Legendary French explorer Jacques Cousteau once dubbed the Sea of Cortez “the world’s aquarium” due to its abundance of marine life. But before it was a playground for scuba divers and yachters, it was home to the Pericú, the aboriginal people who split their time between Baja California Sur’s desert and sea before vanishing in the 18th century. Now, their history—rich with shamanism and maritime prowess—is on display through art and design at Solaz, the first Luxury Collection Resort on Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, which opened its doors in September 2018.
Stretching 34 acres along the coast between the lively vacation city of Cabo San Lucas and the charming historical town of San José del Cabo, Solaz bridges heritage and contemporary worlds. The natural topography served as a guide for Mexico City-based architecture firm Sordo Madalenos; dictating the placement of 128 ocean-view rooms, 21 luxurious residences, three restaurants, and tiered terraces that cascade down to the coast. The primary building materials (quarry stone, granite, marble, and wood) complement the semidesert backdrop, while wicker and rope accent sunlight-dappled spaces such as the oceanfront Mako restaurant and guestroom balconies. Similarly, landscape architects Gabayet 101 Paisaje used only endemic plants and vegetation, eschewing palm trees in favour of some 400-year-old saguaro cacti.
While its sleek amenities—including two Olympic-sized infinity pools, a wine cave with more than 2,500 vintages, and the only Thalassotherapy spa (where treatments are based in using seawater) in Baja—are not to be overlooked, the property’s true poetry lies in its many nods to the region’s indigenous history. Aiming to make room for a true Bajan voice to be heard, developers Quinta del Golfo de Cortez focused on infusing spaces with folklore-inspired art. Most prominent are the soaring geometric sculptures, installations, and custom driftwood furnishings by Mexican artist César López Negrete, who spent years travelling throughout the peninsula. In the resort’s Al Pairo Seafood Market restaurant, which serves sustainable seafood alongside organic produce from the nearby Miraflores and Todos Santos farms, Negrete’s works allude to the Pericú fishing traditions kept alive today. Meanwhile, in the lobby, a 3.5-metre-long engraved turquoise and bronze installation, titled Aura Marina, echoes the 7,500-year-old rock paintings that lie just north of the hotel.
Through the hotel’s “artisan” butler service, guests can organize a guided visit to one of these prehistoric sites in the desert, where it’s easy to spend hours marvelling at centuries-old handprint murals created with a combination of plant juices, blood, and red ochre. For a deeper dive into these prehistoric Baja, the property’s indigenous gallery, Gabinete Del Barco, exhibits archaeological artefacts including a suspended 13 metre-long grey whale skeleton, ancient maps of the Americas and artwork depicting legends such as Calafia, a mythical warrior queen long associated with the untamed spirit of California. All of this history adds context to Baja’s natural gifts: from starry nights (best viewed from the resort’s telescope) to golden sunsets over the Sea of Cortez.
Room to Request
The Gallery Superior Junior. Lounge by day and stargaze by night in this ocean-view suite accented with original artwork by César López Negrete. Boasting a private balcony with a plunge pool and fit pit, there’s no better place to ease into indoor-outdoor living between the desert and the sea.
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