Jennifer Aniston, Oprah, Karl Stefanovic.
These three screen queens already have a lot in common, and now there’s something else: they’re all high profile guests of the ridiculously exclusive One&Only Palmilla resort in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Perched on the tip of the Baja Peninsula, the luxury celebrity estate — a longtime hideaway for Hollywood stars and the world’s wealthy — is flanked by the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez.
It’s the opulent centrepiece of Mexico’s Baja region. And it’s the wedding location of choice for Stefanovic, 44, who will marry his 34-year-old shoe designer fiancee Jasmine Yarborugh on the picturesque grounds in front of family and a slew of A-list pals come Sunday morning.
To describe the Palmilla as picturesque is almost an insult. There isn’t a single adjective that can summarise its opulence and next-level luxury.
It’s an Instagrammer’s dream — the only thing that would come close in Australia is if Bondi Beach was situated in Sydney Harbour and instead of water surrounding the Opera House, there flowed a river of rosé.
Only a two-hour flight from Los Angeles, dry desert meets the azure sea in Los Cabos. And nestled on the cliffs just off The Corridor — a 32 kilometre stretch of highway between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo — is the thriving paradise of Palmilla.
It’s all whitewashed villas with terracotta tiled roofs and palm trees shooting up into the endless blue sky. Neat paved pathways wind between manicured gardens and guests stroll in white robes between the pool and spa.
An army of more than 100 linen-clad staff zip around the grounds on golf carts that somehow don’t make noise because noise — other than that of crashing waves or champagne being popped — would ruin the luxury.
At the centre of the grounds in the historic white chapel, where Stefanovic and Yarbrough are expected to hold Sunday’s ceremony. The grand whitewashed arching facade towers over the resort and looks out over the Sea of Cortez. Accommodating 40 people inside, the chapel has space for 240 guests outside.
The legendary resort — built in 1956 by the son of Mexico’s president — has a decades-long history as a private playground for the world’s ridiculously rich and famous. Once only accessibly by plane and yacht, John Wayne, Lucille Ball and former United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower all holidayed here. Now a 173-room resort with additional private villas for more high-profile guests, the grounds are an exclusive hotspot for stars like Cameron Diaz, George Clooney, Hugh Jackman and Celine Dion.
On a slightly less impressive scale, reality TV stars Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag had their wedding here in 2008.
In a bid to out-do the Pratt-Montags, it’s reported Karl and Jasmine have splashed out on two opulent villas for their stay — one for AU$11,600 per night and another for $AU15,000 per night.
The hacienda-style villas come with modern touches, equipped with multiple bedrooms, screening rooms and private gyms.
Guests not staying in the separate villas will also be getting the star treatment. Every room comes with ocean views and each guest is assigned a personal butler — because having one without the other would just be ridiculous.
Sprawling along 100 hectares of jagged cliffs, the estate boasts one of the only swimmable beaches in Cabo and four restaurants — including Seared, overseen by famed New York Michelin-starred-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, where Karl and Jasmine are rumoured to have their wedding reception. The couple held their Friday night welcome drinks at the resort’s Mexican-inspired restaurant Agua by Larbi.
Maintaining privacy and exclusivity at the resort is a battle staff are trained to fight. When Jennifer Aniston checked-in to the resort’s $28,000 a night Villa Cortez in 2010 to celebrate her 41st birthday with pals Courteney Cox, Sheryl Crow and Gerard Butler, it’s reported staff implemented a three-stage plan to deter paparazzi on boats hoping to get a shot of the star.
The plan reportedly began with staff creating a “wall of mirrors” along the beach to reflect light back into the camera lenses. Stage two involved staff on jet skis spraying water at the paps. And stage three wasn’t anything impressive — it just involved outsourcing a military boat to cruise in and block the shore.
Will hotel staff give Karl the full Jennifer Aniston treatment and employ similar tactics on the host’s big day?
Maybe. Look out for the military.
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