REVIEW: Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

LATTE checks in as Hurricane Hilary checks out

Fact file

Property: Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Location: San José del Cabo, Mexico
Key count: 113 between 42 two-storey villas
Room: #333, Ocean View Plunge Pool – Upper Floor
Visit: 18 August 2023 (2 nights)


LATTE joined a quartet of highly experienced Australian luxury travel advisors in Los Cabos, post Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, all of whom are first-time visitors to the destination, travelling as a guest of Los Cabos Tourism. We’re exploring some of the 14 Virtuoso Preferred properties in Los Cabos, under the expert guidance of Gate 7/Los Cabos Tourism’s Paola Zevallos.


Our chauffeur driver is easily identifiable on exiting the airport terminal amid a mass of timeshare spruikers. He holds aloft a distinctive metal lantern, the size of a shoe box, above his head – despite the time approaching midday, and the onset of torrential rain. 10/10 for commitment.

The sun shines 350 days a year in Los Cabos! Antonio Rodriguez and Stephany Morales from Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve flank Annette Schaub, Travelcall; Megan Catterall, Luxe by itravel; Paola Zevallos, Gate7/Los Cabos Tourism; Amanda Oliver, FBI Travel and Belinda Ward, Spencer Travel.

Getting there:

We bypass several towns surrounding the airport, instead taking a ring road to San José del Cabo on the coast, passing Port of Los Cabos Marina, through suburbia on hardly ever straight roads, spot the Marina Golf Course as we enter the private enclave, and 35 minutes after leaving the airport we enter the gated and secure confines of Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, set within the coastal sanctuary of Puerto Los Cabos. One of only six Ritz-Carlton Reserves in the world, Zadún was the first of two in Mexico. The property displays its Five-Star hotel rating by Forbes Travel Guide at the portes-cochères.

My ‘tosoanis’ (butler), Elizabeth – one of the Ladies and Gentlemen of the resort – is in charge of my wellbeing while I’m at Zadún. She whisks me away in a cart, through immaculately kept twisting pathways surrounding all manner of native succulents and cacti towering as high as 3 metres, if not more, and lots of other greenery to my pavilion. Up 15 stairs carved from stone, through a heavy secure steel door that accesses my private terrace, I arrive.

I go through the check-in formalities with Elizabeth within the comfort of my room. There’s no regular hotel lobby for guest registration here, meaning I’m able to immerse myself in my home away from home minutes after arriving.

Tosoanis (‘dream watcher‘ in nahuati):

Elizabeth keeps consistent contact with me during my stay via WhatsApp, organising carts from my villa to restaurants, coordinating times for the room to be cleaned, reconfirming appointments, letting me know when she’s leaving the property and back on-site, and assisting with transportation for my departure.

The room:

Elizabeth walks me through my natural light-filled palatial residence (It’s not an actual residence, but there is a collection of Residences on-site).

At 70 square metres, this guest room is the largest lead-in room category in Los Cabos. I have a largely uninterrupted view of the Sea of Cortez, which during my stay is pumping as the edge of Hurricane Hilary passes close by. The crashing waves are equally spectacular and a harsh reminder that swimming at any time in the ocean here in this part of Los Cabos is not advised due to strong currents. The massive rocky outcrops that lurk beneath the

Elizabeth, LATTE's tosoanis during our stay

waves, exposed at low tide, are another giveaway. That and the enormous ‘enter at own risk’ signage at the beach access point from Zadún. The coastline itself is rather spectacular and drops away to the shoreline where dozens of tiny ghost crabs no bigger than a 50-cent piece dart around with a real purpose.

In my room, there’s a little more furniture than normal, with the outdoor table setting brought into our sanctuary ahead of the looming storm. Even so, there’s an abundance of space. There is a fully stacked mini-bar and fridge (contents of which can be fully customised to the guest’s preference ahead of arrival), a coffee pod machine, along with a collection of tinned snacks by local artisans, like chocolate pretzels, cheese crisps, honey peanuts and caramel popcorn (the latter of which still lingers on the tastebuds three weeks on.)

Throughout the room are authentic Mexican handicrafts and a curated collection of arts and crafts. And if you forgot to bring your own headwear for the outdoors, there are his and hers wide-brim hats that may be borrowed.

My terrace has a private plunge pool that’s hidden from neighbouring eyes with a glass panel edge and two sun lounges. I initially thought it was a water feature before noticing the seated steps inside. [For a destination to be smothered in sunshine and warm weather 350 days a year, our time at Zadún is spent dodging periodic showers and I don’t have time to ‘test the waters’ of my personal pool. It is important to note that we are visiting in the hurricane season of August and September.]

The bathroom is overly expansive and opulent with double vanities, a generously sized standalone make-up table, and a huge bathtub (with a retractable handle built into the adjacent wall to help guests get in and out).

Where, and what, to eat:

My travelling companions and I indulge in a feast of authentic Mexican street food at Humo, enjoying beef and fish tacos, chicken tinga quesadillas, tuna poke bowls and more that were made to order at El Barrio.

Outside Humo is the signature landmark of the property, the towering lantern that stands three storeys tall, and links back to our hotel representative who met us at the airport. Within the lantern is the aptly named agave bar, Candil, that serves handcrafted cocktails.

We are treated to a memorable dining experience within Zadún’s most luxurious accommodation, the two-storey, five-bedroom Grand Reserve Villa. Here chefs present us with succulent dishes including Yellowfin Tuna tiradito, grilled organic vegetables, mouthwatering braised Angus beef picanha with grilled castile pumpkin, accompanied by roasted jalapeño mashed potatoes and Ajillo oyster mushrooms, followed by Baja mango panna cotta and white chocolate basil whipped ganache. Called ‘Dining Beyond’, a similar adaptation is available for VIP guests.

On our last morning at Zadún the sun emerges over paradise and we enjoy an open-air breakfast in the beautiful, bright and colourful El Barrio, where a hot pink mural wall is a standout. Our table overlooks the primary swimming pool with its infinity edge facing the sea.

I go with the waiter’s recommendation of huevos rancheros – sunnyside up eggs, crispy corn tortilla, ranchera sauce, avocado and refried beans. It’s as bright as the surrounding decor! Other menu items here include Mexican oatmeal, corn pancakes, avocado tartine, chilaquiles, breakfast burritos, as well as more American fare such as bagels, pastries, waffles, etc. Almost half the menu at El Barrio caters for vegetarians and vegans.

Other restaurants include the beachfront adults-only Equis, a casual Mexican and Latin American-influenced venue that dishes up a selection of seafood ceviches and cocktails.


Spa Alkemia is positioned as the central hub of Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Externally, surrounded and draped in greenery, and with potted cacti on pebbled rooftops, this unassuming oasis is cleverly disguised until entered.

At 2,700 square metres (29,000 square feet), a tranquil pool fringed by lush, tropical palms and even more green foilage is the centrepiece, is traced by wooden boardwalks that lead to private treatment rooms, some of which cater for couples and small groups. Here, guests can participate in a modern version of the ancient Temazcal Experience within a heated dome that is said to cleanse the body, mind and soul, guided by a spiritual healer (Shaman). Other options include a Savasana sound healing experience. I opt for the firm (by choice) Zadún massage with essential oils, and I can feel Roxana kneading her elbows to release knots in my shoulders. I chose the citrus blend of oils, over the lavender and rosemary options.

Both men’s and women’s sections have private saunas, steam rooms, ice rooms and outdoor cold water plunges and warm spa, and a delicious range of chocolate and protein bars, oatmeal cookies and herbal teas.


Returning to my villa after lunch to find not only a selection of do-it-yourself margaritas complete with salt-encrusted glasses and cocktail shaker with ice, waiting to be mixed and churros with chocolate sauce, was a freshly prepared hot bath with candles lit for a relaxing soak, and a handwritten note from my tosoanis.


Without fault, always attentive, including room service delivery in the pouring rain, exactly on time (35 minutes after ordering, as quoted on the phone). And look at that farewell as we depart.

Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve partners with a number of local artisans to capture the ‘best of the best’ of Mexico, with a curated selection of designs for guest robes, pillowcases and unique art pieces on display in rooms and suites.

With a diverse array of birds, reptiles, mammals and fish, the Ambassadors of the Environment is an initiative that highlights the local environment and culture of Baja California Sur to guests by Zadún’s resident naturalists.

Travel advisors can connect directly with Antonio Rodriguez, Destination Sales Manager at Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve for client enquiries and bookings. Email

For more details on Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, click here.

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