I’ve been to a lot of beautiful places in my life, and I know there are countless more beautiful places I haven’t yet seen. But after staying in the ultra-luxurious Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve on the on the coast of San José del Cabo in Mexico, I’m pretty convinced nothing (at least for me) will ever top the beauty of this Los Cabos hotel. It had a level of serenity and romance I’ve never before experienced, and honestly, I have a hard time imagining any place I visit will ever top it.
Bold statements, I know, but hear me out. I got the chance to stay on the sprawling property this past spring, an opportunity that initially made me nervous. That was in part because Zadún is in the Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio, which is an ultra-luxe collection of resorts around the world that are serious about their hospitality. (When I recently checked prices for Zadún in mid-September, they started around $1,000 a night.) I haven’t had the chance to experience a stay of that caliber before, and honestly, I wasn’t sure if I’d feel welcome. At the same time, I was going alone, which meant I also had to maneuver my first-ever solo vacation.
My fears, however, were unfounded. After landing at the airport, I was driven straight to the hotel where I was immediately greeted with more warmth and peace than I’ve ever experienced. Upon pulling up to the entrance, I was met by several people who asked me about my trip and whisked away my bags. Then, I was taken to meet my Tosoani (a private attendant who helps care for each guest) and introduced to the resort.
While trying to recover from the fact that there was someone I could simply text for my every want, it was then that I was hit with the overwhelming view of Zadún. What makes the resort so incomparably stunning, in my opinion, is the fact that you can always see the sea — and that was true from the second I arrived. Whether you’re relaxing in your room, taking a dip in the pool, or grabbing a drink at the bar, it’s front and center at all times, creating an all-encompassing feeling of peace wherever you are.
Of course, this was no accident. “Zadún is located behind two majestic dunes divided by a central ravine, creating a spectacular window to the ocean,” Pablo Blasco, Director of Projects and Architecture Lead at ABAX (the architect for Zadún), tells TZR in an email. “We felt that the sea had to be the key element attracting all the views. Being as striking as it is, the immensity of the ocean produces a feeling of deep tranquility, which was a crucial goal of our design concept.”
That certainly came through as I got to know the resort. Shortly after arriving that first day, I sat down to a solo lunch of ceviche, guacamole, and cocktails at the ocean-to-table restaurant Equis. And though it may have been my early wake-up time, I was immediately moved to tears. This area is set just off the sand, with one of the most unadulterated views of the water at the hotel. The endless blue seared my eyes as I inhaled mounds of fresh fish, and I felt a rush of emotion as I texted photos to everyone I know. “Can you believe this is real?” I asked my friends (and myself) again and again.
That sense of “deep tranquility” Blasco described would only increase from there. Once my room was ready, I was picked up in a golf cart at the restaurant (a fun perk that guests can request for transport within the resort) and taken to my suite to check in. Even on the ride there, I was struck by the design of the resort and how thoughtful it was. Not only could I, of course, see the ocean at every point, but I was also surrounded by vegetation and hills into which each building blended carefully.
This, too, was very intentional. “Zadún’s buildings are spread throughout the site, creating beautiful pathways and distance between the suites,” Erica Krayer of interior design firm Uribekrayer, tells TZR. “This allows a quiet journey through the desert plants and gardens.” (While this sometimes made for a confusing journey as well — I got lost on those winding pathways more than once — walking through the property became one of my favorite parts of the trip.)
Though the peacefulness of the environment certainly contributed to the overall feeling of serenity at Zadún, it was also the engineered quietude and solitude of its rooms that made my experience so tranquil. “Although there are amazing public spaces, you also have the utmost privacy in your suite, if desired,” continues Krayer. “Each suite has its own private plunge pool, a great terrace with outside lounging and dining area, spacious bathrooms with a bathtub, and private outdoor showers. You can stay in the suite, order in, and feel extremely pampered and comfortable.” Those features are additionally part of what makes the hotel so incredibly romantic. In fact, I couldn’t help but feel like Zadún was made for honeymooners and couples in search of a secluded escape — it was almost too quiet (at least for me) to fully enjoy the experience alone.
Almost, but not quite. While it did feel strange to have near total privacy by myself for three days, there were other parts of my suite that I enjoyed in full. Checking into my room, I noticed it was not only spacious and comfortable; it also had a calming feel that was enhanced by the beauty and careful curation of its details. “The interior design concept was based on creating a contemporary Mexican design, integrating the architecture and landscape with a relaxed, yet highly sophisticated look and feel,” Krayer shares. “The team designed and selected natural materials, bespoke furniture, and objects from Mexican designers and artisans, which together reflect a clean and simple design.”
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, my admiration for and experience of the utter peace and beauty at Zadún continued at every turn. For the next few days, I sampled much of what the resort had to offer. The property boasts several restaurants and bars, and I visited almost all of them, sampling the ceviche at peaceful Equis (my favorite), indulging in authentic Mexican cuisine at vibrant El Barrio, and enjoying the ocean view, fireworks, and grilled cuisine at Humo. I sat by a luxurious pool, ate fancy avocado toast while working on my terrace, worked out in the modern gym, and soaked up the sun on the completely empty beach. I even got the chance to learn about the country’s culture and flavors, with experiences like a Mexican spirits tasting at Candil, the agave bar.
And, of course, I’d be remiss not to mention one of my favorite, most serene activities of all: my day at Spa Alkemia. Before I went, it was hard to imagine that my experience at the resort could feel anymore tranquil, but this spot proved me wrong. I headed in at my scheduled time for a 60-minute Zadún massage, which was one of the most gentle and soothing I’ve had. Afterward, I attended the Savasana sound healing experience, which was ultra-relaxing, though something I personally probably wouldn’t book on my own again (the constant sound of the ocean waves felt healing enough for me). One of the best parts, though, was access to the spa pool. After my appointments, I was able to lounge in the large outdoor area as long as I wanted. While I did, I was somehow, again, entirely alone — with the exception of the very kind staff, who approached me from time to time to check on me with fresh juices in hand.
From the first day to the last, I felt the same sense of total bliss through every moment, meal, and interaction at Zadún. As Krayer explains, “Zadún’s architectural and interior design goal was to respect the majesty of the ocean, natural serenity, and amazing light of the desert.” This was certainly achieved, and the effect of that focus permeated my experience with a peacefulness I’ve never found elsewhere. That said, I’m not sure it’s a resort I’d visit alone again. Zadún’s beauty is meant to be shared; a place that’s so overwhelmingly breathtaking it’s better enjoyed with someone, so that you can feel your awe together. I’ll certainly return someday, but next time, I’m making sure to bring my husband on this romantic, peaceful escape. I have a feeling the view of the sun setting over Zadún will look even better with someone I love at my side.