One&Only Palmilla is an extremely attractive, tropical resort, located on the Cabo San Lucas coastline. The property conveys both a traditional style in its rooms and building exteriors, and a sleek sophistication in high-end design within its dining facilities.
This is a large resort, with 174 rooms and suites. The gardens and grounds are beautiful, with everything freshly manicured and lushly landscaped. Unlike most of the other resorts in the area which employ a desert style that’s consistent with the surrounding dry landscape, the One&Only provides a contrast. It’s designed in the traditional, Mexican hacienda style, with lots of white plaster walls and archways along with extensive landscaping.
Every room in the hotel faces the water and the resort has a swimmable beach, a rarity for resorts in the Cabo San Lucas area. All rooms come with butler service and villas come with a dedicated butler. This service was a nice feature as it allowed me to get straight into vacation mode and, importantly, removed the dreaded repacking drudgery at the holiday’s end.
Dining venues at the resort are a highlight. From the requisite Jean-Georges steakhouse to an interesting Mexican-Moroccan all-day restaurant, each is chic and sophisticated in design. Service levels were very good, with only a few misses, and the food quality ranged from spectacularly delicious to spectacularly ordinary.
In general, service at the resort is excellent. Everyone is friendly and accommodating, with numerous members of staff available at every one of the property’s venues. More than 900 people work here, so it’s easy to understand why you’ll leave here feeling you’ve been well and truly spoiled.
- Daily breakfast for two
- Continental breakfast
- Room upgrade upon arrival
- Subject to availability and a maximum upgrade level of accommodation applies
- Spa Treatment
- Two 30 minute spa treatments with a choice of head and shoulder massage, back massage, or foot rejuvenation
- Resort experience
- One complimentary round of golf for two including green fees and cart rental, once during stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out
- Subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Exclusive benefits may vary by hotel or hotel group. Exclusive benefits apply when booking the Best Available Rate and are not combinable with any hotel offers or special packages unless stated.
- Detailed Review +
- Facts & Amenities +
The resort is located in the upscale development of Palmilla, which is a short, 20-minute drive from Cabo San Lucas’s main commercial airport. After passing through the attractive Palmilla residence and golf course development, I reached the gates of the resort. On arriving at the porte-cochere, I was warmly greeted by an army of staff. With the provided frozen watermelon and coconut juice bar in hand, I was given a tour of the facilities in the resort’s main public area and then escorted to the arrivals lounge, which does double duty as the hotel library. My room wasn’t ready upon arrival (most flights arrive and depart at midday), so waits for guest rooms are commonplace in Cabo. After catching up on a few newspapers and e-mails, I was driven to my room by golf cart.
My luggage arrived at my room just a few minutes after I did. I was greeted by the butler who explained the features of the room and offered to unpack for me.
Room and suites
All of the rooms at the One&Only have patios or terraces that face the water. Rooms are large and continue with the white hacienda style of decoration. Cream colored walls are offset by colorful pillows and wooden accents. Rooms feature a wall of windows that look out to the sea. Terraces are reasonably sized, with a large day-bed but privacy between the terraces is lacking. I was able to hear every conversation of the guests on both sides of my suite, so dining or relaxing out here does come with a bit of noise from other guests doing the same.
The quality of the mattress was a surprise. More than just being a firm mattress, this one felt very low-quality. I could hear the metal springs and wires clang every time I moved. I requested something to make the mattress softer and while the topper provided did indeed offer a bit more comfort, I could still feel and hear the hard mattress below.
Each day brings a range of amenities in the room. A choice of fruits or nuts each afternoon complement the in-room tequila sampler. Each evening, I was able to select from several options of aromatherapy fragrances for the room. One can request that the room be sprayed with the spa’s signature scent during the daily housekeeping service, something that’s not done automatically to accommodate guests who may have allergies.
Rooms are configured in a series of two to three story buildings. The rooms near the family pool are closest to the swimmable beach, the spa, and the Agua restaurant and bar. A select number of rooms on the second and third floors of Buildings 11 and 12 include small plunge pools on their terraces. I highly recommend requesting one of these in advance as their numbers are limited. Families should consider one of the junior suites in Buildings 11, 12, and 14 as these are close to the family pool and beach.
Rooms on the second and third floor have the best views of the water. Ground floor rooms have patios that connect to expansive, well-manicured lawns but offer limited privacy. These ground floor rooms might feel a bit dark as the light and views are substantially restricted by arches on the exterior of the buildings. Building 12 directly faces the family pool and offers the best access to that pool, but might be prone to a bit of noise.
Couples wanting a bit of seclusion should consider suites on the north side of the property in Buildings 22 and 23. These rooms are also closer to the adult pool and also provide easy access to the resort’s signature restaurants. Also, the beach at this end of the property is very secluded, not swimmable but attractive and private.
Also on the north side of the resort are large, beautifully decorated oceanfront one bedroom suites, some of which include private pools. Also at this end of the resort are the two villas that provide four bedrooms, private butler service and private pools. Villa 1 is not oceanfront but sits slightly above the resort, providing ocean views as well as a cinema and rooms for staff.
The bathrooms are large and are decorated with two custom Mexican-style porcelain sinks. Bathrooms are well-equipped with a double vanity, free standing tub, and separate water closet. The resort has its own bath products that are very nice.
There is a large area that includes a huge open shower and a large, free standing soaking tub with a window that looks out to the water view. Attractive Mexican tiles surround the tub.
Located in the bathroom, the large walk-in closet was reasonably sized and included built-in drawers and a safe.
Agua is the resort’s all-day restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant has a Mexican-Moroccan design and the menu provides a range of dishes from these two countries. The venue offers indoor and al fresco dining and is beautiful and sexy. The tableware, furniture and umbrellas (especially at night) are all quite stylish and sophisticated.
Particularly interesting are the large built-in tables located at the edge of the restaurant, overlooking the cliffs and offering views of the water and surrounding coastline developments. The tables along the water appeared to be popular during the dinner service and so advance reservations for these are likely needed.
The service at both lunch and dinner was very good. Wait staff were extremely friendly and omnipresent during every meal. My only complaint was that a few too many times the waiters asked ‘who gets the chicken and who gets the fish?’ which is a pet peeve of mine, especially in high-quality venues.
For lunch, the menu is focused on Mexican dishes. I ordered the guacamole, which was advertised as being made tableside, but instead was brought to my table already prepared. It was a bit average in taste, as I would have preferred it with a bit more spice and lime, which I would have requested if it had been made tableside. As I was trying to watch calories, I ordered the grilled chicken salad which was fresh but quite boring. In general, the lunch food I sampled was a bit average.
For dinner, the menu shifts to a Mediterranean-Moroccan theme. The dishes I sampled were simply stunning. My grilled tuna steak was fresh and perfectly seared. I also tried another main from the vegetarian menu. Vegetarian options are provided on a separate menu card, an option that I didn’t notice until I asked whether the restaurant had any vegetarian options. Even if you’re a meat eater, do ask to see the vegetarian menu. The cauliflower ‘ceviche’ starter and vegetable tagine for a main were absolutely delicious. They were fresh, innovative, and incredibly flavourful, likely some of the best vegetarian dishes I’ve ever tasted.
In the evenings, a very pleasant mariachi band provided relaxing background music that complemented, rather than drowned out, the sounds of the ocean. The restaurant provided the perfect ambiance for an evening of outdoor dining.
Spa and wellness
The spa is luxurious and provides the level of service expected from a resort of this caliber. While I didn’t schedule time for a treatment, I did spend some time touring the facilities and they are gorgeous.
The fitness center is very well-equipped with all of the latest equipment.
Pool and beach
The resort offers two swimming pools, each overlooking a different patch of water. The family pool has plenty of loungers and is located adjacent to Agua restaurant and lounge. It’s large and is surrounded by lush tropical landscaping.
The adult pool is the original pool for the house and has a decent number of loungers. A swim-up bar and adjacent restaurant for burgers, tacos and the like is located nearby. Pool service at both pools was exceptionally good, with staff making the rounds frequently to arrange towels and to take orders for food and beverages.
Small, basic cabanas are available on both beaches. Guests in oceanfront suites can have their butler reserve a cabana in advance for the day, while it’s first-come, first-served, for everyone else.
The resort’s beach club is located at the swim-able beach and is a bit of a distance from the main areas. It makes for a good walk, but shuttles serving the hotel, beach club and golf course run a few times every hour. Food and beverages are available at the beach club.
A good mix of Americans and Europeans, ranging from honeymooners, stylishly-dressed power couples and families with well-behaved children. The guests matched the stylish ambiance of the resort.
Staff and service
Staff were exceptionally good. Everyone I met was friendly, efficient and eager to please. From the people staffing reception to the spa attendants, to the waiters and waitresses, all were attentive and accommodating.
The wait to check out took about fifteen minutes as the two guests being served at reception when I arrived had questions about their bills. Disappointingly, none of the three agents behind the counter nor either of the two free concierges acknowledged the five of us waiting in the queue.
How to get there
20 minutes from Los Cabos Airport
174 Rooms & Suites