The Spa at Esperanza: 20 Years of Excellence
Celebrated for its naturally restorative coastal desert environment, this acclaimed spa turns 20 this year, marking decades of excellence.
Deliberately blurring the boundaries between the indoors and outdoors, the spa highlights the fabled desert ecosystem at the edge of the sea. The property, built during the early days of Auberge Resorts in 2002, was the first ground-up resort in the collection.
With a talented team of players behind its inception, including Founder, Mark Harmon; Chief Operating Officer, Rick Reese; Vice President of Spa Development, Tracy Lee (now of TLEE Spas + Wellness); Tara Grodjesk; and Spa Director, Jose Ramon Garcia; it’s easy to see why this ground-breaking spa has remained consistently ranked among the world’s best.
Named as one of Forbes 2022 5-Star Award Winners, the Spa as Esperanza is still considered ‘outstanding, iconic, virtually flawless service, with amazing facilities’ 20 years later.
“Esperanza” means hope, and the entire spa embodies this positive ethos, along with a deep sense of relaxation. A layered journey that unfolds in a series of environments that seamlessly blend with the landscape, the entire experience is designed to frame and filter the profound healing effects of nature. At the time of its inception, many spas were buried in air-conditioned bunkers, with no direct link to local context in terms of design, menu, and facility features.
As part of their first foray outside the US, Auberge Resorts and Tracy Lee set out to disrupt the status quo – by taking direct cues from the land and a light touch with the built environment to create an entirely new spa experience that is heightened and harmonized by nature, with seamless connections to fresh air and natural light.
The Spa at Esperanza boasts outdoor purification gardens replete with a series of warm and hot hydrotherapy pools, steam room, and cooling showers, arranged within an enchanting outdoor setting that includes ample personal space for rest and recovery.
This contrast bathing circuit – called Aqua de la Esperanza (The Waters of Esperanza) was also groundbreaking at the time when few Americans understood the therapeutic and recovery benefits of alternating between hot and cold temperatures.
Rather than a passive amenity, the spa created a self-directed sequence to kickstart the body’s natural self-healing power while educating the guest. Like many other original signatures of the spa, this circuit remains a mainstay of the current experience.
Similar attention to detail and care remains a fixture of the spa’s refreshment program – highlighting local produce hand-crafted at the spa, in the form of refreshing juices (Aguas Frescas) and homemade ice pops (Paletas) that reflect the culinary traditions of Mexico while elevating the hospitality proposition in an authentic and impactful manner.
The design principles – including a commitment to integrate a sense of place into the design of the spa experience itself – are evident. Esperanza has stayed true to its values of sustainability – with many of the same service offerings that have maintained their relevance and timeless appeal. Far from resting on their laurels, the locally based team, led by Jose Ramon Garcia, is committed to the expanding the boundaries of wellness and developing new offerings to ensure that Esperanza evolves and maintains its leading-edge position in a highly competitive landscape.