Review: The Nobu Los Cabos Brings Hollywood Glam to Baja

Among a legion of pristine, five-star properties, the region’s latest opening stands out

November 19, 2019 9:27 am
No truly elite Los Cabos property is complete without a grand entrance, and the Hotel Nobu is no different
No truly elite Los Cabos property is complete without a grand entrance, and the Hotel Nobu is no different
Hotel Nobu Los Cabos

Who remembers the original Los Cabos? The one that Sammy Hagar built, teeming with cruisers and spring-breakers in search of electric-blue shots at Cabo Wabo? Truth is, that Cabo is hard to find in 2019 — if it even exists at all.

The story of the Los Cabos regeneration project dates back to 2014, when Hurricane Odile decimated Cabo San Lucas, leaving behind a clean slate to rebuild. And rebuild they did. They rebuilt everything, until Los Cabos became, without a shred of doubt, the most luxurious beach destination in Mexico.

While you could always find traces of luxury up and down the white beaches of Baja’s southernmost point, never before has there been so much of it. This year alone has seen the opening of a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Mexico’s first Waldorf-Astoria and the country’s second Four Seasons. But the most recent entrant into the fold is the Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, a production of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and producer Meier Teper’s fledgling Nobu Hospitality group.

So what makes Nobu so special in a place that’s already got enough butler service, gourmet cuisine, private cabanas and yacht culture to please a Roman emperor? In a word: Hollywood. Thanks to the involvement of De Niro and Teper, Nobu Los Cabos brings with it the kind of glamor and status that will render it the A-Lists’s new Mexican hideaway of choice in no time.

After visiting the property for a sneak peek this past weekend, here are our biggest takeaways.

nobu los cabos
The hotel sits on the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula (Image via Nobu)
Nobu Los Cabos / Facebook

You’ll Feel Like You’ve Got the Entire Place to Yourself

The star-studded opening-weekend guest list included appearances from Leonardo Di Caprio and Allison Janney, among others. And like any celebrity resort worth its pink Himalayan salt, the scene at Nobu Hotel Los Cabos is the antithesis of “scene-y.” Sitting on 14 acres of property, even at 100-percent occupancy you’ll often feel like you’re the only guest in attendance. The 200 rooms are spread across three buildings, many of which have their own private plunge pools and terraces, making them pods of privacy for anyone who just wants some damn peace and quiet.

The three pools offer three different vibes as well. The party pool on the “Cortez” side of the hotel is adjacent to the Playabar, where the bubbly flows and the music pulses. Over on the “Pacific” side of the hotel, you’ll find lush foliage and semi-enclosed cabanas in which to steal away from it all. And the pool farthest from the action is the infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean in front of the signature Nobu Restaurant, which is a calming oasis of Zen, and the only designated adults-only area on property.

nobu los cabos cortez pool
The Cortez pool at the resort (Image via Nobu)
Nobu Los Cabo / Facebook

It’s All About the Details

They are, well, flawless. But then again, what would you expect? Nobu Hotel Los Cabos is the brainchild of Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro. Detail, precision, and perfection are vital components to what makes these two men successful, so it’s not a surprise that their luxury Cabo resort would follow suit.

The design hinges on the details — meticulous, meticulous details. Everything is deliberate, nary a throw pillow out of place: from the gorgeous open-air lobby, with sweeping balcony with fire pits and straight views to the ocean, to each guest room’s river-stone paved shower accent wall. No detail is overlooked. It’s sleek, it’s clean. It’s very much Japanese minimalist in design.

And while certain details claim to give it a Mexican sense of place (artwork by Mexican artists, a sandy-hued palette, and fire elements throughout the property), the only thing truly Mexican about the resort is the address.

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Tanoshi hour at Nobu Los Cabos (Image via Nobu)
Nobu Los Cabos / Facebook

OK, But What About the Food?

With Chef Nobu behind the wheel, the standard for cuisine is set nearly immeasurably high. Nachos, even poolside, simply will not do. (My poolside ceviche came in a pristine porcelain bowl, plated with such precision that it may as well have been served, well, indoors.) 

The resort has three main restaurants, as well as a pool bar. Nobu devotees will breathe a sigh of relief to know that the standards of Nobu’s other international restaurants are intact at the Mexico iteration. The sushi is as good as you’ll have anywhere in LA or New York, and the Miso Black Cod is still the stuff of legend. Is it Mexican? Decidedly not. But it is nothing short of seamless and what is to be expected from a Nobu restaurant.

But the hotel brings in other influences to its other two restaurants. Californians will recognize Malibu Farm’s latest outpost as a focal point of the resort. Picture rustic wooden tables, rattan chairs, throw pillows, clay pots, baskets of produce strategically placed, and the occasional bale of hay. Is it Mexican? Again, decidedly not. But I sampled octopus grilled to perfection, lamb, lobster and a burrata salad so creamy it rendered dressing useless. The restaurant could have been anywhere, but my mouth could not care less.

And then there’s Pacific Restaurant. Is it Mexican? Kind of? The menu here draws from heavy influences of traditional Mexican cooking, but brings them to the plate with a highly elevated flourish. For example, breakfast huevos rancheros are served with artisanal salsas, while a decadent “traditional” corn cake is plated with berries and a side of organic yogurt, drizzled on tableside for dramatic effect. There are tacos, but with such haute ingredients I’m hesitant to call them that.

To sum things up, you will eat at Nobu Hotel Los Cabos. And you will eat very, very well. 

nobu los cabos plunge pool
A view from one of the rooms onto its private plunge pool
Nobu Los Cabos / Facebook

The Verdict

It might be a hotel in Los Cabos, but when you come to the Nobu Hotel, it’s really not Los Cabos you’re coming for. Yes, there are Pacific Ocean views and a menu of mezcals and locally crafted works of art. But you’re not really coming to Mexico. 

What are you doing, however, is eating phenomenal cuisine, sleeping in a gorgeously appointed room and (possibly) spotting a celeb or two. Nobu Hotel Los Cabos is one of the most visually stunning, artfully conceptualized hotels that I’ve seen in a long time — and speaking as someone who covers Mexico hotels almost exclusively, this is truly one of the most approachably elegant I’ve seen.


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