The Desert Spa is the largest in Baja California.// © 2011 The Desert Spa at Villa Del Arco
Rancho Pescadero Activities
Imagine an ambrosial concoction blending fresh papaya, pineapple, mangosteen and coconut milk. But instead of sipping it through a straw, you're slathered in it from head to toe.
The Pina Colada Body Facial is one of four new indulgences highlighting the refreshed menu at Villa del Arco's Desert Spa. While this 80-minute extravagance was the only treatment I experienced on a recent visit to the Cabo San Lucas resort, I can't fathom how any other service could one-up it on the euphoria scale.
Since opening in July 2007 as the largest spa in Baja California, the 31,000-square-foot sanctuary has offered delectable facial and body therapies infused with fruit and herb extracts native to the region. According to spa director Francois Cimon-Kingsley, the exclusive line of desert-inspired body products has been specifically developed for the restorative and nutritive powers they provide spa patrons.
It certainly worked for me. My therapist, Miranda, had a magic touch. After applying a fragrant body scrub using fresh papaya and pineapple extracts, she hydrated me with a mineral mask of pineapple, mangosteen and aloe vera. Though not a "massage" in the technical sense, it's about as close as it gets since Miranda used fluid strokes to apply the scrub.
After cocooning everything but my head in plastic, she massaged my scalp for 20 minutes while I soaked everything in. Then it was time to unwrap and head into the en-suite shower to rinse off the mask. The finale was a body massage with a facial-quality coconut milk formula for extra moisturizing.
After a few days in the Cabo sun and Baja desert, this multi-sensory treatment was nothing short of pure bliss.
"We're all about relaxation and well being," said Cimon-Kingsley. "And we deliver that through our services, staff and setting. In the short time we have offered them, these new treatments have been received very well."
Some of the more popular treatments include a deep-cleansing, 50-minute Baja Bliss Facial as well as a 25-minute version, the Instant Glow Facial. Both exfoliate and polish the skin with a blend of microderm crystals, citrus oils and glycolic. A new 25-minute Eye Treatment helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Designed in Mexican hacienda style with 17 treatment rooms, The Desert Spa merges its natural desert and sea setting with earthy tones, ample natural light and the scents and flavors of Baja.
Separate hydrotherapy centers for men and women are each equipped with a spacious Jacuzzi, a cold plunge pool, a cold pressure shower, a body temperature pool, a steam room and a sauna.
Guests can also enjoy a 4,500-square-foot fitness center that's supervised by AFA-certified personal trainer Robyn Littlewood. Cimon-Kingsley noted that Littlewood conducts a complimentary fitness seminar each Sunday covering anti-aging and weight loss strategies.
"She's also added a Body Blast high-intensity cardio class with resistance training, Kundalini yoga and an Abs and Assets class," he said.
Fronting El Medano Beach overlooking the Sea of Cortez and El Arco, the 220-suite property has garnered landmark status from day one for its imposing pirate ship that's "anchored" in the largest of two swimming pools. While the kids splash off the stern, parents can enjoy libations on the deck at El Bucanerro restaurant.
All generously sized, air-conditioned suites feature a large living area, flat-screen satellite television, marble bathrooms, a furnished balcony, and a kitchen (a kitchenette in studios) with a microwave, a range, a refrigerator, a toaster, a blender, a coffee/tea maker and a minibar.
Guests can upgrade to the new Signature Villa Service that includes a welcome snack and fruit baskets, a bottle of red wine, in-suite aromatherapy, a pillow menu, daily chef amenities and turndown service for $250 on stays of four to seven nights.
"With so many beautiful hotels around us, we wanted to create unique experiences for our guests," said Lucy Ruiz, general manager. "We want our guests to feel special. We want to create magic around them, and we want them to find something special in every tiny detail. The Signature Villa Service helps us do so."
Pina Colada Body
Facial, $130; Baja Bliss Facial, $98; Instant Glow Facial, $63; Eye Treatment, $63
Dec. 31, nightly rates are from $273 for studios sleeping four; $330
for one-bedroom suites sleeping five; from $603 for two-bedroom suites
sleeping eight; and from $1,007 for three-bedroom suites sleeping 10.