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Villa Santa Cruz
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Reviewed 20 January 2014

After having looked into wedding destinations from Bali to Belize, we settled on Villa Santa Cruz because it's a convenient trip for family and friends from the US. We investigated many options but the Villa Santa Cruz / Casa Tres Palmas duo seemed most promising, partially because the two were the perfect size for our wedding party, partially because they are beachfront, and partially because of the plethora of outdoor spaces (from a huge private pool to a beautiful palapa to a rooftop fire ring to miles of untouched sand).

We just got back to reality from our week at Villa Santa Cruz and we could not be happier. Here are some things you may want to know:
1. Jessica and Matt are gracious, kind, and engaged hosts. They maintain the perfect balance of being helpful without being intrusive.
2. The pool is better than advertised. The hot tub takes 30 minutes to heat up, but once it does, you're in heaven.
3. For a big enough group, it's ideal to rent both Villa Santa Cruz (four awesome rooms) and Casa Tres Palmas (three even larger rooms). They're on the same property and they share the pool and hot tub. While Villa Santa Cruz is engineered for maximum charm, Casa Tres Palmas is cozy and perfect for a family with children.
4. There are more spaces to relax than there will be people. The palapa is gorgeous and has two levels; the pool is large and has multiple recliners and tables; the kitchen is excellent and has some barstools for eating; there is an indoor and an outdoor dining room; the rooftop has two seating areas--one with a fire pit. I'm almost certainly leaving out some cozy spots, but hopefully you get the point--the place is huge and you can easily find seclusion.
5. The beach is rocky. If you have small children, you will definitely want to hang out by the pool rather than brave the waves. I'm an intermediate surfer and didn't feel entirely comfortable trying the shallow, rocky break a few minuted down the beach named La Pastora.
6. If you have the people and the means, hire Laura Felix as your cook. She does amazing Mexican meals. She catered us for seven breakfasts (big enough to be both breakfast and lunch) and two dinners (awesome fish tacos). She's also very reasonably priced--Jessica can set you up.
7. All bedrooms are upstairs. Agave has the nicest view and fireplace but all are nice.
8. Unless you're terribly messy, you won't need cleaning more than every other day. The half day rates offered by Jessica are reasonable and employ Mariella, who lives on site with her husband, Jose, who gardens.
9. Doing sunrise yoga on the roof as leatherback whales breach and grey whales blow water into the air is perhaps the best way to wake up ever.
10. Being from the San Francisco area, we looked into many wedding locations and found that, even with all meals and a week's worth of lodging for seven families--as well as activities and transportation--Villa Santa Cruz and Casa Tres Palmas were better value than anywhere nice within 50 miles of the city.
11. There is a horse, two goats, seven dogs, and a turtle on the property. They're all friendly.
12. Have a bonfire at least once. Even better with a lantern release.
13. The January weather is perfect (at least it was for us): clear, sunny days in the low to mid 80s (board shorts and a t-shirt) and cool, starry nights (jeans and a sweater).

We have rented many villas in Asia, North America, South America, and Europe, and this was the best value ever. From the hosts to the rooms to the thoughtful touches and sprawling grounds, this place is the best.

Room Tip: Agave and Ballena are the best rooms.
  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank arterca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2014

Have you ever experienced a moment in your life that was truly better than your wildest dream or vision? I can honestly say that my husband and I had the privilege of sharing that moment when we had our wedding at Villa Santa Cruz this past November.

Jessica, who owns the Villa with her husband Matt, was our wedding planner, and took all the stress out of planning a destination wedding in Mexico from Canada. She knows all the best vendors in Todos Santos for all budgets and knew exactly how to coordinate the rehearsal and our wedding day so that it went seamlessly. Our 27 wedding guests came from a full range of backgrounds and all told us that it was the best wedding that they had ever been to and that they really enjoyed getting off the beaten track from Cabo and coming to Todos Santos. Just some of the highlights: the beach ceremony with waves lapping and whales jumping in the background, the traditional Mariachi band triggering an impromptu dance party on the roof during the champagne reception, the high end cuisine catered by Hotel California, the DJ that had every single wedding guest dancing on the Villa terrace, and the beautiful (and eco friendly!) Chinese lanterns that we released during the beach bonfire. It was unreal.

The days leading up to and after the wedding were equally amazing. We rented both the Villa and the other house located on the property for some of our guests who travelled from all over Canada, the U.S., and England. Along with our guests, we were able to completely relax and enjoy the perfectly manicured grounds, the breathtaking landscape, the 5 star pool, daily whale spotting, and the abundance of thoughtfully designed and private spaces to relax, from the roof of the Villa to the palapa to the various seating areas in and around the Villa.

We love our food and wine, and so the spacious, well-equipped and recently updated kitchen was perfect for cooking. We also had a chef come to the Villa to cook for us, and enjoyed several of the amazing restaurants in town just a stone's throw away. All our guests commented on how the rooms in the Villa are a real retreat, with comfortable beds, balconies for taking in the incredible views, white robes, and amazing wooden wardrobes.

That was our second visit to Villa Santa Cruz and we are already planning our next trip, as are many of our wedding guests who experienced the place for their first time at our wedding. Get there soon before this place is booked up years in advance!

Room Tip: My husband and I love the Agave for its views and overall feel. The bathtub is incredible!
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Laura G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2014

I am almost hesitant to write this review because I don't want the place to fill up for my return next year. Villa Santa Cruz is perfect. Whether you are travelling as a family or as a few couples, the place nails it. While most of us dream about opening a little boutique hotel in the middle of no where, Matt and Jessica went ahead and did it... and they did it right. The Villa itself is something else, but it is really about the entire experience... the pool, the grounds, the palapa, and the location. It is a true getaway. Although I must admit, my favourite part was Franky-Freddy, the four legged guardian of the property. For anyone that misses their pets while on vacation, he is a pretty awesome stand in. We (4 couples) absolutely loved our stay. Whether it was chilling by the pool, watching the waves in the Palapa, or dancing on the roof-top, we had a blast. It is just that perfect distance from the enduring Todos Santos too. Not much to complain about at Villa Santa Cruz.

Room Tip: All the rooms are pretty much equal, but it is always nice to face the ocean.
  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Cebulalees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2014

Our family of nine adults and two kids rented the Villa Santa Cruz for Christmas week 2013 and it was perfect in every way. Everyday we watched whales spouting off the beach and the trips snorkeling with sea turtles and riding horses on the sand, all made possible through the owner's recommendations, made it a perfect adventure. There was the pool and hot tub, plus the wonderful tower fitted with mattresses for lounging and viewing the sea that made the more leisurely hours just as much fun. And the house is beautiful--filled with art and delightfully constructed: new but looking like it dates to colonial times. The surrounding acreage is wonderfully landscaped and walks on the deserted beach were idyllic. Todos Santos is about five miles away and has lots of charming and great restaurants. Don't forget to try lemon and rosemary sorbet at La Paloma's--a treasure tucked away on a side street. Thanks again to Jessica's recommendations, we also had a cook for three nights. We will definitely return.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank abbie c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2014

Our family of 11, including 9 adults and two children (ages 5 and 10), stayed at the Villa Santa Cruz over Christmas week. We were absolutely delighted and in awe of the beauty of this place. I awoke the first morning to see whales spouting and leaping from my bed!

The details that the owners put into the design of this place makes it perfect for large groups like ours. The kitchen is well-stocked with cookware and serving dishes. Everyone had their own space to retreat to, whether it be their bedroom, the rooftop, the pool, the hot tub or the "crows nest" by the beach. And did I mention the design? Absolutely gorgeous.

We had some local chefs come in to prepare meals for us a few nights we stayed. This was very easy since Todos Santos is a small community and they all knew the place and the owners well. They knew the code to the front gate, their way around the kitchen and required no extra coordination on our part other than making the reservation. We also had a "body work" and "body movement" specialist come in for yoga on the rooftop and massage. Amazing.

There is a Turtle named Owen who lives in the fountain in the foyer. Kids loved feeding him and he is pretty cute.

This place is off the beaten path, which is exactly what we were looking for. It's about a 15 minute drive down a dirt road, so rental car is needed for groceries and getting into to town.

I highly recommend Villa Santa Cruz. We will be back...

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Anne T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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