Although it is a public beach, the stretch of sand just below The Cape feels private. There’s a rare surf break directly in front of the hotel that’s best left to the experts who know how to navigate the rocks. This is otherwise not a swimmable beach, as is most often the case in Los Cabos.
The 161-room Cape was the first Mexican outpost of Thompson Hotels (followed soon after by the rebranding of the former Viceroy in Zihuatanejo). While Los Cabos can be notoriously expensive, the mid-luxury Cape comes in toward the middle. Built by architect Javier Sànchez (who also built Grupo Habita’s Condesa DF in Mexico City), the core structure rises seven stories above the beach, with a gated entrance and sprawling open-air lobby on the second level. Two adjacent buildings house the brand’s private residences, which can occasionally be rented through the hotel when available. The design throughout is very masculine, a uniquely Mexican aesthetic that pulls together heavy leather and hand-carved wood, mixing Latin American mid-century furniture with all the modern comforts one expects from a luxury resort.
Sadly I didn’t get a chance to visit the spa on the lower level because I over-scheduled my dining agenda (more on that in another post). But the gym is nice. And there are two swimming pools. One, with a swim-up bar and infinity edge, is the heartbeat of the hotel, packed with the see-and-be-seen crowd throughout the day. The other, tucked into the rocks at the base of the cliff, is more secluded and zen.
My partner and I stayed in a Deluxe King, a large mid-tier room that comes with a gorgeous copper-wrapped bathtub, cozy sitting area and surprisingly large balcony. The balcony features a small dining table and chairs as well as a very sexy day-bed swing. As is common for many Thompson properties, darkness plays a starring role in the theme. Many walls and surfaces throughout are painted black, including sections of the lobby, many of the balconies and inside the signature restaurant, Manta.
Manta is an outpost of Mexico City-based celebrity chef Enrique Olvera, of Pujol fame. As with any of Olvera’s restaurants, you wouldn’t know one of the world’s most famous chefs was involved unless you already knew that before booking a table. The renowned chef’s name is nowhere to be seen. However, you immediately feel his presence upon entering because the service at Manta is impeccable — polished and confident yet unnervingly casual, very similar to Pujol. The menu pays homage to Cabo’s long-standing tradition of blending Mexican food with California’s vintage Asian influences. Is it fusion? Well, yes. And it is absolutely superb. (More on this in another post coming soon.)
The hotel’s two other restaurants are also very good. The Rooftop restaurant, open from 6 pm onward, is essentially a nightclub where a deejay weaves a tapestry of beats that builds and crescendos in-sync with the sunset. The views from the top are spectacular, not just the sunsets but also the lights of Cabo San Lucas twinkling in the distance. To eat there is excellent braised pork belly with eel sauce (trust me on that) and ethereal soft-shell crab tacos.
The Ledge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, a mix of Mexican and American fare. At breakfast don’t miss the pancakes, which are dusted with toasted amaranth, or the chile-braised short ribs with mole and poached eggs. Meanwhile lunch and dinner standouts include classic Baja fish tacos plus an incredible adobo-roasted kampachi a la talla. The chef tells me he’s in the midst of completely revamping the lunch menu. The plan is to move deeper into Mexican cuisine, making it more local, less touristy, which sounds like a really good plan to me.
Bottom line: The Cape is a fun, sexy, beautiful mid-luxury hotel — and a bargain by Cabo standards. Plus the food throughout is really, really good.
Rates from about $400 if you plan several weeks in advance, although last-minute rates can easily encroach on $1,000. Carretera Transpeninsular Km 5, Los Cabos, Mexico; Tel. +52-624-163-0000; thompsonhotels.com
NOTE ABOUT TRAVELING DURING COVID: Tourism in Los Cabos is open to international travelers. However, COVID-19 is still a huge concern. You can monitor the local virus situation here. All things considered, Los Cabos feels safe. The local government mandates that all individuals continue to wear masks throughout the destination at all times when interacting with others who are not members of their household except for certain instances, such as when eating, drinking, swimming, etc. From what I witnessed, most hotels take the mitigation protocols very seriously, with strict social distancing, touchless menus, enhanced cleaning, etc. Note that U.S. and Canadian citizens are required to present a negative COVID-19 result within 48 hours prior to returning home, which you’ll need to show at the airport in order to get on the plane. All hotels in Los Cabos offer convenient testing on-site (a system that also allows them to routinely test their own staff). #getvaccinated and #stopthespread