Just south of the California and Mexico border, lies Valle de Guadalupe, a sprawling wine country tucked away alongside dirt roads and farmland, one of the best luxury hotels. From the San Diego International Airport, it’s only about a 2.5-hour drive as you wind your way past the Pacific Ocean and begin heading east into the region. Over the last few years, this valley has gotten its fair share of attention, being called “Mexico’s Napa Valley” and having the amazing wines to support the comparison.
As they grew and found success with their wines, what had originally started as a dream of a boutique hotel and winery, turned into a larger project once Karisma Hotel & Resorts—a luxury hotel collection with properties in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe—decided to team up with the pair.
This year, while the winery commemorated its fifth anniversary, Ortega and his team also celebrated the opening of their newest venture: a 56 villa resort among El Cielo’s vineyards. Although not fully completed, El Cielo Winery & Resort is currently home to 33, two-story residences comprised of junior and master suites. As some of the first guests to stay within the resort, we were able to get a firsthand look at the new villas and experience El Cielo’s food, wines, and entertainment offerings.
If you’re looking for a more spacious option, the bottom floor of each villa—considered the master suite—offers more space and includes a kitchen, dining room and front patio with firepit. Regardless of room choice, all options come with views of the man-made lake, rows of vineyards and the beautiful mountains surrounding the valley.
Of course, while the rooms themselves are chic and cozy, the real draw here are the wines and dining offerings. On property, the hotel is home to two gourmet restaurants: Latitud32 and Polaris helmed by Executive Chef Marco Marín. Grown right on property, both restaurants utilize the resort’s on-site organic gardens and locally-sourced ingredients within their dishes. From fresh seafood to flavorful vegetarian fare and traditional Baja and Yucatán dishes, the dining at El Cielo is worth a visit on its own. Meant to complement the property’s wines, the seasonal menus at both restaurants offer gourmands an elevated dining experience that can only be found in this region.
Around the resort, guests can partake in a number of activities including grape stomping, horseback riding and ATV’ing. In the future, El Cielo plans to open a spa on property and a second pool. The hotel is also about 45-minutes away from Ensenada where you can spend a day at the beach, sampling fish tacos or browsing shops for local goods and souvenirs. Whether you come for the wines or need a unique quiet getaway, visiting the Valle and staying at El Cielo Winery & Resort should be on your travel bucket list. With the popularity of the region only getting greater, chances are, reservations there will go up in demand as well. So be sure to get your visit in now and earn some bragging rights about the newest hot spot in the Valle.