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3 weeks agoupdated Jun 03, 2024

The Mexican All-inclusive Resorts with Michelin-starred Restaurants

The Michelin Guide has finally reached Mexico, rewarding two all-inclusive hotels with a star each.

By Becca Hensley

In a palatial room aglow with gleaming marble, velvet chairs, mid-century modern-shaped furniture and Jazz Age architectural flourishes, I could easily be in a restaurant in a buzzy city in Europe. But, I’m not in Amsterdam or Copenhagen or Paris. I’m in Mexico at Grand Velas Los Cabos at Cocina de Autor, the five-star all-inclusive hotel’s premier restaurant.

And the coup de gras? Cocina de Autor has just garnered one Michelin Star in Mexico’s long-awaited, inaugural Michelin Guide – as has its sister (but not twin) restaurant of the same name, located at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, helmed by a different chef.

Stop for a moment to ponder that… a Michelin-starred restaurant at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico – in two places. As small plates of serendipitous bites come before me – Australian wagyu with smoked parmesan and figs; an oyster in its shell floating in green apple aquachile, fig and arbequina juice — I swoon, gobsmacked that this caliber of food is being served at a pay-in-advance resort. Offering an exhilarating foray of courses, Cocina de Autor in Los Cabos serves visually eye-popping dishes, food profound with flavor and unexpected textures.

[See also: Explore Mexico with Elite Traveler]

Cocina de Autor has just garnered one star in Mexico’s inaugural Michelin Guide/ ©Grand Velas

Each offering surprises me with its urbanity and earthiness. The presentations and combinations feel decidedly familiar but extraordinary – like hearing a poem recited in a different accent or seeing a favorite chair in a new room. That’s not to imply the restaurant derives inspiration only from global gastronomy or is mundane. On the contrary, each delight creatively weaves in Mexico’s own bounty, whether as a spice, a main player or, as in the wagyu dish, a fig grown in a nearby garden. 

For foodies who travel to eat, wellness aficionados, families, those on a romantic tryst and even solo travelers, Grand Velas’ two most peerless hotels, Grand Velas Riviera Maya and Grand Velas Los Cabos, both offer more than myriad restaurants, a multiplicity of activities, stellar spas and lavish suites.

Now travelers can eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant every night of their trip for their all-inclusive rate. Here’s more about these two exceptional, family-owned hotels. 

[See also: The Best Luxury Hotels in Los Cabos]

Grand Velas Los Cabos

Birds eye view of the Grand Velas Resort
Grand Velas Los Cabos finds itself between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo /©Grand Velas

Stay

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The fifth (but not the last) resort envisioned by the Velas family to meet their personal high holiday standards, Grand Velas Los Cabos was a $150m project. On a stunning beach midway between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, the sprawling masterpiece reigns as an oasis amid desert-meets-ocean terrain.

Stylishly built with Mexican contemporary elan, it offers 307 commodious, ocean-view suites with private terraces (some with plunge pools) that range in size from 1,180 to 6,081 sq-ft. A staff ratio of three to one ensures exemplary service at all times.

Spread out in the the dramatically designed Imperial Suite; a two-bedroom haven with a living room, dining room, three bathrooms, exquisite Mexican artwork and a private pool, among other features. Expect stand-out service, including a 24-hour butler, a 50-minute massage per guest per day and VIP transportation to and from the airport with this suite. 

Dine

Including the Michelin-starred Cocina de Autor, Grand Velas Los Cabos has five fine-dining restaurants / ©Grand Velas

Grand Velas Los Cabos has five fine-dining restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Cocina de Autor. In the evenings, we love Frida, an epicurean Mexican adventure. During the day, three all-day eateries sate – including a buzzy ceviche bar. Throughout the resort, a slew of venues serves top-shelf liquors, upscale wine and craft beer. 

Relax

The pool at Grand Velas Los Cabos
Poolside ocean views at Grand Velas Los Cabos / ©Grand Velas Los Cabos

Three-tiered pools compose the heart of the property, positioned to overlook the cobalt-blue waves. In terms of wellness, SE Spa at Grand Velas Los Cabos decompresses travel-weary guests with more than twenty different treatments, each organized as “ceremonies”. Try the Ceremony of Mexico, which draws from local healing traditions. A seven-step “Water Journey” is included with any treatment of 50 minutes or more.

Kids love their set-aside pool and splash pad, as well as the trendy teen’s club and activity-rife kid’s club for ages four to 12. State-of-the-art fitness facilities and a variety of on-site daily wellness experiences keep guests on their regimens. 

[See also: The Best Golf Resorts in Los Cabos]

Explore

The best Mexican wines hail from Baja California—and Grand Velas Los Cabos revels in their collection. Top Mexican sommelier Don Pedro Poncelis Brambila developed a wine list comprised of 50 Mexican wines that run the gamut from white to red to sparkling. More than 200 wines from around the world round out the list. Taste them all via resort wine tastings, paint and wine activities and wine pairings during meals.

Concierges can also arrange an array of local activities including deep-sea fishing, whale-watching tours and art walks in San Jose. 

Sustainability

Most pointedly, Grand Velas Los Cabos operates a self-sufficient reverse osmosis desalination plant. For every liter of potable water, the resort is able to reuse more than two-and-a-half cups for general purposes, while one-and-a-half cups are returned to the subsoil, aiding in the conservation of the environment.

[See also: The Best Restaurants in Los Cabos]

Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Stay

On Mexico’s Caribbean coast near Cancun, Grand Velas Riviera Maya opened in 2008 as the first family-friendly all-inclusive in the area, rated Five Diamonds by AAA. Ensconced amongst 205 acres of monkey-filled mangrove jungle, dotted with cenotes (the area’s freshwater wells considered sacred by the Maya people), the resort flaunts 539 suites that begin at a spacious 1,100 sq-ft in size.

Almost like three hotels in one, Grand Velas Riviera Maya has a trio of moods: oceanfront, ocean-view and jungle nestled. Wherever guests stay, they can take full advantage of the resort’s myriad amenities, from pools to restaurants.

The top accommodation, the Grand Class Presidential Suite, has two bedrooms, including a huge master, kitted out with imported furniture and local artwork – not to mention three bathrooms, a private pool outdoor shower and more. As at Grand Velas Los Cabos, guests who stay in the premier suite enjoy first-in-class amenities including 24-hour butler service and a 50-minute massage per person per day in the suite’s massage area.

[See also: The 14 Best Haciendas In Mexico]

Dine

The dining room at the Michelin-starred Cocina de Autor / ©Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Grand Velas Riviera Maya set the Velas standard for next-level gastronomy. Among five gourmet options at the resort, the Michelin-starred Cocina de Autor highlights Mexican cuisine and local ingredients – except this one helmed by Chef Nahum Velasco, with the concept created by Bruno Oteiza and Mikel Alonso.

The three all-day eateries are equally satisfying, including Azul by the beach, which turns out a mind-blowing breakfast buffet. Don’t miss the Mexican favorites. Sip at Sky Bar for creative cocktails with a view and sing along in the campy Karaoke Bar, if you dare. 

Relax

The award-winning SE Spa is designed to mirror a cenote pool / ©Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Though pools and activities galore await, a highlight at this resort is the sensational, award-winning SE Spa, set within and meant to mirror a real cenote. Tranquil and water-based, it pampers guests with a truly innovative spa menu that borrows from local culture and plants.

Its 90,000 sq-ft of bliss incorporates the remarkable Water Journey, which includes time in the sauna with cucumber eye patches and a clay body mask room.  Try the Paak’Am Treatment, a massage that begins with a Mayan blessing and then uses Nopal cactus paddles for the massage, much as warm rocks are used in a hot stone treatment. 

[See also: Inside Two Authentic New Resorts on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula]

Explore

Grand Velas concierge can arrange a range of activities to explore the best of the Yucatan Peninsula / ©Grand Velas Riveria Maya

Grand Velas Riviera Maya happily organizes behind-the-scenes ecological tours for guests taking them through the jungle and to the beach to learn about the Yucatan Peninsula’s flora and fauna. In addition, concierges can organize visits to archeological sites such as Chichen Itza and Tulum, or a swim in a local cenote.

Sustainability

From sea turtle protection to solar panels to a reverse osmosis desalination plant, this well-tested resort also reforested more than 20,000 trees during its building, preserving the natural habitat for 104 animal species and 53 types of plants and trees. 

[See also: Casa Chablé: A New Eco Retreat in a Mexican Biosphere]

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