Hotel El Ganzo is the hippest hotel in Los Cabos, and may be one of the most idiosyncratic lodgings in all of Mexico. The hotel’s name is a portmanteau word combining el ganso – Spanish for goose – and gonzo – the outlandish journalism style pioneered by the late Hunter S. Thompson. El Ganzo’s logo is a silhouetted goose, so that part of the name is easy to understand. Gonzo is a bit more of a philosophical influence, and reflects the hotel’s commitment to art, as well as a certain type of boutique bohemian attitude: edginess tempered by easygoing creature comforts.
El Ganzo is a recent arrival to Los Cabos, and opened in December of 2012 at the upscale Puerto Los Cabos development just outside of San Jose del Cabo. The hotel benefits from a privileged site near La Playita – a lovely golden sand beach – overlooking both the Marina and the multi-hued blues of the Sea of Cortez. Like El Ganzo, Puerto Los Cabos showcases an artistic sensibility. Bronze sculptures by famed Mexican surrealist Leonora Carrington adorn the Marina’s Malecon, and an enormous embellished cross by contemporary artist Gabriel Macotela towers on a nearby hillside, symbolically blessing Puerto Los Cabos’ residences, restaurant, hotel, marina, world-class cactus garden, and championship-level golf course.
Macotela has also contributed a painting to El Ganzo’s lobby, one of many artistic touches that set the hotel apart. El Ganzo has a residency program for artists, writers, and musicians, and these creative types have carte blanche to leave their marks on the hotel. Whether it is abstract paintings in conference rooms, murals that stretch through guest rooms, or rainbowesque patterns that seem to cascade like waterfalls from random windows, the hotel itself is a work in progress. Who knows what El Ganzo will look like in 20 years? That’s the beauty of the concept. It’s an aesthetic evolution, an ever-changing style and sense of space.
El Ganzo is a boutique hotel with only 72 suites. All suites feature king-sized beds and ocean views – an architectural triumph – as well as luxurious Italian linens and impressively opulent bath fixtures. But El Ganzo is never just a typical luxury hotel. The decor an eclectic mix of old and new, distressed antiques and futuristic furnishings often sit side by side. Artists in residence have free reign to decorate individual suites, and some feature remarkable murals and paintings by some of the world’s top contemporary artists. All the suites are spacious, and feature terraces or balconies overlooking the Sea of Cortez.
El Ganzo is located a scant distance from a fresh fish market, a wonderful resource of which the hotel wisely takes full advantage. There are three restaurants at El Ganzo, and seafood is definitely a specialty. The terrace sushi bar, called Gachoo, features a full range of Japanese-style offerings, as well as some delicious Peruvian ceviches. Visitors to the Beach Club, meanwhile, can sample the comfort food favorites at Ganzo del Playa, like the terrific Baja-style fish tacos. The restaurant located just off the lobby, known simply as Downstairs, features traditional Mexican recipes, and shares the bounty from El Ganzo’s well-stocked wine cellar. Did I mention the lobby lounge or the rooftop Vodka bar? One recommendation: try the hotel’s signature rum-based cocktail, the Papa Double.
Hip amenities abound at El Ganzo, from an underground recording studio to a transparent hot tub, and an enormous 2,000 square foot infinity pool that fringes the rooftop terrace. The onsite spa showcases an array of pampering massages, treatments, and beauty services, and a state-of-the-art gym is also available to guests. Events are held nightly, and are generally open not only to hotel residents, but the community at large. These include live music – from jazz to hip hop – as well as film club screenings, and cocktail parties. Seasonal farmers’ markets are hosted during the fall and winter.
Looking for outdoor activities? Take a panga – the hotel has a formal water taxi dock – over to the Beach Club for a little fun in the sun. Stand up paddle boards are available, and El Ganzo also has a small fleet of bicycles for scenic rides around the Marina. Guests also have easy access to the Puerto Los Cabos Golf Course, a unique collaborative design between major champions Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus. The “Great White Shark” laid out the front nine, while the Golden Bear designed the finishing nine. Eventually, each of these nines will be expanded and comprise separate courses, but for now visitors can still experience the contrasting design styles of these links legends.
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All photos courtesy of Hotel El Ganzo.
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