Since the 1950’s, Mexico has been a top destination for second or third home-seeking North Americans. After Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton lit up the screen with Night of the Iguana, Mexico’s promise of sun-soaked days and carefree nights has seduced many to vacation and own property here. Today with a very favorable exchange rate, easy access from the U.S. by land or air, warm weather and delicious food, it’s hard to imagine a better location to relax and unwind.
Add to that a variety of locations from tropical to desert, mountains to bustling cities, and you have a recipe for perfection. Cabo San Lucas is currently the luxury epicenter for the country with Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta and San Miguel de Allende right behind.
Cabo San Lucas, “Cabo” as it’s known, has literally exploded with new luxury residences and communities in the past 10-years, and 24-months. Adding to its already firm position as the #1 destination for Luxury Living in Mexico. Chris Snell, a pioneer of the luxury real estate market in Cabo, who has seen it all unfold in front of his eyes over the past 20-years gives us some insight into Cabo’s success.
What has happened in Cabo with luxury homes and developments is almost beyond comprehension for those of us who call Cabo home. I don’t know of any resort destination that has gone from a sleepy little fishing village to one of the most popular destinations to own a luxury home on the planet – Chris Snell
Snell gives a lot of credit to Don Koll who Snell considers to have started the wave of luxury in Cabo after he bought Palmilla Resort back in the early 90s. “Don Koll came in with high-end and luxury in mind, and he delivered it. He started by buying Palmilla Resort and put in some significant upgrades, including the first of many Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses in the Cabo area and it just blossomed from there. Don absolutely set the bar for all new luxury communities that followed” Snell added.
It’s no secret that we’re Mexico-lovers here at Luxury Living International, so we’ve rounded up our favorite luxury communities in Mexico to inspire you to look due south for the good life in paradise.
On the Caribbean coast, the Banyan Tree Residences beckons future owners who love Playa del Carmen. Residents will be immersed within a private community in Banyan Tree Mayakoba, which brings Asian-style hospitality to the Mexican tropics. Set within a mangrove off of the ocean, this truly unique property is exquisite beyond most people’s’ dreams, and word on the street is, they throw a killer wedding.
Outfitted with the Jim McLean Golf School; Sense, A Rosewood Spa, which encompasses its own private island; a Greg Norman-designed golf course; and Club Mayakoba, offering birdwatching, archery, croquet, tennis, kayaking in the jungle and more. There’s even a “Yucatan Ranger” program for kids, making this residential community one of the most family-friendly while still maintaining its luxe profile on the Yucatan Peninsula. Owners have use of the resort, which includes award-winning restaurants and the Mayakoba village right on the edge of the ocean.
Just down the road from Cabo San Lucas is Chileno Bay, another community offering luxury living in a beautiful ocean and desert setting. Chileno Bay comes equipped with mesmerizing ocean views, three pools, an oceanfront fitness terrace, a private Spa and Wellness Center, and beachfront access with plenty of lounging opportunities, including cabanas.
Chileno Bay features a challenging and scenic Tom Fazio Signature golf course with stunning views of the Sea of Cortez from each hole. One main focus here is on the family in this community, with a kids’ club and other lifestyle amenities designed just for children. The property is also connected with Discovery Builders and Discovery Design–a Chileno Bay-specific architectural/construction firm and interior design team, to ensure current and future residents get the most out of their home selection or construction experience.
If you are seeking over the top service, and attention to detail, and exclusivity, spread across 520 acres, El Dorado offers luxury seekers in Los Cabos one-of-a-kind luxury experience—emphasis on experience. Like most communities in Los Cabos, golf is a big draw and El Dorado is no exception. The community features a Jack Nicklaus Signature design–one that offers stunning ocean views and stark desert vistas for amazing contrast from every vantage point. And if you looking for a relaxed comfortable round, the signature Comfort Stations on the course offer everything from fine tequila to homemade ice cream sandwiches.
El Dorado offers concierge services that can arrange any land or sea activity: kayaking, scuba and snorkel, ATV rides through the desert, yoga, mountain biking, deep sea fishing and more. The main draw, however, are its stunning residences, which range from villas to casitas, many on its white sand beach. As an exclusive, gated community located in the “Golden Corridor” between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, El Dorado sits on one mile of private beachfront that is accessed only by its residents. If you are looking for the pinnacle of luxury in Cabo San Lucas, we advise you to take a private tour of El Dorado, one of the area’s top real estate experiences.
Established in 2000 and leading the way for luxury communities in Cabo, Esperanza at Punta Ballena is a residential community just three miles from Cabo San Lucas. Attached to the exclusive 174-acre luxurious Esperanza resort, residents enjoy full amenities of the 5-star property while enjoying the benefit from the privacy of owning a home in paradise. Dramatic coastal views include Land’s End and the jagged desert landscape Los Cabos is famous for. Fully-furnished whole ownership residences start at $1.8 million, and 36 three and four-bedroom homes are currently available.
Amenities include more than two miles of walking paths, a Private Residents Beach Club, tennis, exceptional spa options, a village and town center and, of course, the 56-room Esperanza, which is an Auberge Resort. The benefits of belonging to this community include allowing the home to be rented and managed by Auberge when not occupied, at the owner’s choice. Partial ownerships are also available according to length of time desired.
Del Mar Development is the company behind Espiritu, a 75-acre oasis located in Palmilla Bay, Los Cabos, whose new residential community is called The Ledges. The Palmilla Peninsula is one of Los Cabos’ most exclusive locales: One&Only Palmilla and Del Mar’s flagship community Villas Del Mar are counted as neighbors of Espiritu. Featuring a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, Club Ninety-Six beach club, a fitness club, tennis and community parks, world-class dining and shopping, Espiritu is a luxury development worth looking into.
Whether up on a hill or down closer to water’s edge, every property at Espiritu and The Ledges is gifted with ocean views. Del Mar offers building, design and renovation services and once you’re installed, they offer butler and private chef services as well, ensuring your home is more than just a home–it’s practically a private, full-service hotel. The Ledges also features an in-residence spa program, a concierge and separate activity concierge, a kids club and access to the One&Only spa and restaurants. For full-service living at its finest, Espiritu may be the ideal destination.
On the other side of the country, the magical city of San Miguel de Allende continues to enchant and entice second home-buyers from the U.S. and Mexico’s elite. Expats love San Miguel’s quiet yet vibrant cobblestone streets, bursting with history and culture. The Tuscan inspired La Santisima Trinidad is situated just outside of town on an expansive vineyard property, where they offer large homesites each with it’s wine vineyard, olive tree orchard and lavender garden. All maintained for you by the development staff.
A stone clubhouse is available to owners, which includes different terraces (on which, residents can enjoy one of the property’s many wine varietals, complete with a restaurant and an 80-barrel wine cellar. Owners who are a little more “hands-on” have the opportunity to help work at the on-site facility where olive oil is pressed, lavender-made products are constructed and wine is produced. Each homesite and land allotment, is set up so the owner can produce his or her own wine, lavender and olive oil for commercial distribution through its internal co-op by La Santisima Trinidad, or for their personal consumption. How about up to 400 bottles of your own signature wine each year. With the hard work already done, it’s hard to imagine a finer retreat for oenophiles or people who want to get back to basics in a setting right out of Tuscany, with a Mexican twist.
Los Cabos’ “Golden Corridor” is home to yet another spectacular real estate community: Montage Residences Los Cabos, which is set on Santa Maria Bay. Departing from the classic hacienda style, this modern-designed community is one of Los Cabos’ newer luxury additions, with their two and three-bedroom residences, all with ocean views, expected to open in time for the 2018 season.
Their concept hinges on indoor-outdoor living, making the most of the near-perfect year-round weather of Los Cabos, which sees minimal rainfall. The homes are open floor plan with ensuite bathrooms in each bedroom. The outdoor experience is maximized with plunge pools, fire pits and outdoor seating, designed to make the most of the climate, landscape and views. As for amenities, residents have access to the Montage Los Cabos hotel, which offers any amenity a luxury hotel-goer (or resident) could want. We feel the stars will shine bright here, and we don’t mean the celestial kind.
Mexico’s (other) west coast is home to Punta Mita, just north of the most popular seaside destination city in mainland Mexico, Puerto Vallarta. Property owners in this world class community qualify for full membership in the private Club Punta Mita, which provides residents and their guest access to a number of luxe amenities including two Jack Nicklaus signature courses. You will also enjoy two Punta Mita Beach Clubs, which comes with spectacular oceanfront pools; a full-service restaurant; beachfront massages; and a Tennis Club with ten courts. In the works are a yacht pier, an equestrian center and additional beach clubs. And if you like surfing, within a few miles of Punta Mita in each direction, you will find many world-class breaks to conquer.
The community offers full concierge services, ensuring the time you spend at your home is well-stocked and planned out, and outdoor excursions are ready for you to enjoy. Punta Mita offers something for everyone: Punta Mita has many real estate opportunities from luxury condos to “great estates.” All of this luxury living in Punta Mita is surrounded by some of mainland Mexico’s finest hotels and resorts for unlimited fun, day or night.
Perched above San Jose del Cabo is Querencia, one of Los Cabos’ finest luxury communities and a must-consider for golf enthusiasts, even surfers. Querencia boats an exquisitely manicured 18-hole Tom Fazio Signature Course, considered one of Los Cabos’ crown jewel tracks. It spans over 300 acres, meandering through deep arroyos and cresting desert plateaus, offering golfers of all levels challenging and interesting play.
The gated community also comes with proprietary membership to The Club, which is a 58,000-square-foot clubhouse offering multiple dining venues, a wine cellar, an infinity pool, a fitness center and full concierge and business services. Most properties have an ocean view and custom design is supported. If you’d rather just have everything ready for when you arrive, architect Arturo Ponce de Leon and interior designers can take care of that, too. Showcasing one of the finest golf experiences in Latin America, stunning Sea of Cortez views and beautiful architecture it’s no wonder Querencia set the bar for luxury in Cabo.
Main Image Credit: Rosewood San Miguel de Allende
By Jackie Bryant