Free coffee in lobby in morning, and free breakfast available
Welcome snack upon arrival
Free, secure parking
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Near a busy highway, noise audible in some parts of hotel
Advanced reservations necessary for dinner to be served
Can be hard to find
Casa Costa Azul is a 14-room boutique hotel with tons of charm on one of Los Cabos' few swimmable beaches. This hotel is ready-made for kicking back -- hammocks are strung between palm trees, and there's a sleek pool deck, a yoga studio, and an excellent homey restaurant. This family-run property's rooms are individually designed, with rustic hardwood furniture, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and bathrooms covered in vibrant Mexican tilework. All rooms have at least partial sea views from terraces. There is a highway behind the hotel that's a bit noisy, but the surf is the loudest sound at night. It'll be hard to top the charm here, however, those searching for something closer to foodie bars and restaurants could check out Tropicana Inn, right in San Jose.
Laid-back boutique hotel with a touch of bohemian charm
In an area of Los Cabos that's full of ultra-luxe condos and surfer crash pads, this tiny, tucked-away hotel is the definition of a hidden gem. It's so hidden, in fact, that the entrance is easily missed from the busy highway out front (tip: it's just after an on ramp and bus stop on the northbound side of the highway). Those who are lucky enough to find this spot, though, are in for a treat. The site of the hotel was once a camping spot for the owner, Jorge, in the 1980s -- he's an avid surfer who also happens to be an engineer. His family constructed the building over 13 years, and now the gleaming white hotel -- with touches of Art Deco and minimalist-modern styles -- stands high amid palm trees over the sand and sea. It's a humble spot, with no active bar scene and nowhere for socializing, though the stylish pool area, hammocks strung from palm trees, and casual terrace restaurant all ostensibly offer a place to hang out. Jorge and his family -- who still run the hotel -- have created a haven for those looking to escape the all-inclusive resorts and tourist traps that dot this stretch of the Sea of Cortez. Most guests are American or Canadian couples, with plenty of travelers coming down for a long weekend to enjoy the fantastic surfing along Costa Azul.
On Costa Azul's beach, a 10-minute drive into San Jose del Cabo
Many of the beaches in Los Cabos are either owned by resorts or unswimmable because of dangerous surf and currents. However, Casa Costa Azul has a prime spot on a stretch of shoreline where guests can actually get in the water. Still, it's worth exercising some caution and checking on water conditions before entering. Surfer's tend to congregate a five-minute walk farther down shore where the breaks are more reliable. There's not much else to do within walking distance, and most neighboring properties are condo developments. Zipper's, a popular beachside restaurant, is just a five-minute walk down the beach. Otherwise, a car will be necessary for getting around and exploring. San Jose -- a quaint town that hosts lively, weekly art walks in high season -- is only a 10-minute drive north, while tequila-fueled Cabo San Lucas is a 25-minute drive south for those wanting to party. Expect a 15-minute drive to the airport from the hotel.
Homey, quaint rooms with balconies -- some with direct sea views
The same amount of care that went into the design and construction of the hotel has gone into its sparkling clean rooms. The owners individually decorated each unit, though the look is best described as Mexican beach-bohemian across the board. Expect to see chunky, carved wooden furniture, woven blankets on beds, and rustic Mexican art on the walls. Pops of bright color liven things up -- some rooms have goldenrod accent walls while others have vibrant textiles that punch up the decor just a bit. Tile floors keep things cool -- along with powerful air-conditioning and ceiling fans -- and all rooms are spacious. The beds -- with soft pillow-top mattresses -- were some of the most comfortable we slept in on our last pass through Cabo.
Each room has a small balcony with plastic seating, though the Ocean King Rooms -- which are the last room on each floor -- have larger terraces with direct sea views. The other rooms offer partial sea views. Additional standard features include flat-screen TVs (though some rooms have tube units), free Wi-Fi, minibars (no free water), and desks or small tables. A welcome plate of snacks is provided upon check-in. Bathrooms are lovely, if compact, and done in bright blue-and-white Mexican tilework, with walk-in showers and a generous amount of toiletries. It's worth noting that in most rooms, the sound of the pounding surf is the only noise at night, though rooms closer to the road may pick up a bit of noise from the highway on occasion.
Lovely small pool and swimmable beach, plus excellent food and a yoga studio
Despite its small stature and lack of any real social scene, this hotel has a number of features that make it a standout in the boutique category. Of course, one of the biggest selling points here is the beach. There's no set-ups or lounge chairs on the sand, but its wide, clean, and -- best of all -- it's swimmable on most days (though always check conditions ahead of time). The best breaks for surfers are a five-minute walk down the beach at a spot known as Zipper's (the name is shared with the nearby restaurant). The hotel provides beach towels for free. Just above the beach is the hotel's sleek pool. It's small, but perfect for cooling off in Cabo's heat, and there are a number of lounge chairs arranged looking out to sea. Other spots for relaxing include a sandy hammock area that's strung between palm trees, within earshot of the ocean.
Food is a major plus here as well. The tiny terrace restaurant serves an excellent breakfast of classic Mexican dishes plus a few international staples. Lunch is also offered. Everything is home-cooked and tasty, especially the chilaquiles. A free continental breakfast and free coffee are included in room rates, but this is frequently upgraded to the full breakfast that's served in the restaurant. Dinners must be arranged in advance by mid-afternoon, and can be served on the beach as well.
Not many boutique hotels in the area have yoga studios on-site, making this a major bonus. Meditation classes are also offered. The hotel can arrange all manner of activities, from boat tours to surf lessons and ATV treks. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property and parking is also free.
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