San Jose’ del Cabo, located at the tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, is an ideal place for relaxation and romance. In the middle of the Gallery District of this historic town, you’ll find a beautiful yellow building with tiled steps leading up to a welcoming corridor. El Encanto Inn & Suites Boutique Hotel is filled with romantic details. You’ll be drawn to a colorful interior garden with Mexican statuary and hummingbirds flying from flower to flower. Although opened in 2002, this beautiful boutique hotel will take you back to the elegant days of traditional Mexican haciendas.
Beauty and Authenticity
The hotel and the sister property across the street are a result of the vision of owner Blanca Pedrin whose family has lived in the area for five generations. In fact the smaller hotel building across the street, with an entry lined with lush tropical plants, was once her family home.
The hotel and surrounding blocks hold a personal, family history for Blanca. Her love of the area and desire to share its beauty is evident when you speak with her. Her vision has resulted in the popular Thursday evening Art Walks, in the hotels and in new businesses coming to the narrow stone streets of downtown San Jose’ del Cabo. Blanca, herself, has a grand flair for the romantic. Thus, El Encanto has a lovely day spa, a chapel named after her grandmother and a property full of personal touches including the tropical garden with over 100 different plants.
Rooms Made for Romance
The 27 large rooms at El Encanto Inn open to a covered portal with vines and flowers. Some rooms have garden bistro tables, which are a perfect romantic spot for sharing an evening glass of wine. The two-bedroom and pool suites bring the outdoors in, people leave the double glass doors open during the day to enjoy the gentle sounds of the bubbling fountains and soft warm air.
The beautifully appointed suites have king sized beds, a living area, TV, air conditioning, mini bar and the usual high end amenities. The flooring is traditional tile and the décor, Mexican. At night you can draw the thick curtains to keep the morning light out.
Across the street are the “standard” rooms which have also been updated and are lovely. The narrow courtyard includes an outdoor stone fireplace to ward off any nighttime chill.
Gardens, Pool and Chapel
The colorful gardens dotted with statuary surround the pool, large enough to swim in but not so large to lose the intimate setting. In the mornings, people gather around the pool for coffee and to soak in the warm winter sun. Even in December, when I visited, I could swim and sit poolside to read a book.
The gardens, filled with brightly colored plants such as bougainvillea and shaded by exotic palms, are fun to explore. Butterflies and hummingbirds flitted around as I investigated the tropical plants. At night, as I returned from dinner, I found the gardens transformed into a magical atmosphere, awash in colored lighting accenting the statuary.
Behind the secluded pool area, is the impressive Capilla Josefina, the chapel built by Blanca and named in honor of her mother. Reminiscent of early missions, the chapel can accommodate 70 people. There are large areas in front of the chapel, and if you add in the garden, an outdoor reception for 300 guests can be accommodated. The chapel is traditional in its simplicity, yet, feels elegant. El Encanto provides wedding coordination services and, what better place to stay for a honeymoon!
Once you are fully relaxed, venture out and explore San Jose’. You’ll find that you don’t need to go far. Adjacent to El Encanto you’ll find two indoor/outdoor restaurants. Across the street is an elegant home décor shop, gallery and courtyard restaurant. Next to that is a burger and steak restaurant featuring seating under a spreading desert tree.
Farther up the street, you’ll encounter a wine bar, coffee shop and organic food specialty market with a community oriented courtyard. Within a few blocks you can find a French bakery, traditional Mexican restaurants, a pizza restaurant and, closer to the town plaza, Mi Cocina restaurant and Baja Oyster Bar housed in the lovely Casa Natalia Boutique Hotel.
And, let’s not forget shopping. In the surrounding area you can shop for hand made textiles, fine art, Mexican glassware, souvenirs and resort clothing. Bargaining is fun, and, often expected.
A highlight of a stay at El Encanto is the Thursday evening Art Walk. The streets are blocked off, musicians wander and the galleries welcome you with a glass of wine. The area takes on a party atmosphere and you will find yourself following the light… down side streets, in to courtyard restaurants and discovering impressive world-class galleries. Restaurants and bars are filled and add to the vibrant atmosphere. It is the perfect romantic spot to shop for a beautiful piece of art with your love.
New this year, is Music Tuesdays, The area right in front of El Encanto is closed to traffic so music and dancing can take over the streets. Both events are seasonal.
The staff at El Encanto are very helpful. They can arrange a taxi or a rental car if you want to explore past the historic area of San Jose’ del Cabo.
For a day at the beach, inquire about beachside resort policies. One lovely beach I discovered is public… Playa Palmilla. It’s a gorgeous little beach reached by a winding road bordering the Palmilla Resort. And, unlike many beaches in the area, you can swim there.
To get a sense of the real Baja, drive out to Rosa Farms and El Acre for lunch, dinner or drinks. You’ll leave the town and resort area behind as you see the light sandy desert, native palms and cacti. Small homes perched on the hillsides seem isolated but are not that far from the town center.
Flora Farms is an organic farm located in the hillsides of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, They and have been farming without the use of pesticides or GMO’s for over ten years. I can recommend that you try lunch in their indoor-outdoor restaurant or enjoy a drink made with natural, local ingredients.
Not far from Flora Farms is a newly established El Acre Restaurant and Cocktail Bar. Acre is a 25-acre piece of farmland close to San Jose del Cabo. The restaurant, cocktail bar, event space and surrounding farms is the first phase. 12 tree houses will be added to their palm forest shortly. Eventually the full 25 acres will be developed as a space for people to relax, learn, rejuvenate and celebrate. When I visited I was impressed by their contemporary indoor-outdoor space and the quality of the cuisine.
When You Go
El Encanto Inn and Suites: Calle Morelos #133, San Jose del Cabo Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Pets are allowed with some restrictions. Watch the website for special offers.
Phone: 011-52 (624) 142-0388/4620/4621/4622. From USA:(210) 858-6649
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations and meals for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.