One hour from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, beyond the beaten bar scene, at the end of a mile-long dirt road sandwiched by poblano pepper fields and calla lily gardens , is a cement walkway to a desert oasis.
Described as “barefoot luxury meets Mexican soul,” Rancho Pescadero, part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection and the passion project of Torrid General Manager Lisa Harper, sits quietly on 30 oceanfront acres in the small fishing village of El Pescadero on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Baha Southern California.
Scheduled for a soft opening in mid-October and a grand opening the first week of November after a two-year closure for its revival, the new, improved, expanded and responsibly targeted escape near the seaside town of Todos Santos can be exactly what the wellness guru ordered.
The first step is to cross, or what Harper uses as a substitute for registration. With this cement walkway, guests can choose a brick path ahead of them on one side or begin their barefoot journey through a sand path on the other. Where they arrive is what the property calls “access”. And there are no check-in counters.
“[It] is not really a lobby, but rather an opportunity to take the plunge,” says Harper. “It’s this idea that you left your flight and passport and immigration behind and made sure the mail was taken care of and all those things in your life that got you to this place, and that there’s a time when you actually, consciously, think about going through that vacation experience. The vacation experience is so important. You rejuvenate your creativity, your mindset, you relieve stress, all those things.
“[It’s] the kind of ‘Wizard of Oz’ that crosses over into the Technicolor post-twister,” she adds.
The stress relief continues beyond access, where the property – which is made up of more than 50% plants, most of them native – has nine gardens, a bird sanctuary, a sea turtle hatchery and a shouted, or vegetable garden of sorts, which provides Rancho Pescadero with much of what it serves customers through its three dining experiences. All of this surrounds the property’s 103 suites and villas, almost all of which face the ocean.
Here, just as the line between indoors and outdoors is beautifully blurred, so too is the line between utmost simplicity and ultimate luxury.
It is, as real estate architect Alejandra Templeton of local firm Indigo Añil puts it, the fusion of Mexican culture, the desert, the sea and the essence of ranch life. What guests will see and feel on the property mimics the surrounding landscape where, despite being in the desert, El Pescadero’s location on the Baha Peninsula and its proximity to the Sierra de la Laguna mountains, which attract rain, making it lush and ripe for vegetation. .
As such, Rancho Pescadero is lush and ripe with vegetation, with a flow as natural as the surrounding vistas and a design palette that embraces ocean blues and sandy hues amid greens, cacti and garden succulents.
The 12 beachfront villas, in particular, transition from indoors to outdoors, with patio doors that almost entirely disappear, giving way to custom plunge pools overlooking tree and seascapes, fire pits and a private access to the beach. Outdoor rain showers with peacock-colored talavera tiles handmade by local artisans give the serene feeling of showering like under the sea. (For those more inclined to clean indoors, there is the possibility of bathing in large black terrazzo bathtubs overlooking the outdoor shower oasis.)
Room decor offers the same nod to nature, with warm woods and neutral tones and the texture of locally woven textiles and handcrafted pottery and copper vessels from Michoacán in western Mexico. The black headboards made in Guadalajara provide a contrast with the Chihuahua leather pom poms.
Templeton’s goal with the design was to source just about everything locally and fairly traded, to keep the money in the community. Both inside and outside the rooms, everything is there for a reason, she says.
“I don’t like this word decorator and decorator because for me it’s not that. Every piece should be there for a reason,” she says. “So when we use crafts that are hung on the wall or placed in a place, I hope that people who visit the hotel pass by and are curious about that room and wonder where it comes from. comes, how it is made, why it has the color that it has, why it has the shape that it has, who made it, and they can learn about different places in Mexico thanks to this, it awakens their curiosity and [makes them] want to visit these places.
There is a lot to discover at Rancho Pescadero. An example day on the property might start something like this: Wake up to the tradition of a breakfast basket hanging outside your door, complete with conches, or Mexican breads, and “whatever the freshest fruit in the region,” says Harper. It could be anything from mangoes to strawberries, passion fruit or pickings from the on-site orange grove. Then a walk on the beach or a free yoga class in one of the two yoga shalas could come next.
From there, the day could unfold in the form of pampering at the 25,000-square-foot spa and wellness center, where soaps, scrubs, and oils are made and distilled from the plants grown on the property. Customers even have the ability to create custom blends for their treatments at the apothecary. There’s also hydrotherapy, a Himalayan salt sauna, and indigenous cocoa rituals with guided breath work.
When it’s time to eat, you have three options, all led by Culinary Director Sandro Falbo. Centro Cafe serves classic Mexican dishes by the pool. At Botánica, it’s a communal experience at a dining table in an orchard, where Falbo prepares an osso bucco barbacoa, blending his Italian heritage with the Mexican style of cooking meat underground, as the Mayans did. There is also a traditional comical, or griddle in cast iron, to make fresh tortillas. Kahal, the property’s beachfront restaurant with deconstructed walls that’s enveloped by a pool with a cenote-style jacuzzi below, is where the chef prepares ceviche, guacamole with seaweed chicharron and salt-crusted snapper with homemade Rancho salt.
But beyond simply letting the farm-to-table dining experiences overwhelm them, customers have a choice in how they partake. They can choose eggs from the of huerta chicken coop for breakfast, for example, and pick fresh vegetables from the garden for their own salad or for a free salsa-making workshop. Why? It’s all part of the experience.
“The joy of going to the chicken coop and getting a few eggs and taking them to the chef and him to make heuvos rancheros really articulates how people want to spend their free time. And it’s not just a relationship with the property or with their own food, but they’ll always remember going to get those eggs and having the heuvos rancheros, said Harper. “So it creates experiences that have long been remembered as margarita or fries and salsa or Chilaquiles. It takes you to another, very different level of experience that I think creates a memory for you that lasts for decades. And that’s what we’re trying to do. »
When it’s time to drink, as Harper says, consider “the bartender your doctor.” Here, continuing experiential drinking, imbibed customers can pick their own limes to garnish their mezcal and top it off with traditional ‘doctor’ medicinal tinctures which can be added to drinks ‘in the same way you would add to your smoothie’. , said Harper. .
But above all, she is perhaps most proud of Rancho Pescadero’s commitment to responsibility and regenerative tourism.
Going far beyond its commitment to zero single-use plastic, the property is all about giving back to the land it sits on. Because it had been home to chili growers since 1938 before she bought the land to build the original 12-room hotel, which opened in 2009, Harper and her team replanted “thousands of plants and of trees” with the aim of reforesting all the plants that had to be moved during construction. Rancho Pescadero collects rainwater for its gray water recycling system to maintain on-site landscaping and a desalination plant provides the property’s fresh drinking water. Only electric carts and bicycles are used throughout the property to keep carbon emissions to a minimum, composting is done on site and solar panels are installed. Even when rebuilding over the past two years, the team has reused building materials from the original property.
Currently, Rancho Pescadero is in the process of providing housing to all employees who want it, and the plan is to eventually expand this offering to residents of the wider community, particularly as growing interest expatriates for the region has made land and property difficult. to achieve or maintain for many. A local kindergarten is part of the project and this year the team will open a technical school to provide education and skills development that was rare in the community.
This property, says Harper, has “kind of been my life’s work. It’s a parallel journey to my career in retail, but it really draws on the same kind of skills and experience: it’s about providing vision and building something from scratch that don’t just think about the customers, but also… about building a sustainable life for the associates, for the community, for the people who work there. And that’s as important as anything else. Everything has to work for it to be a truly regenerative trip.
If you’re looking to disappear – and make your environmental footprint almost as imperceptible – this might be the place.
Rates start at $895/night, though there’s a 20% offer off best available rates and 15% off spa services for bookings made through November 30, 2022.