Discovering Hidden Wellness Destinations: The White Lodge in Baja Sur Cabo, Mexico Ignites the Heart

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

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The whole world has learned a lot from Covid as horrible as it was. There were many beautiful lessons and changes to humankind. This is something that I want to work on with my staff, to remind them that we can share and transmit this good will to other people.

As part of my series about “discovering hidden wellness destinations,” I had the pleasure of experiencing a 4-night Re-connection wellness package at The White Lodge in Baja Sur Cabo, Mexico.

The White Lodge is an exclusive 24 guest boutique hotel located less than an hour’s drive from the only coral reef in the North Pacific and 35 minutes from the Historic Center of San Jose del Cabo offering various amenities from whale watching, snorkeling, mini-golf, ATV and helicopter tours, to surfing at the famed NINE PALMS.

The resort is a sustainable eco-luxury escape in Mexico where the end of the Baja California Sur peninsula merges with the immensity of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés through sublime sea views. ZENICA Spa offers rituals and ceremonies assembled on ancestral knowledge to heal the physical body, quiet the mind and nurture the spirit.

“Off the beaten path” singularly depicts the experience at The White Lodge. The facility boasts an almost untouched sensibility mixed with mud, lime, and straw. Small wooden signs in the sand pointed the way to the lobby, beach, yoga deck, ZENICA spa, and Azul Cortés eatery. The experience left me feeling shipwrecked, but with a sufficient amount of luxury amenities.

Arriving back from dinner on the first night, a black cow stood peacefully greeting me at the steps of my bungalow. I viewed it as an omen of good luck. The sound of melodic waves crashing against the sea in my ocean view bungalow felt dreamy and calming.

The cuisine was expertly and inventively prepared with options ranging from the catch of the day to locally sourced Mexican and Mediterranean farm-to-table delights. The service always consisted of a genuine smile imbued with thoughtfulness.

One of the highlights of the Re-connection package was a Cacao ceremony with a native medicine woman, spiritual guide, and Spanish translator. The practice of using ceremonial cacao for the purposes of greater energy and deeper healing dates back to the Mayans and Aztecs. Using a small wooden frother called a “molinillo,” the beans had a somewhat bitter taste, but elicited a heartwarming sensation. I was assured that drinking ceremonial cacao would be stimulating to the blood flow and heart, and not the nervous system.

Immediately following the cacao ceremony, I was ushered into a Temazcalli experience. Described as an ancient Aztec wood fired sauna, the purpose of the Temazcalli is to detoxify the body, cleanse the heart, and become one with nature. Aromatic plants, herbs, steam from volcanic stones, singing, drumming, chanting, wailing and weeping were all left within this sacred igloo shaped structure, said to represent the mother’s womb.

I emerged 2.5 hours later questioning my life choices and the desire to free myself from self-imposed symbolic prisons. After exiting the Temazcalli, I felt lighter. The experience helped me realize that life is but a series of moments. If held on for too long, they begin to suffocate. They need space to breathe.

If re-connection to self is calling to you, look no further than The White Lodge.

The following is an interview conducted with the Managing Director, Ana Lucia Lozoya.

Thank you so much for joining us, Ana! Can you tell us a story about your backstory? What brought you to this specific career path?

I wanted to go into politics, but then went into the culinary arts mixed with hospitality and tourism. It was during the gastronomy boom in Mexico. I was the happiest girl in the world. Actually, that’s where I’ve always been, either in the kitchen or the service industry.

I decided to start studying yoga. My teacher at that time introduced me to someone, and so that’s how I started managing my first yoga retreat. It was a little boutique hotel focused on wellness. There are three and a half years in between of funny stories which eventually led me to where I am now.

What are your “3 things I wish someone told me when I first started?”

1. Don’t try to fix everything in one day.

2. Love what you do.

3. Be true to yourself no matter what.

Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

We are as eco-friendly as we can possibly be. We are a boutique hotel using straw clay incorporating three different techniques. We are also completely off-the-grid. One of the owners was involved in the building process, using local pioneers who worked on the innovative construction.

This is an extremely unique experience. From November till March, you get to see 30 or 40 whales swimming right in front of you. I personally have a very strong connection with whales. I think that’s my totem.

The work still continues, however. I would like for us to start composting. We are even looking at desalinating water so that we can be even more sustainable and give back to the earth. The water we do use currently gets put back into the land using biodigesters.

How has health and wellness played a big role in your life?

It all started with yoga, so I have a deep connection with the practice.

This place invites you to disconnect and find out what calls to you. For me, wellbeing through food is very important. We show ourselves as we eat. You truly are what you eat, as stereotypical as that sounds. When I first got here in June of 2021, it was all about burgers and fries. There’s always a customer that wants that, but we’re slowly transitioning into a more conscious way of eating.

Temazcalli wood fired sauna ceremony

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience?

Handling expectations is extremely important. So you got here from a flight from New York City and were super tired. I’m sure that we didn’t tell you about the bumpy road. You could have rented a vehicle but then super stressed out about the car not making it all the way here.

When you get here, my job is to meet every single guest and have them view the natural surroundings. I ask them to close their eyes, take a deep breath and to let go of any expectations. As they exhale, and then open their eyes, I have seen literal changes in their demeanor as they start to truly disconnect. We inform them about the hotel, and the off-the-grid ideology.

We also provide them with WiFi but emphasize that the landscape invites you to be with yourself, and gaze at the sea. We have treatments that help improve your mood and deepen your relaxation or your inner journey, including our Cacao and Temazcalli ceremonies. We have an amazing medicine woman who grew up in Oaxaca. She grew up with a Mayan tradition, and then studied various Aztec traditions, including Lakota in North America, and some Inca in South America. She combined all of these modalities and worked together with a Chinese acupuncture doctor who together created our spa menu. Our bodywork offerings are not like getting a deep tissue, relaxing or Swedish massage, it’s more of receiving heart medicine.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share a few examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

We started operating in December of 2019, so just in the middle of the highest pandemic peak. People are seeking places that are secluded with very open air so they can just disconnect.

The whole world has learned a lot from Covid as horrible as it was. There were many beautiful lessons and changes to humankind. This is something that I want to work on with my staff, to remind them that we can share and transmit this good will to other people.

We don’t need jewelry, we don’t need luxury. We just need love and compassion. So sometimes people close up to those words, but we have found a way to transmit that energy through good food, pampering, and friendly staff members who treat you like family.

How would you describe the perfect wellness vacation?

I would say having a very strict itinerary that has everything scheduled and planned perfectly so you can go on that excursion, be in the moment, and relax. I love nature. So it would involve getting in touch with my surroundings, with the local culture and the people who live there.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

The White Lodge has been very special because it is where I’ve gotten to learn and continue on my journey. The most gratifying thing in the world is when a guest at the end of their stay gives me a glance or a hug or shakes my hand, and genuinely says thank you, so I can then share this sentiment with my staff.

How can I readers find out more about you and your work online?

I am the Managing Director of The White Lodge in Baja Sur Cabo, Mexico and would be happy to arrange a tour.

This was very inspiring, Ana. Thank you so much for joining us!

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Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor