I visited the Hacienda Encantada with my family in December of 2013. I waited 5 months to write my review as I assured Oscar Gutierrez of hotel security that I would refrain from leaving my review until I gave the hotel ample time to follow up on what happened.
Let me start with the good. Location. Wow, the view of the ocean was breathtaking. There is no beach where it was safe to swim, but if you leave the hotel property and head immediately north there was a grainy beach with rocks you could climb on out into the water. It was fun to look for sea life, mainly crabs, on the rocks. A few times we saw whales in the distance surfacing and blowing water from the blow holes. The pools were nice, and a reasonable temperature. The rooms were quite large, the beds comfortable, the bathrooms large, the kitchenette amply stocked.
Also, if you make nice with the restaurant staff, when it gets dark they may bring you a paper lantern to light and send off into the night. The view of the city in the distance at night is lovely from the restaurant that sits perched above the resort buildings.
Still, when staying at a resort on the coast in Cabo, you expect the lovely pools, the comfy rooms. There are enough 5 star reviews here that you can gather that info from others.
On to the many reasons, when added up, I gave a 1 star review... First, we stayed over Christmas, and we booked several months in advance and booked 2 rooms for a total of 6 people. In October, the hotel still had rooms to book, and we decided to bring along to more people. Because we booked through expedia, we could not add the two extra people after the fact, but after a rep from expedia called the hotel directly, we were informed that we could add the two extras to our reservation upon check in for an extra fee per night. We would have two adults, 3 teens and 3 children total in our 2 rooms. The week of our trip, I felt uneasy about having the 2 extra teens not officially listed in our reservation. What would happen if the hotel decided they would not let them stay in our room? And, the hotel was apparently now sold out, so we couldn't simply eat the extra cost of getting a third room if that were to happen. I called for confirmation and to get a name of someone in the hotel who would tell me we would be fine with our two rooms. I spent two hours on the phone with expedia and the hotel, being told that no, we could not have 4 people per room, only 3, and they didn't know why we were ever told that it would be okay... expedia wanted to help, given their booking tool showed the rooms as 4 person rooms back when we were booking. Ultimately, it was fine, I got the name of someone at the hotel who finally said it was fine (and the rooms are quite large, with 2 queen beds or a king plus a pull out queen size sleeper, so more than enough room for 4 people!). Still, it was time spent stressing during the holidays that shouldn't have happened if the hotel reservationists knew their policies!
Upon checking in, there were 3 staff members in the lobby, 2 of them were behind computers, 1 was milling about. There was one party checking in before us. It took that party 40 minutes to check in. We were sitting 5 feet from the desks, where it was obvious that we were waiting for service. To their credit, when they did finally check us in, they had a golf cart waiting to drive us to our building as the complex is fairly large to be walking during the night, the kids were now hungry as they had been sitting in the lobby for over an hour, and it was getting late.
We learned on check in that unless you make a reservation and dress up, there is one actual restaurant included in the all inclusive plan we were on. The food was good. But, it did take close to two hours to eat there. Service was S-L-O-W. We tried the taqueria by the pool one night, but it was clear they really were there to serve a couple tacos to people who were also drinking. It was like a place for an appetizer, not a place for dinner. The tacos were yummy, and it was slightly faster than the restaurant, but not set up well for many people to converge, as they did, when they opened at 6. The wait was the same every dinner. At least breakfast was a buffet, where you could serve yourself quickly.
By day 5 my system could take no more of the hotel food. I got diarrhea that lasted well beyond our flight home on day 7. Same thing for one of my teens.
My husband paid to have a week of internet connection during our stay for work purposes. There was no service at all the first 3 days, and then after that it would go in and out, or we'd need to ask for a new key/pin to get in.
My blond daughter's hair was beginning to turn green by the end of our first day, and that was with no more than 3 hours spent at the pool. My white and black swim suit was permanently tinged green by the end of the week (I was soaking it with a cleanser daily, it didn't help).
The two times I wanted to talk to the concierge, they did not answer the phone. I walked all the way back up to the lobby to speak with them, and had to wait.
Oddly enough, they must not have that many rooms reserved to book as all inclusive or hotel rooms. There must be many time share owners. There were few people at the resort during our stay.
And because there were few people there, there were not so many activities for the kids. They have the usual guy who brings a cart and lets you paint on ceramics that you can pick up the next day. The activity is time consuming and fun if you like to paint, and the guy adds some extra details that ensures the finished product will be cuter than you could have made it. Other than that, there were a couple of Mexican cooking classes that consisted of a guy with a card table, 4 guests, and a few bowls and vegetables that they turned into guacamole or something simple. The same guy would organize water volley ball with whoever would play. He was nice and actively tried to engage with the kids, but the place seemed pretty dead, because I guess the time share owners weren't around.
On day 3 we woke up to discover the upper pool was a murky brown. It looked foul and toxic. There was a heavy brown that had settled in the deeper part of the pool. It resembled a toilet bowl that had not been flushed and was left to sit. We were assured it was a rusty pipe problem, and the entire pool was prompted drained. Draining it took the entire day, and the noisy pumps to operate the drain ran until 3am. The staff apologized for not being available to do other things because they said the owner was furious about the pool and demanded it be fixed by the time he came back the next day. By the next morning it was filled with clear, cold water.
One day, I surprised house keeping in my room when I came up from the pool for sun screen. After I went back into the hall, the house keeper called me back into the room. She handed me a room key and 200 pesos and pointed to the bathroom floor where she had "found" them. I thanked her kindly and gave her back 100 pesos as I had not left a tip in the room for her that day. I thought it was wonderful that she was honest. Later than night, my son's girlfriend asked me if I had seen the white shorts that she had left on the bathroom floor, because she left her room key and 700 pesos in the pocket. Still, I gave the housekeeper the benefit of the doubt, and assumed the girlfriend just forgot what she had done with the other 500, or perhaps lost it. I didn't want to consider it might have been our nice housekeeper.
Then, day 7, it was time to check out. I had to run my son and his girlfriend to the airport, leaving at 11:30am. I cleared out my room and was ready to go. The last night I wanted to do was apply lotion to my arms. I had my wedding ring and rolex on the bathroom counter, right behind my toiletry bag, and I planned to put them on after I put on the lotion. However, my son became quite anxious to hit the road and applied pressure to hurry up. In my haste, I grabbed my toiletry bag off the counter and rushed to put it in my suitcase to get out of the room. I forgot my ring and watch where I left them. As we were pulling up to the airport at about noon, I looked at my wrist to see what time it was and realized my mistake! I couldn't reach my husband who was still at the hotel because his phone was off, and he was already out of his room. I dared not call the front desk to have them rush to my room to retrieve my things, lest they say they were sorry, there wasn't a watch or a ring on the counter... I hurried back to the hotel and rushed to my room. It was 12:30, a half hour past check out. My room, our second room, and the two rooms next to ours all had their doors propped open. There was no one in my room, but the beds had been stripped. The bathroom was still not cleaned but the towels had been removed. My watch and ring were gone. The housekeeper walked in and I said, "Donde esta mi reloj? Y mi wedding ring!?" as I pointed to the counter where I left them. She almost acted as though she didn't hear me, but walked past me to the counter where she bent over and picked up the full trash can and began taking out the water bottles and trash. At that moment, had I been smarter, I would have called security and not let the housekeeper from my sight, but I am not the sort of person who would dare accuse someone unless I am 100% sure of their wrong. I told myself surely I must have moved them. Maybe my husband came into my room, after I told him I already got everything out, and got them? I found him at the pool as we were still waiting a bit to leave, and he had not entered my room. I went to the front desk and told them what happened. They had me sit for an hour only to return and say the questioned the housekeeper and she said she didn't see my watch or ring. They asked me to check my belongings. I emptied the car and searched all of our belongings, but I knew where my things were. The housekeeper had stashed them somewhere.
Now, I realize the lame move was on my part. I left my valuables on the bathroom counter, and after the proper time for checking out the housekeeper entered, and that was that. I know the hotel cannot be held responsible. Still, they invited me to contact them once I was home. I did and they said they watched the footage from the security camera in my hall. "There was no evidence to suggest that the housekeeper had my jewelry." Ha! Was she supposed to hold it up to the camera? I again was in contact with Oscar Gutierrez, who asked me to find my paperwork for the watch and the ring, he asked me to send them a copy of the receipts (totaling $10K). I found them and sent them via email to Mr. Gutierrez. No response. I emailed again. No response. Finally, I said I was assuming the hotel had washed their hands of loss and I was going to leave my feedback on the travel sites. Immediately, Mr. Gutierrez contacted me and apologized for not getting back to me, but said they were doing something unprecedented to help me... they were having a polygraph administered to their housekeeper that week. He promised to be in touch after the test. I never heard back, and not for lack of my trying to reach them. I even tried contacting the hotel to see if Mr. Gutierrez might have left his job. No luck. When it became clear they were done with me, I asked for the names of anyone who entered my room between 11:30 and 12:30 that day so that I could file a police report. Again, no response.
$10k is a lot to stomach losing to theft by a housekeeper. We had just celebrated our 20th anniversary, and I was very sad to lose my ring. Additionally, what a dumb thing to think that housekeeper was probably going to pawn off my 5k rolex for a couple hundred dollars. I still feel sick over it. However, I understand that I didn't really have any legal grounds after I left that room. I honestly would have preferred that Mr. Gutierrez would have ultimately sad he was very sorry that I lost my things, but the hotel cannot be held responsible. I would have preferred that bit of closure and not these months of wondering, of hanging on to some shred of hope that I might get my things back or see some token repayment.
So, if you do decide to stay at the Hacienda Encantada, and you stay on the all inclusive plan, I would highly recommend planning to have lots of your dinners either made in your room (not why we travel, we love to eat out when we travel!), or plan on only having dinner at the hotel a couple times during your stay, and eating in town the rest of the time. Also, don't leave your diamonds and watches in your room :-)
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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