It seems like every month or two there’s a new hotel opening up in the hot Los Cabos region of Mexico, but the name Solmar has been associated with the resort scene there almost from the beginning. There are currently five properties under the Solmar umbrella, but the now-gone founder opened one of the first in 1974 on some cheap land near the famous arch, back when the only tourists staying here were sport fishermen.
There’s a bronze statue of Luis Bulnes Molleda in downtown Cabo San Lucas, but he would probably be prouder of what has become of his empire, with a cluster of hotels on Land’s End—where the Pacific meets the Sea of Cortes—and the new project with golf course going up at the grandest company project yet on the outskirts. Some guests stay at one of these properties because of a timeshare arrangement, but they can also be booked like regular hotels. I recently experienced three of them while on a trip to the tip of the Baja Peninsula, so here’s a rundown of what to expect.
Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa
This is the flagship property of the group, a real showpiece nestled between the cliffs and the dramatic ocean waves. It has the feel of an isolated resort, but is actually walking distance to downtown Cabo San Lucas and the marina. The look is dramatic throughout, with a huge high-ceiling lobby with Spanish colonial chandeliers, a sushi restaurant with a koi pond, and one circular restaurant perched over the beach. The 246 large suites in six category levels have a full kitchen, Murphy bed, furnished balcony or terrace, satellite TV with a range of English channels, and dining table. There’s turndown service with a sweet each evening.
All paths lead to the sea, however, where multiple infinity pools and swim-up bars allow you to sip a cocktail while watching the show. The steep drop-off of the shoreline makes most of the beaches in this area too rough for swimming, so it’s best to hang out in the pool and see the violent waves come in with a bang. There’s a spa with open-air massage huts where no additional soundtrack is needed and several restaurants that look out at the water. In some months you can see whales with the naked eye or see schools of flapping rays jumping out of the water. Overall, Grand Solmar offers a luxury experience without feeling too stuffy and the kitchens make it a great vacation choice for families. See more info here or check rates here.
Playa Grande Resort and The Ridge
This next-door neighbor resort has the same terrific beach to walk on and the pool complex looks to the same stretch of sea at the bottom of the Baja Peninsula. Playa Grande has lower rates than Grand Solmar, but still features huge rooms with a kitchen and sofa bed that go from 635 square feet to a four-bedroom penthouse. There’s a big focus on fun, with volleyball nets and organized activities. Rates sometimes start below $150 a night in the low season, which is a steal in this region. Check rates here.
The Ridge wing comes with extra amenities, plus access to a rooftop restaurant and pool that looks out at downtown Cabo San Lucas and the marina instead of the water. With the pool changing colors and the lights beyond, it’s a gorgeous spot at night. It’s adults-only in this section, so you won’t get splashed by screaming kids if you’re trying to get a break from the little ones. All the rooms in this section are master suites or presidential suites. See more info here.
This is the most modest of the three resorts fanning out from the Los Cabos Arch, but again it’s on the same fine stretch of beach and sea, which is wide and welcoming. You won’t have to downgrade your room space either: the smallest rooms are 600 square feet and it’s a minor difference to upgrade to the deluxe room, which is the size of a city apartment at more than 1,000 square feet. All rooms have a kitchenette and sofa bed.
If you’re looking for something less flashy, this is the kind of low-key beach resort that used to be more common throughout the vacation getaway spots 50 years ago: low-slung buildings, one pool, and a bar/restaurant in a shaded palapa area. For rates that won’t break the bank. Hey, what else do you need really if you’re looking for relaxation in the sun?
Grand Solmar at Rancho San Lucas
This new showpiece from the company was only partially completed when I visited, but had a few lodging buildings, the pool, and the main building with the showpiece restaurant done and open. For now it’s still a partial construction zone, but eventually this 834-acre, multi-phase property will have a Greg Normal championship golf course, a full spa, several pools, a saltwater lagoon, a retail center, and tennis courts It’s in an area all its own about 15 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas and 30 minutes from both the airport and the town of Todos Santos.
As the newest property in the portfolio, it’s got even fancier rooms, with large studio suites with full kitchen and Murphy bed up to two-bedroom suites of more than 2,000 square feet. There will eventually be 594 units, so getting a reservation shouldn’t be a problem, though 105 of those will be residences (some full homes) that are privately owned or part of a fractional ownership plan. See info here and book direct or check rates here.
All the Solmar resorts include parking and WiFi in the rates, though you will have to tack on the usual hefty Mexican lodging taxes. See the official website for more info. Book direct there or check online at Expedia or Priceline.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted at Grand Solmar Land’s End and toured several of the others while writing for another publication. As always, all opinions are his own. Video from Luxury Latin America’s reviews of the best hotels in Los Cabos.