As the dust settles after a busy holiday season and the routine of every day life comes back in full force, there’s no denying — you’re probably envisioning your next getaway. If you’re craving the ultimate escape to paradise, where every element brings serenity and a 5-star experience at every turn (because who couldn’t use that?), then look no further than Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in San José del Cabo, Mexico.
The development of the property alone is uniquely special and built into the coastline where panoramic views of the Sea of Cortes are everywhere you look — and that’s not an exaggeration. The 115 rooms and suites have pocket doors that allows one to walk right into paradise onto an expansive deck where a private plunge pool awaits. If this already sounds like paradise, it’s only the start of what makes the visit unforgettable from beginning to end.
The Ritz-Carlton portfolio only has five Reserve properties in the world, including one in Hokkaido, Japan; Krabi, Thailand; Dorado, Puerto Rico; and Ubud, Bali island, Indonesia. Like the others, its first location in Mexico was chosen for the area’s unspoiled landscapes and provides personal experiences to each guest to connect them with the land.
As Thomas Jecklin, General Manager for Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, tells GRAZIA USA, the Ritz-Carlton Reserve locations “share a unifying goal of creating transformational getaways that are rare and authentic. Ultimately, guests want to feel special and cared for, which begins with anticipation of needs, and an unmatched level of personalization.”
He continues, “At Zadún, these elements are woven throughout the entire guest experience from before our guests even arrive, and then on property from the design, to our range of culinary venues, to our programming, and, of course, our service. Our team is who brings the Zadún experience to life. They are the spirit of the property.”
It’s true. Every guest is assigned a private attendant, called a Tosoani, or “dream watcher,” who anticipates your every need and can curate a customizable itinerary with any activity the property has to offer — from agave tastings to bonfires under the starry night sky. As soon as you arrive, they escort you through the property and to your room, where they give a grand tour of the space, making one feel like it truly is their home away from home.
That level of service carries through every aspect of the property, from gardeners taking time from pruning the gorgeous flowers to say “Buenos días,” or the pool staff at-the-ready to deliver a personal cooler filled with chilled water and sunscreen as you settle into a beach chair, each staff member is ready to make any worries or concerns drift away.
“Service is a cornerstone of Zadún,” Jecklin says. “We strive to hire the best talent in the industry, train and support them. One of my primary goals as General Manager is to empower the team, and ensure they have fun in the process. Our team shares a genuine care for our guests, and an enthusiasm for creating unforgettable escapes that bring to life Mexican culture, traditions, and rituals.”
The property infuses local activities, treats and specialities in everything it offers, including its cultural immersion classes with its staff members deemed, Ambassadors of the Environment, designed by Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society. The team offers experiences like desert walks, stargazing, birdwatching and courses like the history of chocolate, infusing Mexican history and culture in each activity through their storytelling.
“Mexican heritage is the backbone of Zadún, and is expressed across all areas of the property,” Jecklin shares. “Guests can take a journey through agave based spirits, or learn about Mexico’s most important wine regions. We also have our Ambassadors of the Environment Program, which at its core is a program created to offer a deeper understanding of the natural habitats in Baja California. Among our many Ambassadors of the Environment experiences is Leyendas Mexicanas, which brings our guests on an exploration of Mexico’s rich culture, uncovering the myths and legends that make up the country’s extraordinary heritage. Our guests often seek out these educational opportunities and we hope that when our guests leave they carry with them a deeper understanding and appreciation of these traditions.”
Honoring the country’s culture can be seen in each room design too, with textiles and décor made by Mexican artists. For example, handwoven textiles used for the pillows, were created by communities of weavers in Oaxaca.
The 20-acre landscape is expansive, but not too large that one gets lost on the property. All restaurants and activities are just a short walk (or even shorter golf cart ride, which is just a text away thanks to the Tosoani on stand-by). If you can take your eyes off the view of the sea, you’ll be transported into a lush landscape filled with flowers and cacti as you walk up the winding hillside where rooms are staggered above one another. The design not only provides exquisite views, but maximum privacy within the villas too. Each room is actually its own residence with their own entrances, which means the outdoor sitting areas, showers, and plunge pools are all intimately private, making one feel like they really are in their own world. The chairs on the patio are even specially situated so guests can take in the view at sunrise and sunset, so a remarkable moment is never missed.
The property delivers the best in food, entertainment and relaxation that one can enjoy a full stay at Zadún without ever leaving the property. Each morning there’s a special activity offered in the gym, such as a Pilates class or HIIT workout, or one can take in the view from the treadmill and state-of-the-art workout machines that overlook the pool and ocean (like we said, the view can’t be missed from any area on the property). If you’re not one to workout on vacation, this gym will change your mind, trust us.
Another must-do while staying on the property is a visit to Spa Alkemia, which provides ultimate relaxation (and that signature Zadún service at every turn). There are locally-inspired massages and body treatments, and a Savasana Sound Room session, where the specially-designed floor is built to deliver tonal vibrations and sound frequencies that put one in a complete meditative trance. In addition to a steam room, sauna and cold plunge, there’s the massive whirlpool, which features specially-designed jets to target specific areas of the body as one floats around the curved design. One can relax in the water as long as they want, and will feel completely rejuvenated and pampered thanks to the staff providing fresh juices and snacks pool-side.
Each of the four food and beverage venues on the property offer their own unique settings, entertainment and cuisines so guests can experience something new every night. El Barrio is located at the main pool area offering iconic street foods of Mexico like tacos el pastor, in the brightly-colored space, while Azul is a café located within the El Barrio Restaurant that serves Mexican treats and delicacies like churros, as well as juices and smoothies. Equis is the fish market at the adults-only pool, that serves up delicious cocktails and seafood, like fresh ceviches, that change based on the catch of the day.
Candil is the agave bar housed in the eye-catching structural tall building on the property that utilizes Mexican spirits and local ingredients (like, yes, agave) to create bespoke cocktails. Next to Candil is the rustic yet upscale restaurant Humo, which utilizes South American grilling techniques and prepares dishes over open flames including South American street food wok, steaks (the Picanha is a must-try) and fishes.
It’s impossible not to feel at ease at Zadún. There’s a serenity and calmness that drifts over the entire property, with the hum of the ocean waves taking away any stress and worry. The unique layout and landscaping makes one feel like they’re the only guest there, making it equally appealing for a romantic honeymoon destination or for a solo “eat, pray, love” getaway.
To learn more and book your stay, visit ritzcarlton.com.