HOTELS & SPAS

Getting pampered at the One&Only Palmilla Spa

February 7, 2014

 

Pampered at Palmilla

Pampered at Palmilla

If you’re visiting Los Cabos, plan a day of indulgence at the One&Only Palmilla spa. 

People visit spas for many reasons: They are great places to relax, energize, de-stress, heal or unwind. But I’ll admit I go to spas to be pampered. If you are seeking the ultimate pampering experience in Los Cabos, Mexico, a visit to the sprawling 22,000-square-foot One & Only Palmilla spa will not disappoint.

Just walking along the footpaths on the grounds of the resort is much like visiting a lush botanical garden where you are surrounded by tropical greenery and colorful flowers, as birds and butterflies circle overhead. With the natural beauty of the setting and five-star service, the posh resort has become legendary as a getaway for celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Sheryl Crow, and Courtney Cox.

During a recent stay in Los Cabos, my friend Donna and I have decided to “gift” each other a day at the spa. We start our day of indulgence with a light lunch at Breeze, the resort’s casual bar and restaurant, created by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, which offers a selection of ceviches, sandwiches and salads. We dine on an alfresco terrace overlooking the pool, the beach and the Sea of Cortez as cool breezes wafted over the water. Then we poke into the carefully curated gift shop nearby, definitely worth a look.

The view from Breeze

The view from Breeze

The setting

As we begin to stroll towards the freestanding spa, a driver offers to take us there on his golf cart so we happily hop on board. The gracious spa, one of the most beautiful I’ve ever visited, wraps around an open-air courtyard (It is co-located beside the resort’s state-of-the-art gym and wellness center.)

Sign-in is efficient and friendly. We are soon led to a spacious locker room that offers every conceivable toiletry and amenity—from fruit to nuts (including fruits and nuts). The interior design is reminiscent of a hacienda with hand-painted ceramic sinks, dark wood furniture, and stucco walls that convey a sense of place. We couldn’t be anywhere else but Mexico.

A peek inside the sybaritic locker room

A peek inside the sybaritic locker room

Hand-painted sinks

Hand-painted sinks

IMG_5346

Sensuous amenities

Disposable underwear has become standard spa fare but this was the first time I have a plush terry robe with strategically placed buttons to prevent it from unfurling. A personal jewelry tray is waiting inside the locker, which has a hassle-free electronic locking system.

Once in our robes, we are led to an outdoor lounging area where the brilliant sunlight is filtered by giant palm trees. We begin to relax and unwind, resisting the temptation to chat. The climate in Baja California tends to be near perfect—as it is on this day—so we could have remained there for hours listening to the sounds of the running water from the nearby rock pool.

View from my lounge

View from my lounge

Relaxation area

Relaxation area

But soon Lucia comes and whisks me away to my private spa villa as another operator comes for Donna. The technician explains that the resort has 13 treatment rooms, seven of them open-air villas enclosed by curved stone walls and greenery for privacy. In addition to a climate-controlled massage pavilion outfitted with a private bathroom and shower, each spa villa has an outdoor whirlpool and queen-size Mexican day bed nestled among the trees.

The treatment

From an exhaustive menu of services and different healing therapies, I signed up for a classic one-hour, 20-minute Swedish message. The experience begins outdoors with an indulgent foot message and scrub, during which time Lucia introduces herself, explains the treatment and asks me what type of pressure I want her to apply. “Gentle,” I reply.

A welcome from Lucia

A welcome from Lucia

Setting for my footbath

Outdoor setting for my footbath

The climate in the treatment room is perfect and it is hard to distinguish the music (ocean sounds and birds) from the outdoor sounds. The massage table is uber-comfortable with electronic controls so instead of having to raise my legs on a wedged piece of foam, Lucia is able to raise and lower the end of the table. The massage is so relaxing and soothing that I drift off to sleep before it is over.

Afterwards, I have access to my private outdoor patio surrounded by foliage. I shower, plunge into the Jacuzzi au natural, and get back into my robe to hydrate with bottled water, sip some tea, and savor fruit kabobs on my daybed. When Lucia comes to tell me that this experience has come to an end, I float out after her.

Whirlpool bath on the patio

Whirlpool bath on the patio

Waiting on my daybed

Waiting on my daybed

The bottom line

The One&Only Palmilla spa is truly unique because of its flawless service and the way it seamlessly flows between indoors and outside. As you might guess, prices at the spa are also for the rich and famous but when everything seems pitch perfect it is hard to complain. Every girl deserves a day of indulgence and pampering. Whether you visit with a girlfriend, spouse, or alone, soon after you leave, you’ll yearn to return to this special sanctuary for the body, mind and spirit.

IF YOU GO

  • Reply
    Marilyn Jones
    February 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Another great descriptive article about a beautiful location!! I feel (almost) like I’ve been there!!

  • Reply
    Irene Rawlings
    February 8, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Absolutely lovely, Irene. And your photos are crisp and lovely as well. P.S. I’m crazy about the sinks. All best, Irene

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      February 9, 2014 at 12:43 am

      I love those sinks, too!:-) Stops for stopping by, Irene~

  • Reply
    Janice stringer
    February 9, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Looks a fabulous place to visit!

  • Reply
    santafetraveler
    February 11, 2014 at 1:14 am

    That looks incredible! What a special day to remember. Your vacation looks wonderful.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      February 11, 2014 at 1:24 am

      It’s been great…also missed a few East Coast snowstorms:-)

  • Reply
    Suzanne Fluhr
    February 11, 2014 at 1:26 am

    I was also quite taken with the sinks and the indoor/outdoor vibe. It seems like a lot of thought went into the design and function of this spa.

  • Reply
    Neva Fels
    February 11, 2014 at 1:47 am

    What a wonderful place to spend the day. Some areas are so private and other areas take in the ocean view so perfectly.

  • Reply
    Nancie
    February 11, 2014 at 5:18 am

    I am just on my way to be pampered at a spa here in Chiang Mai. I love that hand painted sink…if I had a house I might have to go to Cabos just to buy one 🙂 I was in Cabo many years ago, and I don’t think this spa was in existence, or I would have found it. This is a great reason for me to go back!

  • Reply
    Donna Janke
    February 11, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I felt relaxed and pampered just reading your description of the spa experience and looking at the photographs. Sounds wonderful.

  • Reply
    Patti Morrow
    February 11, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Makes me want to be “pampered” right now. Looks like it was a really nice, multi-sensory experience.

  • Reply
    Jan Ross
    February 11, 2014 at 11:17 am

    LOVE a spa experience. I was fortunate to visit a lot of spas on our recent visit to Michigan and they were really a highlight of the trip. I have visited spas in Mexico as well and what a joy! Love all the color in your photos – I’m ready to head to somewhere tropical soon!!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      February 11, 2014 at 9:14 pm

      Given the weather forecast, I wish I could stay in Mexico!

  • Reply
    Cathy Sweeney
    February 11, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    The bottom line is that you’ve made me jealous of your pampering experience. I had a nice spa treatment a few weeks ago up in Napa — something that I don’t do often enough. But your experience sounds like a day in paradise. I know that I’d be very reluctant to leave when they’d come to tell me it was over.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      February 12, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Being pampered outdoors where the weather is pitch-perfect, as it is in Cabo, is really special.

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