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A Certain Sense of Place: For Over 50 Years, Marbella Suites en La Playa Has Offered Comfort, Class and Uncommon Charm

A Certain Sense of Place: For Over 50 Years, Marbella Suites en La Playa Has Offered Comfort, Class and Uncommon Charm

There is a certain style of decor found in all the larger hotel chains, one that transcends geography. It is found in Mexico City and Montevideo, Tokyo and Timbuktu. It’s a style that is comfortable yet impersonal, familiar yet unoriginal, and upon waking in the morning guests in such establishments can be forgiven a sense of displacement, a moment or two during which they struggle to remember exactly where they are in the world.

Fortunately, there are still alternatives, hotels that offer authentic experiences, glory in their locales, and reflect the history, culture and values of their communities.

Marbella Suites en La Playa

Marbella Suites dates to the early days of tourism in Los Cabos, and was constructed around natural rock formations in the Tourist Corridor that connects cape cities Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

Marbella Suites en La Playa is a perfect example. This landmark Los Cabos lodging was built in the 1950s, during the infancy of the area’s tourist boom, and the original owners were so committed to maintaining the grandeur of the Tourist Corridor surroundings that they constructed the hotel around the site’s natural rock formations. Visitors to this quaint Hacienda-style property, with its colorful mosaic tiles and colonial fountains, will have no doubt that they’ve landed in Mexico. And once they take a longer look, glancing at the golden sands of El Tule Beach and the sun glittering off the azure blue waters of the Sea of Cortez, they’ll know they’ve reached the southernmost tip of Baja, just outside Cabo san Lucas.

This singular sense of place is what sets Marbella apart from so many of its competitors, what gives it its unique personality. Well, that and the service. With just 41 suites, Marbella is a small hotel by modern standards. But this sense of intimacy only adds to the hotel’s charm. The staff here remembers names, and for the loyal guests who return year after year, a visit here is not so much a vacation as a homecoming. Recent renovations have completely modernized Marbella, but this personal connection between staff and visitors is an integral part of the property’s enduring appeal. It doesn’t hurt of course, that the hotel is frequently booked solid by large groups – for reunions, wedding parties, company retreats, fraternity leadership academies, and the like – but a single night’s stay by a solitary guest qualifies one for membership in Marbella’s extended family.

Marbella Suites en La Playa

Marbella’s 41 suites are individually decorated, and feature original artwork.

All of Marbella’s suites are individually decorated and feature original works of art. Even the layouts vary from suite to suite. Some have ocean views, others garden views. Some have private patios, fountains, kitchens, hand-carved furnishings. The beauty of Marbella is that it is not a cookie cutter operation. From service to setting, everything is personalized. Each experience is unique.

Marbella Suites

Situated above Marbella’s lagoon-style pool, La Terraza showcases international cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients.

The historic hotel also hosts three bars and an onsite restaurant. The lobby bar, La Luna, is a popular meeting place, not only for beer from local craft brewers like Baja Brewing Company and Cerveza Ramuri, but adult-oriented activities like tequila tasting and cocktail parties. The restaurant, La Terraza, enjoys a magnificent location overlooking the Sea of Cortez, and offers a superb assortment of Mexican and internationally-influenced dishes, all made from locally sourced ingredients. Don’t feel like dressing for dinner? La Terraza is happy to deliver your meal, whether you’re relaxing in your suite, or soaking up some rays by the pool.

Marbella Suites

Beachside spa services are among Marbella’s most soothing amenities.

In addition to its culinary delights, Marbella also boasts a roster of premium amenities. Although the suites are not outfitted with televisions -why ruin the tropical mood with news programs and reality shows? – there is a large lounge area with a library and TV viewing area, as well as a computer room with internet access and free phone calls to the U.S. and Canada. That’s certainly a perk you won’t find in many Los Cabos hotels. The ping pong table is another nice touch. It’s downstairs by the large, lagoon-style swimming pool.

Fitness facilities and spa services are also available at Marbella, and the latter include massages on the beach under a shaded palapa, with relaxing seaside breezes caressing your skin as strong fingers knead the tension out of work-stressed shoulders. The primary expanse of gorgeous El Tule Beach is just west of the hotel, but a pristine stretch of golden sand is easily accessible from the pool area. In addition to relaxing spa treatments, the beach is also home to nightly bonfires, just as it was when the hotel opened.

Of course, that was back in the days when Marbella was still called the Maria Gaviota, and the major employer in Cabo San Lucas wasn’t a hotel, restaurant or shopping mall, but a cannery.

So much of Los Cabos has changed over the last half century.

Luckily, classics like Marbella were built to last.

Marbella Suites

Marbella’s recipe for romance includes a beach, a bonfire, and gorgeous views of the Sea of Cortez.

Traveling to Cabo San Lucas? Talk to a Baja.com travel agent!

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All photos courtesy of Marbella Suites en La Playa.

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About Chris Sands

Chris Sands is the author of Bohemia by the Bay, and writes about wine, golf, and travel for publications such as Baja.com, Los Cabos Guide, Los Cabos Magazine, 10 Best, and USA Today. He is a full-time resident of Cabo San Lucas.

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