Inside the Most Instagram-Worthy Hotel in Mexico
The Cape, a modern-inspired beachfront gem, is reason enough to plan a trip to Cabo San Lucas.
Published Jun 11, 2018 5:00 AM
I am not the type of person who travels to experience hotels—wherever I’m going, I’m there for the destination, not the lodging—but I would return to Cabo just to stay at The Cape again. Designed by Mexico City-based architect Javier Sanchez, The Cape, a Thompson Hotel, is tucked into the coastline, directly across the sea from El Arco, a rock formation that has become Cabo San Lucas’s defining landmark, and capitalizing on that view was the driving force behind the design of the hotel.
Before I continue, there are two key things to know about The Cape, a Thompson Hotel: 1) It is sexy, in an effortless, completely casual way. You don’t feel intimidated by it; you feel at-ease, and heck, a little sexier yourself just for being there. The hotel embodies a sensual vibe, from the beachside spa cabanas to the freestanding bathtubs in the guest rooms to the sunken lobby bar—it’s easy to see why it’s a popular destinations for honeymoons and anniversaries. But that’s not to say it’s a bad place to vacation if you’re single (hi, hello).
In fact, I would argue the opposite, which brings me to my second point: 2) Everything about this hotel is gorgeous, and I’m not just talking about the building. The Cape is located directly beside Monuments Beach, a surfer hotspot, so there are plenty of sand-and-saltwater-soaked surfers to eye, and the rooftop bar, with its sweeping, unobstructed views of the ocean, is the place where the young and beautiful locals wash away the weekend. Combined that with live music and spicy mezcal cocktails, and it’s the perfect antidote to a broken heart.
But, back to the building: This is truly a hotel for the aesthetes (there’s a reason why The Cape is on our list of the most Instagrammable hotels of the summer). The 161-room property, which opened in June 2015, draws heavily from modern architecture, with a streamlined, concrete structure accented with blackened wood that blends into the landscape and sits nearly atop the water.
“The site is like an amphitheater where the topography scales down to the ocean, and you have this amazing viewpoint of the whole bay, of Cabo San Lucas,” says Sanchez of how the location inspired the design. “It felt very obvious to have this floating building on top of the ocean, and to be able to capture the view in a space that is totally open to the climate.”
Sanchez, whose firm also designed the trendy Condesa DF hotel in Mexico City, notes that they wanted the building to feel like you’re in a beach cabana—breezy and comfortable, even during Cabo’s 100+ degree days. From the moment you walk into the open-air lobby, the view of the Pacific Ocean and the Bahía San Lucas horizon commands your attention. Thoughtful design choices—like a gap in the walls when you exit the elevator on guest floors—naturally guide your eyes to the water throughout the building, and black ceilings balance the bright sunlight.
A sensual, sophisticated palette of charred black and warm grays, accented by cool blues and golden tans sets the tone for the interiors. Conceived as individual glass boxes, each room features a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that frames the dramatic view and opens onto a private balcony, most of which have a plush swing, the perfect place for surfer-, er, whale-watching or sipping an evening aperitif.
Everything about the rooms pulls you to the outside—a glass-enclosed shower allows for unobstructed views and natural light in the bathroom, while the mid-room copper tub practically creates an al fresco bathing experience. Even the colors—blues and greens complemented with warmer earth tones—and mix of natural materials and textures evoke the landscape. You feel so connected to the outside that you never feel like you’re missing a good beach day just by lounging in bed—throw those big glass doors open, and your bed is essentially on the beach.
But what makes The Cape truly special is the dedication to Mexican design and craft throughout the space—from the driftwood whale sculpture by Marcos Castro in the lobby to the handmade tiles in the guest rooms. The interior design team, led by Marisabel Gomez Vazquez of Arquitectura de Interiores, worked very closely with Sanchez to create a cohesive, soothing atmosphere that gives guests an opportunity to discover pieces of Mexico’s culture.
At the same time, they debunk any stereotypes you might have about Mexican design. Joao Lueiro, the executive designer at The Cape, succinctly sums up the dichotomy between the familiar and unknown that the design seeks to explore: “Everybody knows Mexico, but nobody really knows it at all.”
Much of the furniture in the rooms and public spaces was designed in-house and made in Mexico by local artisans and small producers. This isn’t your typical hotel furniture—believe me when I say that you will want every piece. And that’s the point. The team wanted each space to feel residential, like this could be your home.
Peter Glassford, a furniture designer based in Guadalajara, produced several of the guest room pieces, including the leather upholstered headboard and terrace chairs. The bedside pendants were designed by Monica Barcena of Ula Light in Mexico City, and José Noé Suro’s Jalisco-based ceramics studio created accent pieces and the breakfast tables in guest rooms.
One of my favorite design elements is the use of decorative cement tile floors, which also come from Guadalajara; the team worked with Studio Victoria and Mooma, as well as Granada in Los Angeles, to produce custom designs for each area of the hotel.
Vazquez notes that the tiles provide “continuity through the property and [add] a colorful and soft layer. It was a play of hues made to fit within the richness of the handmade pieces.” Pro tip: The different designs back the perfect backdrop for a #ihavethisthingwithfloors pic (let’s be real, the entire hotel is Instagram bait).
While highlighting the view was central to nearly every part of the hotel, there’s one area that has no view at all: the spa. It also happens to be Sanchez’s favorite spot.
“Some of the people that worked on the project said this was the worst real estate in the property because it had no ocean view,” says Sanchez. “But we were able to open it up to the side, so you have a corridor that looks at the rocks of the ocean, and you can hear the ocean and feel the breeze coming in. I think that’s really beautiful.”
Not to mention, the treatments at Currents are next-level; I had the best massage of my life here, followed up by an indulging dip in the plunge pools that overlook the beach. Take your time here.
If there is one aspect of the Cape that is less than perfect, it’s the fact that it’s not easily accessible to anything else. You’ll need to take a taxi if you want to go into town—there’s no walking down the street to a local taco stand.
But the silver lining here is that the Cape’s restaurants are arguably the best in Cabo. Famed chef Enrique Olvera, of the world-renowned Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York, helms the kitchen at Manta, where he crafted a menu highlighting local Baja California Sur ingredients in dishes inspired by the Pacific coast. More casual fare is available all-day at the Ledge, which also serves the pool bar.
Which brings me to my favorite part of the hotel: the infinity pool. Choose your chair wisely—grab one in the front, which sit on shallow shelf in the pool—and the angles make the pool blend perfectly with the ocean. Sit back, order a mezcal cocktail, and bliss out.