Where Every Angeleno Should Escape for the Ultimate Fri-Yay

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One&Only Palmilla Agua Pool
One&Only Palmilla Agua Pool

There is one singular phrase that every Angeleno longs for each year… and that would be “Summer Fridays.” You know what we’re talking about—those days when you work until 1 p.m. (OK, let’s be honest, noon) and your weekend officially starts just early enough that you can actually travel to some fabulous locale without wasting those two measly weekend days you have off. New Yorkers have The Hamptons, but Angelenos have something even better… Mexico! With Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas just a mere two-hour flight away, doesn’t it make sense to hop on a plane and skip down to paradise—especially when one particular hotel has a summertime special that seeks to maximize your Friday freedom? Here, we share how to fully maximize One and Only Palmilla’s Summer Friday special—if you’re savvy enough to book it.

One&Only Palmilla Agua Bar
One&Only Palmilla Agua Bar

The One&Only Palmilla—located on the Baja Peninsula alongside the Sea of Cortez—is stunningly beautiful thanks to its utilization of the Los Cabos landscape, beachfront access to one of the few swimmable beaches in the entire region and its privacy. It’s a wonderful spot to spend the weekend, and easily booked without headache thanks to the Summer Fridays package, which includes lunch for two at the Agua by Larbi restaurant, margaritas at Agua bar, a tequila tasting class, a blowdry for her at Amanda George’s ROIL salon or a Barber&Blade experience for him, as well as return airport transfers. Sweet deal, right?

One&Only Palmlla VillaOne master bedroom
One&Only Palmlla VillaOne master bedroom

Photo Credit: Nickolas Sargent Photography

And honestly, this resort is ridiculous… and we mean that in the best way possible. It’s a dream come true. The resort itself was built in 1956 as a 15-room luxury hideaway by Don Abelardo Rodriguez, son of the President of Mexico. Accessible only by yacht or private plane, its earliest guests included Hollywood celebrities like John Wayne and Lucille Ball, as well as former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It’s now a haven for the rich and famous, including Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney and Alicia Keys. Alas, the resort is so private that you likely won’t see the stars as they’ll book themselves into one of two villas: Villa One or Villa Cortez.  The latter features 10,500 square feet of space with wood-beamed ceilings, fire urns and sconce wall lights. It has four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, along with an office, private spa and fully equipped gymnasium. There is also a cinema seating 12 guests in opulent comfort as well as a long beachfront veranda with an infinity-edge pool, whirlpool, fire pits, shower, day beds and lounge.

Villa Cortez
Villa Cortez

Meanwhile, the newest piece of the property, Villa One, offers a 48 x 13-foot infinity-edge pool, overlooking to lush tropical grounds of the resort, the sea beyond and sky. It is a modern glass house with floor-to-ceiling doors throughout as well as quarters for your dedicated butler. If you can’t flex out as much Jenny A., you might consider a junior suite, which, to many, is more spacious than an L.A. apartment. These suites feature a veranda with ocean views and loungers so that you can sunbathe in private (you won’t want to—it’s so hot during the day in summer you’ll need to be in the ocean or by the pool); as well as a variety of amenities including unpacking of luggage; a shared butler service; pressing of one garment per person; a signature welcome tequila beverage; espresso and tea services; fresh fruit of choice, delivered daily; choice of cocktail snacks, delivered daily; laundry for children 2 years and under; a linen selection menu; a pillow selection menu; a bathrobe selection menu; an aromatherapy turndown menu; a beach/shopping tote; Palmilla logo caps; and high-speed Internet access, with WiFi available. Wow.

SEARED Restaurant
SEARED Restaurant

The dining options are endless. The piece de resistance is SEARED, a restaurant conceived by the One&Only team and master chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. SEARED is for the meat-lover, offering everything from Wagyu A5 and certified to succulent rib eyes and tenderloins. There’s also a heavy seafood section, including local spiny lobsters, whole red snappers and Hamachi sashimi. The wine list is extensive; you’ll find something from every region to pair perfectly with your haute dish. There is also Agua by Larbi, an al fresco dining area that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner where you can stare at the sea while sipping up custom cocktails and indulging in a menu of Moroccan-meets-Mexican delicacies. The restaurant was inspired by Moroccan-born Chef Larbi Dahrouch‘s (Dahrouch is the protege of Michelin three-star chef Jean-Louis Palladin) extensive travels throughout Mexico, and, as such, presents an eclectic, seasonally driven menu, with some items changing daily depending on the fresh catch and produce of the day. Interactive dining is showcased here, including fresh, hand-made tortillas, authentic moles and signature guacamole and ceviche made tableside. There are also three bars and lounges on site—all with spectacular views, mind—One&Only Lounge, Agua Bar and the One&Only Terrace, plus a variety of private dining options, including the resort’s on-site Herb Garden.

One&Only Palmilla Yoga Garden
One&Only Palmilla Yoga Garden

And just so you know, all of the things can be done here. That goes for early morning yoga in the yoga garden; a 27-hole golf course courtesy of Jack Nicklaus; surf lessons with a pro; a regulation-size basketball court; complimentary paddle boards, body boards, kayaks and snorkel gear; two ocean-view infinity pools and a stretch of mostly private beach; as well as (for a fee) hire of the resort’s One&Only Yacht. If fitness is your thing, make sure to hit the gym HARD. It’s new and beautiful, with Technogym equipment, TRX, private trainers and a Pilates reformer, among other things.

One&Only Spa
One&Only Spa

And now that we’ve spoken about doing, we should really discuss just being, indulging. That happens at the tranquil One&Only Spa, where you’ll be whisked to an outdoor area for a foot bath in a private casita before going to a cool, dark interior for your treatment. We recommend you try one of the treatments that’s specifically catered to the resort, including the Baja Deep Tissue Pindas Ritual—where you’ll start with a relaxing scalp massage before your therapist does some gentle stretching, gives you a steamed herbal Pindas (poultices) and places Obsidian hot stones on your neck and shoulder to ease muscle tension—or the Secret Garden Remedy, which uses herbs from the resort’s on-site garden. Make sure to come early to take advantage of the relaxation area, hot and cold plunge pool, outdoor rain shower, aromatherapy steam room and sauna. Continue to treat yourself with a ROIL treatment from celebrity colorist Amanda George (who does the absolute best color of them all in her Beverly Hills salon), a cut and close shave at Barber&Blade or a mani-pedi courtesy of French podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez. 

A view from the ocean front pool casita and One&Only Palmilla
A view from the ocean front pool casita and One&Only Palmilla

In summary, this resort is fantastic. But what separates it from its counterparts is its staff. Your butlers will know your name and remember your preferences time and time again.You will be greeted warmly—and authentically—by all, with a hand over their heart in welcome. Tellingly, the staff also greets each other this way; warmly, happily. By the end of your Fri-yay weekend, we guarantee it—you’ll be doing the same.

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