DAY 5 — No water slides. No playground in sight.
But that’s just fine with the families gathered around the stunningly beautiful family pool at One&Only Palmilla in Cabo.
These are families who could afford to go anywhere and they’ve come here—often multiple times—because of the stellar service and level of sophistication that they are accustomed to.
“’I’d come back in a minute,” said Laura Boehm, here with her husband and three young children along with her brother in law and sister in-law and their two young boys. “We’re not compromising the adult experience and that’s key,” she said.
“No one is giving us dirty looks for having the kids with us,” said Leslie Boehm. “We don’t have to apologize for having kids.” She added that the luxe resort—among the most upscale in Cabo and consistently rated among the top hotels in Mexico and the entire Caribbean —is even more kid friendly than she expected.
Ed Steiner, the resort’s general manager, considers the children’s programs part of the amenities for the parents who depending on season could be paying well over $1000 a night for their room.
The Merrimans—along with 14 year old Grace and 12 year old Whitney have returned from Vail, CO have come to hang out for a week after a busy season ski racing. “The service is the best,” said Angie Merriman. “Yes you are paying for it but I appreciate it. It’s the best I’ve ever had. ” They were relaxing, overlooking the stunning view of the Sea of Cortez. Still, Dwight Merriman says, after couple of days, the girls will be looking for more to do and the family who know Cabo well will head out surfing and fishing.
General Manager Steiner says that the families who started coming with young children when One&Only opened in 2004 are now returning with young teens and he is trying to respond by launching a complimentary teen program complete with teen hang out area and iron-chef like cooking competitions in a new outdoor herb garden and demonstration kitchen. As with the kids’ programs that include yoga, aromatherapy and lessons in healthy eating, the teen program also will have a wellness component (work out with a trainer, perhaps) “We are trying to do it differently,” he explains.
He notes that over the course of the year, 25 per cent of the guests at this extremely luxe resort are families and that in summer when rates are more affordable (room rates starting at under $400) for expect the vast majority of guests to be families. “You can go snorkeling or kayaking anywhere. We’re taking a wellness approach.”
But to satisfy those without kids, families stay on one side of the resort and congregate at one family pool. The other pool is adult only.
Teens of course can be notoriously difficult when traveling with their parents and it will be interesting to see how Steiner’s efforts work. Other resorts have tried and failed but he gets kudos for trying.
During whale season, the resort’s yacht goes out on special whale watching expeditions; in late summer and early fall, families can help newly hatched sea turtles to the ocean from the three nests right on property. Proceeds from the dolls that are sold her help a local charity that benefits single moms.
When Jennifer Anniston celebrated her birthday here in the resort’s spectacular private villa, she asked her friends to make donations to Friends of El Faro, a charity that supports a Mexican orphanage. The resort, in turn, has launched a Farita doll –all proceeds from sales of the hand-crafted dolls support the orphanage while the artisans who make them are part of a local foundation supported by the resort Sarahuaro which helps women and children living in homeless shelters by teaching them skills to support themselves.
But here you have no sense of the outside world. Or of the people who need help just outside this manicured enclave. Everyone is always smiling. Everyone is helpful and anticipates your every need. And the always obliging concierge can steer you in the right direction whether you want to go surfing or shopping. After their first visit, though, General Manger Steiner says, people don’t even leave. “They have everything they need right here.”