Long-Awaited Palmilla Hotel to Debut

After a change in ownership and an expansion, the One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos officially opens this month

By: Lisa Jennings

Closed since last April for an $80 million expansion, what was the Palmilla in Los Cabos will reopen officially this month as a dazzling five-star property under the One&Only brand.

The grand opening is scheduled for Feb. 5, though the resort, which is now called the One&Only Palmilla, had a soft opening in January. All aspects of the property are up and running, except for the spa, which is scheduled to open this month.

The Palmilla, which opened in 1956 with 15 guestrooms, has long been known as a luxury hotel to the stars. It was founded by Don Abelardo Rodriguez, known as a pioneer of tourism to Los Cabos, who was the son of General Abelardo Rodriguez, an interim president of Mexico.

In 2002, Kerzner International bought a 50 percent equity interest in the property, as well as a long-term management contract, along with other investors and a real estate fund managed by Goldman Sachs & Co.

The Palmilla is Kerzner’s first luxury resort in Mexico. Though the company is known for operating both luxury and mid-market resorts around the world the flagship is Atlantis in The Bahamas, a sprawling ocean-theme casino-resort on Paradise Island.

But the One&Only brand, launched in 2002, represents the company’s high-end properties, such as the One&Only Ocean Club, also in The Bahamas, and the One&Only Le Saint Geran and One&Only Le Touessrok in Mauritius. More One&Only re-sorts are planned for the Mal-dives and Cuba.

With the expansion, the One&Only Palmilla has more than doubled the number of rooms, from 82 to 172, including 111 suites. The one-bedroom suites offer 1,400 square feet of space, and all rooms even many of the bathrooms have ocean views.

The new spa will offer 13 private treatment villas. There’s a new pool and children’s play area, and a 5,000-square-foot executive conference center. The historic chapel, built with the original hotel, remains on a hill in the center of the property, and is available for private wedding ceremonies. Two new restaurants have also been added, including C, a fine-dining venue created by Charlie Trotter, one of America’s most celebrated chefs. The restaurant will overlook the Sea of Cortez, with a 110-seat, dinner-only, main dining room, as well as two glass enclosed wine rooms, a private dining room, a semi-private cellar dining room and an invitation-only chef’s kitchen table.

Both C and the more casual poolside restaurant called Agua were designed by Adam Tihany, who is known for creating restau-rants such as Jean Georges and Le Cirque 2000 in New York. But throughout the resort, the refurbishment maintains the traditional Mexican architecture for which the Palmilla was known.

The resort is on a 250-acre portion of a 900-acre master-planned community, which includes a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus signature golf course that opened in 1993, and eight residential communities.

The One&Only Palmilla’s managing director and regional vice president is Edward Steiner, who was previously at Los Cabos’ Las Ventanas del Paraiso. The resident manager is Andre Boersma.

From Feb. 11 to April 30, the resort is offering a complimentary fifth night promotion, subject to availability. Taxes and service charges are not included. (Call 800-637-2226 and request the complimentary-fifth-night promotion.)