Van Wormer’s Enduring Legacy on Baja Sur’s Beautiful East Cape
Robert Sr. and Rose Maria “Cha Cha” Van Wormer opened three hotels on Baja Sur’s beautiful East Cape back in the 1950s, during the days when a small runway was used to facilitate visits from Hollywood’s elite and other adventurous travelers, who were attracted to the region’s fantastic fishing and white-winged dove hunting. In the Van Wormer offices inside the lobby of the family hotel company’s signature property, Palmas de Cortez, visitors can glimpse this history in old black and white photographs of the many Hollywood stars who were attracted to the beautiful remoteness and tranquility of the area.
In the close to sixty years since, the East Cape has remained a premier getaway for those who want gorgeous seaside vistas and world-class fishing and diving, but can do without the touristy hustle and bustle of larger resort areas like Los Cabos. And while larger Baja Destinations feature luxury resorts under the imprimatur of the world’s largest hotel companies, along the pristine coastline that stretches from San Jose del Cabo to Los Barriles, first-rate accommodations can be summed up with two words: Van Wormer. At present, Van Wormer has four properties on the East Cape: Palmas de Cortez, Villas de Cortez, Playa del Sol, and Hotel Punta Colorada.
Palmas de Cortez
Palmas de Cortez is the premier hotel in Los Barriles, a charming seaside town best known for its world-class fishing, kiteboarding, and wind-surfing. Each January, the world’s best kiteboarders and windsurfers congregate for the prestigious Lord of the Wind competition. Big-game anglers come year round. The hotel, which is located at the intersection of the town’s two main streets, boasts a gorgeous beachfront property and an outstanding collection of services and amenities. Combination accommodation and fishing packages are a big draw, and visiting sport and leisure types will also enjoy the resort’s nine-hole golf course and day spa, as well as the magnificent infinity pool.
Villas de Cortez
The Villas de Cortez Resort Hotel and Condominiums is the Van Wormer family’s newest property. Set next to the Palmas de Cortez in Los Barriles, the luxurious hotel features all the balcony and poolside Sea of Cortez views you’d expect, as well as superb accommodation appointments and accents. Studios, Master Suites, and Presidential Villas are available, and the resort features two restaurants, and lobby and swim-up bars. Access to all Palmas de Cortez amenities is also included.
Playa del Sol
Playa del Sol has recently been remodeled, and the new look resort, located just north of Palmas de Cortez, showcases new mattresses, furniture, and fixtures. As always, however, the property’s appeal is not its colorful accents and appointments, but the breathtaking tropical beauty of the seaside setting. This small hotel – Playa del Sol features 26 rooms, 20 ocean view and six garden view – is the perfect antidote to larger, less personal resorts in some of Baja Sur’s more popular resort destinations.
Hotel Punta Colorada
Punta Colorada is also known as the roosterfish capital of the world, and the Hotel Punta Colorada is set on pristine sand at the southern end of Bahia Las Palmas. All of the 39 rooms are air-conditioned, ocean view accommodations from standard sized to deluxe level quarters. Punta Colorada also serves up a delectable cuisine and refreshing drinks from their friendly indoor/outdoor bar. And for those who prefer to arrive in Baja Sur in traditional fashion, the hotel has a 3,200 foot airfield of hard packed dirt. Hotel Punta Colorada is currently closed for renovations and upgrades, but is expected to open again in the summer of 2014.
”A few years ago, when a storm came through, it washed out the well that we were using to get the water for the hotel,” said General Manager Eddie Dalmau. ”When the storm came rushing through, the arroyo expanded and washed out the well, so that land now becomes federal property because it’s part of the arroyo. So we’re building another well right next to it, but we’re going to actually protect it so it doesn’t get washed out by any more storms.”
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