Hot Properties

From a desert oasis to high-mountain thermal springs, these ten atmospheric getaways cut the winter chill.

Aug 21, 2006
Outside Magazine
Esperanza Resort

WATER WORLD: From poolside float to ocean plunge and back at Esperanza Resort    Photo: Esperanza Resort

Esperanza Resort [Baja California Sur, Mexico]
THE SILKY BREEZE OFF THE SEA OF CORTEZ will thaw any winter-hardened soul at this new luxury property near Cabo San Lucas. Set on the bluffs of Punta Ballena, a prime whale-watching spot, Esperanza is a tropical compound of sandstone-hued villas with sweeping terraces that overlook two placid coves. Mingle with other guests at a pair of lapis-colored infinity pools while sipping mango smoothies or slurping watermelon-mint popsicles. For a full-body cooldown, head to the spa for the Baja Lime body detox and hydrate with a grapefruit-and-aloe agua fresca. Wander down to the torch-lit beach, where overstuffed pillows and couches make for sublime stargazing.

ROOM & BOARD: The 56 casitas and suites are light and airy—with floor-to-pitched-roof sliding glass doors—and heavy on comforts: Frette linens, custom-mixed lotions, elegant woven furniture, and colorful local art. Sample exquisitely prepared local fish, like lime-and-mango-glazed cabrilla and peanut-dusted dorado, at the terraced alfresco restaurant El Restaurante. Or grab a snappy fish taco and sunset cocktail at Esperanza's El Bar (don't miss the tequila-and-cigar menu).

OUT THE BACK DOOR: After morning yoga or Pilates, step up your heart rate on the tennis courts or the two-mile, saguaro-studded trail. The staff can arrange diving, sailing, and surfing trips to nearby breaks like Zippers and to the artist enclave of Todos Santos, a 75-minute drive north. A must-do: Kayak to Santa Maria Bay to snorkel among angelfish, puffers, and wrasses.

DETAILS: Doubles from $575; 866-311-2226,