Acre Resort, the Place to Be in San José del Cabo, Mexico

Acre Resort’s 12 treehouses are nestled in a canopy of palm trees and cooled naturally by the Pacific breeze that comes in over Baja’s East Cape.

Two guys head to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to ring in the new year. They return to their native Vancouver as owners of 25 hectares of land in San José del Cabo and a dream: to build a hotel. Stuart McPherson and Cameron Watt are the guys. Acre Resort in San José del Cabo is the realized dream.

Los Cabos, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, is no stranger to tourism. It holds every type of amusement expected by visitors from around the globe. Historically, the tilt has been toward Cabo San Lucas, however San José del Cabo has been developing quietly, and where Cabo San Lucas is busy and crowded, there is a luxury sector progressing in the more relaxed environment of San José del Cabo. Here, in a secluded farmland setting—including a mango orchard, indigenous palms, and agave—is the lush plot that motivated business partners McPherson and Watt to realize a resort grounded in la tierra.


Acre Resort


Acre Resort bar


“We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to build something down here?’” McPherson says, recounting how it all began. He and Watt have an innate travel bug. For much of their 40s, they wandered from place to place. “Greece, mostly Europe, Barcelona, and whenever we’d see these cool hotels, we would comment on them,” McPherson says. And then when back in Vancouver, the “remember that cool hotel in Mykonos” chit-chat would resurface. They are a complementary pair: McPherson a Jordan-wearing natural conversationalist with an of-the-moment attitude, Watt an observant stickler for detail and spreadsheets whose preferred footwear is Birkenstocks. Both have a discerning eye, appreciate good design, and exude a spirit of hospitality.

There was no master plan for Acre. “We were certain you had to be on the water, but we didn’t have the money to purchase a plot on the water,” Watt says. And so, the purchase of property inland. Working with a limited budget forced them to get creative. “We knew that the aquifer runs right underneath us, and so we knew that the ground was lush enough to handle some plants,” McPherson says. At his home in the Vancouver neighbourhood of Kitsilano, McPherson had a gardener (he has since sold to invest the capital in Acre). At Acre, McPherson was the gardener and landscaper planting and tending over 5,000 trees and shrubs. “We bought all these plants, and I planted them,” he says, admitting he had limited horticultural knowledge. “The majority of these plants should not be planted side by side, but somehow they thrived. We were hands on and did everything,” he says of those early days. Watt nods in agreement.


Acre Resort in San José del Cabo, Mexico


Acre stands out by not being on the beach. Its main draw isn’t the ocean but rather its farm-to-table restaurant and craft cocktail bar, and labyrinth of palms that house a cluster of treehouses. The result is a property that is chic, casual, and authentic. At the heart of the property is the restaurant, but it didn’t start out that way. In 2014, they began building the hotel but “we got hit by the hurricane [Odile] and got wiped out,” Watt recounts. “Money was really low, and we were asking ourselves ‘What do we do?’ We scrambled. We had to change everything. We had enough money to just build a restaurant and a parking lot. ‘Let’s just get our business going. Let’s get money coming in’ is what we kept telling ourselves. We readjusted plans.”

Acre opened as a restaurant on December 23, 2015. The hotel’s 12 treehouses opened in 2017, nearly two years after the restaurant and bar. The property has grown piece by piece to now include a handful of villas (fractional ownership that goes back into the rental pool) and the recently completed multi-bedroom haciendas with their own private pools. The Acre vibe is one that Angelenos flock to for a weekend getaway, foodies from Mexico City and the greater U.S. seek for sun and pool, and Canadians from coast-to-coast want to stay at to experience.


Arriving at Acre means going up a winding dirt road passing skinny cows, work-in-progress residential developments, and a famous neighbouring farm (the one where Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine wed Behati Prinsloo) before entering an oasis of palm trees.


The natural element is enchanting, with lots of local wood, patterned tiles, and succulents in hanging macramé planters. Each of the dozen bamboo-and-thatch treehouses is reached by private foliage-lined paths and has its own bathroom with an outdoor shower, closet, and patio. The decor is high-end—king-size beds with crisp sheets—but not fussy, and because they’re nestled in a canopy of palm trees, the treehouses are cooled naturally by the Pacific breeze that comes in over the East Cape.


Stuart McPherson (left) and Cameron Watt (right), the globetrotting Vancouverites behind Acre.


In addition to acres of organic farmland, Acre also has a menagerie that includes peacocks, roosters, cats, horses, goats, dogs, and a donkey named Burrito—a “Dr. Seuss farm,” is what McPherson affectionately calls it. “People would just come and drop off any animal,” says Watt, whose daughter Rachel instituted Acre Dogs, a puppy adoption program, as a result. (Faustos, the coffee shop/bodega on the property, is decorated with plumes shed by the resident
peacocks each July.)

On a busy night, the restaurant, a destination in and of itself, will serve nearly 600 covers, and chef Arturo Rivero and his kitchen staff are always smiling. The cocktail list will have you ordering round after round, while the Sunday brunch menu is, as chef says, “to cure the hangover” while a Bellini cart prepares tableside libations.

There is an effervescent cool to McPherson and Watt that transcends Acre Resort, a jungle oasis in Mexico that has become the place to be.


Acre Resort, Mexico