Rancho Pescadero began as one woman’s dream almost three decades ago. In the mid 1990’s, Lisa Harper camped for one year on a secluded beach near the farm and artist community in Todos Santos. Located about one hour north of Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific Coast, Harper took a one year break as CEO for companies Gymboree, Hot Topic and Torrid.
Living in a tent, she walked two-miles along the empty beach and read a book daily. She fondly remembers the people, wildlife and great surf in this laidback community promoted a sense of wellbeing. When she decided to purchase a parcel of beachfront land, she had hundreds of palms and neem trees planted for shade and beauty. Designing a 12-room hotel on graph paper, she installed the necessary infrastructure and employed locals to build and work at the hotel. Harper was ready to share with others a Baja experience filled with beauty and authentic activities to achieve serenity and wellness.
“In the beginning, it was just about creating stable employment opportunities for locals in the community who had never worked in hospitality. It was a chance for them to work their way up the ranks, and to improve their living situations and overall quality of life,” said Harper. “My experience has taught me that people are most engaged when they are encouraged to be their authentic selves while giving them access to great education and a place to hone their skills.”
This is the most extensive project the Todos Santos area has ever seen. Harper’s mission is to ensure a responsible approach to the environment while improving the quality of life for residents and employees.
She is building a local pre-school and nearby homes for Rancho Pescadero’s 300+ employees. The first phase of this project will provide housing for all employees who want it, and the second phase will create affordable housing and resources for the broader community. In response to a lack of local continued education, Harper will break ground this year on a technical school for the community where residents will learn marketable trades and skill sets for a variety of different industries.
Harper is revolutionizing luxury travel in Baja, and hopes her hard work will encourage other developers to take a responsible approach to tourism. Her many years in Baja and knowledge of its residents, culture, environmental and socioeconomic challenges, have allowed her to become a vehicle for change.
More than two decades after the original opening and expansion of Rancho Pescadero, Harper and her team envisioned a new vacation experience for travelers today. They worked for the past four years to build, design and gear up to unveil a ground-up transformation of Rancho Pescadero. Ready to re-open in Fall 2022, the amenities and experiences are reimagined to immerse travelers in the region’s culture and inspire them to rethink the way they travel and rest.
Rancho Pescadero is leave your shoes at the door and appreciate barefoot luxury among 30 acres with nine gardens. Now there are 103 luxury guest rooms including 12 oceanfront villas. Each villa has its own fire pit, plunge pool and outdoor shower. The 10 Penthouses and one Hacienda Suite feature outdoor showers, plunge pools and private roof decks. Harper designed the layout in a way that 96% of the rooms enjoy views of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains or Pacific Ocean.
Four culinary venues, plus the sprawling beachfront pool rivals those found in luxury destinations from Mykonos to Marbella. Farm-to-table menu items are discovered at KAHAL Oceanfront restaurant, CENTRO Cafe, Botanica Garden restaurant and in-room dining.
The onsite farm and orchard allow guests to source their own ingredients for meals and spa treatments inside the 25,000-square-foot wellbeing complex. There is an apothecary rooted in the power of nature and the wisdom of plants, a Pilates studio, two yoga shalas and an extensive array of programming designed to foster personal enrichment, from meditation and sound healing to gardening, cooking, and crafting.
Sparing no attention to detail, the guest experience at Rancho Pescadero is designed to be relaxed and intuitive. From the moment travelers arrive, Harper believes guests will enjoy the ‘cross over’ welcome experience. An unmarked entry serves as a portal to a Narnia-like, otherworldly escape. In lieu of a traditional check-in desk, guests are greeted by towering living alters and friendly hosts who guide them through the property’s grounds, which have been mindfully designed, inspired by the biosphere of Baja, to gradually transition from desert to dunes.
Guests have the option to take one of two diverging paths upon entry — one sand and one brick — encouraging travelers to choose their journey, whether that means taking off their shoes and feeling the bare earth on their feet or stopping along the way to roam the gardens and visit the farm to see the goats, chickens and bees.
Reservations are now available starting November 1, 2022 to stay at Rancho Pescadero.