“I’ve never seen a place quite like this before” is the most common response from visitors when they see Viceroy Los Cabos, which opened in 2018. Even if they’re not sure they like it, they admire the artistry, especially at night.
Most beach resorts follow a similar playbook when it comes to design and architecture. If they’re not a boring blocky high-rise, they’re a U or a 3-sided rectangle, or maybe a stretched-out version of one of those. The pools and bars are in the middle leading to the beach, most of the restaurants will be by the pool or near the lobby, apart from an obligatory one next to the ocean.
Mexican architect Miguel Angel Aragonés was having none of that. Instead he designed this unique resort as a series of buildings rising up like white sugar cubes above swimming pools and reflecting pools that blend into each other. During the day a dark gray path snakes through shallow pools where the sun reflects off the water, leading steadily lower toward the beach. During the night is when the genius of the design really comes out, however. Then the lit-up boxes are reflected in those same pools and it’s like something out of Inception, with reality bent to a form in the architect’s mind.
In the center of it all is El Nido, “The Nest,” which is made from woven-together branches that surround a cozy dining room and bar. The emphasis here is on Asian cuisine, with a lot of seafood in the mix, from sushi to a grilled catch of the day. Some of it comes with a Mexican twist, however, like when the miso soup has a kick from some jalapeno. There’s a surprisingly good wine selection as well, plus some local craft beers from Baja.
The other main spot for dinner is Cielo on the roof of the main building, though it was closed when we checked in on a low-occupancy Monday. It’s in a great spot for watching the sun go down and serves from a a more varied Mexican and international menu. The breakfast spot is a few steps away from El Nido on the first floor, plus there’s a separate bar serving a wide array of tequila and “lost spirits” from Mexico such as Sotol and Raicilla.
Naturally you can order food while kicked back in your lounge chair at the pool or beach as well. We were very happy with our tostones and fish tacos we munched on while gazing out at the ocean. Viceroy has made a serious effort to make all this reasonably healthy as well, with as much organic and locally sourced ingredients as they can get their hands on and always plenty of healthy items on each menu.
There are multiple swimming pools throughout the property, with the largest one being on the top level when descending down toward the beach, a kids pool nearby. The two down by the beach get more action, however, since they have a view out to the sand and water, plus one has a warmer whirlpool at the end, nice when its a cool and breezy day. Either way, attendants set you up with towels, adjust your shade, and bring orders for food and drink. One promising perk is that there is a Sun Bum sunscreen dispenser at each pool. The bad news is it’s usually empty by mid-day and wasn’t refilled during our visit.
The fitness center here is a thing of wonder, stocked with nearly every kind of machine and system you could want. There are TRX bands, Hoist Roc-it equipment, medicine balls, kettle balls, curling weights, yoga and pilates set-ups, and more. A personal trainer is on staff that you can hire, or you can show up for one of the complimentary classes offered daily.
A full spa is on site as well, with an ice shower, plunge pool, whirlpool, steam room, and sauna to shock your body and then 11 treatment rooms for a muscle massage. You can also get a facial, manicure, or pedicure.
One other way to stay out of the sun is at the intimate theater. On weekends they show family-friendly movies, or you can get a group together and request something special—watching the wedding video 30 years later perhaps?
Rooms vary in size and view, but most either have a view of the sea or a terrace that seems to float on water. All have at least a furnished balcony with daybed and table with two chairs, though some have a whirlpool tub as well. Amenities are numerous and hi-tech, from 65-inch smart TVs loaded with Netflix and Amazon to wall controls that enable you to control three sets of curtains (balcony, inside, and blackout). The lighting controls are a bit odd, however, since the cool factor of being able to change the colors or mood is offset by the fact that you can’t turn on the reading lights alone at night without turning on the rest of the room lights as well.
Most bathrooms have showers with dual showerheads and eco-friendly refilled shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion dispensers. Scales, safes, plush robes, slippers, coffee makers, and minibars are standard. Junior suites and Premier Suites add upgrade options with more space.
As with much of Los Cabos, the beach here can be too dangerous for swimming much of the time, but the beach is wide and expansive and it is calm enough here to at least get your feet wet without fearing a wave knockdown. The location is a short car or taxi ride to downtown San Jose del Cabo, is walking distance to a supermarket (or use the complimentary cruiser bikes for either), and there are several golf courses nearby. The staffers are friendly and professional, plus the environmental touches—like corn-based water bottles and straws—are commendable in this fragile environment.
Review and photos by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted for one night for the purposes of review. As always, all opinions are his own. Video tour below courtesy of Luxury Latin America’s Los Cabos resorts coverage.