Friday, January 1, 2010

About Villa del Faro

Villa del Faro is a small, unique, and secluded hotel situated on 12 acres of gardens and desert over-looking miles of private, deserted beach. A large pool is shared by all of our guests and there are paths leading from all casitas to the only swimmable beach on the East Cape—the perfect spot for long, uninterrupted walks.

The only access to our getaway is via a long and extremely bumpy road that starts near the Los Cabos airport, winds through the middle of nowhere, and finally brings you to the desert by the Sea of Cortez. However, you’ll find that once you’ve arrived at Villa del Faro, it was well worth the trip, in spite of the rough roads!

Our getaway is not a place for everyone; it offers solitude instead of shops, hikes into the deep arroyos as opposed to golf, and whale watching from your private balcony in lieu of television. A stay in this beautiful place is more like being a guest in someone’s fabulous home, which is exactly what the owners intended, and you’re guaranteed to receive personal care from the friendly family who runs and owns Villa del Faro.

While the hotel sits amid lush gardens, the surrounding desert is pristine and virtually untouched. Originally a private home for a large extended family, Villa del Faro was built, as much as possible, around the local flora, leaving many cactus, trees and other vegetation intact. Always aware of the ecological impact they were making, the family chose to build small houses here and there, rather than one large imposing structure. The result is a sense of closeness to the desert--an intimate interaction between civilization and the wilderness.

There are countless lizards, including the harmless geckos that live on the ceilings and make particularly large noises for such small creatures! From a window in any of the casitas, you might observe a mother fox and her babies drinking from a fountain, or the shy bobcat perched on top of a Cordon cactus early in the morning, looking for rabbits in the brush. Large iguanas also lay on top of the cactus in the sun, chipmunks are everywhere, and occasionally even a rarely seen deer will wander through. Of course some of the more unsavory residents can also be found, (rattlesnakes, scorpions, centipedes, and tarantulas, which are also quite shy) and caution is always advised when walking the paths. However, these creatures do their best to stay away from well-trodden human paths. Some of the most fascinating wildlife is the birds, which are immense in population, and change with the weather, as they are seasonal.

Permanent aviary residents include several species of hummingbird, some of which are quite rare. There are also quail, orioles, falcons of various types, kestrels, finch, cardinal, and the hard to spot phainopepla—a bold and humorous common raven, which the neighbors feed and have practically tamed. The great white egret lives in our dunes and the great blue heron number among our sea birds and eagles. Nature abounds!

The property was purchased in 1989, with building beginning the following year. The family ran a large construction company in Los Angeles and thought the Baja property would become a wonderful vacation place for company members, it being a short flight from LA. Since the family consisted of many artistic and talented members, everyone wanted to contribute, and soon Villa del Faro became not just a fabulous place to get away from it all, but also a labor of love for parents, children and friends alike.

Molds were made for tile and balustrades. An in-house wood-carver and furniture maker constructed the doors, chests and tables. A local ironworker fashioned the iron gates and some of the windows. The crew was gathered from one small town in mainland Mexico, and as more workers were needed, more came. During the construction, everyone lived in tents; meals were readied by a local Mexican policeman in an outdoor kitchen attached to a camper. That same man now owns and runs a small restaurant in a town north of Villa del Faro. Many of the children “cut their teeth” here, and went on to run their own construction companies, become landscape architects, architects, builders, painters, and sculptors, having had a real set of experiences to get them started. From hauling in trees, to mixing cement in a hole in the ground, to using nothing but hand tools, everyone learned from the bottom up.

When the family says Villa del Faro is “off the grid”, they mean it! There is no electricity and no phone lines. Everything at the Villa is run on solar power, and supplemented by a generator when needed. There are propane hot water heaters and refrigerators, stoves, but no microwaves. The water is trucked in and stored in a large tank where it is cleaned and purified. Water conservation is always of the utmost priority, as everyone who lives in this area is well aware. The grounds have been xeriscaped in order to adapt to the arid climate, and laundry is dried in the sun. This is definitely a “green” hotel. Thanks to satellites, there is access to Internet service and television. There is even a satellite phone, which can be used in emergencies, however it is not very dependable as of yet.

The family members who run and lovingly maintain Villa del Faro fluctuate somewhat, (like the birds they change seasonally) but more or less the same group remains most of the time. There are also artists, writers (‘The Eye of the Whale’ was written here), architects, 
designers, and musicians, who work and play here off and on throughout the year. Since 1966 when it all began, the Fort Hill family has survived hard times, bad press, and each other; however, they’ve also learned that living beautifully is an art.

So if you like good books, great food and music, exquisite surroundings, comfortable ambiance, the great outdoors, the sound of the ocean to soothe you to sleep, and the conscious embrace of all living things, then by all means come and enjoy this remarkable place!

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