Step into the new RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas and you’re bound to have nostalgic notions. Mahogany stained woodwork, wrought-iron gas lights, ornate chandeliers, colored marble tiles, and upholstered Renaissance-era arm chairs immediately transport guests back to the 1930s. The neo-Moorish architecture complete with cupola domes and arched breezeways give arrivals the wide-eyed feeling they’ve stepped unknowingly into the middle of a tropical Agatha Christie movie.
“This is the first impression we like to give our guests,” says Victor Castellanos Riego, resort sub-director. “Coming here every day opens my heart and I feel like I’m in heaven. Look at the sun hitting the rocks. I watch those rocks every day shine like diamonds.”
Riego’s effusive comments seem fitting walking through the largest resort in Cabo, well-suited for extra large incentive groups. The 642-room, all-inclusive RIU sits like a 4-tier, pale yellow wedding cake on a 1/2-mile stretch of Medano Beach. Grand staircases and long hallways beget allusions of European royal palaces with Hercule Poirot lurking in the shadows, while two ground-floor meeting halls offer 5,100 sf, the larger of which has natural daylight.
The big junior suites cap off the cinematic set piece with the same mahogany stained woodwork, shiny marble floors and dual granite sinks. It’s difficult not to smile and exhale deeply with a ice cold Dos Equis, while stepping out to the beachfront balcony and a long blue horizon of endless tranquility.
It’s a scene of glistening turquoise water, cruise ships coming and going in the bay, and the famous El Arco cliffside arch of rock punctuating the end of the Baja. A chronic, gentle breeze brings in the salty smell of the sea. And below, many guests have staked their claim to a lounge chair by one of the two huge infinity pools, with built-in lounge chairs, integrated Jacuzzis, parasols and swim-up bars.
To truly appreciate Los Cabos, book a sunset cruise with dmcs such as Lands End or Cabo Adventures. Sail out of the bay past El Arco to where the Pacific tussles with the Sea of Cortez, up close to the famous Arch and Playa del Amor (love beach). Manta rays jump out of the water, pelicans and seagulls dive in search of food, and seals frolic on top of each other. This is the best way to see Cabo, when the sun sets over the Pacific in carouseling bronzes, pinks and oranges.
Steppin’ Up to the Plate Two things always standout at many RIU Resorts—the classic Old World décor and quality, themed restaurants. Aside from the main restaurant El Medano, the other dining options include the Mar de Cortes steakhouse and Japanese, Italian and Mexican restaurants. For the most refined experience, ensure a reservation at Krystal, with a fusion gourmet menu created by a Spanish Michelin-star chef.
White tablecloths, complimentary sparkling wine and a palate-cleansing sorbet set the tone. An appetizer of smoked salmon and avocado mousse was beautifully presented and flavorful, but the sea bass was simply awesome. Seared and served atop a chick pea mash with tomatoes and herbed mayonnaise, it was flaky perfection. The couple at the adjacent table said they liked the dish so much they ordered it two nights in a row. Any chef will say there’s no compliment better than that.