Rancho Pescadero began as one woman’s dream almost three decades ago when a visionary named Lisa Harper spent nearly a year camping out on a secluded beach in the small fishing village of El Pescadero in Todos Santos, Mexico. Inspired, she purchased a parcel of land where local farmers had been growing poblano chili peppers for generations and with a pioneering mindset to build responsibly, designed a 12-room hotel to be known as Rancho Pescadero.
This November, after spending the past couple of years in respite, Rancho Pescadero will unveil a ground-up transformation inclusive of 103 suites and villas on 30 sprawling oceanfront acres where barefoot luxury meets Mexican soul.
The journey begins with a drive through basil and calla lily fields before guests arrive at an unmarked concrete entryway where Harper believes they ‘cross over.’ Once inside, bold Mexican artwork and towering Día de los Muertos altars decorated with living vines create a whimsical sense of arrival while sparking curiosity about what’s on the other side. The resort’s grounds are designed to mimic Baja’s unique biosphere, unfolding in winding paths from the desert to the ocean with lush gardens bursting with color, secret nooks, and serene shady spaces in between. As guests move through the resort, they’ll roam nine interconnected gardens, an orchard filled with citrus trees, and a farm with goats, chickens, and bees. These play an integral role in the resort’s ethnobotanical culinary concept, which takes a mindful approach to living off the land in a way that honors each lovingly grown ingredient.
Helmed by Executive Chef Sandro Falbo, an Italian culinary aficionado with a love of nature and the earth, Botánica garden restaurant highlights ingredients grown on property and within El Pescadero’s agricultural community. Don’t miss ‘barbacoa Sundays’ where Chef Falbo slowly roasts meat in a pit dug into the ground and serves it with handmade tortillas hot off the comal. He’s also distilling his own limoncello using a variety of homegrown lemons, smoking herbs to create lavish, tableside preparations and planting up a storm; from trees that produce giant avocados to sprigs of rosemary, lavender leaf, and epazote – a local medicinal herb known for its healing properties.
At Kahal, the resort’s oceanfront restaurant, the vibe is completely different. With a sweeping, curved infinity pool as its piece de resistance, Kahal’s ethereal atmosphere is inspired by the shimmering pinks of seashells and Baja’s colorful sunsets. Here, Falbo presents sustainably caught seafood fused with Mexican and Asian flavors in elegant preparations that include ceviche, tiraditos and sushi, plus dishes like guacamole with seaweed chicharron, smoked lobster ravioli made with Mexican spices, and a ‘Shucked & Shocked’ duo of local chocolate clams and oysters garnished with a lime caviar.
The resort’s 103 suites and villas are stylish yet relaxed, featuring clean lines, neutral tones and textures that add vibrance while allowing nature to shine through. Local designer Alejandra Templeton takes travelers on a journey through Mexico with talavera bathroom tiling handmade by artisans in Tlaquepaque, steel headboards with leather tassel detailing made in Chihuahua, copper vases from Michoacán, and fabrics sourced from Tijuana. Tucked into the dunes, twelve oceanfront villas are personalized with plunge pools, fire pits and outdoor showers surrounded by plants that offer the background music of soothing ocean waves. Plus, private beach access. With coastal views from 98% of the resort’s accommodations, travelers will want to try a different suite or villa each time they visit.
Rancho Pescadero has a wellness philosophy rooted in the wisdom of indigenous plants. The resort’s 25,000 sq. ft. spa features an apothecary where visitors can pick herbs and botanicals from the adjacent gardens to create their own soaks, teas, masks, and scrubs. With a belief that your bartender should also be your healer, the herbs are used in traditional medicinal tinctures that can be added to your cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage of choice for a healthy boost. A hydrotherapy circuit with an ice fountain, steam room, experience shower and Himalayan salt sauna; twelve treatment nests; two yoga shalas and a reformer Pilates studio; Olympic-sized swimming pool; indoor/outdoor gym and Pickleball courts are complemented variety of daily rituals, including sound bath healings, earthing mediations and native cacao ceremonies.
As a Todos Santos resident for many years, Harper is committed to building in a way that does not put pressure on the municipality’s infrastructure. With more than half the property made up of native plants, her team has meticulously reforested all plants moved during construction, reused construction materials from the original property and sourced locally for the hotel’s materials, furnishings, and artwork. When it comes to environmental responsibility, wastewater treatment, gray water recycling and desalination are just the basics. Harper is in the process of converting to a fully sustainable solar power grid and launching a water bottling plant on property. But what stands out the most might be her humanistic approach to hospitality, which traces back to the original Rancho and her experience as a first-time hotelier. She is currently building homes for her employees that they’ll eventually have rights to own and breaking ground on a technical school that will be open to all residents of the area.
“First and foremost, Rancho Pescadero is a community investment,” remarks Harper. “From an environmental responsibility standpoint, we’re building the project to be as self-sufficient as possible. I always believe that if I provide a great product that’s done responsibly, we’re going to win in the end. Our goal with Rancho is simply to do the right thing and trust the outcome to speak for itself, and hopefully show other properties that they can do it as well.”
The adults-only property is part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection and a member of Virtuoso. Future development will include homes and villas as part of the Rancho Pescadero private residences collection. www.ranchopescadero.com