A resort with an all-inclusive option and rooms sleeping up to 12, Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto is an ideal family-friendly destination in Baja California.
The first sight of Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa includes the Giganta Mountains, Sea of Cortez and Danzante Bay in a staggering panorama of natural beauty.
What sets this property apart from other resorts? They treat all guests like family, and kid guests come first.
Seaside Resort caters to families
Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa suites have fully stocked kitchens. Sliding doors in the bedroom and living room open onto a large terrace that faces the resort’s five swimming pools and the islands of Loreto.
The full schedule of activities and entertainment include adult aerobics in the main pool (there are five), kid’s yoga on the beach, a wide range of water sports and complimentary daily Spanish classes.
We arrive on a day when a BBQ bash is on the schedule of evening activities. At 7pm, I wander down to the beach.
Festivities are underway: a fire dancer has the crowd mesmerized; a variety of meats, seafood, salads and vegetables are on the grill.
Even better, the MC leads guests as young as 4-years into a series of dance routines from salsa to Abba’s “Dancing Queens.” When the festivities settle down, we gather around one of the bonfire pits to star-gaze late into the night.
Mystical Landscape of Loreto
Loreto, Mexico is just an hour and a half flight from Los Angeles on Alaskan Air yet even the half-hour drive from the airport to the resort is breathtakingly beautiful.
Scruffy desert bushes, in all sizes and shapes, grow along the winding road and gigantic cactus, some as tall as 97 feet, rise from crevices in the surreal mystical mountains.
Legend has it, the transformed energy and spirits of giants who once inhabited the earth now live inside the cactus, reigning over sacred grounds that have been home to many nomadic tribes. No doubt, as the fifth largest area on the planet for cave paintings, their sculpted peaks hold many secrets.
Since the resort’s low adobe buildings blend into the terrain on the edge of the second largest sea park in the world, there’s a wealth of nature to discover, explore and enjoy.
One morning, we wade into the shallow calm waters of Danzante Bay, and climb aboard a boat for an exciting day of discovery and snorkeling.
We pass dramatic formations, craggy rocks inhabited by hundreds of sea birds, and intriguing caves ablaze with colorful wall paintings. We anchor off the island of Carmen; don snorkel masks and flippers and then jump into the refreshing clear water.
I am overwhelmed by the schools of fish that swim by my side.
Kids Activities include Cooking
The hotel’s kids club is all about sharing the blending of cultures and having fun.
I watch a group of kids practice cartwheels and handstands on the beach while a family with two sons paddles out to sea on a sturdy kayak.
Others are busy decorating sea shells they have gathered and in the Clubhouse classroom, a Spanish lesson is in session.
As part of the hotel’s culinary calendar, four visiting chefs entertain kids and parents, with a poolside lesson in cooking fried green tomatoes.
Oscar Torres, Food & Beverage Manager, tells me: “As habits change with our younger guests, we are ready for the growing tendencies towards vegan additions to our menus.” For Sunday brunch, they prepare Cheddar cheese chive waffles and buttermilk fried chicken, drizzled with bourbon maple syrup.
Stay busy with Golf and Spa
The Rees Jones golf course and putting green with its backdrop of mountains, natural vegetation and panoramic views of the sea is considered “course friendly” for all ability levels.
Daily complimentary golf lessons are given to kids tall enough to hold and swing a club.
The hotel spa is all about wellness. I immerse my body in a series of hot, warm and cold pools. While I relax and luxuriate in each, Adela the bath lady places cold cucumber rounds on my eyes and covers them with a cold towel.
In between dips, I hit the sauna, steam room and icy Vichy shower… then move to a message room where the knowing hands of a therapist transports me to yet another state of bliss.
Dining Options for all Tastes
Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa has three restaurants to choose from; buffets catering to finicky eaters include kid’s favorite foods such as pasta, chicken wings and burgers. Guest chefs teach kids how to cook healthy meals, and enjoy better food choices.
“We cook as ordered, and are able to offer a wide range of flavors and choices,” adds Torres.
“All resorts give you basic amenities; only thing we can do differently is to recognize and remember what pleases our guests.”
Lunch in Casa Mia is a scrumptious pizza party. Their famous thin-crusted pizzas oozing with grilled meats, cheeses and chicken are made with corn meal rather than flour.
Danzante, the resort’s fine dining restaurant, serves a special menu. Tonight it is shrimp wrapped in sweet chili sauce, traditional tortilla soup perfumed with pumpkin flower and guajillo chili, locally caught sea bass from the nearby fishing village of Ensenada Blanca and a filet mignon in merlot and red passion fruit sauce.
Tart and frothy margaritas compliment the menu and quench our thirst.
Exploring Nearby Loreto
The hotel shuttle offers complimentary service into the charming town of Loreto.
In colonial times, missionaries were sent here to spread Christianity among the original indigenous peoples.
I visit the Mission, wander the cobblestone streets, and then stop at Mi Loreto Restaurant for a heaping bowl of guacamole.
I return to find Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa is truly luxury in harmony with nature.
The Villa Group additionally owns and manages a collection of all-inclusive resorts in Cabos San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit, Cancun and Loreto Islands. Time share ownership is available as well.
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