The place to be just a few years ago, Cabo San Lucas quickly topped Acapulco and even Cancún in the cheesy-tourist-attraction ranks. But don’t confuse Cabo San Lucas with Los Cabos. The former is a town; the latter its surrounding region, where the glam and glorious still go to show off their air-brushed tans. Just bypass the tequila-filled water pistols in Cabo San Lucas, and head to San José (a nearby artists’ enclave with sexy south-of-the-border style). Better yet, make like the stars—Jen and Brad, Travolta, Babs—and hole up at one of the area’s three outrageously luxe resorts: Rosewood’s Las Ventanas (888-525-0483; from $575), Esperanza (866-311-2226; from $550), and Palmilla (800-637-2226; from $475), which has undergone a major renovation and reopens with a new Charlie Trotter restaurant in February.
Since Palmilla opened its Jack Nicklaus course in 1993, the Cabo golf scene has exploded. As tiny as the southern tip of Baja may seem, there’s room for six spectacular public courses (by links wizards Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones II, Tom Weiskopf, and the Dye brothers), plus a Tom Fazio–designed private course—which you can play if you stay at Las Ventanas. You can choose from desert landscapes, mountain views, and miles of oceanfront holes. For course details, go to visitcabo.com.
Deal of the Week
Sharing a driveway with the legendary Las Ventanas resort, Casa del Mar sits on the same stretch of gorgeous beach. New York readers who stay before December 20 get 30 percent off the $395 rack rate, plus a free dinner and space-available upgrade (888-227-9621).
Going Up? A look at the latest developments in Los Cabos.•With 237 suites, a two-star Michelin chef, and the area’s largest spa, the brand-new Marquis Los Cabos fits right in with its high-class neighbors (877-238-9399).
•Watch your step as you stroll through San José’s prickly new Cacti Mundo botanical garden (52-624-146-9191). Yes, this is a cactus museum. It’s cool. We promise.
•Scheduled to open in early 2004, the very private, 180-room Pacifica (800-990-8250) will offer spacious rooms with spectacular views of the Pacific. How fitting.
•It’s hard to go wrong looking for great seafood in Baja. But the just-opened Lorenzillo’s—an upscale lobster joint—is a good place to start (52-624-105-0212).
If You’re Going To…
Just off the coast of Antigua, Rosewood’s palatial private-island resort, Jumby Bay, is gearing up for the high season with a new villa-rental program. Beachfront mansions like La Casa (Robin Leach’s former place) come with all of the resort’s amenities and services (888-ROSEWOOD; prices available upon request).
Jacques Garcia (of Paris’s chic Hôtel Costes) has designed yet another gem: The 91-room Hotel Victor is scheduled to debut in early 2004, with a seviche-and-tapas terrace and a Turkish-style spa (305-461-4928; from $260). Also, stay tuned for SoFi’s Bentley Beach Hotel (305-938-4600), opening in December. As if there weren’t enough hip hotels in Miami.
London’s sleek Metropolitan hotel has cloned itself. When the Thailand double opens its doors later this month, you can count on its restaurant (Cy’an), Met Bar, and Shambhala spa to be instant hot spots (800-337-4685; from $240).
Steve Hanson (Dos Caminos, Blue Fin) is turning his attention from dishes to digs. His first hotel venture, the James Hotel Scottsdale, opens in December and will feature a Fiamma satellite (866-50-JAMES; from $225). We also hear he’s scouting Chicago and San Diego for future properties.