer Magazine. Doyle and his crew offer private and group lessons to clients and their families of all skill levels, ages 8 and up. Lessons start with a short safety video, followed by stretching and land drills, before progressing to the water for paddling and riding instruction. Sessions typically last about one to three hours.

The Cabo Surf Hotel
The view of the surf from a Junior Suite
More adventurous clients can select a pre-waxed board from the school’s extensive inventory, most shaped by the biggest names in the surfing world like Robert August and the multitalented Ironman himself, Doyle. (When he isn’t designing boards or giving lessons, clients might also find Doyle painting landscapes and portraits, some of which end up on the walls of the hotel rooms.) Also available for rent at the beach are boogie boards, kayaks, paddleboards and large umbrellas.

To top off the perfect beach day, a variety of after-sun treatments are available at the hotel’s Sea Spa & Salon, including the 55-minute Seaweed and Aloe Hydration Facial or the Mayan Milk Whirlpool Bath. But a trip to the spa can be a full day’s commitment, if clients choose one of five dynamic spa packages. The Sea Spa Escape package begins with an hour-long coconut and sand massage scrub, followed by a facial and Sea mud body wrap. Clients order lunch off the spa dining menu, before having a Deep Conditioning Scalp treatment and a deluxe manicure and pedicure. Afterward, there’s just enough time to meet new friends for a mango margarita and watch the sea envelop the ruby-orange sun.