Ultimate Relaxation Resort: The four-day getaway that feels like a week!
One of my sons and I were recently honored to accept an invitation from Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto for a 4 day/3 night stay in Baja, Mexico, off of California. Because my mom was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer, which had landed her in the ER numerous times since April, I have to say, I was hesitant to accept the invitation.
Take a trip of a lifetime?
At a time like this?
How could I do such a thing?
And WHY would I even consider it?
The fact of the matter was that I wasn't able to do a lot for my mom anyway. She was (and still is), a stubborn woman and wanted to keep her independence as long as possible, so that automatically limited how much "help" I could even be to her. She doesn't necessarily live next door and like she kept saying, "Life goes on." and she's right.
I still have to raise my kids, run my businesses, make memories with my own kids, pay bills, and what-not. After much thought, I made the extremely difficult decision to accept the invitation and get some much-needed one-on-one time with my 13-year-old son, as well as escape the realities that the daily grind offers back home. So... we made plans, ordered passports, and headed off to Mexico!
Surprisingly, it is just about a 4-hour flight from the Seattle area to "paradise." Who knew, right? Not all flights are direct, but you are only in the air for about 4 hours, so depending on your connecting flight, you are not spending a whole day to travel which is a major bonus. That means vacation is only a few hours away.
Once dubbed Mexico’s first “Trip Advisor Million-Star Resort,” you won’t want to miss this hidden gem.
Here is how to enjoy the perfect 4-day stay (or longer!) at the Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto:
Day One: Arrive early. The flight is only about 4 hours, so leave early and arrive early. Get your money's worth and get near the pool or beach on day ONE. Nothing like waking up on day two knowing you had so much fun the day prior and it wasn’t even a full day! If you are coming from the west coast, it’s certainly possible to be on the beach the same day, which is ah-mazing.
Once you get in and get settled, unpacked, showered, etc. we suggest getting to one of their fantastic restaurants to refuel your tank. The heat can take some time to adjust to, and we found the best way to deal with that was to... EAT and drink! Haha, kidding. Sorta. This resort has an all-inclusive option and it comes highly recommended. My kiddo loved all the delicious food and the fun non-alcoholic drinks, such as this strawberry mojito.
After we ate, there was still plenty of time to go explore, so we did a tour to get a feel for the layout of the sprawling family-friendly resort. On the tour, we learned where everything was located and became excited about all the activities in store for us, including the spa, beaches, hiking, pools, restaurants, entertainment, and more. Save some time for the activities that aren't included. For a nominal price, you can rent ATVs, go golfing on the most fabulous course around, play rooftop tennis, go to the town of Loreto on the shuttle, and much more. If you feel like staying on the resort the whole time like we did, you can certainly do that too. There is an on-site market where you can buy goods, souvenirs, snacks, sunscreen, and much more. We loved that they had an ice cream shop in the market and we made a mental note of that for later.
There are palm trees and fresh aloe plants all over the property, which really added to the authenticity of the area. The property was simply stunning and well taken care of with landscapers working on it daily to keep it sharp. Looking to purchase property in this area? No worries, there is an on-site real estate office to learn more. What a dream, right?!
Day Two: Spa Day! The 2nd day we had breakfast at The Market and hit the surreal spa. My son has enjoyed a pedicure with me before, so I was pretty sure he would enjoy a full spa treatment, and he did. The environment is so relaxing with inviting colors, smells, and views to satisfy your every desire. When you leave here you will then know what a true "spa day" should be like. It is fairly private, which made us feel important for sure. There were multiple saunas, steam rooms, jacuzzi, private pools, showers, etc. Downstairs they have a gym, as pictured. You will enjoy all that the spa building has to offer. Trust me, I am not one to treat myself or really have downtime and this is just what I needed to take me to the next level of Zen.
Water Sports: After the spa, we took a quick stand-up paddleboard lesson for the first time. It is recommended that you get your lessons early (around 9:30 am) because the boards get reserved later in the day and it could be hard to get your hands on one. Water sports are best before 4:30 pm due to the tide/current. We enjoyed the challenge of learning to “balance” on a board and then paddle. Such a simple concept, you’d think, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Of all the water sports available, my son enjoyed paddle-boards most because of what a challenge it is to stay on! But after paddle-boarding, he kayaked as far as he could, while staying within the resort's safety boundaries, all because a local said he’d never been that far.
He made it there and back no problem though. Let's just say I "spectated".
Later that day, we headed over to the poolside eatery, hung out at the pool, and just worked on our suntans (being from the Seattle area, this is a real situation, y'all). It was quite the delight debating what type of relaxing we should partake of next. The resort is designed to encourage you to rest as much as possible and take in the views. With pink Adirondack chairs lining the balcony overlooking the ocean, beach-side eatery's, and a beach littered with umbrellas and lawn chairs, it is quite apparent that resting (and escaping reality, in my case), is in order.
For those of you who have video game addicted children (raises hand) there is a room dedicated to just that! Had my other son come too, I would have likely let them have an hour or so in the game room, but since it was mom and son time, we refrained from the games this time around. However, it is air-conditioned in there, and to be honest, periodic breaks from the heat are never a bad thing.
Day Three: I think this was one of our favorite days and it seemed like day 5, to be honest, since we had relaxed so much the first two days. We went out on the boat tour to the Islands of Loreto in the morning. I highly recommend doing this in the morning. There is a 9 am departure and a 1 or 2 pm departure. The tour guide, Paul, was hilarious and very knowledgeable and made us feel like he was seeing the beauty for the first time with us. What a treat. This day had so many adventures in store for us. We snorkeled, played with approximately 40 bottlenose dolphins, and waded in the turquoise-green Sea of Cortez, often referred to as the “aquarium of the world.” You are sure to be giddy with the views, colors, fish, scenery, and more. It was truly epic, and certainly my favorite part of the stay.
After the boat tour (about 2-3 hours long), we quickly sought shelter and air conditioning in our gorgeous room. With a full kitchen, a jet spa bath, dining table, huge patio, and more, there was ample room for us to have some individual space and still be together and fully enjoy our stay. It even included a washer/dryer in the room! Yes, it was a combo unit that washes and dries in one unit? So bizarre but also super cool. Luckily I brought enough clothes and didn't need to use it.
For dinner, we hit up the Market, which does nightly shows and/or entertainment. Since my son is an aspiring actor, he was glad to get up on the stage and participate when asked. He had a blast and, as a parent, this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Being able to watch him learn from the show AND participate was amazing. They played songs relevant to the area and also mixed in some American stuff too. The staff, whether cast, crew, or wait staff, provided excellent service all the way around. One thing to keep in mind is in Mexico you must ask for your check. It is rude for them to bring your check to you before you ask for it. We learned that the hard way and laughed when we later discovered there was a reason we didn't get a check long after we were finished with our meal. But once you do ask for a check, all your food is going bye-bye immediately, so by all means, be sure you are ready and finished eating.
Day Four: Our last day started out with breakfast at the buffet as usual. At the buffet (served morning, noon, and night), you can have a variety of foods. I chose an omelet every day for breakfast after I discovered that they made those upon request. My son, on the other hand, by day 3 and 4 chose... sweets. But hey, it’s vacation. If you can’t eat sweets for breakfast on vacation, I am not sure when you can. So this mom let it slide.
My son got a sunburn the day before and wanted to hibernate in the room, and I had committed to doing a golf tour, so after breakfast, we parted ways for a couple hours. I hit up the pool one last time and then hit the greens for the tour.
GOLF TOUR: My ONE regret is not taking the time to learn to golf with my son while at this resort. Having never golfed before, I was intimidated. I felt like I would be rushed, mocked, and so-on, since I didn't know what I was doing. Once we went out on the tour with the guide, Daniel, my worries went away. Villa del Palmar Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto seems to be the place the inexperienced learn, and that is likely because the resort makes you feel welcome to do just that.... learn on their time with your family and friends. They offer short lessons almost every day, a caddie to assist you, and cabanas and clubhouses along the way to make the experience more enjoyable. While each hole offers a new stunning view, be sure to visit hole 17 - the most scenic spot of the ENTIRE golf course.
After the tour, we had to head to the airport. Insert sad face here. We were well rested and ready to get home to share all the details with all of you! The shuttle is attentive to your needs and is included in your all-inclusive stay. We absolutely cannot wait to return again someday and bring my other son as well. Special thanks to Villa del Palmar for the lovely visit. If you book a trip, be sure to mention you saw this article on Macaroni Kid.
“Imagine your family building a sandcastle on the beach first thing in the morning, doing some paddle-boarding, kayaking, or snorkeling in the afternoon, enjoying room service for dinner, then enjoying a kid-friendly movie night before bed.”
“You can expect everyone in your crew to have an amazing experience when you book a stay at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto. Guests have access to amazing sporting opportunities including world-class fishing, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, and whale watching (According to season). Shuttle service is offered to explore historic Loreto and a variety of hotel parks ensures everyone will be having a good time: spa and fitness center, salsa dance lessons, movie nights for kids, and more.”
“Located just 20 miles south of Loreto in Baja California, Villa Del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto is home to exquisite natural beauty, including sprawling stretches of quiet beaches, scenic vistas and amazing wildlife. Known for its beauty and exceptional service, Villa Del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto is the perfect destination for a family getaway.” Sites the resort's Public Relations department.
With a variety of lodging and activity options, your family will enjoy the vacation of a lifetime at Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto. Click here to learn more about Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto and to book your next picture-perfect family trip.
The author and her son were hosted by Villa del Palmar Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto in connection with the preparation of this article. Accommodations, meals, and activities were complimentary. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are the writer's own.