I Took My Kids To Chileno Bay & Now I Get Why People Love Resorts

I was never a “resort person.” Then I had kids.

by Melissa Petro
Are We There Yet?

When I was younger and gloriously childfree, travel was all about adventure. Twenty-something me was eager to wander off the beaten path and really get to know a culture. A hotel room was simply where I stored my stuff while I took in the sights and scoured the city for the best whatever-meal-that-place-was-known-for.

44-year-old me, by contrast, just wants to sit down. I don’t need any more excitement my two children, ages 4 and 6, provide. Just leaving the house as a family can feel like an “excursion.” Spare me your street food, ordering the least familiar option on the kids’ menu counts as a risk.

All this makes me a perfect candidate for Chileno Bay, a family and kid friendly luxury resort and spa located in Cabo San Lucas, an area in Baja California Sur known for its stunning beaches and high-end resorts. An easy 35-minute drive from the airport, Chileno Bay occupies 22 coastal acres and delivers all the laid-back luxury I’ve come to expect from the Auberge Resort collection— immaculately landscaped gardens, tasteful, contemporarily designed rooms and five-star service— all in an idyllic setting that averages 350 days of sun per year.

Picture a place where there’s no humidity, no bugs, and someone’s bringing you a drink and carrying your bags, and no one’s giving you a hard time, not ever, not even when your four year old throws her Barbie a birthday party in the fountain or your sensory seeking 6-year-old strips off his pants and covers himself in sand.

My motley crew and I were met with drinks upon arrival before being ushered into a golf cart for a quick tour of the property. Sandstone brick and bright white stucco architecture blends elegantly into the desert landscape of majestic palm trees and hot pink bougainvillea artfully contrasting with the cloudless turquoise sky. The room itself was sizable and tastefully decorated, with a modern and beachy, indoor / outdoor vibe. In addition to two king sized beds, the room had a sitting area, walk-in closet and spa-like bathroom bigger than the typical New York City apartment. Oscar and Molly immediately jumped into the enormous porcelain tub while I enjoyed the complimentary lemongrass-scented organic bath products in the outdoor shower. All this living space, plus an expansive balcony, makes it feel more like an upscale vacation rental than your average hotel room.

There’s nothing average about Auberge properties, which offer one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Harried moms like me can expect unexpected and yet indispensable amenities provided by an around-the-clock staff that not only remembers your name but keeps track of your preferences. Venture beyond your guest room or villa and you’ll find two child-friendly infinity pools, plus another pool just for adults, as well as a swim- and snorkel-friendly semi-private beach. My kids were too young to scuba dive, so we took advantage of the complimentary kayaks. They loved combing La Playita for sea glass, and spent ample time in Pescaditos Kids Club, a cheerful space filled with games and activities designed for kids 4 to 11 years old.

But the surprising highlight of our three-night stay was the “Cinema under the stars” experience, a private oceanfront viewing of a movie of our choice. We went full-on “we are a family staying at a resort” and wore matching outfits from Jams World, the OG Hawaiian resort-wear brand known for splashy, retro prints that come in various styles and sizes. After taking in their fill of freshly popped popcorn and old school candy, the kids cozied up under blankets on couches set in front of an inflatable oversized screen. Then, just as the sun set and the stars came out, one of my kids’ favorite films filled the screen. Even my typically too-cool-for school 6-year-old was visibly impressed.

Of course, even a luxury five-star resort can’t spare its visitors from certain pitfalls: jetlag was so much worse than I’d anticipated, and my husband and I both succumbed to traveler’s illness (thankfully on different days). If I could do it all over, our first night, I’d skip the formal dinner at Comal—the magnificent view is just as breathtaking at breakfast. Instead, I’d enjoy an early supper from Yaya, a Mediterranean and Latin American restaurant that offers a pleasant mix of familiar and traditional cuisine. On night two, my finicky four-year-old loved the yaya mezze — a sampling of hummus and other dips served with fresh organic vegetables. But the best meals we had our entire stay were delivered to us poolside from the beachside taco bar, TNT.

If you’re somehow still the type interested in venturing beyond a resort’s walls, concierge can arrange a day trip to Todos Santos, an artsy town about an hour north. You can even hire a private catamaran and explore the Sea of Cortez. For me, even a friendly game of pickleball sounded too intense. Maybe after the kids go off to college. Until then, I am happy to spend an entire stay cold drink in hand, lazing by a pool.