2024 Wellness Guide

A long infinity pool overlooking the ocean at Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in San José del Cabo, Mexico.
The 26-meter lap pool at Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in San José del Cabo, Mexico


Reimagined Tropical Resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean

By Paul Rubio and Deborah Frank

Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, San José del Cabo, Mexico

The sea meets the desert on the Puerto Los Cabos coastline where Zadún, the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Mexico, sits on 20 landscaped acres overlooking the Sea of Cortez. With 113 guest rooms, suites, and villas, many with private pools and terraces, the dramatic property is an unparalleled combination of nature, design, and artisanship, featuring unique experiences and individualized service. Tosoani, or personal attendants, customize each guest’s stay with everything from tequila tastings to bonfires on the beach.

Four dining venues serve up a variety of gastronomic choices, such as Mexican street food and catch-of-the-day fare. An agave bar specializes in handcrafted cocktails and at El Barrio, an open-air restaurant with views of the pool and the beach beyond, mariachi bands play while regional cuisine, such as Oaxaca’s numerous moles and corn dishes, is served. A menu of South American influences focused on grilled food is a highlight at the signature restaurant HUMO.

But it’s the 30,000-square-foot Spa Alkemia that stands out most. In addition to a modern interpretation of the traditional Mexican temazcal healing hut and the Savasana Sound Room (where a vibrational floor helps to create a state of deep meditation) is one of the largest hydrotherapy pools in Baja. A 24-hour gym features a 26-meter lap pool and feels private with plenty of personal space, even when at capacity. Beyond the many wellness treatments are the Ambassadors of the Environment experiences, such as bird-watching, which is a proven stress-relief activity. Led by a naturalist guide, guests can discover more than 100 bird species, four of which are endemic.

It’s a stunning resort in the wonderfully traditional yet modern town of San José del Cabo, a 15-minute drive away. Behind its charming Spanish architecture are sophisticated art galleries, shops, and restaurants serving all types of fusion cuisine. One not to miss is the art district’s SAGE restaurant (sagebaja.com) with its shrimp ceviche in coconut and leche de tigre milk. Its Argentinian chef creates Baja California Sur dishes with Spanish, French, and Argentinian influences to be enjoyed with great music and a lively scene. ritzcarlton.com
This resort offers a unique wellness experience: a traditional outdoor temazcal, a heated structure surrounded by nature, used for ancient cleansing rituals.
Temazcal at the One&Only Mandarina Wellness Spa

An infinity swimming pool with a view of the ocean. The pool is surrounded by trees and nature.
Ocean Cliff Villa private infinity pool

One&Only Mandarina, Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Along Mexico’s Pacific coast within a biodiverse, skyscraping rainforest reminiscent of Costa Rica, One&Only Mandarina consummates a love affair between ultra-luxury and raw nature. A total of 105 villas and treehouses stretch across 80 acres of towering higuera trees and palms, intentionally positioned to amplify breathtaking scenes of flora and sea. The stilted, glass-fronted treehouses, for example, evoke a sensation of being one with the forest canopy while floating over the crashing waves. An outward-facing design fosters a continuous bond with nature from all angles within an open-plan suite, which further peaks on the outdoor terrace, equipped with a dining area, daybeds, and an infinity plunge pool.

Paved pathways—accessible on foot or by golf cart—wind through the mountainous terrain leading to world-class amenities that also capitalize on the dramatic backdrops. Cloaked in dense foliage, the One&Only Spa emerges like a lost pre-Hispanic world of wellness as six domed treatment rooms and a traditional temazcal rise through the thicket. At a lower clearing, uncover Mandarina Polo & Equestrian Club, a hub for embarking on jungle-to-ocean trails by horseback, taking polo classes, or simply watching the Sport of Kings from the sidelines. Four noteworthy restaurants and bars dot the property, the highlight of which is Carao, a contemporary Mexican concept by award-winning chef Enrique Olvera (of Pujol fame) perched at one of Mandarina’s highest points. Five infinity pools rival for the limelight, one on firm ground facing the beach and another three defying gravity, cantilevered over the treetops and the ocean currents below.oneandonlyresorts.com
A white luxury yacht and two small boats docked at a wooden pier of a large property on a tropical island. Lush green palm trees, vegetation and ocean surround property with mountains visible in the background.
Lovango Resort & Beach Club, Usvimita, Mexico

Lovango Resort & Beach Club, Usvimita, Mexico

In between St. John and St. Thomas on an island all its own, Lovango Resort & Beach Club is an exercise in unpretentious private-island luxury. The first new build in the United States Virgin Islands in over 30 years brings a small collection of eco-chic wooden treehouses, explorer-style tented rooms, ocean-view cottages, and a three-bedroom private villa. Together they rise along the island’s northern slope, separated by dense foliage and overlooking pristine Congo Cay, a towering granitic nature preserve enveloped in topaz and emerald waters. Clever room designs capitalize on views of your surroundings by granting unobstructed vistas from the likes of outdoor sunken living rooms, daybeds under canvas, and outdoor showers.

Explore the 45-acre Lovango Cay and reap the riches of its natural beauty as well as the fun-in-the-sun enticements defining its southern half. From the Treetops Lounge (where breakfast is served) or along hiking trails dotting the island, anticipate inspiring bird’s-eye views of multiple US and British Virgin Islands in a single panorama. On serene Crescent Beach, watch pelicans dive-bomb for a fresh catch and keep an eye out for dolphins or sea turtles that may surface. (Alternatively, don on a mask and snorkel and partake in the action.) Socialize, and soak in the scene at Lovango’s Beach Club, where a 70-foot infinity pool, chaise lounges, and oceanfront cabanas await. Sip on smoked pineapple rum old-fashioneds, and feast on Caribbean lobster schnitzel at the waterfront café.

If or when private island life becomes a bit too insular, hop on one of Lovango’s complimentary water shuttles for active and gastronomic pursuits off-island. For example, Honeymoon Beach, St. John’s most prized swath of picture-perfect white sand is a quick five minutes away by boat, while the famed restaurants of Cruz Bay are accessible via a 10-minute ferry that runs regularly, day and night. lovangovi.com
The St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico

A long, narrow swimming pool that wraps around a building. There are several lounge chairs surrounding the pool. Beyond the deck, there is a wall of windows with a view of lush green palm trees and the surrounding area.
Relaxing pool & yoga deck at the St. Regis Spa

The St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Among the Mayan Riviera’s wealth of resorts, this 124-room beachfront property is a top, new tropical hideaway and a bold departure from St. Regis’ predictable, stately fare. Built on the land claimed as the celestial birthplace of the Mayans, this sprawling resort honors its ancient astronomical roots with a fascinating, multi-circular design by Edmonds International, which speaks to planetary alignment with the Mayan calendar. A series of curvaceous, low-rise, stark white buildings hover over a sea of bright green mangroves, connected by wooden walkways and ending at the Caribbean Sea.

A common theme is the luxury of space. The smallest guest rooms measure a generous 592 square feet, in which bedrooms channel Mayan-inspired minimalism (think ceramic light pendants and walnut, wood-carved headboards based on traditional Mayan patterns) countered by deliciously over-the-top bathrooms with green marble double sinks and hanging mirrors. Wide-open expanses abound beyond, fringed by resort-style trappings such as multiple swimming pools, myriad restaurants, a beach club, and countless spaces to simply relax in the surrounding natural splendor. marriott.com
A luxurious, modern resort property with a swimming pool built on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Ocean. The house has large windows that provide panoramic views of the water.
Starlight Villa at Oil Nut Bay, British Virgin Islands

Oil Nut Bay, British Virgin Islands

Secluded at the far easterly tip of Virgin Gorda and accessible exclusively by boat or helicopter, Oil Nut Bay lures with a daily rhythm that seamlessly blends resort living and yacht culture. Since the first units were etched into the mountainous, cactus-speckled terrain over 11 years ago, the 400-acre private peninsula has flourished into a resort community of 52 ocean homes, villas, and suites, each unique yet cohesive by design. Among the most popular in Oil Nut Bay’s rental program is the Cliff Penthouse Suite, a 1,334-square-foot, stone-and-glass marvel perched atop a rocky precipice. Its retractable doors dissolve the boundaries between the wraparound terrace and interior living space, lending to endless sea vistas.

Guests and homeowners alike enjoy resort-style amenities, including an upcoming overwater spa, a cutting-edge wellness center, tennis and pickleball courts, and The Beach Club. Here, an open-air restaurant, tiered swimming pools, and lush palm trees border a tranquil lagoon, serving as a hub for watersports adventures ranging from kayaking and snorkeling to more exhilarating activities like sea bobbing, wing foiling, and sea turtle tagging with a marine biologist.

Over at the Marina Village, a buzzing, 101-slip marina has enshrined Oil Nut Bay into Caribbean yacht culture. Guests can overnight their watercraft, while visitors can dock and dine at sushi-centric Nova Restaurant, a preferred haunt of the BVI yachting elite. The marina also facilitates chartered day trips to explore neighboring islands and sights, including the famed beach bars of Jost Van Dyke, the pink-sand beaches of Anegada, and the iconic Baths of Virgin Gorda. oilnutbay.com
A luxurious hotel patio deck with lounge chairs and umbrellas located on a hilltop, overlooking the ocean with sailboats visible in the distance. 
Villa Diane private terrace at Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf Saint-Barth

Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf Saint-Barth

A five-year reimagination yields Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf Saint-Barth, a resort that breathes new life into one of the island’s oldest hotels. Dating back to the 1970s, the property has emerged as a beacon of contemporary coastal luxury. The location on the hillside above Gustavia’s port doles out panoramic views of St. Barth yacht-studded capital and allows for convenient, walking-distance access to the island’s top restaurants, boutiques, and nightlife hot spots. Renowned French interior designers Gilles & Boissier (of Baccarat Hotel New York fame) infuse Le Carl Gustaf with a blend of sophisticated retro-chic across its 21 bungalows and suites. French colonial elements of opulent dark woods and marble are enlivened by vibrant pops of color, from lime green, palm-frond-print headboards to canary yellow throw pillows. Each unit boasts a spacious private terrace to enjoy the backdrop of postcard-perfect Gustavia.

Though the hotel doesn’t reside directly on the water, the sparkle of Shell Beach is a brief three-minute walk downhill. Here, guests discover Le Carl Gustaf’s expanse of fine white sand and crystal-clear waters, along with its premier dining destination, Shellona. The venue balances robust Caribbean and Mediterranean flavors, underscored by dishes such as the St. Barth–style fish carpaccio with a zesty passion fruit and green chili sauce. As night falls, guests can indulge in al fresco dining at the property’s hilltop restaurant, Beef Bar—the latest outpost of the wildly popular, meat-forward European concept. hotelsbarriere.com
An open-air living room of a large resort property built on a platform overlooking lush jungle. The large tented room has floor-to-ceiling windows and a deck with a private plunge pool, table and lounge chairs.
Ocean-view Tent at Naviva

A woman walking on a private deck of a resort suite. The deck has a soaking tub and lounge chairs and overlooking a lush jungle and the ocean.
Open-air living room

Aerial view of luxurious resort’s large swimming pool with a deck, lounge chairs and palm trees surrounding the pool
Resort swimming pool

An outdoor spa pod or room built from wood and canvas inspired by the shape of the ceiba tree seed. It is used for private spa treatments at a luxury resort nestled in the tropical forest.
Spa pod

Naviva, a Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico

Find this adults-only hideaway sheltered on 48 acres of undulating jungle and untouched beaches in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. The biophilic design by Luxury Frontiers (a firm renowned for showstopping tented camps across the world) ensures the Mexican iteration of comfort under canvas maximizes immersion in the surrounding forest-meets-the sea grandeur. In each of 15 hillside, butterfly-inspired tents, custom furnishings by Mexican artisans nurture a nature-inspired aesthetic. Like the greats of the African safari circuit, this tented camp blurs the lines between the outdoors and in, promising an uninterrupted connection with the sights and soundtracks of nature from every nook—from the open-air living room to the private plunge pool to the soaking tub that overlooks the jungle.

In such a setting, it’s tempting to follow a simple plan: relax, room service, repeat. However, Naviva’s campus is intended for exploring and enjoying. Sprinkled throughout the forest and along the water are amenities like a multilevel swimming pool, oceanfront firepits, spa pods, and an open-air “jungle gym,” where weights are made of stone and dip stands from branches. At restaurant Copal Cocina, Chef Sofía Mojica and her all-star team present the best in Mexican and international cuisine over a “no menu” concept. Extensive programming allows guests to partake in myriad daily experiences rooted in movement, gastronomy, mind, and body. You could kick off the day with an adrenaline-inducing boxing class outdoors, spend an afternoon with Chef Mojica perfecting the art (and taste) of ceviche, and later unwind over an instructor-led sunset gratitude meditation or shamanic sound healing. Thanks to an all-inclusive policy in which such activities, food, drink (including alcohol), and even spa are bundled into the nightly rate, possible pursuits are endless—and available at your leisure. fourseasons.com
An aerial view of the Cheval Blanc St-Barth beach front resort property with a swimming pool, large wooden deck, sandy white beach with white umbrellas and vibrant turquoise ocean.
Maison Beach and pool at Cheval Blanc St-Barth

A woman relaxing in a swimming pool overlooking the ocean. There is a rolled up pink hotel towel and a beverage in a glass next to her.
Beach Suite private infinity pool

Cheval Blanc St-Barth

Opened in 2014, Cheval Blanc St-Barth epitomizes St. Barth style and refinement. Now, in a new phase of its illustrious journey, the revered establishment expands beyond its original 42-room maison to include 19 additional rooms and a five-bedroom residence, collectively bound through a comprehensive revamp by acclaimed French interior designer Jacques Grange. With a deliberate focus on simplicity, the rooms and suites feature distressed wood and bone-white furnishings, allowing the vibrant colors of Flamands Bay and native flora to serve as living artworks through expansive windows and floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Tropical prints on soft furnishings, indigenous art, and Moroccan-inspired accents such as zellige mosaics further enhance the exotic elegance of the spaces.

At the beachfront, guests are invited to embrace the idyllic ambiance of Flamands Beach, where they can bask in the sun, enjoy Champagne, and partake in people watching under the shade of ivory parasols at the full-service beach. Just steps away, two sleek swimming pools, adorned with taupe sun loungers, offer respite from the bustling beach scene. On-site, culinary delights await at two distinguished restaurants: the casual Le Cabane restaurant, beloved for languid lunches of light coastal cuisine overlooking the ocean blues, and La Case, a refined evening destination helmed by French celebrity chef Jean Imbert, offering an interpretive showcase of Caribbean flavors. chevalblanc.com
Two people swimming in a small rock pool along the shoreline. Waves are crashing against the rocks and the beautiful blue ocean is in the background with mountains in the far distance.
Natural rock pool at the Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth

A large outdoor swimming pool surrounded by a wooden deck at a tropical resort. There are several lounge chairs on the deck and a gazebo in the background.
Beachfront infinity pool

Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth

Dedicating four years to a style-heavy reinvention and integration into the esteemed Rosewood portfolio, Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth today stands as a refined evolution of its former self. While preserving its adored Caribbean aesthetic, the 66-room property enhanced many of its colorful gingerbread cottages with private pools. Inside, renowned interior designer Luis Pons creates a residential feel where high design meets approachability, often highlighted by the likes of four-poster beds, brightly painted wooden headboards, and cabinetry fashioned after vintage luggage pieces.

The most significant changes to the 18-acre property are the surfeit of new amenities fitting for St. Barth largest resort. Paramount among these is enclave Beach House Saint Barth, featuring a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant with three distinct seating areas, the vibrant Bar Mélangé, and a beachfront infinity pool with unparalleled vistas of Grand Cul de Sac’s azure waters. The property’s transformation also includes the addition of a Rosewood Explorers kids’ club and a complex housing Sense, Rosewood’s signature spa, complete with a state-of-the-art gymnasium, an ice room, an adults-only pool, and multiple treatment rooms framed by tranquil reflection ponds. rosewoodhotels.com

Discover additional wellness offerings worldwide in LM’s 2024 Wellness Guide at www.luxurycard.com/guide/2024/wellness.