In early August of 2013 I learned about the “Valle.” A place in Mexico just inland from Ensenada referred to as The Napa of Mexico or Mexico’s wine country. I was told that it was an absolute hidden gem with amazing 5 star restaurants, locally sourced farm to table practices, fabulous wine and endless valley views. I was interested at that point, but still had it on the back-burner of places I had to go see.
The strangest thing is that as August turned into September and then October, the valley kept coming up in conversations. You know how that works, like when you are getting a new car and then all of a sudden you are surrounded by a million of those cars? Well that's what happened to me with this place. Everyone kept telling me that it was the perfect location for our clients to have weddings, retreats, and intimate weekend getaways. However, without actually seeing it for myself, I just couldn't picture what they were talking about...In my head, I kept thinking, really, Mexico has a wine country? No way!
After the fourth person told me about the “Valle” in such a short period of time, I knew I had to make the trip. So I plugged it in on my calendar for the upcoming weekend to see what all the hype was about. To be honest I was a little nervous about the drive, as I hadn't driven over the border in 10+ years, however, in just 2 hours from San Diego, the journey was short, sweet and actually really enjoyable. The views down the coast were incredible.
As we pulled up to Encuentro Guadalupe, the first thing you notice is the stunning modern architecture of the main lobby and then as you look up you see all gorgeous eco-pods scattered throughout the hillside. It is quite a site as I had never seen anything like it. I was immediately in love. Everything about Encuentro had Jamie written all over it.
From the views of the valley and vineyards, the hillside full of fresh produce, and the fact that my key to my pod was equipped with a mini flashlight(more on that in a bit), it was definitely love at first site.
When we entered the main lobby, we were greeted with their signature sangria that is to die for. It’s only natural to take your drink out on the patio and soak in the view while you unwind.
Hiking around the grounds is extremely peaceful you can see how this place can really bring about your creative energy. As we continued walking, we found ourselves strolling through their locally grown produce, where we were able to pick fresh veggies, like green beans from the vine and eat them right there....yum!
Back to the flashlight. I just love that we needed one as you had two options when you wanted to get back to your pod when the sun went down. You could get driven to the closest trail which lead to your room, or you could just hike the whole way. Now the "whole way" is not that far of a walk at all. Most nights we opted to get the extra exercise and walked from the main lobby. It's like your camping, but not really because your tent is this incredibly designed pod.
Once inside your stunning eco-pod, the layout is remarkable with floor to ceiling glass windows that overlook the valley. Conveniently there are no distractions, like a television, however, they do have internet, so if you so choose to stay connected during your stay, you can. Each pod has their own private deck which is the perfect place to be when the sun rises with a warm cup of fresh brewed coffee. The private deck also includes a wood burning fireplace which we utilized at night over a nice glass of their homemade red wine.
As we made our way to the main lobby for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Executive Chef Flor Franco serves up only the best local and fresh varieties from the valley. From farm fresh eggs for breakfast to the seafood ceviche for lunch, everything is simply delicious.
Even more surprising is that even though the entire location only has accommodations for 40 guests(20 pods), they have so many unique event spaces perfect for weddings, health and yoga retreats, or corporate retreats where their capacity can rise to that of 1000+.
In addition to the 20 pods, there is a luxury villa that can accommodate 8 guests overnight and also has a 2,000+ square foot deck, excellent for entertaining. Talk about the ultimate bridal suite!
The event planner in me could not stop thinking about that perfect proposal, wedding or weekend retreat in Valle De Guadalupe. From the wine cave ideal for a romantic proposal or intimate dinner for two, to the outdoor terrace fully equipped with farm tables and an outdoor BBQ, perfect for a welcome reception, to the lobby and deck that is so impressive you could entertain a party of 2-100. And you can't forget about the pool deck location which is excellent for a day of relaxation or sipping homemade sangrias with 40 of your closest friends.
Up next, I am going to take you through several of the event spaces available throughout Encuentro.
There are so many unique spaces that can be used for large or small group events, the possibilities really surpass this list below, however, I will walk you through 7 different spaces right now:
1. Wine Cave & Wine Cellar
2. Outdoor Patio
3. Main Lobby and open deck
4. Pool Deck
6. The Lot
7. The Villa
1. Wine Cave and Cellar
The wine cave is absolutely gorgeous and is the ideal location for an intimate proposal or dinner for 2. The cellar is unlike anything I have ever seen, with large boulders, a cool breeze and romantic ambient lighting, the cellar is just great for a rehearsal dinner, wine pairing-tasting dinner, or even a really cool meeting space for corporate retreats.
2. Outdoor Patio Overlooking the Vines
The outdoor patio overlooks the vineyards and is a fantastic location for a welcome reception. Treat your guests to local favorites by offering a traditional BBQ, accompanied with house-made sangria, wine and margaritas for the ultimate afternoon reception. The pre-existing wood tables and hay barrel benches offer the picture-perfect backdrop for your event.
3. The Lobby and Open Deck
There is a feeling when you enter the lobby at Encuentro that is completely indescribable. It's like you have entered complete relaxation. You know the feeling when you enter a day spa? Yeah, that's the feeling. You are in the center of the most amazing panoramic views. The deck sits up over the vines and no matter where you, you're bound to take an amazing photograph all your friends and family will be jealous of when you post it on instagram or facebook.
The deck is great for an intimate wedding ceremony or even a morning yoga session. Encuentro is absolutely the perfect destination for a yoga and spiritual retreat.
4. The Pool Deck
The pool deck is great for guests to hang out during the day and unwind before the evening festivities begin. Enjoy house-made ceviche and tostadas while you sip on a medusa (a favorite local craft beer) or any of the house specialty cocktails. Who needs an ocean view when you can enjoy your own private valley views with 40 of your closest friends.
5. The Vineyards
The vineyards surround the entire property and there are so many places to set up a farm to table dinner and wine pairing throughout the vines. With strung twinkle lights and the sky littered with stars overhead perfectly lends itself to the ultimate dining experience you and your guests will never forget.
6. The Lot
Just below the vines lies the lot which is an open space at the entrance of Encuentro. The great thing about this space is that it's an empty canvas that can accommodate 1000+ guests. The lot is perfect for a tented reception, a concert, a large tasting event, or anything else you can imagine, the options are wide open for this space.
7. The Villa
The villa can be rented not only for accommodations, but is also large enough that it can accommodate parties for 50-70 guests. For an intimate dinner on the deck, to private cooking classes by Executive Chef Flor Franco, the villa provides an intimate space that is all yours.
As you can see, the options and potential for a truly amazing event are all here, whether you are interested in an inclusive wedding weekend, a yoga & health retreat, a corporate retreat, a wine and culinary retreat, or even a weekend getaway with your ladies(or gentlemen, yes, you too would be in heaven here), it is all possible!
In addition to the event spaces which we discussed, there are so many activities that can be catered to your event, from wine making classes, to cooking demo's and cooking classes, cheese making, local farm to table dinners, onsite local wine tasting, and so much more.
Not only are the options endless at Encuentro, there is much to see and do in the valley. Interested in finding out more about planning the perfect weekend in Valle De Guadalupe?
More details and estate venues in the valley to come in upcoming posts...check back soon or sign up to our newsletter to get updates directly to your inbox.