I have been lucky enough to have been taken on some very cool adventures for this blog. But one of the best ones was a few weeks ago, when the Mexico Tourism Board invited myself + four other bloggers and journalists down to Cabo for the Los Cabos International Film Festival!
I said yes to the invitation without a moment’s hesitation. If you read here regularly, you may already know… film is one of my greatest passions (I’ve been to the Tribeca Film Festival and Sundance several times)… but a warm weather film festival in a beautiful, sunny destination… what’s better than that!?
We were hosted by Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf + Spa Resort, an adults only resort and known for their golf course. It was my first time staying at an all-inclusive resort and I have to admit, that was pretty fun. I’d get home at night and order two glasses of wine before sinking into my giant bathtub… and if I couldn’t decide between two appetizers, I’d get them both. That’s probably not the ideal mindset for every day life, but for vacation, it’s fun.
You guys know I love the fun facts, so here are a few. Cabo is sunny 350 days out of the year! It only rains six (or less) days a year, which makes it an ideal spot for vacation (you’re pretty much guaranteed sun!) but I didn’t realize that it is definitely a desert climate. The “desert on the ocean” climate is very beautiful. And if you are looking to swim, there are plenty of incredible pools, but there are actually only three swimmable beaches in Cabo – most of the beaches are actually extremely rocky and dangerous.
The festival is now in it’s fifth year; and every evening we were lucky enough to enjoy a different film.
- On the first night, we saw Jackie. Man – Natalie Portman did an incredible job portraying Jackie Kennedy. This could be one of her best performances yet. I will say that it was incredibly tense. The entire film centers around the assassination of JFK and how she coped. It wasn’t necessarily fun to watch; but it was a brilliant performance. I didn’t plan this, but today is actually the release date, so you can see Jackie in theaters now!
- On the second night, we saw Hasta La Raiz, a documentary about Natalia Lafourcade (the famous Mexican pop singer), with a concert after. (She is amazing – I added her to my Spotify after the trip!)
- The third night, we saw Snowden. Epic cast (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nicholas Cage, Shailene Woodley). I’m sure you’ve heard about Edward Snowden and his big CIA leak, but this dives into it all from a different (more sympathetic) perspective. I really enjoyed this one and felt like I learned a lot from it. As this was scripted, I’m dying to watch the Snowden documentary – his story is completely fascinating.
- And on the last night, we saw Captain Fantastic. I really loved this film as well! It had a very indie/Little Miss Sunshine vibe. The plot is around a man who chooses to leave civilization and raise his six kids in the wilderness of the Pacific-Northwest. Tragedy strikes and he has to re-enter the world. It’s sad, it’s funny, it’s heartwarming and sometimes even a little bit weird and shocking… I love that you feel so many different things while watching this.
In between films, we were taken to some of the best hotels + restaurants in Cabo, which I’m excited to share with you (seriously – bookmark all of these places if you plan a trip.
Our first stop was Hotel El Ganzo. I am going to have to come back to Mexico to stay here as it was probably my favorite place we visited. What I love most about Hotel El Ganzo is the boutique vibe (there are a lot of incredible luxury resorts on the island but when I am traveling I typically prefer to stay at diverse, charming boutique hotels).
Upon our arrival we were treated to a welcome (virgin) cocktail of orange + tamarind juice, frozen with a chili rim. This is El Ganzo’s most famous cocktail – typically served with rum, but as it was early (before breakfast!) we went alcohol-free.
What I love most about El Ganzo is their commitment to the arts. They regular host artists at their property, who stay and work… and leave behind their amazing pieces. For that reason the hotel is mostly white (to showcase all the art) and brimming with cool, eclectic art that you probably haven’t seen anywhere else.
After the “cocktail,” but before our tour of the property, we indulged in the biggest breakfast ever. If you go, be sure to also have a fresh juice or smoothie with your breakfast – they have a giant list of smoothies and they are all delicious!
We wandered up to the rooftop which is just incredible – spectacular views of the ocean, with a giant infinity pool. And see that pool inside of the pool? That’s actually a hot tub. It was really hard not to ask if we could just cancel the rest of our day and hang out on El Ganzo’s roof!
We then toured the rest of the property and jumped on bikes to El Ganzo’s beach club! Guests can jump on bikes and ride (about 20 minutes) the beach (one of Cabo’s three swimmable beaches) or take a little boat (it’s literally a one minute ride by boat).
Our next stop was Mar Adentro. Okay. This place is absolutely breathtaking. The architecture is like nothing I’ve ever seen before! First of all, with it’s dreamy white exteriors and so much blue, I felt like maybe we had accidentally teleported to Greece. I will let the below photo speak for itself. The ocean, several different pools, and see that big “nest” in the middle? That’s where we ate lunch! Truly spectacular.
Once again, I was like… can we just please stay and hang out here!?
Eating inside the nest – so cool!
Andddd a mango margarita for me.
The next day, I had a deadline for work so I stuck behind the hotel to get caught up – but the rest of the group went to Wild Canyon for a morning of bungee jumping, a giant swing, and ATV adventures. I was sad to miss it but I was also a little bit relieved, secretly – I am actually terrified of heights!!!
Lunch that day was at Acre. So if Mar Adentro felt like Greece, Acre feels a lot like Palm Springs… if you took the LA Soho House and put it there. Do you follow? If not, it’s a sunny little spot (if you consider 25 acres small) in the middle of the desert. They have a full farm on the property in addition to the restaurant, bar, + event space. We had an incredible meal (they have an unbelievable farm-to-table menu and even use fresh herbs from their garden in the cocktails).
I should note that Acre is beginning quite a bit of development – we got to see the pool area (currently under construction) AND they are building treehouse accommodations… yes, you read that – they are adding twelve luxury treehouses to their palm forest, which will open in 2017. So, if you are reading this post and it is 2017 (or you are planning a trip), definitely consider this… given Cabo’s dry, sunny climate, staying in a treehouse would be an incredible experience. (you may be sensing a theme here – I really need to go back to Cabo!)
Fried tomatoes… yessss!
And on our last day, we probably went to the most spectacular place of all – the One&Only Palmilla. If you’ve visited or stayed at a One&Only before (I hadn’t!) then you know that it is an experience. We toured the property and had an exquisite lunch. I was most taken with the spa… I’d never seen such a luxurious spa. The entire area smelled of fragrant lemongrass and the treatment rooms were over-the-top… the one that I visited had a separate indoor area and an outdoor area. One&Only has a huge celebrity clientelle – it’s rumored to be Jennifer Aniston’s favorite hotel.
Our lunch was incredible – we sampled some delicious Mexican wines and ate fresh fish from the ocean. The wait staff was so attentive – my purse had it’s own special little chair!
The One&Only boasts another one (of the only three) swimmable beaches in Cabo.
And on the last night (prior to heading to the final film), we had an incredible cocktail hour at Sunset da Mona Lisa. Silly name aside, this has to be one of the most beautiful sunset views (of the arch) I’ve ever seen. We sat on a little stone wall overlooking the ocean, nibbled on delicious Italian food, sipped champagne, and watched the sunset. It could have been out of a movie. The word “magic” is overused, but in this case, that’s exactly what it was. If you are planning a trip to Cabo with your significant other, you must go here… even just for a few drinks. It is so dreamy and romantic! Don’t take my word for it though, it has been named one of the 5 coolest restaurants in the world!
PS – See what I wore in Cabo! Two of my favorite resort/summer dresses.
Thank you to the Mexico Tourism Board for an incredible trip!