As one of the few countries presently allowing U.S. travelers (with safety precautions in place,) I figured now is a good time as ever to visit beautiful Los Cabos, Mexico for a pandemic-safe getaway. With so many luxury resort options, it was no easy task deciding on where to stay. After combing through so many lists and reading tons of reviews on the best luxury hotels in Cabo, I narrowed down two 5-star hotels that I just couldn’t decide between: the Nobu Hotel or Solaz (tough life, I know.) So I did what any sensible luxury travel blogger would do in this situation and booked both. As a third contender, I also strongly considered the Thompson Hotel, but ultimately decided against it for this particular trip. Keep reading to find out why, along with my impressions of each hotel.
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos Review
To begin, the Nobu Hotel is one of the most architecturally stunning properties I’ve ever visited. Clean, modern lines finished with a mixture of neutral washed and warm wood tones brought about a strong sense of zen with a touch of Japanese influence. The level of luxury and service provided by the Nobu brand and their other properties and restaurants was evident throughout. The resort itself was the perfect size, where it was small enough to not need a golf cart to tote you around but large enough to offer guests privacy and space.
Dining and Amenities
Amenities at Nobu include 4 pools (one of which is an infinity pool overlooking the beach); 3 restaurants plus additional pool and beach bars; and a tranquil spa and wellness/fitness center. Hookah rentals are also available to be enjoyed on the deck or beach. If you play golf, the hotel is also located next to the world-famous Diamante Golf Course, designed by Tiger Woods.
The beach on which the Nobu hotel sits can be enjoyed from the sand where nightly bonfires and private dinners are offered, however, there is no swimming allowed in the water. This is common for many hotel beaches in Cabo due to strong and dangerous undercurrents. Still, being by the ocean and enjoying the sight, sound, and smell of the crashing waves was satisfying in its own right. From this beach, I also witnessed the most magnificent multi-colored sunset that puts the famed Santorini sunsets to shame!
As for dining, options were plenty. Fans of Nobu cuisine will especially love the Nobu restaurant on property overlooking the ocean, which serves all the classic Nobu dishes such as the fan-favorite Miso Black Cod. At Pacific Restaurant, you will find traditional Mexican dishes like their taco lunch with mezcal pairings. The third restaurant, Malibu Farm, offers organic, farm-to-table dining similar to its location in Malibu, California. All 3 of the main restaurants offer quality food with great presentation.
The highlight of all rooms at Nobu include a luxurious spa-like soaking tub, stylish beach/pool bags to borrow, and all the luxury offerings such as butler service, high thread-count linens, and high-quality toiletries. The Japenese-minimalist design was the perfect touch for peace and tranquility on a relaxing vacation. For this trip, I wanted to book hotels that had rooms with private pools to spend more time social distancing, and the room I stayed in had a desert dune view which offered plenty of privacy. Ocean-view pool rooms are also available, however are much less private as they face inward to the hotel where guests pass by. The pool itself was a large plunge pool that received plenty of sunlight throughout the day. I spent most of my time here ordering snacks like chips and guacamole, and plenty of the delicious Nobu margaritas which are made with yuzu, adding the perfect hint of Japanese flavor to this otherwise classically Mexican cocktail. Of all the places I visited in Cabo, the cocktails at Nobu were the most unique and by far my favorite.
Overall, the highlight of staying at Nobu was the thoughtfully-designed aesthetics of the resort itself and the rooms within it. The private pool rooms were perfect, and exactly what I was looking for. Lastly, Nobu offers more personal luxury experiences than other similar hotels, including yacht excursions, private beach dinners, and custom-tailored experiences to make your stay truly unforgettable. The hotel experience felt luxurious from start-to-finish and as a fan of the Nobu brand, the high-standards were definitely met.
Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort Los Cabos Review
After having such a wonderful experience at Nobu and falling in love with its design, I honestly thought there would be no way I would enjoy Solaz as much. Upon arriving to Solaz however, and being welcomed by the warm staff with a refreshing welcome drink in their ultra-stylish and modern lobby, I quickly began to realize I may be very, very wrong. This realization was solidified as soon as I saw the views from their main outdoor restaurant and bar Mako, where I immediately felt as though I had never seen a more picture-perfect view. From here, you will find the infinity pool and swim-up bar overlooking the most beautiful coastline complete with sparkling turquoise waters. The hanging egg chairs were a perfect touch, making it the best place to hang out and enjoy paradise.
Dining and Amenities
The food at the aforementioned Mako was as phenomenal as the views. With a focus on traditional Mexican and Baja seafood cuisine, dare I say it, but I personally found the food at Mako and Solaz, in general, to be better than at Nobu. Other restaurants at Solaz include Italian cuisine at La Deriva, Japenese at Misaki, and seafood at El Pairo — all equally rave-worthy. With all the international options offered by this resort, there is surely something for every palate. There’s even a Starbucks on site if you’re missing a taste of the U.S.! Lastly, in the time of COVID where beloved breakfast buffets are no longer offered, Solaz’s solution to continue this (modified) inclusive dining experience is by allowing as much ala-cart ordering as you want for one buffet price. Hotel breakfasts are one of my favorite things about vacations, so this was a much-appreciated modified offering.
Aside from the gorgeous infinity pool area outside of Mako, the spa at Solaz was also particularly unique. Even if not a booking a spa service, you can purchase a day pass to enjoy their indoor hydrotherapy, and fresh ocean-water pool that’s been filtered while keeping the beneficial minerals intact — the only pool of its kind!
The beach at Solaz was also picture perfect. We were told that swimming is usually allowed at their beach, but because of a recent hurricane, it was not currently allowed. However, it was a treat to look at while dining or from the pool, as the jewel-toned water of the Sea of Cortez was so mesmerizing compared to the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean where Nobu resides.
The one of a kind experience of Solaz does not end at the rooms, which are designed with a unique open floor plan and modern Mexican design elements. Booking a room with a private pool again, there were quite a few comparisons between this one and the one at Nobu. To start, my room at Solaz had a private front patio area with an outdoor shower, that also connected to the indoor shower. Where Nobu’s room had a bathtub, this indoor/outdoor shower experience made up for the lack of one in the room at Solaz. On the back patio, there was a relaxing hammock, and private plunge pool that was much smaller than the one at Nobu, and the pool received less direct sunlight in the afternoon. My private pool room at Solaz had an ocean view (which could be seen partially obstructed and from a distance) but was much more private than the ocean-view rooms at Nobu, that were closer to the beach. Other highlights of the Solaz room much like at Nobu included butler services, a stylish beach/pool bag, and luxury toiletries. Contrary to Nobu, Solaz offered in-room minibars and a bluetooth outdoor speaker system which was a nicely added touch.
Bottom line, although I felt like the private pool was too small after coming from Nobu, the overall scenery and food at Solaz won my heart. Because the private pool was smaller, I spent a lot more time at the hotel infinity pool, especially because the views could not be beat. Area-wise, I also preferred the location of Solaz as it was perfectly situated in between downtown San Jose del Cabo and Marina Cabo San Lucas, making it the best place to stay in Cabo. I should also probably note that while Solaz is by no means a party hotel, During my stay the guests at the pool seemed to imbibe a little harder on tequila than the ones at Nobu. 😉 Take that as you will!
The Cape, a Thompson Hotel Review (Kind of)
While I did not get to stay at The Cape, I had a chance to check it out while dining at the adjacent Sunset Monalisa. The beautiful 5-star hotel was highly considered during my planning process for many reasons. But because the private pools were a main part of my criteria, I ultimately decided against The Cape for this trip because the rooms with plunge pools were more like the size of jacuzzis, and were on the balconies of the room with a shaded roof above, as opposed to on the ground floor with ample of sunshine. This isn’t a bad thing, but not what I was looking for on this particular vacation.
This review may be an unfair comparison because I didn’t actually stay here, but I wanted to include my observations from visiting because it made me wish there was enough time to book a night or two. To begin, the location of the hotel is ideal because it offers the best view of Cabo’s most famous landmark, the Arch of Cabo (El Arco)/Land’s End compared to any other hotel. A large infinity pool with a swim-up bar overlooks the beach facing the Arch where there were many people surfing and swimming during golden hour, so I assume this is an accessible beach to enjoy year-round. The beautiful, contemporary design of the hotel was so well thought out, offering impressive views from every angle. The rooftop bar especially, offers the very best views in Cabo for a sunset drink. Other amenities include a spa/fitness center, an additional outdoor pool, and 2 restaurants.
Out of the 3 hotels listed here, The Cape is the only one that doesn’t offer a kids club and is therefore probably the most family-friendly. I did notice some (extremely few) children both at Nobu and Solaz, but not at The Cape. This adults-only atmosphere will be appreciated by couples on a romantic getaway or those who are looking for a relaxing, distraction-free stay.
Aside from the smaller, shaded plunge pools, the rooms at The Cape seem otherwise exquisite from what I could gather online. The standard rooms come with private balconies, ocean views, rain showers, and a tequila welcome amenity. Suites have an additional free-standing copper leafed tub, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a craft cocktail bar for a truly unique vacation experience. For an extra dose of luxury, they also offer private villas set off from the hotel for an ultra-exclusive and pampered stay. This is something other luxury hotels don’t offer.
In summary, I didn’t experience enough of The Cape to form a complete opinion, but it seems like a wonderful hotel, and I hope to be back to stay there and bring you a full review.
Best Luxury Hotels in Cabo San Lucas – The Verdict
If privacy, exclusivity, and pure luxury are what you are after, have a deep appreciation for architecture and aesthetics, or are fans of the Nobu restaurants and brand in general, Nobu hotel is for you. It is a great honeymoon or couple’s getaway option, or for those who want to completely unwind and unplug in the zen atmosphere.
If you live for a great view, are looking for a livelier vibe, or want great food, Solaz is the best option. All 3 of these offerings make it a great destination for couples, friends, or even possibly families. It also seems like an appealing option for a girls trip or bachelorette party in Cabo San Lucas.
If you don’t care for a private pool but are looking for an ultra-chic and luxurious Cabo experience in an intimate and unique boutique hotel (or private villa!) WITH plenty of accessible beach time, The Cape is for you. The romantic, adults-only atmosphere makes it perfect for honeymooners and couples.
As for me personally, the large private pool at Nobu was a huge selling point, and I enjoyed the design of the hotel, and the mixology more at this hotel as well. That said, I preferred the view/beach, infinity pool, and food at Solaz more, making it a close call but Solaz as the overall winner for me. The last point I’d like to add about Solaz is that it is a Marriott-Bonvoy property, and as a Platinum Member there are many loyalty perks and benefits that make staying at their properties an obvious choice. However, with no real complaints, I would gladly return to both hotels and do hope to experience them again.
What is the difference between Cabo San Lucas vs San Jose del Cabo?
The two towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are located only 20 minutes apart and are collectively known as Los Cabos (or as we Americans call it just simply, Cabo.) Cabo San Lucas is the tourist town, famous for its wild spring break parties at the plethora of bars, clubs, and entertainment. It is also where you’ll find the majority of hotels. In Cabo San Lucas, you will also find a lot more restaurants, shops, and recreational activities geared toward tourists. On the other hand, you have San Jose del Cabo, which offers a more relaxed and authentic experience. It is worth exploring both these towns and experiencing their unique differences.
Cabo vs. Cancun
Why Cabo over the Riviera Maya region of Cancun, Tulum, or Playa Del Carmen? For one, Cabo is only a two-hour flight from Los Angeles, and while Tulum is one of my favorite beach cities in the world, I knew I wanted to travel somewhere where I could relax on a resort and not worry about leaving to sightsee or explore a ton. There is a lot more to see and do around the Yucatan Peninsula/Riviera Maya, and the region is a bit more popular and therefore more crowded than Cabo, making Cabo the perfect destination for a pandemic-safe getaway. The beautiful desert/beach environment was also a unique and welcome change compared to the more tropical, Caribbean experience of Riveria Maya. After leaving Cabo, I couldn’t believe why I don’t visit it more often, as it’s a great option for a quick and safe getaway.
More of my favorites – Best Restaurants and Beach Clubs in Cabo
Sunset Monalisa: The most beautiful and romantic restaurant in Cabo with views of the famous Land’s End AKA Arch of Cabo San Lucas. Sunset Monalisa offers 3, 5, and 7-course tasting menus, and a nightly sunset ceremony followed by live music. The property also has a terrace designed by Veuve Cliquot, and has a separate menu with ala-carte seafood offerings.
Office on the Beach: A toes-in-the-sand beach bar and restaurant, and major Cabo hot spot. Live music is offered every night, but be sure to visit on Thursday evening if you can, for their lively Mexican fiesta!
Tip: Make sure to pack Travelan so that you can eat whatever you want and not fear catching Mexico's infamous Montezuma's Revenge (traveler's sickness.)
Omnia Beach Club: Omnia clubs around the world host some of the best events in impressive and beautifully designed venues (like my personal favorite, in Bali,) and the one in Cabo is equally as exciting. The day club offers Mexican beachside dining, daybed rentals/VIP table service, delicious craft cocktails, and live music by both internationally-known and local DJs.
Cachet Beach Club: This laidback beach club provides both fun and relaxation in a stylish atmosphere. Come for lunch, stay for a swim in the ocean, and finish off with a cocktail while lounging on a cabana and listening to the live resident DJ.
Whether you are visiting for a weekend, a week, or longer, Cabo will be sure to deliver all that you’re looking for in a safe and relaxing vacation. Great food and drinks, luxury accommodations, and warm hospitality will be sure to make your trip memorable, and a destination worth visiting over and over.