By Gwen Ashley Walters
In just hours, you can be perched on a stone stool at the swim-up bar in the swankiest resort in the Baja, sipping a Tequila Sunrise. It's only a 2-hour flight from Phoenix, and only 5 hours from New York. Who knew paradise was so close?
Las Ventanas al Paraiso (translation: "windows to paradise") is a gorgeous, Mexican-Mediterranean 12-acre resort just 15 minutes from the San Jose del Cabo International Airport. Conveniently located about halfway between the two most southern towns on the Baja Peninsula, San Jose del Cabo and the more familiar party town, Cabo San Lucas, the resort is a favorite among outdoor recreational travelers.
The southern tip of the Baja is a feast for the eyes and senses. Boulder-strewn desert mountains give way to white sandy beaches that slip effortlessly into a deep sapphire blue sea. with more than 350 days of sunshine (mostly dry, too), this part of Mexico attracts sun-seekers, golfers and deep sea fishing aficionados. Las Ventanas's white-washed stucco buildings, curved walkways, stone staircases and strategically placed infinity edged pools add luxurious beauty to the rugged region.
There is no reception desk at Las Ventanas. Guests are greeted personally and taken directly to their suites, where an enticing tequila sampler awaits on the entry table. Las Ventanas boasts the largest standard (though there is nothing standard about these rooms) guest rooms in all of Mexico, at just over 960 square feet per room. with only 61 rooms, Las Ventanas has a palatial feel yet you never feel like you're in a huge resort. The resort itself is large, but even when the resort is full you don't see hordes of other guests shuffling around. Maybe that's because all the other guests are secluded in their rooms, mesmerized by the convergence of the Sea of Cortez and the azure Pacific Ocean or perhaps they are stargazing through their private telescope on secluded balconies.
As handsomely appointed with Mayan and Mexican décor and as cozily comfortable as the rooms are, no guest can resist the enticing aromas wafting from the casual seaside Sea Grill or the more formal dining option, The Restaurant. Both have stunning views of the deep blue sea and provide front row seating for spectacular color-splashed sunsets. Where to eat depends upon your fancy—select the Grill for authentic Mexican fare or The Restaurant for an enticing blend of Mexican and Mediterranean with classical French undertones.
Under the expert tutelage of Executive Chef Marc Lippman, these two dining venues beckon guests to sample culinary creations indigenous to the region. A graduate of the prestigious La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and a veteran of the New York dining scene, Chef Lippman is forging a name for himself on the Baja as a master of regional cuisine. By blending classical techniques with local flavors, guests are treated to flavor explosions such as Grilled Blue Fin Tuna with Ratatouille, Tapenade and Mole Amarillo. Other mouth-watering combinations by Chef Lippman include a Turkey Mole with Vegetable Escabeche and Chipotle Pozole. If you can, save room for dessert, like the Roasted Pineapple or the Lime Pie with Tequila Caramel Sauce. Chef Lippman also offers a tray of artisanal cheeses, combining a mixture of fresh and aged Mexican specialties.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my favorite spot, the Tequila and Ceviche Bar, where each day the Chef whips up fresh seafood ceviche, based on what was caught that morning—tuna, lobster, snapper and a host of other Pacific varieties. and what's better than a sip of 100% agave juice with lime-drenched ceviche? Not much. Whether you come for the tequila, the scenery, the outdoor activities, the spa or the regional delicacies, one thing is certain: Las Ventanas al Paraiso isn't just a window to paradise— it is paradise.
Las Ventanas al Paraiso
KM 19.5 Carretera Transpeninsular
Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Del Cabo
Baja California Sur 23400 Mexico
Accommodations: 61 suites, all at least 960 square feet.
Activities: World-class spa; swimming; tennis; golfing; deep sea fishing.
Rates: $550-$3,500 high season rates; $350-$3,000 summer special rates.
Copyright © 2001, Gwen Ashley Walters. All rights reserved.
Gwen Ashley Walters is cookbook author, cooking teacher, food writer and Certified Culinary Professional with a degree in Culinary Arts. Gwen's travel guide/cookbooks, The Great Ranch Cookbook, (1998) and The Cool Mountain Cookbook, (2001) were published by Pen & Fork Communications.
This page created October 2001