LOS CABOS, Mexico Chocolate, coconut, lime, mango, Damiana liqueur
and Corona beer. Sounds like ingredients in a tasty Mexican dinner.
But here on the tip of the Baja Peninsula, where high-end spas are
among the major attractions, they are as delicious on the body as
they are in the body.
This area, which encompasses the tourist town of Cabo San Lucas,
the 18th-century mission town of San Jose del Cabo and the 20-mile
stretch in between called el corredor, has become a Mecca for
spa-goers, as several luxury hotels with full-service spas have
opened within the past 10 years.
While many of these facilities offer massages, body wraps,
facials and body scrubs from around the world, they specialize in
treatments that utilize indigenous plants and other elements known
for their healing, restorative and rejuvenating effects. Moreover,
their architecture and decor blend in with the desert and ocean
environment around Los Cabos.
For example, Casa del Mar Beach Golf and Spa Resort harnesses
the natural desert light to illuminate its Suenos del Mar Spa. The
bright, airy facility is an extension of the hotel in terms of
design, with a contemporary Mexican decor of soft, earthy tones and
accents such as bamboo, clay pots and wicker furniture.
Suenos del Mar Spa’s newest signature treatment, the Chocolate
and Mint Escape, is ideal for serious chocoholics and Girl Scout
cookie gourmands. It literally bathes the body in chocolate and
mint. Using ground cacao beans which were an Aztec currency and the
source of a highly prized beverage consumed by emperors, noblemen
and warriors the therapist starts with a half-hour, full-body
exfoliation. After a shower to rinse off the grounds, a one-hour
chocolate and mint massage follows. It’s topped off with hot cocoa
served in a Mexican ceramic mug. For those who prefer a coffee fix,
the spa’s Tropical Exfoliation uses ground coffee beans and dried
coconut and is followed by a massage. This treatment helps prepare
the skin for tanning. Among the signature treatments at Las
Ventanas al Paraiso’s Spa at Las Ventanas is the Nopal
Anti-Cellulite and Detox Wrap. Locally grown nopal, a type of
cactus that produces prickly pears, is a source of vitamins and
amino acids. It helps the body transfer fluids from tissue to
bloodstream. After a dry-brush massage, a nopal mask cocoons the
body. A full body massage follows. Afterward, a complimentary
nopal-pineapple smoothie awaits.
The spa, situated in a secluded garden setting of native plants,
also offers several desert-inspired therapies: The Desert
Flower-Soothing and Feminine uses sea salt and floral essences to
exfoliate and massage the body. The Desert Healer-Therapeutic
Anti-Oxidant is a medicinal bath using sage, elephant tree,
eucalyptus and chaparral and is followed by a scalp massage and a
Jamaica-pineapple-chaparral tincture. And the Desert
Sports-Analgesic Muscle Relaxer is a full-body loofah scrub using a
blend of herbs for declogging pores; it’s followed by a sports
An expansion that will nearly double the size of the Spa at Las
Ventanas is under way. Details had not been finalized at press
time, but completion is set for mid-2005.
Upon entering the Esperanza Hotel and Resort’s Spa at Esperanza,
guests pass through the spa gruta, a seaside grotto environment
with steam caves and waterfalls. Each of the seven treatment rooms
comes with a private garden and an outdoor shower and soaking
Your clients can start or end their spa experiences here with an
agua fresca a healthy beverage made to order with indigenous
plants. For example, the cantaloupe horchata cleanses the liver and
kidneys, helping to alleviate digestive acidity; and the papaya and
mango drink helps improve blood circulation and rehydrates the
The Couple’s Clay Bake is a signature treatment at the Spa at
Esperanza. It starts with a Damiana liqueur agua fresca. The
liqueur is made with the damiana herb, which grows in Baja
California and is used as a traditional Mexican aphrodisiac. A warm
bath and a clay mask follow. After a shower to rinse off the clay,
the couple receives a massage with desert sage oil.
The couples Damiana Alegre treatment starts with an exfoliation
with amaranth (a highly nutritious native grain) and sea foam gel.
Afterward, a desert honey-Damiana wrap is accompanied by a scalp
and foot massage. A full-body coconut oil massage follows. The
treatment is topped off with Damiana Coconut Cream agua frescas and
traditional Alegria pastries. The spa is also known for its
facials, which use fresh local fare such as mangos, avocados and
Corona beer. Apparently, the popular beverage tightens and lifts
the skin and refines the pores which is why this spa uses it in its
Corona Beer Facelift.
The One&Only Palmilla Resort’s One&Only Spa features
individual treatment villas, each with its own garden. There are
even double spa villas for couples that include rain showers,
Mexican day beds and whirlpool baths.
The spa’s spicy Aztec Aromatic Ritual is a curative body wrap
designed to soothe headaches, arthritis and muscle aches using an
ancient recipe of spices such as clove, ginger and cinnamon. It’s
followed by a 60- or 90-minute massage that uses rosemary and pine
essential oils to boost circulation.
Among the spa’s other treatments are the Sublime Lime and Ginger
Ritual, which includes a lime and ginger salt glow and a massage;
and the Elemis Exotic Coconut Rub and Milk Ritual, which includes a
coconut body polish, a milk bath, a wrap with foil, no less and a
One Los Cabos property boasts its own treatment system with
unique equipment. The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort and Spa’s
Cactus Spa lays claim as the only such facility in Latin America
that offers the Soft-Pack system, which uses a combination of herbs
and can be combined with any of several body wraps.
After applying the body compound, the therapist wraps your
client in a water-heated blanket. As the client lies on a heated
flotation bed, it submerges into six inches of water (although the
client doesn’t get wet). It’s an almost weightless environment that
is designed to relieve joint pressure and sore muscles.
Among the treatments available with the Soft-Pack system is the
Remineralizing and Purifying therapy, which covers the body in
marine clay and marine sediments enriched with seaweed, which in
turn stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation, purify the body and
relieve fatigue and muscular pain.
Deals & Discounts
Some of the spa hotels in Los Cabos offer commissionable packages
that include treatments. Here is a sampling:
Developed for couples, Casa del Mar Beach Golf and Spa Resort’s
four-night Baja Rejuvenator package features suite accommodations,
a manicure and pedicure for her, a reflexology massage for him, and
a Tropical Exfoliation and massage for both. In addition, guests
receive a candlelight dinner with wine, American breakfast daily,
25 percent off greens fees at El Dorado and Cabo Real Golf Courses,
unlimited use of the fitness center and tennis courts, roundtrip
airport transfers, hotel taxes, and spa taxes and gratuities.
Through Oct. 12, package rates start at $2,244 per room, double;
additional nights start at $347 and include breakfast. From Oct. 13
through Dec. 20, package rates start at $2,676, with extra nights
starting at $445. And from Dec. 21-31, package rates start at
$2,968, with additional nights starting at $512.
Las Ventanas al Paraiso’s offerings include the Discovery,
Retreat and Rejuvenating packages. Each program includes a
personalized treatment planning session and a customized essential
oil recipe for use in the treatments. Also included are a sage foot
bath with a neck and shoulder massage, an aromatherapy loofah salt
glow, a scalp massage using hot neem oil (a natural, non-toxic oil
from a tropical, semi-evergreen tree that strengthens and
moisturizes hair), a foot reflexology, an aromatherapy facial,
unlimited use of the spa and gym facilities, breakfast and dinner
daily, and roundtrip airport transfers.
The three-night Discovery package also features two stretch/yoga
classes and an aromatherapy body massage. Through Dec. 31, package
rates start at $3,700 per couple, depending on the room type and
Those booking the four-night, midweek Retreat package receive
the Discovery package amenities plus a personal training session, a
manicure and a pedicure. The starting rate is $4,750 per couple
Amenities in the seven-night Rejuvenating package include two
personal training sessions, three stretch/ yoga classes, two
aromatherapy massages, a manicure, a pedicure and a deep facial
moisturizing mask. Through Dec. 31, per-couple rates start at
Casa del Mar Beach Golf and Spa Resort
Esperanza Hotel and Resort
Las Ventanas al Paraiso
Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort and Spa