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By Zahra Al-Kateb | July 20 2016
What first attracted you to Baja and how did you get started in the vacation rental business in Los Cabos?
During college in the early 1980’s, I’d spend my winter breaks road tripping down the Baja Peninsula. The breathtaking desert landscape combined with the vibrant ecology of the sea made this a very unique spot to visit. I remember the first time I saw the Sea of Cortes. The breathtaking beauty of the water and abundance of sea life sparked a lifelong love affair with this region that has only grown deeper as the decades have passed.
By the mid-1980’s, I’d been leading groups of friends down the Baja in small, casual eco-tours under the name of “Earth, Sea & Sky Vacations” to snorkel, dive and kayak. Finally, I decided to make it official and purchased my first vacation home in Cabo. As I was in line at the bank, I overheard a woman mentioning she’d love to find a place to rent out for a few months for the summer in Cabo San Lucas. This is how I struck my first deal renting out my vacation home. Over the years, I made deep connections with local villa owners, resort managers and expanded my company’s vacation offerings. Today, CaboVillas.com represents over 100 vacation rentals in Los Cabos, Mexico.
The travel industry is seeing a real surge in interest in luxury vacation rentals, especially for families and groups. What makes staying in a private villa so attractive and different from staying in a resort?
Choosing a villa rental is an exceptional value for groups and families. Staying in a private villa affords you unbeatable privacy, a uniquely local experience, great amenities and comfort. It’s like home – only better. Our villas are located in secure, gated communities and boast breathtaking ocean views, private swimming pools, spacious floor plans, gourmet kitchens and comfortable bedroom suites with plenty of room for everybody to relax and play in style. Some guests worry about sacrificing resort-style amenities when staying in a vacation rental. However, our team works with each guest to customize their villa stay with a variety of special services, from chefs to spa treatments. Our villas range from family-friendly homes to breathtaking luxury estates, so there’s a great villa for every budget.
What are some ways working with your team is different from working with another travel company?
Unlike some travel companies that simply offer “one-size-fits-all” vacations, our team customizes each vacation for every guest. With nearly 30 years specializing exclusively in Los Cabos travel, we have long-standing relationships with the area’s best service providers, activity vendors and properties. In the initial stages of planning a vacation, one of our Cabo Specialists will work with the guest to determine their budget, specific needs and vacation vision to help guide them to the perfect villa rental for their vacation. We ask a lot of questions to make sure that we get a good grasp of what the guest envisions for their trip. Once we pin down the ideal villa, we can help personalize the trip with activities, golf reservations, fishing charters, services, ground transportation and more. Upon arriving in Los Cabos, our villa guests aren’t left on their own without any support. We provide a complimentary airport-to-villa transfer. When the guests arrive at the villa, they’re greeting with margaritas, chips and salsa by their dedicated local concierge. We have an outstanding team in Los Cabos with extensive experience in luxury hospitality. The local concierge is available throughout the stay to answer any questions, make restaurant reservations, provide local recommendations or simply call up a taxicab. If the guest has any questions or concerns, they’re available to respond to those as well. In the rare event of an emergency or issue, we provide 24-7 customer service support. In addition, we also offer free car rental delivery to the villa.
What are some important questions and factors guests should keep in mind when booking a vacation rental.
Two important factors to keep in mind when booking a villa rental in Cabo are the location and booking window. For most time frames, villas book up 90 days in advance. Of course, during the busy holiday season it’s wise to book much further in advance, from 6-11 months in advance. Guests should consider the types of activities they’d like to do while visiting Los Cabos in order to help narrow down the best location. It’s also a good idea to make a wish list of amenities and have a budget in mind.
In addition to your amazing collection of villas, your company also offers a variety of added services, what can you tell me about those?
We can customize each villa stay with a wonderful variety of optional extras. We offer professional chef services for everything from a casual poolside brunch to an extensive all-inclusive dining package for the duration of the stay. We can also arrange convenient grocery pre-stocking of the villa with top-shelf liquors, grocery staples and gourmet goodies. For a truly relaxing experience, we can arrange soothing in-villa spa treatments, pedicures, manicures, facials, massages and beauty services. These are just a few of the special services we can provide. Our guests have made some unique requests over the years and we always try to find a way to make it happen, from private yoga lessons to professional child care. Many of our clients are accustomed to getting what they want when they want. For example, one of our concierge team members drove to the only 24-hour pharmacy in the area in San Jose del Cabo at 3:00 am from Cabo San Lucas (nearly 30 miles) to buy Transparent Disney Princess band aids for our client’s 4-year-old staying in Pedregal.
Can you help guests planning destination weddings or special events in Cabo?
We offer comprehensive destination wedding and special event planning and can handle all of the details including arranging the venue, guest accommodations, catering, wedding cake, floral arrangements, entertainment and photography. Our team of experienced wedding planners has helped hundreds of happy couples plan their big day in Cabo. In addition, a Los Cabos villa rental is perfect for other celebrations as well, including anniversary parties, milestone birthdays and family reunions. We have several celebrity clients that require special security and privacy. One specific event comes to mind, where we planted additional shrubbery/trees around a beachfront luxury villa for a very prominent musician to create added privacy.
Why is a villa rental a great option for a destination wedding?
Renting a Cabo villa provides greater flexibility than a resort wedding. You can have your wedding ceremony on the sand followed by a lavish reception on the ocean-view terrace of your villa. We can personalize the menu to fit the guest’s particular tastes rather than selecting from a limited package. With so many villas in our inventory, the guest is sure to find something that fits their personality and style. We have romantic hacienda-style villas, sophisticated contemporary villas and beachfront estates to set the perfect scene. The key to our approach is customization. We encourage clients to “just ask” and we will do our best to deliver. The following are just a few of illustrations of special wedding arrangements:
What are some of your favorite local insider tips?
Whatever you do when you’re visiting Los Cabos, be sure to get out on the water. Take a tour out to Land’s End to see the famous arch (El Arco) and Lover’s Beach. Get in the water at Chileno Bay to snorkel and see the wonderful tropical fish. I also love getting off the beaten path to visit unique local treasures. Flora Farms is an organic farm with a gourmet farm-to-table restaurant just outside of San José del Cabo that is absolutely worth seeking out. I love heading to Todos Santos (about an hour north of Cabo San Lucas along the Pacific Coast) to see the historic architecture and check out the many art galleries. Another favorite excursion is visiting Cabo Pulmo on the East Cape, one of the few living coral reefs in North America and a great spot for snorkeling and diving. It’s also worth taking the road trip to the area near La Paz to take a kayak or boat tour to visit the pristine islands of the Sea of Cortez. All of these ideas can be customized to our client’s specific needs, with professional guides, instructors, captains, chauffeured transportation services and more.
Discover your own private villa vacation in Cabo San Lucas: Contact CaboVillas.com