The signs that Nobu Los Cabos was not just another beach resort came early and often at its November grand opening. There was the troupe of taiko drummers in resplendent robes who welcomed attendees to a ribbon-cutting performed with a Katana sword. They also played by the beach where the hotel’s launch was christened not with a bottle of champagne broken across its bow, but barrels of sake smashed open with wooden mallets. The celebratory toast made with square masu cups, as co-owners Oscar-winning actor Robert DeNiro and Michelin-star chef Nobu Matsuhisa led the crowd: “Kanpai!”
Beneath these dazzling shows of traditional Japanese pageantry, something quieter, subtler, and more sublime was on display: a property that exudes a rarefied yet relaxed luxury, welcoming visitors with a Zen garden that plants the seed of rejuvenating calm which only grows from there. Sunkissed sleek lines, light-bathed indoor-outdoor spaces, and a modified expression of minimalism that melds polished granite, limestone with warmer tan Cabo stone and teak, ipe and Parota wood accents. Every guestroom has an onsen-style wood soaking tub bathed in shafts of natural light from a skylight. No imported materials were used in the design created by Studio PCH in conjunction with the architecture firm WATG. That Bonsai-meets-Baja aesthetic is not the first example of fusion from the Nobu Brand—artful blending defines its approach to design and dining—but it may be the finest.
Nobu Los Cabos is the 10th hotel, and first in Mexico, opened by DeNiro, Matsuhisa, and their partner Meier Tepper. Neither a large cookiecutter chain nor a minuscule newcomer, Nobu Hospitality group resides in a sweet spot, as does their newest property. The location is among the most idyllic in Cabo, set along a stretch of pure sand coastline that faces directly West, offering views of Pacific that are placid by day and spectacular at sunset. “I think it’s the most beautiful sunset in Mexico,” Matsuhisa.
Although larger than many other Nobu properties, Los Cabos’ 200 rooms—more than 100 of which are suites—are spread out over the property’s 14 acres. The effect is a feeling of solitude that seems impossible at a five-star resort loaded with upscale amenities. Nobu Los Cabos has four pools, rental cabanas, butler service, an expansive Esencia spa that covers nearly 14,000 square feet, and in-room dining from, among other options, Nobu restaurant.
“We start with the food and beverage,” DeNiro says. “It’s not my name we use, is it?” (Matsuhisa nods in gratitude at his friend, who helped him get cast in Martin Scorcese’s Casino. “I will say I am a better a chef than actor.”) It was, however, the actor’s idea to steer the brand into hotels, after seeing how other hotels thrive solely because they housed a Nobu eatery. Here, the restaurant is located beside the beach, and as open, airy, and gorgeous as any. Matsuhisa is particularly proud of the omakase menu and believes the service and preparation will only keep improving. “After it opens, it never stops,” the chef says. “We keep trying to be the best, we make sure we keep getting better.”
The Nobu restaurant is complemented by an outpost of Malibu Farm, chef Helene Henderson’s spin on farm-to-table Californian cuisine, as well as a Pacific, serving refined yet unpretentious Mexican fare. There’s also Nobu cafe, Playabar just off the sand, as well as a swim-up cocktail bar. Despite its chic appeal and star power (DeNiro and Matsuhisa chatted up Leonardo DiCaprio at the opening; several other Hollywood stars arrived soon after), the resort is discreetly and tastefully family-friendly. In fact, DeNiro is planning a visit with his children and grandkids after the rigors of Hollywood’s Awards Season—he’s a favorite to be nominated if not win the Best Actor Oscar for Scorcese’s The Irishman. “I’ll be excited to come here after all that,” he says, then adds what sounds a bit like an acceptance speech. “You know, I wasn’t here sweating over the nuts and bolts of it,” he says. “But now that it’s done, I get the end product—I get all the enjoyment. I call that pretty lucky.”