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For architects, Los Cabos is an unparalleled canvas — inspiring stellar designs that are frequently hidden from view. Fortunately, one of the area’s finest examples of modern Mexican architecture recently reopened to the public as Westin Los Cabos Resort Villas & Spa (formerly known as the Westin Regina).
Renowned architect Javier Sordo Madaleno’s curved, sand-tone buildings, first constructed in the early 1990s, appear to embrace the stark desert atop a hill near San Jose del Cabo. Visible from the Corridor highway linking San Jose with Cabo San Lucas, the resort complex closed after Hurricane Odile in 2014. Since then, workers have been repairing and remodeling the well-loved hotel, transforming it into a luxury property with 147 villas and two massive, elegant suites tricked out with the latest accoutrements.
As longtime fans of the Westin Regina and its sister hotels in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, my husband and I were pleased to find Madaleno’s architecture perfectly intact during a recent visit. A huge opening in the building’s center framed a view of the deep-blue Sea of Cortez. Settling into Madaleno’s grand vision of the vast desert landscape involved a long walk from the lobby through a palm-shaded courtyard to the guestroom buildings, which also frame water views. Once in our villa overlooking the property’s three pools and the sea, however, I knew we wouldn’t be hiking back to the lobby at all during our short stay. We were perfectly happy in our temporary home.
Guestrooms were greatly enlarged during the Westin’s makeover and are now called villas, despite being in a high-rise building. The smallest studio villas have balconies, kitchenettes, seating areas, sleeper sofas and Westin’s signature Heavenly baths and beds. Villas with multiple bedrooms also come with washer/dryers and dining areas; some rooms even have private whirlpool tubs on the oceanview balconies.
The adjacent Baja Point boutique property set high atop a hill beside the main hotel is currently undergoing renovations to meet Westin standards. When completed in late 2017, it will serve as an upscale section of the overall resort — with 26 rooms, a restaurant and a long horizon pool perched against the sky.
And pools are among the Westin’s greatest strengths. Set just above the beach, an adult pool with a swim-up bar merges into a long, free-form family pool complete with a waterfall and several shallow areas. A third pool is located away from the main play area and serves as a great hideaway for serious swimmers. There’s also a full-scale spa and gym for further entertainment.
We spent much of our two-day stay alternating between the pools and the four restaurants. At El Ciruelo, Baja Point’s hilltop dining room, we enjoyed a gourmet dinner of octopus carpaccio, lamb chops with mango sauce, seafood pasta and raspberry sorbet. We lingered over the breakfast buffet at Cocina Casera, centrally located by the guestroom buildings, and grew addicted to the ceviche verde at the poolside Coralline cafe. The Mercadito market and deli came in handy for quick snacks and drinks.
With all those diversions, we couldn’t think of a reason to leave the property. Only one thing drew me back to the entryway — the chance to photograph those iconic buildings as they mirrored the changing colors of the desert landscape at dawn and dusk.