Will try to be as objective as possible.
We booked a suite. Based on an informal survey of other guests I'm pretty sure I'm the sucker that paid the highest price. Oh well. Room was nice. Kitchen, living room, dining room, breakfast bar, and separate bedroom, two full baths. Downside was that we were at pool level with "partial ocean view". This means pretty much no ocean view. What you do get is noise from staff setting up in the morning while you're still sleeping and pretty much non-stop activity throughout the day. And the view ain't great if you get my drift.
We were told they were at 80%+ occupancy but based on the dinner crowd that's doubtful. They moved us to a room two night later that was a couple buildings down the hill and one floor off the ground. Fantastic ocean view but we were right above their "tequila/sushi bar" which was open and noisy until 10 at night.
We got the "Premium All-inclusive" which means you can only eat at the restaurants on-site. I found out too late that if you wanted to eat at the sister resort it was an extra ~$70/day for our family of four. That said, if you don't want to deal with getting the kids ready on time f3 times a day to get to your meal then all-inclusive is the way to go. *And* if you plan on staying at the resort most of the time I highly suggest getting the all inclusive. Breakfast for four on average was ~$70, Lunch just over a hundred and dinner closer to $200. We paid $300/night for suite+all-inclusive so I actually feel like it was mostly a good deal. Would have been much higher if we drank more alcohol too. Just something to keep in mind, you know (makes drinky drinky motion).
Ok, that said (that the all inclusive is a good deal), there's some drawbacks to the all-inclusive. There's only one place for breakfast. And if you've got kids under 12 there's pretty much only one place for dinner. And it's the same place. And even if it was Gary Danko, you'd still get sick of it after a few nights. And it wasn't Gary Danko.
The wait staff at Las Marias/Los Riscos (same place with two different names to make it appear there's more than one dining establishment) are really good. You're greeted and seated in a timely manner.
But things fall apart with the kitchen. Three of the nights I ordered steak which was supposed to be filet and tenderloin. If they were, they were probably select cuts (not even choice). Don't order steak there. I tried the 'sea bass' one night which wasn't bad due to it being smothered in a cream sauce. The only problem was that it didn't taste like any sea bass I've ever had. My suspicions were confirmed when my wife ordered the red snapper the next night and it was exactly the same dish. Also, don't order the carbonara unless watery pasta is your thing. One last thing: service is super slow. I thought it was a Mexico thing, you know like in Europe but more on that later. Normally it's not a huge issue but if you've got young kids then you know a two hour dinner becomes a grind pretty quick.
Ok, there's a bright spot but you gotta eat like a senior citizen. It doesn't involve removing your dentures but it does mean sitting down to eat at 6PM like an early bird specialist. While the view from Las Marias/Los Riscos is pretty spectacular, the view from El Patio at the lower pool is downright stunning. It's sunset dining on the beach. Same great wait staff but food comes out faster, it's hot (forgot to tell you above, we got cold food a few times), since they close at 7 they want you the hell out of there more than you do. We had fish tacos one night, nachos, etc. and it was all good.
So the pros and cons are as follows:
- Well trained, professional staff. Everyone says 'hola' and buenos xxxxx. Learn to say it yourself. It's only polite.
- Premium Inclusive is a good deal if you plan on spending a lot of time on the property. A bottle of water is $2 and it's hotter than hell down there so you do the math. If you a lush, even better for you!
- The property itself is really nice. Fairly new resort with stunning views. Not too big so you don't feel like you're getting lost all the time. Architecture and décor was quite tasteful and well thought out. Grounds well kept.
- Rooms were nice, well laid out, and tastefully decorated. Also, mini-bar was restocked every day as part of "Premium All Inclusive".
- Shuttle: Nice if you don't plan on spending a bunch of time in town. It was included as part of the all-inclusive plan but I think it's only a couple bucks a head into town. Runs every two hours so it's fairly convenient.
- Location: It's 10 mins outside of town so you don't get a lot of the party crowd here. Pretty good mix of families and younger to older couples. You get the picture: pretty mellow. If you want to tear it up like you're still in your twenties (or you really are still in your twenties) you may want to stay closer to town.
- Fernan: The activities director. Man this guy is on 24/7. I don't know how he does it. If I had to deal with ***** like me I'd shoot myself. But he was great. Played games with the kids, led them on treasure hunts, suggested restaurants, pointed us at paleterias and dulcerias. Give that guy a raise!
- While the rooms themselves rocked, the locations of the two rooms we got sucked. Staff claimed there was no trick to getting a desirable room. I figured the folks who got the deals would get equally sucky room locations but it was actually just the opposite. I'm guessing maybe the timesharers got the bulk of the good rooms with the views and above the pool. Or maybe I'm just pissy.
- Dinner at Las Marias/Los Riscos is to be missed. Wait staff great, time from start to finish slow, product is bland.
Would I stay here again? I dunno, maybe. I don't know if I could deal with the food situation again but then the views and the staff are a draw. Maybe if I could figure out how to secure a better room in advance.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Unique and breathtakingly beautiful, this spectacular Contemporary Hacienda style Luxury All Inclusive resort located on the Tourist Corridor in Cabo San Lucas offers magnificent panoramic views to the Sea of Cortes, romantic settings, distinctive dining, spacious and luxurious accommodations, and a variety of venues for special events. Your will be amazed of the bright, terracotta colored, Mexican Hacienda style buildings that are beautifully decorated with handmade Talavera tile murals, vases, classical sculptures, Spanish colonial fountains, contemporary art for contrast, and upscale traditional Mexican furnishing, driving them to experience an authentic Mexican ambiance throughout their stay. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hacienda Encantada Resort And Spa
- Hacienda Encantada Hotel Cabo San Lucas
- Hacienda Encantada Resort & Residences Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos, Mexico