I just returned yesterday from a week at Villa del Palmar Cabo. Thought I would pass along my observations for those of you currently considering booking it.
I booked it by renting a three bedroom unit from a timeshare ownver using www.vrbo.com. Got a great price, close to $250/day. The quoted price by Vailla del Palmar is around $1,000 per day. Anyone who pays anywhere near that price hasn't done their research. The rental owner said he had lowered his price because of slow booking interest.
Arrived around 3 p.m. on a Saturday, which is the major check-in day. Immediately met by Drago who took our bags and waited for us to check in. He took us to our room, showed the major features and left the bags. Of course we tipped. We also were quickly met by a timeshare person asking if we were an owner, and we said we were renting from an owner. No pressure to attend a presentation, yet.
Soon we had a phone call asking us to go downstairs in our section of the complex and talk to xxxx about seeing the property. I have been through the time game before and normally would not do it, but since we were staying and the morning after arriving we rarely do much, we decided to see how they did timeshare at Villa del Palmar and get the gold card for discounts. So we arranged for a breakfast meeting at about 9 a.m. Went to Villa del Arco, where the timeshare sales are done. Actually a nice breakfast, but then at the end, the time share sales person said it would be nice if I left a tip for the server!!!! I did, but this is the start of a downsizing of timeshare benefits at Villa del Palmar.
Tour of Villa del Arco property did not take a lot of time. Units are nice, but privacy between bedrooms and baths seemed inadequate for my tastes. Environment overall is nicer than at VDP. Comments later on this. Then back to VDP to timeshare sales office, which happend to be directly above our unit. We were wondering why there were corks on our patio. Decided, to play a game and see how they priced their timeshare if were difficult. Original tour agent left, and then Jill came and explained properties and plans. We said, OK, 2 bedroom unit (I was good guy and wife was bad wife from Jill's view). We kept saying we did not like this or that, or we had not been in cabo before and were not sure if we like cabo, etc. Jill then gave us her final, best offer. For $27K, we could have have a 2 bedroom unit for the May-Oct period, approximately, and then a second week also provided, if we wanted to use it. We would only have to pay the maintenance fee. She constantly said developer needed money for new Loretto development (this is probably true because of funding issues in todays real estate market). We said no, and then saw Carlo, the final closer. I think we could have lowered the price further but did not try. Then had to go to another room to get gold card, and coupons for discounts on tours. For most tours, VDP time share only gives discounts not free. I suspect if I was really working the system, I might have gotten it free. Overall took 2.5 hours with breakfast.
Gold Card: 15% discount on most purchases on resort property for VDP and VDA. I believe this use to be higher in the past. Useful, but not a great benefit.
Room: Room had a great view of Cabo, the bay and arch rock. Three bedroom units are front ocean and had a hughe patio. Master had ocean view and two other bedrooms had no windows! Beds are OK, somewhat firm but not uncomfortable: Both mattress and boxspring. Furniture is OK but nothing to brag about. We had a living room, kitchen and dining room. Really nice re space.
Maid service: Very good. Serviced every day with fresh towels and sheets changed regularly. Used L'Occtane for soaps and shampoos. Good stuf.
Sheets: I noted some had black stains and one pillow case had a black stain. VDP is not replacing such items it appears.
Towels: Large but not the best quality. I found them a little rough.
Water pressure and temperature: Great pressure and had no problems getting hot water.
Air conditioning: Most rooms had controls. We ran into problems in kitchen and living room. First, control units did not always function correctly. Twice, we had major leaks from the AC system sitting above kitchen area. Water dripped into kitchen and formed pools of water. We called maintenance, and they arrived once in 10 minutes and the second time in two hours. They did not speak English, and we did not speak Spanish, so communication was a little challenging be we did OK. Leaking was temporarily fixed and they said they would be back to work more on system. No one ever came back.
Noise: Generally quiet, except when pool had activities in late morning through late afternoon. Also could hear sounds from theme nights, but his ended shortly after 9 p.m.
Pool area: Two pools, both populated with adults and children. Lots of organized activities in the main pool so finding space to actually swim is difficult. Lounge chairs are all around, but they are cheap in design, no padding. Food service is available, but delivery is slow. Pizza and chicken quaesadilla and guacomole were pretty decent.
Beach: Steep drop off in area where you can swim. Tide is very strong and it really is not a swimming area. Lounge chairs and umbrellas also on beach, roped off from sellers. Sellers constantly patrolling area and cross ropes if you want to view merchandise. Food service is also available.
Concierge: Not a true concierge. Basically commission based individuals to sell tours and timeshare appointments. However, will answer basic questions.
Staff: Generally friendly and helpful.
Theme nights: Each night has a theme night. We went to Mexican theme night with free drinks and it was decent food, sufficient drinks of average quality and an average show. We could hear other shows and some used canned music.
All inclusive: VDP offers a full meal and a two meal package per day, with a minimum number of days. I believe the range is $55 or $80 per person per day, depending on meal plan. Note that expensive food items such as steak, or items with big shrimp are only discounted 40%. From my view, given the limited number of food choices, this is not worth it.
Check Out; Use express check out to avoid lines. You must establish the day before that you want to use this service.
Overall impressions: VDP is appropriate for families and anyone who does not mind noise during parts of the day. It is an aging property, although they do regular maintenance, but if you look closely, it needs more care. Service is OK. Palmita market is nice in case you run short of items and don't want to go anywhere, but it can be expensive. Room accomodations are very nice but not great. Food at restaurants is also quite acceptable but also somewhat expensive in some cases.
If you want more ambience, more quiet, better facilities and fewer children, then I suggest you consider Villa del Arco.
At the price I paid for my week, it was certainly a good week and I would not rate it negatively. I would not rate it highly either. You should know that my wife and I are over 65, retired and have traveled extensively. If I had kids, I think it might be rated better by me.
Grading: 3.5 star. I have stayed at Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton resorts so I know what the high end provides. I am basing my 3.5 star on a Ritz being given a 6 star.