Stipulated: the perfect travel time for a three-day weekend getaway is four hours. More, and you waste your vacation. Less, and you’re still near home. Hence our series, The 4hr. Rule, dedicated to revealing the best destinations that are far away, yet still close to home.
This week: we take you to Los Cabos, Mexico, a 30km stretch of craggy Baja beach and epic sunsets that plays home to one of the most immaculate hotel rows on planet earth.
REST YOUR HEAD
The first thing you need to decide is which proverbial side you're on: Cabo San Lucas, a bustling party cove that sits at the southernmost point of Baja California, or San José del Cabo, a quieter, quainter village about a 45-minute drive east. In between is the Resort Corridor, a millionaire's row of five-star all-inclusives and boutique hotels that'd give the French Riviera a very literal run for its money.
The Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton are both set to open properties in Los Cabos in 2018; until then, you'll have to settle for some more-than-worthy alternatives. First and foremost: The Resort at Pedregal (pictured at top), a sprawling resort that is somehow right in the heart of Cabo San Lucas (the access road sits adjacent the city's Cultural Pavilion) and yet delightfully clandestine — you have to drive under a mountain via a massive stone tunnel to arrive at checkin. For similarly extravagant but slightly more intimate accommodations, try the One & Only Palmilla (above), a Hollywood favorite that prides itself on discretion, house-elf-style service and a legit hacienda-style wedding chapel. And if you're not looking to shell out four figures a night or want something a little more relaxed and golf-friendly near San José del Cabo, try Secrets Puerto Los Cabos.
FILL YOUR BELLY
As you'd expect, this world-class destination has attracted more than its share of world-class chefs in recent years, most of them helming kitchens at the hotels. Don't worry — you can make a reservation at most regardless of whether you're staying on campus. There's One & Only's Seared, a surf 'n' turf from Michelin-star collector Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The JW Marriott's Café des Artistes (pictured) weds Mexican flavors with a French flair for surprising flavors and Instagram-worthy presentation. But the belle of the ball is surely Flora Farms: you'll have to cruise out of the city and down a long dirt road to get there, but once you arrive, you'll enjoy one of the purest distillations of "farm-to-table" dining in North America.
Cabo's greatest appeal is its seamless integration of traditional coastal and desert pastimes with a serious bent for high culture. You can hit 50 MPH on a zipline and ride ATVs at Wild Canyon by day, and don a tux and slippers for November's Los Cabos International Film Festival by night (2017's presenting films included Battle of the Sexes, Three Billboards Outside Ebeling, Missouri and The Killing of a Sacred Deer). Or charter a catamaran to snorkel around Cabo's famous arch (pictured) in the morning and take a paseo through San José del Cabo's famous art galleries after lunch. The coolest thing we did? Helping baby turtles find their way to sea during the hatch season at the Paradisus Los Cabos.