This 30-acre Resort in Baja California, Mexico, Has Gorgeous New Oceanfront Villas and an Incredible Spa — See Inside

Just outside Todos Santos, Mexico, Rancho Pescadero is the perfect escape by the Pacific Ocean.

Villa living room area with natural decor at Rancho Pescadero

Albert Lewis

Behind a heavy, unmarked concrete door — one that guests are encouraged to push themselves — is an open-air courtyard, a gateway to the reimagined Rancho Pescadero. “It’s like crossing over to Narnia,” said Bill Moore, who, along with his wife, Lisa Harper, are the long-time owners of this transformed Baja California, Mexico, oasis. “Entering the property is like being introduced to this whole other world.”

To get to and from “Rancho,” as locals call it, my car had to slowly crawl down an unpaved dirt path more than a mile from the main road. Once through the hotel’s entryway, there is no traditional check-in desk. Instead, an altar-like structure, sculpted by an artist from Guadalajara, greeted me.

Living room seating and outdoor terrace with plunge pool and ocean in the distance at Rancho Pescadero

lbert Lewis

If there’s one word to describe the initial experience of getting to and entering the property, it’s unassuming. And that's exactly what Moore was going for. “Previous guests have said that they just don’t expect a special hotel to exist all the way out here," he told me.

Now, those same guests — or totally new ones, like myself — can stay at a transformed property. During its four-year renovation, Rancho went through a complete facelift by not only expanding its room count to 103, but also adding a 25,000-square-foot spa with an on-site apothecary and herb garden, and 12 oceanfront villas, each with a private plunge pool, outdoor shower, and direct beach access. “I think we’ve retained much of what made the original Rancho unique, but now it’s something that is even more of a wellness and luxury destination,” Moore explained. 

Exterior view of a villa at Rancho Pescadero

Albert Lewis

It’s a huge shift for a hotel that had fairly humble beginnings. Harper first bought this beachfront oasis in 1997 from local farmers who had been using the land to grow poblano chili peppers for generations. Her idea was to preserve and highlight the area’s natural beauty. More than a decade after first purchasing the land, Harper sketched out what a 12-room hotel would look like, and Rancho Pescadero opened in 2009. 

Now, that original concept — to safeguard and accentuate the unspoiled charm of Baja California’s rugged coastline — remains 14 years later, albeit on a grander scale. 

View of the central bar at Rancho Pescadero with palm trees and ocean in the distance

Kenny Viese

As I meandered through the 30-acre resort, I felt this natural connection to the earth. Yes, it might sound a little hokey, but consider this scenario: The 10-minute walk from the hotel entrance to my villa wove through nine interconnected gardens, with the Sierra Laguna mountains as a dramatic backdrop. I saw hundreds of indigenous desert plants, displaced during Rancho's construction but maintained and replanted in their original locations afterward. (Moore noted that 90 percent of those plants survived and 70,000 more were propagated.) And at the end of this desert-to-dune stroll? Endless, expansive views of the deep blue Pacific Ocean. It’s a complete journey from land to sea, all in a matter of minutes. 

Rancho’s accommodations highlight both the outdoors and the local artisans of the region. In fact, Moore and Harper call the suites and villas a place where “nature meets Mexican soul.” Almost every room has ocean or coastal views with plush day beds. My villa, one of 12 located directly on the beach, included a retractable glass wall which I opened each morning to experience the crashing waves — a natural alarm clock, if you will. While whales can be spotted from these beachfront rooms (even while perched in bed, thanks to a tiered design), I, unfortunately, didn’t see any on my visit. I did get to savor a daily array of complimentary morning treats, which Rancho calls an “eye-opener.” Hung next to every door, guests get a knapsack of fruit and pastries, and it’s the ideal accompaniment with in-room coffee from Todos Santos-based local roastery, Docecuarenta. 

King bed in Milagro suite at Rancho Pescadero

Kenny Viese

Looking around the villa, I saw an array of custom-made furnishings, many of which I learned Harper sourced herself. Standouts include a steel headboard with leather tassel detailing made in Chihuahua and peacock green Talavera wall tiling made by artisans in Tlaquepaque and Tijuana. Villas also include outdoor rainfall showers surrounded by a stunning array of indigenous plants. One thing you won’t see in any room at all? A television. After all, Rancho’s ethos is about connection to the outdoors, and with a renewed emphasis on wellness, the latest binge-watch will have to wait until you get home. 

Blue wall and blue tiled shower with green plants outside at Rancho Pescadero

Albert Lewis

Over at the 25,000-square-foot Botánica Spa, rays of filtered sunlight beam through a thatched roof in each of the 12 individual outdoor treatment “nests,” evoking the feeling of being in a sacred or mystical space. But what makes the spa experience particularly special is the ability to create your own custom blend of essential oils — sourced directly from Rancho’s gardens. Rancho grows organic herbs, including rosemary, tarragon, sage, lavender, lemongrass, and native medicine plants such as hoja santa and epazote. A therapist can then use that blend for individual treatments. For the first time, I was my very own apothecary.  

Of course, it’s not just the guests who roam the gardens. Under the vision of culinary director chef Sandro Falbo, Rancho has a renewed food and beverage program. Falbo told me 80 percent of the ingredients used on-site are sourced from within 50 miles of the hotel, with many items coming directly from the property. “To see the local farmers and fishermen keeping their traditions and self-sustaining communities alive is incredibly humbling. [It’s] something we want guests of Rancho to feel like they’re a part of,“ Falbo said. 

Currently, there are two restaurants, the farm-to-table Botánica Garden Restaurant and the aptly named Centro Cafe, which serves Mexican classics. A third oceanfront restaurant, Kahal, is opening this spring with a focus on seafood, mixing Mexican and international flavors. 

I indulged in Botánica’s signature “hangover brunch” experience, where meat is slowly roasted underground overnight and then served with tortillas fresh off the comal the next day. Even the pizza (yes, there's pizza) is incredible, and I believed chef Falbo when he told me it’s the best in all of Mexico. I also previewed Kahal’s menu, sampling herb and lime-cured grouper, spaghetti nero and sea urchin, and an octopus skewer with black lime aioli and chimichurri. 

While Rancho is an oasis on its own, there’s a whole region to discover outside its doors. Going off-property to immerse in the local culture is encouraged, including tours of the nearby town of Todos Santos. Todos Santos has grown in popularity among tourists over the last decade and is now a vibrant center of luxury and art. Esperanza's Tours, a small, family-owned company from Los Cabos, partners with the hotel to lead guests on tours of Todos Santos. My experience included visiting the artist Arturo Mendoza, a stop for oysters and crudo at the chic Santa Terra, and shopping at Bésame Mucho Bazar

Blue green tile and black stone bathtub in the villa at Rancho Pescadero

Albert Lewis

Back at Rancho Pescadero on my final day, I spoke with Bill Moore about what else we can expect from the property in the months and years to come. Besides Kahal restaurant coming online, an additional oceanfront infinity pool with cenote-style jacuzzis and 14 floating loungers will open this spring. A fourth restaurant, with an entirely plant-based menu, is planned for 2024, but Moore was mum on additional details. On the sustainability front, a sprawling solar power system is being installed with the goal of reaching 100 percent renewable electrical energy utilization within five years. This is in addition to the 2,700 solar panels currently in use. 

The hotel's nightly rates start at $895. As Rancho Pescadero is now part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection and designated a Category 7 hotel; Guests can also book with World of Hyatt points, starting at 34,000 points per night for a standard garden-view or ocean-view room.

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