Culture / Travel

A Stunning, Isolated New Hotel Provides a Different Type of Mexico Escape

Welcome to Your Baja California Sur Sanctuary

BY JIm Kastleman // 07.12.17
photography Francisco Peña Pia Riverola

If you need the structure of The Carlyle in New York or The Dorchester Hotel in London, you may not like it here. If you’re a fanatic about Austin’s Hotel San José and Hotel Saint Cecilia or Marfa’s El Cosmico, and if you envision yourself in an isolated boho, movie-star-quality compound, lounging poolside overlooking the ocean, sipping tequila and eating fish fresh off the boat, hop on a jet — destination Hotel San Cristóbal — now.

This 32-room sanctuary — the latest from Liz Lambert’s booming Bunkhouse Group, and her first hotel outside the United States — would seem at home on the Mediterranean. But thankfully, its Baja California Sur environs are much closer. There’s a room for every type: ocean view, mountain view, soaking tub, outdoor shower.

Stamped concrete floors support Venetian plaster-like walls, while Waterworks fixtures and Malin + Goetz products are yours. Furniture, fabrics, and lighting are custom-made by artists in Guadalajara and Guatemala, and the ocean-inspired offerings from chefs Edgar Palau and Austin food whiz Lou Lambert are perfection — a combination of Mediterranean, Asian, and Mexican flavors whose magnetic pull makes you want to eat every meal on property.

Because of the hotel, a community now exists in this sliver of Mexico, where not too long ago there was nothing.  It fosters the local panga fishing cooperative, which shares its shore and provides for the region. The staff is local, humble, and not yet chiseled by demanding throngs of tourists.

Admittedly, a slight knowledge of Spanish goes a long way. You don’t need to be told to tread lightly; here it just happens naturally.

The pool at Hotel San Cristóbal

The only excesses acceptable are the consumption of bebidas and indulging in the abundant views of cacti, colorful textiles, ocean, and mountains. Music and crashing waves soak the air. If for some strange reason you want to leave, there are quintessentially Baja activities nearby: fishing, whale watching, surf camps, hiking, biking, and ATVs. Todos Santos, less than 10 minutes away, is a sweet town to visit.

Holiday Gifting

  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Nocturne Studio
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Casa di Lino
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings

In a fit of enthusiasm, I asked David, the concierge — and the man in charge of booking activities — what we should do.

“Should we ride ATVs in the desert? Dune buggies on the beach? Horseback ride?” He smiled, looked me in the eye, and, in a slow Spanish cadence, said simply, “No. Just eat, drink, and sit at the pool.” Gracias, amigo. I think I will.

Booking it: Ounta Lobos in Todos Santos, Hotel San Cristóbal, Playa Punta Lobos, 011.52.612.175.1530, sancristobalbaja.com. Rooms from $285 per night.

Getting there: Airlines fly into San Jose del Cabo, but flying privately into Cabo San Lucas International cuts the drive time to San Cristobal almost in half. Manny Aviation in Cabo is one of the best international handlers we’ve experienced, with out-of-this-world customer service.

For more of Jim Kastleman’s unique travel stories, check out TheCompanyPlane.com, a new website that provides a pilot’s perspective on luxury trips and takes the mystery out of booking private plane travel.

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