By { Beth Weitzman

WOW Design 

Seriously awesome at every turn, striking architecture by Jim Olson from Olson Kundig in collab with Mexico City-based design firm IDEA Asociados seamlessly blends with the natural desert landscape, shore and sea. A sense of well-being set in the moment I walked into the ocean-facing, horizon-framing lobby, where substantial columns inspired by pre-Columbian architecture frame the views. Peering through these massive pillars toward the horizon, you can see two vast infinity pools which appear to flow directly into the Pacific Ocean. With a sand-like hue representative of the desert surrounds, concrete and stucco buildings, as well as gorgeous, grand travertine hallways, are designed to merge with the natural environment, rather than interfere with its astonishing beauty.

Location, Location

Located in the gated, exclusive Puerto Los Cabos community, the JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa is a quick 25 minute drive away from Los Cabos International Airport. It’s likely you’ll wait longer in line at customs than you will in the car to the resort; the hotel provides transportation upon request. From the resort, a 15-minute car ride brings you to downtown San José del Cabo, which in recent years has undergone many upgrades and improvements, especially in the dining arena. With an array of drinking, dining, shopping and galleries, it’s worth a visit if you can pry yourself away from the resort (which I did not). The hotel offers a shuttle to and from for a small fee.

Pool Paradise

Deciding which of the 10 pools to languish beside is the biggest decision of the day. The terraced pools are designed not only for their visual appeal, but also to accommodate different age groups and preferences. There’s an adults-only pool featuring Kaha swim-up bar (an obvious choice for moi), a seawater pool, infinity-edge pool, two family pools and two hot tubs. The beauty of the cascading bodies of water is a sight to see. Comfy chaise lounges and umbrellas are scattered around each one, making relaxing a breeze. Full-service food and drink is available at all pools, and is impeccably done—very impressive. 

The Experience

There’s something really extra special about this resort. Spread out over 13 acres, there’s plenty of room to breathe, even when it’s at full capacity. While grand in size, the architectural design is scaled to give a sense of intimacy. Positioned on pristine beachfront at the rare convergence point between the sandy dunes of the Baja California Sur desert, the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, epic views abound from every vantage point. Guests navigate their way around the resort on intuitively designed pathways that afford nonstop  ocean and sand dune views. Super attentive yet non-intrusive service and sincere hospitality (a large percentage of the staff are local, serving up authenticity) is welcoming. From local culinary and cocktail specialties to adventure activities, restorative and fitness experiences, a vacation here is whatever you want it to be. Mine was a perfect mix. Service overall was top-notch. I don’t take for granted that the servers at the adult pool, where I spent my time, made regular rounds to make sure we had what we needed at all times. They remembered from the previous day my cocktail of choice and recommended new menu items to try. This type of attentiveness while lounging at the pool just doesn’t happen enough, even at many five-star properties. The pool team at JW Marriott Los Cabos gets an A+, which has a big impact on the overall experience.

Work It Out

A lot of thought went into this well-equipped and staffed indoor-outdoor workout space, which sits adjacent to the resort’s tennis court and on-site garden. Inside, plenty of cardio equipment and functional exercise options await. Take your stretching outside or partake in yoga or other fresh-air classes on the large lawn. A daily schedule of 30- to 50-minute high- and low-intensity classes are complimentary, including indoor cycling, guided beach walk, cardio boxing, salsa dancing and Vinyasa yoga. Guided bike tours are also an option for a small additional fee. 

Jaw-Dropping and Wellness-Inspired Jasha Spa

Steeped in Mexican herbal medicine and organic ingredients, some grown in the resort’s garden, the 21,528-square-foot Jasha Spa is a restorative, healing haven. It’s the largest and best-equipped spa in Los Cabos, complete with a modern-day temazcal (Mexican sweat lodge), indoor pool, large vitality pool with water therapy, salt-mist steam room, sauna, Jacuzzis, lap lane pool overlooking the ocean with underwater sound, 12 treatment rooms with private terraces, couples suites, hair salon and retail boutique. I could go on and on; it’s truly sheer bliss. I sometimes fail to allocate enough time at resort spas to take advantage of all the amenities, but Jasha Spa is way too incredible to miss. Before my massage, I started the relaxation process in the vitality pool, followed by Jacuzzi and sauna. This helped prep my mind and body for the experience to come. A wide array of treatments are on offer, from massage and body treatments to guided meditation, head and foot reflexology to facials (Jasha is the only spa in Mexico using ARL micro-frequency equipment), nail and scalp treatments in the salon to makeup services. After any treatment, the activity of choice is chilling in the open-air relaxation room or at the vitality pool overlooking the ocean, with some tea and cookies. I was a bit unsure about participating in the Temazcal Ceremony (a traditional Mexican steam bath), in part because I typically do not love being immersed in any hot, steamy environment, and in part because  partaking would mean 90 minutes that I’d have to be inside on such a gorgeous day. But since it was such a special, unique offering, I decided to try it. The experience is led by a local husband-and-wife team. The heat and steam help to promote physical well-being and healing, and the temazcal is an ancient ritual and spiritual practice in which traditional healing methods are used to encourage reflection and introspection. I felt calm, balanced and rejuvenated after the ceremony. I highly recommend it.

More Than A Place To Sleep

Warm desert tones and rich textures bring the outside into smartly configured guest rooms designed to minimize outside noise and evoke a sense of intimacy. Rooms are set off the open-air hallways, further decreasing the chance of hearing passersby. Each room boasts a furnished terrace with a pool and/or ocean view, perfect for reading a book and watching the sunset before dinner. Beds are dressed in luxurious linens with down comforters, making for a most comfortable night’s rest. The well-appointed bathroom includes a double vanity, separate shower and large tub with plenty of room for two. Plush bathrobes, slippers, Aromatherapy Associates bath amenities, Nespresso coffeemaker and gourmet mini bar round out the in-room amenities. A work station with free in-room high-speed Wi-Fi makes it easy to attend to business if you have to. Adding to the indulgent convenience, in-room fitness programs are available. The fitness center’s Traveler’s Workout includes a strength-training program with minimal need for equipment. The resort also offers a fitness app with on-demand workouts created by health and wellness expert Nora Tobin. From yoga and mindfulness to HIIT (high intensity interval training), Tobin’s 10- to 20-minute workouts are designed to nourish both mind and body. Additionally, JW Marriott has teamed up with the Joffrey Ballet to offer Behind the Barre, a series of inspiring fitness videos series. Ashley Wheater, artistic director of the Joffrey, along with two Joffrey dancers, guides guests through seated stretches, calf stretches and hip stretches against the stunning backdrop of the JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa. The video is available on demand to hotel guests, as well as on YouTube both during your stay as well as while at home or on the go.

Guest Rooms By The Numbers

299 deluxe ocean view rooms including

161 single rooms

119 double rooms

14 UMEY junior suites

2 TAYPA master suites

1 KEEY Ambassador suite

1 TESÍ Governor suite

1 KUTTAY Presidential suite

Beaching It

While not swimmable, which is pretty typical in Cabo, the wide beach makes for great walks. Accessed via a staircase, the sandy expanse extends endlessly in both directions. After a nice long stroll, chaise lounges near the water’s edge beckon.

Luxurious Landscape

Bolstering the resort’s link to its natural environment and punctuating its architecture, gorgeous flora includes indigenous species, such as the cardon plant, and native Torote and Palo Blanco trees. Tall royal, date and Mexican fan palms blur the line between man-made and natural features of the landscape design.

Culinary Creations of the Best Kind

With seven restaurants and bars, including signature restaurant Café des Artistes by celebrated chef Thierry Blouet, there are plenty of local and international cuisine options from which to choose. Breakfast is served up starting at 6:30 a.m. at Úa Culinary Artisans, the resort’s main restaurant, which also serves lunch and dinner. Úa means “home” in Cochimi, the language of the first inhabitants of this area, and the restaurant is appropriately warm and casual, with indoor and outdoor seating offering spectacular ocean and pool views. The breakfast buffet is huge and truly exceptional with a bevy of made-to-order (think quesadillas and omelets) and hot and cold ready-made stations (favorites include freshly made-from-scratch bread and to-die-for croissants, huevos rancheros, a variety of topped toasts, yogurts and so much more), as well as fresh juice and smoothie stations. The coffee is excellent, and the Sunday brunch is beyond words. Touted as “The Best Brunch in Cabo,” live music sets the ambiance for a wide variety of Mexican and international food and drinks. Eight chef-attended live stations and more than 50 different cold and hot food options, a vast dessert table, margaritas, beer, signature drinks and natural flavored mimosas make brunch worth the trip alone!

Lunchtime for me was mainly poolside at the adults pool. Service and food were both impeccable. Especially delicious were the shrimp ceviche, lobster and shrimp tacos and chicken quesadilla, topped off with a skinny spicy margarita. I was in heaven. I didn’t have the pleasure of dining at Úa or Nak Grill & Bar (which is located adjacent to the Salt Water pool), but I definitely will try them when I return. 

Dinner at Café des Artistes is an absolute treat; we dined there as part of the Heritage culinary event. The elegant Mexican-style design sets the stage for an equally impressive meal of fine Mexican cuisine with French influences, featuring refined and one-of-a-kind dishes. An out-of-this world seafood experience includes everything from totoaba (a giant marine fish) to octopus. Open for dinner, Café des Artistes offers indoor and outdoor dining with striking views of the Sea of Cortez. A carefully selected wine list includes the best of Baja California wines, and a chef’s private table and bars complete the experience. At night, Nak Grill & Bar serves a variety of fresh seafood and aged meats prepared to perfection on an open grill, while Niparaya JW Bar in the lobby serves up super fresh sushi.

For nighttime cocktails, the Niparaya JW Bar allows guests to admire the magnificent views of the Sea of Cortez and masterpieces from the hotel’s carefully selected art collection, featuring established contemporary artists from around the globe. Specifically designed as a social space in an elegant and casual chic style, the Niparaya JW Bar is a scenic space to enjoy a variety of fresh sashimi and tapas, classic cocktails, Baja California’s wines and whiskeys. Though not open every evening, the P’Yote Rooftop Bar is a guest favorite. Located on the hotel’s upper terrace, it is the ideal spot to sit beside a fire pit and watch the sunset while sipping the resort’s famous mezcalini. Chef Thierry Blouet’s cuisine complements the bar’s impressive cocktail programming, including Mexico’s finest mezcal and spirits.

Auka Deli Coffee, an artfully designed coffee shop, serves a selection of coffee drinks, teas and a light menu of pastries, ice cream, baguettes and sandwiches. 

El festival anual de comida, vino y música

The 4th annual Relish The Heritage Festival, held every January, is what brought me to the resort for the weekend. The special event was hosted by JW executive chef Pablo Hildebrando, along with guest chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita from Veracruz, and brought good libations, delicious culinary offerings and great times. Thirsts were quenched with toritos and menyuls (traditional Veracruz cocktails), Mexican wines, Clase Azul premium tequila and mezcal, craft beers and other tasty drinks. On the first night, the festivities kicked off with a family-style “Baja Meets Veracruz” dinner at Nak Grill & Bar, and live music from Sonex, an award-winning band from Veracruz. The next day, we enjoyed an organic farm tour with picnic lunch whipped up on the spot by chefs Thierry Blouet and Ricardo Muñoz Zurita. The gala dinner that evening featured an array of culinary creations by chef Blouet and a guest chef from Veracruz, with lovely jazz music. Chef Blouet’s immense culinary and artistic talent was reflected in every dish, and we were wowed by the harmony of flavors, as well as the presentation. It was a culinary journey to remember. While up to this point, the event has been invite only, next year’s event will be ticketed event open to the public.

A Plethora of Activities

Reading and relaxing in the beautifully designed library

Guided bike tour

Gray whale watching (available December to March)

Sport fishing

Golfing on the ocean-view 18-hole course designed by Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus at Puerto Los Cabos, plus eight other courses in Los Cabos area

Four-wheeler excursions on the dunes

Horseback riding

Swimming with dolphins


Scuba diving 

City walks to downtown San José del Cabo, art galleries and coffee shops

Nightlife in downtown 

Resort-Within-the-Resort: The Griffin Club

For a bit more privacy and even more personalized service, Griffin Club is a boutique hotel located within the resort. With 45 deluxe oceanfront rooms and suites come additional perks, including in-room check-in; Bulgari bath amenities; an exclusive concierge and on-call butler; a  business center; a private chef; and access to private areas, such as a movie theater, pool and beach with cabanas, in addition to Mayma Lounge, a bar with a fireplace and complimentary appetizers and drinks.

Para los niños y las niñas: Nayaa Kids Club 

A screening room is just the beginning for this cool kids club. Programming at Nayaa includes a wide array of activities-such as painting, Spanish lessons, dance classes and treasure hunts-to keep the ones engaged and happy.