The History of Palmilla

Simply put, Palmilla is the grand dame of Los Cabos. Located just four miles from San José del Cabo and overlooking the most beautiful bay in the area, Palmilla provides its residents and guests with elegance, privacy, amenities and luxury that no other community offers. From the 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course to the exquisite One & Only Palmilla, and the miles of pristine swimming beaches, Palmilla is in a league of its own. The ultimate resort community, Palmilla was one of the first full-scale master-planned developments to break ground in Los Cabos, and upon its completion, will feature more than 1,000 high-end properties plus all the amenities today's luxury traveler desires.

The story of the tourist trade in Baja California Sur can be a source for an interesting movie. From the time of Hernan Cortez first step onto the peninsula in 1535, until now, the pioneers of development and the hospitality trade preserved despite access challenges and resource challenges that today’s visitor simply cannot fathom. Among them was the famed fighter pilot and aviator, Rod Rodriguez the son of General Abelardo Rodriguez, interim president of Mexico, known as “Rod” to his friends.

“Down the centuries the shores of Las Cruces and the islands of Cerralvo and Espirito Santo were renowned for their fabulous pearls but a decline in the pearl oyster started as early as 1900 and by 1929 the pearl industry of Baja belonged to the past. Standing where Cortés once stood more than 400 years earlier, Abelardo L. Rodriguez Montijo watched the rising sun cast its array of magnificent color on the tranquil sea. He saw the remains of thatched huts, water wells and aqueducts that once irrigated beautiful tropical orchards and native palms. He realized then, that although depleted of pearls, Las Cruces could still provide treasure. He believed that the enchantment of ten thousand acres with more than seven miles of private sea coast would be gratifying to those who must face maddening crowds and churn through congested traffic. In 1948 he and his beautiful bride, Lucille Bremer decided to turn Las Cruces into a small luxury resort.ª” The birth of the tourist industry to Baja, especially the luxury, world class variety started here.

After building and running the very successful Rancho Las Cruces on the East Cape for a few years, one of the few accommodations geared to the American tastes, Rod flew along the coastline of Los Cabos searching for other magical locationsto build more hotels. He spotted Punta Palmilla near San Jose del Cabo and fell in love. And what’s not to love?

In 1953, he purchased 400 acres for $15,000 and built the first resort in Los Cabos; The Palmilla Hotel which opened in 1957 with 15 guestrooms. In 1958, the Palmilla Hotel was completed. 

Rod’s wife, Lucille Bremmer was a Hollywood movie star that starred in such films as “Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944) as Judy Garland's sister, and followed this with a co-starring role opposite Fred Astaire in “Yolanda and the Thief” (1945), and a featured dance performance, once again with Astaire, in two memorable sequences in “Ziegfeld Follies” (1946). Her last major films were “Till the Clouds Roll By” (1946) and  “Behind Locked Doors” (1948).   It is reported that Lucille and her husband Rod, became business partners with, among others, Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, and Bing Crosby and the “Hollywood Connection” was born, making Los Cabos a very desirable get away for many Hollywood stars, movers and shakers and moguls, such as John Wayne, Ernest Hemingway, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Phil Harris.  Rod, being the President of an ex-Mexican President, also had his draw in the political circles, in Mexico and all over the world. Their resorts were an unquestionable success.

Early guests had to arrive by private plane or yacht, as a good road to Los Cabos was not completed until 1974.

Yet, the Hotel Palmilla grew with its success. By 1984, the property had been expanded to 53 guestrooms, with another 18 added shortly thereafter.

In 1991, Don Koll a real estate developer led the Palmilla Resort as it set the standard for high-end resort living in Baja. The Palmilla Resort was the first community to push the luxury development envelope by building the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and by designing and building a collection some of the most luxurious real estate in Los Cabos.  Palmilla has both ocean and mountain side communities ranging from 2 bedroom condos, estate lots to large private residences.

The Hotel was again expanded to 115 rooms. And it still retains its First Class status to this day.

Palmilla closed in April 2003 for an extensive rebuilding and expansion project that brings the resort’s total guest accommodations to 172, 61 guestrooms, 91 junior suites and 20 one-bedroom suites, all incredibly spacious and each with magnificent views of the Sea of Cortéz.

If you would like to learn more about properties located within Palmilla please contact Andrew Stephenson of Snell Real Estate at, mx cell 624-113-1607 or us cell 662-907-7300.