Puerto Los Cabos lies on the outskirts of Cabo San Lucas: a secluded and tranquil development far enough from the resorts and bars that give Cabo San Lucas it’s party reputation. This setting provides the perfect location for Hotel El Ganzo. Like the moniker it’s been given (El Ganzo is Spanish for the Goose), the hotel sits perched on a private marina overlooking the Sea of Cortez. The quirky name plays well off the architecturally interesting building, which the hotel describes as “long, white, and sinewy.” The show-stopping design isn’t the only thing that makes it a stand out. Though fairly new, El Ganzo has been quick to claim its spot as a boutique hotel with a lot to say. One area the hotel is intent on making part of their story: sustainability.
When the United Nations declared 2017 The Year of Sustainable Travel, CREST (Center For Responsible Travel) board member and El Ganzo general manager, Ella Messerli decided to take that message and incorporate it into the hotel by focusing on five key areas: Energy, Water, Waste, Carbon, and Education. While most of the efforts are passive (e.g. using the locally-sourced toiletries they provide) others require the guest to get more involved. Each room is provided with a BPA free, reusable water bottle that the hotel will refill for free. Carrying around a water bottle may seem like a small step for some, but it’s still a huge way to cut down on plastic consumption.
Full from your meal cooked with ingredients pulled from El Ganzo’s herb and vegetable garden? No problem, the hotel will pack your left-overs in a to-go box made from natural fibers. If you don’t care for the take-away, you can rest easy knowing that the staff has been trained to sort and compost food waste. The final straw: that ice cold Coke you order won’t come with a straw, unless requested. If you do ask for one it will be made from biodegradable plant fiber. This is another small but meaningful way the hotel is conserving the ocean they so deeply rely on.
Nature, art and community
When Hurricane Oldie hit Cabo in 2014, the damage was devastating and El Ganzo did not go unscathed by her wrath. Instead of starting from scratch, the hotel was rebuilt using much of the reclaimed pine wood it was originally built with. Exploring the hotel, the wood feels like the heart and soul of the building. Not only does it compose the structure of the building, it’s used in playful touches in the furniture and throughout the underground recording studio (yes, you read that right!). El Ganzo’s careful use of the wood is another example of how nature is respected and integrated into the experience of the hotel.
These examples serve the ethos of the hotel: art, nature, and community blending together.
The hotel as a blank canvas
The entire hotel has been transformed into a gallery, a blank canvas where artists can play. You’ll find a giant storm-trooper overlooking the infinity pool or effigies to the Greek Gods in one of the suits. Each month the hotel brings in an artist-in-residence to contribute a piece to the exterior or interior of the hotel. The artists also leave their mark behind in the room where they stay.
In October 2017, Mexican artist Paola Beck was invited to add her signature to the hotel. She chose to paint a giant mural at the back end of the hotel’s exterior. The mural depicts a young girl and the eye of a whale positioned side by side, resulting in a stunning tribute to the future of our planet. The painting looks out over the marina where the local fisherman work and is called “We are watching”. It’s is a reminder to the community that future generations, and the creatures of the ocean, are looking to see how their predecessors handle climate change. Beck hopes that by painting the mural on the back of the hotel, it will not only encourage guests to explore a different area of the grounds, but also that it will invite locals and the guests to interact.
This ethos is most keenly felt at the community art center, which was recently completed in 2016. The center was developed for the local youth to have access to sustainable agriculture and art classes. Helmed by artist Francois Paris, the center bridges the gap between the guests and the Cabo residents by allowing them to explore various forms of permaculture, music, and art for free. Each artist-in-residence leads a class as part of the hotel’s cultural exchange. The artists pass on their expertise and foster goodwill between the locals and the hotel.
The final component of the hotel’s impressive concept is the music. As with the artist-in-residence program, musicians are routinely invited in to do a live concert on the hotel’s rooftop and to record in the underground studio.
Mark Rudin, producer of the El Ganzo Sessions, curates the recruitment of musicians and selects an intriguing mix of artists from Mexico and the US. His aim is to bring in musicians who are up and coming, but who are still down to earth. The selection of artists, from October’s pick Rayland Baxter to the upcoming Elsa y Elmar or Taylor McFerrin, are varied in sound and style, creating an eclectic mix of music for to delight all comers.
In exchange for unrestricted access to the recording studio, the musicians stage a live recording of their music to perform a live concert for hotel guests and Los Cabos residents. The recordings are transmitted directly to suite televisions, and live on the El Ganzo YouTube channel. Rudin and his team raised the bar for music in Los Cabos, as El Ganzo is the only place you are likely to hear original music versus covers of Hotel California.
El Ganzo is the type of hotel you may never want to leave. There are plenty of draws to staying on the grounds of the hotel. Rent a bike and cycle over to the beach club. Enjoy a relaxing day at the spa. Take a paddle board out for a journey. Or simply stay cuddled up in your room and enjoy the ocean breeze. If you do want to venture off, try nearby Acre or Flora Farms for a farm-to-table meal. Whatever you choose, you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated from the meaningful experience you’ve had at El Ganzo.