I don’t think it’s farfetched to say that whenever the topic of a vacation comes up, it’s usually accompanied by the mention of Mexico at least once. Who doesn’t want to take a getaway to a balmy, tropical city that’s known for being fun, vibrant and carefree? Such an idea usually conjures up distant memories of wild and boozy spring breaks but not at the Drift San Jose. I never thought I’d want to return back to Cabo San Lucas but this modern hotel changed my mind with its beautifully bare bones design and Baja ranchero atmosphere.
The owner of the Drift San Jose, Stu Waddell, wanted to create a hotel “for independent travelers who value adventure and culture over all-inclusive package holidays.” He ditched the traditional reservation system in favor of using Airbnb (a telling sign of his forward thinking ways) and only has eight listings of small, medium and large rooms.
Exposed pipes, cast concrete platform beds and baths, and rustic brick walls give the rooms an aesthetic that’s a mix of modern, minimalist, and industrial design.
The hotel recently installed the Sky Hammock, a lone hammock that swings in its own tower atop the colonial town.
For a drink, the hotel’s Mezcal Tasting Bar features a large selection of rare artisanal mezcal, Mexican micro beers and Baja wines. There’s also a Food Cart Event that opens every Thursday and Saturday for locals and visitors to indulge in cultural cuisine. You’ll also find free coffee, a juicing station, and a free-for-all mini-bar on the grounds. The fire pit and pool in the opened courtyard that all the rooms face serve as communal spots to make a friend or two, cultivating that hostel-like community that independent travelers love.
What: Drift San Jose
Where: Miguel Hidalgo 613, Centro, 23400 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico
How much? Rooms start at $113
Highlights: If you’re looking for a hotel where everything is done for you, this might not be the hotel you’re looking for. However, if you’re the do-it-yourself kind of person who enjoys being on vacation to enjoy the culture versus staying inside to enjoy expensive shampoos, this is definitely the hotel for you. The communal and social aspect of the Drift San Jose is probably the biggest highlight as you’re bound to make a friend over a mezcal cocktail in the hotel’s courtyard.
Design draw: There’s a very earthy yet industrial design aesthetic at the Drift. The walls, furniture, and decor are minimal without feeling cold and the plentiful succulents, hammocks, Acapulco chairs, and bull skulls aide in creating that Baja ranchero atmosphere.
Book it: Visit the Drift San Jose website