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What I Did at the No Kids Allowed Resort

It was a rare hiccup on an otherwise perfectly choreographed trip to Mexico.

Due to no fault but my own, it was 3 a.m. when I finally arrived at Rancho Pescadero, located just outside Todos Santos, Mexico. I had already missed the first day and evening at the resort, which has been called one of the "Most Romantic and Relaxing Hotels in the World," and the dark night kept me from seeing what was surrounding me except for a few of the sierra-hued buildings.

But I could hear the massive thrashing of the ocean. I didn't know how far I was from the beach, but I knew the waves were big and close. I was led up to my room by the night watchmen, where staff had left me a beautifully wrapped dinner and bottle of wine. It was too late to eat, but I did manage to step out on to the patio extending from my room and take a moment to see the stars.

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I slipped back into my room, opened a window to let in the cool breeze from the raging sea, dropped the netting around my bed and fell into one of the deepest sleeps I can remember.

The next morning when I woke up, it took me a moment to register where I was. Concrete floors, soft, deep pillows surrounding me, Mexican rugs and the soft light coming through the open window that had just starting to illuminate the world. There is something magical about waking up in a new location, not knowing what to expect. It's like Christmas morning, with the surprise of your new reality making you as giddy as a child.

I lumbered out of bed and to the window, curious to see what was before me. The fog was lifting and Baja's beauty, with its desert-meets-ocean landscape, full of thick brush, violet flowers, plants and tall cactus, mountains looming beyond, evolving into another world.

I took in the moment then grabbed my camera and headed for the beach. If there is any downside to the two-mile, white sand beach at Rancho Pescadero, it's that it is unsafe for swimming. The riptide in this part of Baja is legendary, so while shore-casting is encouraged (fishing rods are available for guests at any time), surfing and swimming are not.

I spent the rest of the early morning exploring the 15-acre property, snapping photos and sitting by the water on one of the curtained double beds painted in a friendly blue, before returning to my room, where coffee and fresh fruit were waiting at my door.

"I'll come back for you again," he said in his broken English.

The day was mine to choose what I wanted. There was no agenda, no schedules. I was on no one's time but my own. This is the mantra at Rancho Pescadero—which opened in November 2009, by American business woman Lisa Harper. Make it what you want it to be. There are dozens of activities from which to choose, or you can do nothing at all.

Over the next couple of days, I chose a little of both.

On my first morning, I enjoyed a breakfast of housemade granola, yogurt and local berries, matched with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate, followed by a transformative yoga session in the resort's 2,000-square-foot pavilion, which faces the beach. The instructor was powerful but gentle. You could feel the breeze, smell and hear the ocean.

Afterwards I walked through the sand to the resort's spa, Tres Hermanas, which is run by three sisters and is located in a stand-alone building even closer to the ocean. There I was treated to an exceptional hour-long massage that incorporated locally grown herbs. Even with the short night's rest, I already felt more relaxed than I had in months.

For lunch, I ate locally caught halibut which was sliced into sashimi and prepared with oil, chilies, garnished with avocado and tomato. The garden also boasts an outdoor kitchen with wood-burning oven where he cooked chicken and vegetables for our meal. Visitors, like me, can also work in the on-site organic garden, learn sustainable growing techniques, and cook what they harvest.

In a literally state of bliss, I took to the pool, where I leafed through magazines, had a cocktail and several adult conversations. (Did someone hear a child crying? No, me either.)

On a whim the next day, I went horseback riding along the beach, led by an American expat guide who literally packed up her horses five years ago, drove from California to Todos Santos and never left. We trotted along the shore, where some local teenagers played in the waves. She told me of the whales that visit this area every fall, breaching the shoreline for hours during the day. The sun was just beginning to set, so we headed back in time for sunset cocktails and another satisfying meal.

Rancho Pescadero has 27 luxury suites, all with ocean views. The resort only allows adults and children over 14 years old. The mission here is to relax, reconnect or disconnect if need be. There were a few solo travelers like me there, but the majority were couples.

After my time at Rancho Pescadero, a private driver named Armando returned me to the airport. He could see it in my face, I wasn't ready to go.

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"I'll come back for you again," he said in his broken English.

As we pulled away, through the fields growing chilies, past the cactus, I turned around to glimpse Rancho Pescadero one last time, uncertain if it had been just a dream.

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