If you have never heard of nor considered a golf vacation in Loreto, Baja Sur, Mexico, we have some very good “Reesons” to go. Rees Jones has really outdone himself with the extraordinary design of his seaside Danzante Bay Golf Course. Last year the course opened by popular demand with only (but all exceptional) 11 holes finished, the most magnificent being #17. Tee boxes are elevated one above another in the rocks of the mountain, positioned over a deep chasm to the small green which itself is perched 250 feet above the ocean on a narrow peninsula. The striking target is also surrounded by a bunker begging the question, “Geez, Rees could you make it any more challenging or exciting?” Rees is a forward thinking architect regarding the forward tees and so their carry is minimized with a side position on this hole and favorable yardage on all holes. This year he completed holes 2-8 in equally spectacular fashion through the canyons and arroyos dotted with saguaros and ocean views for a full 18.
Rees Jones is happy to still be designing new courses in new countries in the 4th quarter of his life. He believes architects get smarter with age and experience as opposed to most professions. The diversity of the terrain at Danzante Bay is what was most special for him to create the photogenic layout. His wife Susan does not always attend grand openings but Rees advised her, “You’ll want to come to this one.” After all the years of stories she was happy to meet everyone involved and experience the beauty of Danzante Bay.
We were honored to attend the grand opening weekend with the Joneses, owners Owen Perry and Luz Marie Perez along with government dignitaries and special guests Byron Scott and Don Felder from the Eagles. Don and his band entertained under the stars with “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Take it Easy,” which fit the resort to a tee. The group’s strong vocals, instrumentation, and energy showed no signs of aging as they played their timeless songs, thrilling the dancing crowd.
Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto is situated on an inlet beach
with excellent snorkeling along the mountain in the shallow cove. Reach this prime spot by wading, swimming, paddle boarding or a glass bottom kayak. Carlos is the director of excursions by ATVs on trails, town tours or Zodiak adventures’ island hopping. Jacques Cousteau called this area the Aquarium of the World where 40% of global marine life thrives. An abundance of starfish, purple and gold dance over the coral with elongated limbs. Blues, Humpbacks and the friendly and magnificent whale shark may be seen up close and personal in Loreto Bay. Captains circle the zodiac boats in 360s to form large wave action that is like ringing the recess bell for the dolphin school. They gleefully dance across the foamy ramps of water.
The Sabila Spa at Villa del Palmar provides the ultimate in services and hydration therapies with hot and cold pools, tubs, showers and saunas. Named after the healing aloe plant, herb extracts are incorporated in its menu of spa treatments. Every therapist is well trained in healing massage techniques. Relaxation lounge chairs face the mountain and sea with holes #12 and #14 in the foreground. Workouts carry the same view from the well-equipped fitness center on the first floor below. Hiking trails, 5 swimming pools, Jacuzzis, hammocks, beach chairs and 3 restaurants with fabulous food round out the resort experience.
The actual town of Loreto is small and quaint with boutique hotels, a water walk, cafes, shops and the oldest mission in Baja. Loreto is the Cabo of yore and you’re going to like
the way it was 30 years ago and the commitment to keep it natural. En route to town we stopped for a herd of goats passing by on the road, a pastoral scene with the Sea of Cortes in the background.
Happily, there is no travel advisory for Loreto so you can go with that peaceful easy feeling. A 2-hour flight from Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines transports golfers and guests to a truly phenomenal course and paradise resort at Villa del Palmar. Striking views along the Sierra de la Giganta and the Sea of Cortes abound from every angle of the resort and course. Danzante Bay at the Islands of Loreto is the best “Reeson” to go in any season. www.villadelpalmarloreto.com