Villa Santa Cruz

Summer Rain and Sunsets in Todos Santos

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

With barely any rain over the last three years, the Baja desert was dry, dusty and thirsty. The aquifers were low, the landscapes were brown and the sand was hot to the touch. But, the month of August changed all that by bringing glorious rainstorms to Todos Santos and Villa Santa Cruz, Boutique Hotel on the Beach. 

The thunderclouds, heavy with rain, rolled in from the east creating dramatic shadows.

 

View from the Villa's Palapa looking north - storm clouds rolling in

 

Raindrops in the Pool

The rain fell in sheets for several days, washing dust off the agave at Villa Santa Cruz, greening up the desert brush and cooling down the earth. The air, cleaned by the rain, was amazingly pure and clear. The best part, without doubt, were the spectacular sunsets. Night after night, we were entertained by the vibrant colors that lit up the rain clouds. From orange and red streaks, to pink and purple hues, and even a few rainbows, these sunsets were some of the best ever.

 

 



The sunrises were spectacular too...



As the summer season continues, we hope for more rain. I'd say it's time for a little rain dance...

jenna commented on 26-Aug-2012 05:42 PM
So spectacular!!
Don Houts commented on 26-Aug-2012 06:40 PM
In addition to the great sunsets, you must have had a great photographer.
Jean Houts commented on 28-Aug-2012 04:41 PM
I was there to witness all of the beauty. The sunsets were truly the most beautiful I have ever seen.

Gourmet Cooking Lessons with Chef Dany Lamote at Villa Santa Cruz

Sunday, June 10, 2012

One of the very best things about visiting Baja and Todos Santos is the amazing food.  From the abundance of fresh produce and seafood to the chefs who magically whip these ingredients into gastronomical delights, visitors to our area are in for a treat.  And, if you are looking for a way to take your culinary experience to the next level, we have just the thing - gourmet cooking lessons at Villa Santa Cruz with Chef Dany Lamote, head chef at the legendary Hotel California.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, Chef Dany arrived at Villa Santa Cruz  ready to guide me, Matt and our friends through the preparation (and consumption) of an exquisite four course dinner. Chef Dany was ready to get down to business, armed with everything needed for a serious gourmet cooking class - fresh shrimp and yellowtail fish, colorful produce and aromatic herbs, and, of course, a creme brulee blowtorch.   We were celebrating a milestone birthday for one of our dear friends, Laura, and loved the intimacy and group togetherness of the cooking class.  The Villa, with an open social kitchen, butcher block island, ample counter space, and big chairs (aka "king and queen thrones") in which to relax, is a perfect venue for a group cooking experience.

After toasting to the promise of a great meal with a crisp glass of white wine, Dany gathered the group to introduce us to his cooking philosophy.  Originally from Belgium, he explained that his signature style is to combine Mexican ingredients with European techniques.  He loves to make exotic Mexican foods more familiar - we'd be incorporating nopales (cactus paddles), cuitlacoche (corn mushroom know as "Mexican caviar") and ancho chile peppers into our meal.  He then split the three couples into three groups - each in charge of a different course - and we were on our way down the culinary road.

Max and Laura were in charge of the appetizer course.  Their menu included yellowtail sashimi marinated in soy sauce and ginger, shrimp skewered on rosemary sprigs with an orange-saffron-habanero-coconut sauce, pineapple salsa, and crab and goat cheese stuffed peppers (the stuffed peppers were definitely a group favorite). 

Amy and Dustin were assigned the salad and dessert courses.  The dessert, an ancho chile creme brulee, was the most time intensive dish, so they started on that first - boiling the ancho chiles, cream and cinnamon, melting the chocolate, combining the ingredients, pouring into ramekins, and baking for 35 minutes.  Once the desserts went into the oven, they jumped over to the preparation of the salads and crostini.  They worked on a nopal cactus salad with goat cheese and tomatoes, a mixed salad with agave glazed pecans topped with duck and arrachera steak, and a crostini of puffed pastry, nopales, goat cheese and cuitlacoche.

Matt and I prepared two sauces for the fish course, one with tomatillos and one with tamarind.  We peeled and roasted the tomatillos and then boiled and strained the tamarind, creating two flavorful bases for fresh yellowtail and halibut.  We also made a sweet potato gratin spiced with ginger and Chef Dany's amazing flavored curry salt.

At this point, we were all starting to bulge around the middle, but were ready for the evening's grand finale - creme brulee adorned with huge strawberries.  We all gathered in the kitchen to watch Dustin wield the blowtorch to create a perfectly caramelized crust.  With a hint of ancho chiles, it was a winner - definitely a recipe to keep in your back pocket to recreate for your friends at home.  It was tough to get a lot of birthday candles into those little ramekins, but we made it work!

We send our warmest thanks to Chef Dany for such a fun and special evening.  Sitting outdoors under the covered patio, listening to the crashing waves, enjoying the warm ambiance of the Villa's gas lamps and soft candlelight, delighting in a gourmet meal with good friends over glasses of wine...life doesn't get much sweeter than this. We highly recommend that all our Villa Santa Cruz guests put it at the top of their Todos Santos "to do" list.   

Classes offered daily from 11am to 2pm at Santo Vino (Hotel California’s Bistro Restaurant). Chef Dany is available to host an evening class at Villa Santa Cruz on Sunday nights (4+ persons). $100 USD/person for basic class, $175 USD/person for upgrade with wine/tequila (includes 1 glass wine/tequila per person per course).  For more information, visit our Cooking Lessons Activity link.

Amy commented on 12-Jun-2012 07:37 PM
Cooking lessons with Chef Dany at Villa Santa Cruz was a special and unforgettable experience! We had a wonderful evening. I highly recommend the activity to visitors!

Beachy Boho Wedding Bliss!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Villa Santa Cruz, Boutique Hotel on the Beach, in Todos Santos, Baja Sur, is an amazing wedding venue for a bride and groom with beachy boho style!  Just take a look at Kea & Lorrin's fun and festive wedding from Saturday night.  The couple's funky and creative details brought the wedding to life - we love the seating chart mounted on a custom surfboard, their colorful sparkle sombreros and tasty margarita cupcakes made with tequila!

With a simple wood trellis decorated with strands of beach shells, Kea & Lorrin exchanged vows in front of friends and family.  Local Todos Santos officiant, Steve Monaco, presided over the ceremony.  

After escorting his mother down the aisle, the groom gave her a sweet hug.

The guests enjoyed cocktails and delicious appetizers catered by the Hotel California.  The menu included pineapple salsa, flautas with roasted peppers and goat cheese, and, of course, margaritas.

This custom surfboard, a gift to Kea & Lorrin from a friend who owns a surfboard shaping company, has an illustration of the Villa and agave fields right on the front!  It was the perfect set up for the seating chart.

 

Barb & Jan of Pueblo Magico Weddings were on point with the flowers & decor for Kea's beachy boho theme.  From the handmade rag ropes and antique lace tablecloths to the succulents, paper flowers and beer bottle rose vases, the table settings were fun, bright and authentically Mexican.

The Villa's aqua beach buggy funks up this photo shoot!  Kea & Lorrin enjoyed tooling around Todos Santos in this crazy rig during their wedding week.

After hours of dancing on the Villa's back patio, the party moved to the beach where guests kept warm next to a bonfire and released Chinese wish lanterns into the night sky (notice that the rag ropes that decorated the reception chairs became "stylish" headbands as the night wore on!).  

It was a gorgeous wedding for Kea & Lorrin.  We wish them love to last a lifetime.

Anonymous commented on 01-Jun-2012 06:37 PM
Best to you two always! Besos, trisha
Grandma Lo commented on 02-Jun-2012 06:53 PM
What a lovely setting for a wedding, Kea & Lorrin. May your wedded years be as happy as Grampie's & mine have been. Not perfect, but almost!
Anonymous commented on 04-Jun-2012 09:32 AM
What a non- traditional type of wedding that looked so fun, colorful and original. The villa lends itself to any type of wedding, from formal traditional to off beat and way cool! What a magical spot on all fronts. Wishing the wedding couple a wonderful
life together.

Small, Intimate Wedding on Spectacular Supermoon Eve at Villa Santa Cruz

Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Congratulations to Sara & Tim who tied the knot on a gorgeous Cinco de Mayo night at Villa Santa Cruz, Boutique Hotel on the Beach, in Todos Santos, Baja Sur, Mexico.  With an intimate guest list of just immediate family and close friends, their wedding ceremony and celebration was personal yet understated with elegant details.

They stood beneath a rustic palo de arco wedding trellis draped in gauzy white curtains to exchange vows while the surf gently rolled in behind them.



After their officiant/best man, Nick, announced that they were husband and wife, a lively troop of mariachis serenaded the couple under the Palapa and then led the wedding party up to the Villa's Roof Terrace for cocktails and appetizers.



The Villa was beautifully decorated by Barb & Jan of Pueblo Magico Weddings, with green succulents, driftwood and bold proteas (the bride specially requested this flower).



The cupcake table - delicious german chocolate, carrot cake and coconut lime cupcakes prepared by caterer, Catherine Edwards.



After cocktails on the roof, everyone headed downstairs for a sunset champagne toast.



At sunset, the supermoon rose over the mountains...



...and the sunset glowed, turning the sky pink.



Sara & Tim stole a dance under the beautiful canopy of lights.



What an elegant wedding!  We are thrilled to continue to host Sara & Tim this week for their honeymoon.  We wish them the best in their new life together.

Neil Patrick Harris Officiates Wedding at Villa Santa Cruz in Todos Santos

Monday, April 30, 2012

Villa Santa Cruz, Boutique Hotel on the Beach in Todos Santos, Baja Sur, Mexico was proud to have hosted the beautiful wedding of Emma Bates & Joshua Zar on Saturday, April 28, 2012, with celebrity officiant Neil Patrick Harris.  NPH shared his love of Villa Santa Cruz by sending out this tweet to his 3.2 million Twitter followers:

@ActuallyNPH - And here's a view from the rooftop of the Villa where the wedding was held. villasantacruzbaja.com.  Thanks Matt & Jessica!  pic.twitter.com/b1PmTvEs  



Check out the lovely write-up and photos on the infamous, Pink is the New Blog, in which blogger Trent Vanegas describes the Villa as "one of the most beautiful estates I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing."  Don't forget to visit his follow up blog post that has another great photo of the newlyweds with NPH.

Here are more details and photos of the beautiful wedding:

Under a canopy of papel picado streamers and a bamboo chuppah decorated with flowing white fabric, the couple exchanged vows while their friends and family cheered them on.



After NPH declared that Emma & Josh were now husband and wife, mariachis poured on to the balconies overlooking the back lawn and congratulated the couple with lively Mexican music.

The couple headed inside for another kiss...

The guests then found their way up to the Roof Terrace and out to the Pool for delicious cocktails and appetizers.

The weather turned a little cool, so the party moved inside for dinner and toasts.  The beautiful candles around the fountain, gas lamps, and calla lily centerpieces made for a warm and cozy evening.

After dinner, the party moved outside under a canopy of lights to dance the night away.  The evening was capped off with the release of Chinese Wish Lanterns from the Villa's Beach.  We wish Emma & Josh the best in their new life together!

sherman silber commented on 01-May-2012 06:35 PM
dear josh and emma, i am so very sorry that i got that emergency dental abscess and could not go to the wedding. i was halfway there when i realized that i just had to go back to st louis and have my abscessed drained by an oral surgeon. but i rejoice
for you, and just wish i could have shared this great moment with you. uncle sherman

Food & Wine Pairing Event Wildly Successful - Benefited Todos Santos Orphanage

Thursday, December 22, 2011
On Monday evening, December 19, Villa Santa Cruz, Boutique Hotel on the Beach, hosted a lovely Food & Wine Pairing Event to benefit the Hogar del Nino, the orphanage in Todos Santos. From the sales of dinner tickets, silent auction items, raffle tickets and individual donations, the evening raised an astounding $7,000 USD that will be put to great use at the Hogar. We are grateful for the efforts of dedicated event coordinators, Nancy Naigle, Nancy Serfas, and Lisa Welsch, who put together such an elegant and successful evening.

Seventy guests arrived at 5:30pm and were welcomed with fresh sangria and bruschetta, lovingly donated by Chef Sergio of La Casita Tapas & Wine Bar, who also catered the dinner. Serenaded by the sweet voice of Tracy Durland, guests mingled on the back patio while bidding on silent auction items and watching the sunset. 

  


After dark, it was time for dinner. Chef Sergio prepared an exquisite five course menu that was enhanced by the wine pairings selected by Mac Sutton of La Bodega de Todos Santos. Here’s a look at the delicious menu:

Salad of Organic Greens, Roquefort Cheese, Pears, Walnuts and Mandarin Vinaigrette
20120 LA Cetto Sierra Blanca Sauvignon Blanc

Shrimp with Tricolor Pasta and Jalapeno Cream Sauce
2009 Vinas Pyoan Paulina (46% Merlot, 46% Zinfandel, 8% Petit Syrah)

Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce
2010 La Bodega de Todos Santos Prologo (80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Syrah)

Prime Ribeye with Red Wine Shallot Sauce
2009 Calixa (80% Cabernet, 20% Syrah)

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Passion Fruit and Berry Sauces
Santo Tomas Tipo Oporto

Throughout the meal, guests learned about the activities and needs of the Hogar. The directors of the orphanage, Joel & Alicia Hernandez, gave a heartfelt thanks to everyone in attendance and to the event coordinators and volunteers who work diligently to ensure that the Hogar has what it needs to care for its 20 children. Lisa Welsch, who founded the Lunch program at the Hogar, explained that she organizes volunteers to cook weekly meals for the children. Nancy Serfas encouraged everyone to visit padrinoproject.com to sign up to make automatic monthly donations to the Hogar to ensure its basic necessities are met.

Event Coordinator, Lisa Welsch, with Hogar directors, Alicia & Joel Hernandez

We were honored to host such a loving evening that benefited a charity that deserves so much. We look forward to next year!

Fun Beach Wedding Inspiration Photo Shoot by Chris Plus Lynn Photographers

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Villa Santa Cruz, Boutique Hotel on the Beach, is the perfect backdrop for a hacienda-style wedding.  Todos Santos based photographers, Chris+Lynn, captured the true essence of the Villa with a beachy, cowboy inspired wedding shoot.  Read the excerpt below from their blog and then click the link to see all the fun photos!


"We love shooting in Mexico, and we love exploring new venues. So we were super-excited to discover what must be one of the most romantic boutique hotels in Baja, just a few minutes down the road from us! Our neighbors, and good friends Jessica & Mateo, designed, decorated, and run Villa Santa Cruz, a one-of-a-kind Todos Santos Hotel.

Imagine driving down a dusty dirt road, past acres of palm groves, deserted ranches, ancient cacti, and the odd cow, only to come to a golden hacienda set right on the beach. Guests convinced they must have been . . ."  

Click here to jump to their blog to read on and see all the AMAZING photos!

Food & Wine Pairing Charity Event on December 19, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On the evening of December 19, 2011, we will proudly host a Food & Wine Pairing Event at Villa Santa Cruz to benefit one of Todos Santos' most important charities, Hogar Del Nino (orphanage). This special evening, limited to 60 guests, promises to be a gastronomic experience! Chef Sergio of La Casita Tapas & Wine Bar will prepare five amazing food courses, each to be paired with specially selected Baja wines. The evening will include music, a small silent auction of select items and a cash raffle. All net proceeds go directly to the Hogar for support of basic needs such as food, clothing, transportation and utilities. 

Don't hesitate to reserve your ticket - the evening is almost sold out!

Event tickets are $75 USD (or $1,000 pesos) and raffle tickets are $50 pesos each. All ticket purchases include a ticket for a 50/50 cash raffle. 50/50 raffle tickets are available to those not attending the event, as well. 

Please contact the following ladies for more information:  

Nancy Serfas - nancyserfas@aol.com

Lisa Welsch - lwelsch@cbriveras.com 

Sylvia St Clair - sylviainbaja@gmail.com

Nancy Naigle - nnaigle@att.net

Greening Up the Garden

Tuesday, November 08, 2011
The Villa Santa Cruz garden has a new look this year. In the spirit of being “green,” we scoured the property and found all sorts of discarded building materials that we repurposed to create raised planting beds. You can see that old concrete blocks hold our zucchini plants, a spare tire contains our cabbage plants, and extra roof tiles surround the spinach and sunflower seedlings.    

When you walk through the garden, you can brush up on your Spanish vocabulary – all the signs that name the vegetables and flowers are in English and Español. One day soon, we’ll be picking betabels (beets), zanahorias (carrots), and albahaca (basil), just to name a few. 

While we patiently wait for the seeds to grow and produce, we'll be collecting new breakfast and lunch recipes that incorporate the fresh veggies into the meals served here at the Villa.  If you have a favorite, please send it our way!

Palabras De Amor commented on 19-Apr-2012 05:20 AM
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Organic Basil Field at Villa Santa Cruz

Monday, October 03, 2011

Even in the hot summer months, produce abounds in Todos Santos and at Villa Santa Cruz. We are co-oping with a local organic farmer, Sueño Tropical, to grow beautiful basil in our southernmost lot. The seedlings were planted in early August and are already producing boxes full of healthy, fragrant basil.  Picked in the cool early mornings, the subtle smell of basil gently drifts through the Villa and out to the beach. The expansive green field is a delightful sight from our Roof Terrace and Guest Suites.