I checked into the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos over the weekend and am seriously impressed with this place. The Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is a family-friendly all-inclusive resort that requires just 20,000 points per night. This is a great value and I personally think both families and those traveling without kids will have a great time here. I assumed this resort would be kind of a dump, with terrible food, hordes of people lining up to eat the terrible food, and generally underwhelming in every way.
After spending just two days here, I’m loving it. It’s not without it’s faults, but overall I’m enjoying my stay. I think this is partly due to my extremely low expectations, as well as the fact that this resort is just killing it in general. To give you an idea of what the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is like, here are 10 things to know about the resort:
1. No one cares what color wristband you’re wearing. At check-in, guests receive a wristband denoting their status – this can refer to elite status, whether you’re part of a tourist group, part of a corporate retreat, etc. It really doesn’t matter what color your wristband is – the staff never even glance at your wrist. I imagine the only exception is when Diamond members walk into the exclusive club lounge reserved for them, but most guests won’t be in that group anyway.
2. The food is really good. Not “good for an all-inclusive,” but legitimately great – to the point where I’d actually pay to eat here. As a habit, I research a destination to death before finally booking it (and even after, I’m reading reviews in anticipation). There were some mixed (mostly bad) reviews regarding the food, so I was expecting really terrible buffet food and didn’t really have high expectations for the restaurants either. So far, I’ve eaten at Coco Loco, Bon Vivant, La Hacienda Steak House, and El Cortijo. All four were incredible! Really good, quality food served in nice (not too small or oversized) portions, and the frappes at the coffee shop are much better than what Starbucks serves up.
I was expecting legitimately terrible, canned-tasting food everywhere, so the food at Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos definitely exceeded my expectations.
3. The beach is stunning. As I write this, I’m camped out in my cabana. Ahead of me is the most gorgeous blue water, cloudless sky, and sunshine all around. It’s insanely beautiful and peaceful. If you’re stressed out and need a break, nothing is as relaxing as spending the day on a gorgeous beach like this one. Put your phone away and look out ahead. You don’t need to browse Instagram for other people’s filtered photos when you’ve got the real thing in front of you.
4. No solicitors allowed on the beach. The best part about the beach (other than the scenery)? There are no solicitors allowed. Well, there are but they’re in an area separated by a roped fence. The fence lines half of the beach – on one side are the cabanas and sun beds. On the other side are 3-5 vendors selling hats, kites, and offering hair braiding services. They stay on their side and you simply walk over if you’re interested in buying their merchandise.
5. Swim-out rooms are kind of pointless. Like most hotels in the area, the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos has several rooms that have direct access to a semi-private pool. Sometimes, it’s well executed but at this property it’s a bit pointless. First, guests staying in the swim-out rooms have no privacy. There’s a walkway right outside of the shared pool and people are passing constantly – in fact, they can look right inside your room if they wanted to. Also, the semi-private pool is literally 5 feet from the main pool, which is warmer because it isn’t tucked away in the shade. The only people I’d see the swim-out rooms being useful for are families with small kids. Parents can swim or relax by the pool, within earshot of where their kids are napping.
6. There is an atmosphere of fun, but it’s not forced on you. I was expecting a cruise ship environment – lots of people everywhere, all the time. The resort is pretty massive, but so far it’s been surprisingly peaceful, especially by the beach. There’s a sense of “fun” – music playing everywhere, lots of activities – but it doesn’t have a manic vibe and there are quiet places to escape to. I’m not a fan of crowded resorts and a constant stream of people everywhere – if you share this sentiment, you’ll be comfortable at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, despite the size of the resort.
Yes, people crowd around the pools in the morning, but that dies down around mid-afternoon. There also aren’t as many kids as I expected – that’s probably because the kids pool is off in a corner and that’s where families congregate for the most part. In fact, my room is in a building facing the kids pool and so far there have been no noise issues.
While we’ve been making reservations for dinner, getting into a restaurant for lunch hasn’t been a problem so far. We had a 5-minute wait at La Hacienda today during the lunch rush (there were two groups ahead of us), but other than that, getting a table hasn’t been an issue.
7. The rooms could use an update. The rooms are a bit outdated. It appears when Hyatt took over the property (previously a Barcelo hotel) and following damage from Hurricane Odile, they did do some renovations. You can tell the doors are brand new and they put up some art work and new furniture to give the rooms a fresher look. That’s hard to pull off when the tiles are old and the paint job sloppy. When I inspected the room on the first day, I saw what I thought was a spider in the corner of the bathroom. Turns out it was really a bundle of hair. So maintenance could be better around here.
8. Wifi is non-existent around here. The hotel’s wifi is extremely faulty. As a Hyatt Platinum member, I get access to premium wifi (which otherwise costs $70 per 10 days for up to 5 devices). I haven’t been able to connect at all, so I’ve been using my phone’s hotspot to get online. It’s pretty frustrating because it appears my sister is able to get online with her laptop and stream movies, while nothing works on my end. The same goes for my parents – none of us can get online via our laptops, tablets, or phones. And we’re using the premium version!
On the rare occasion when someone does connect to the hotel’s wifi network, they get disconnected minutes later for inactivity, which is almost more annoying than not being able to connect at all. If I were paying the $70 weekly wifi fee, I would feel extremely ripped off.
9. The front desk seems unclear about elite benefits and upgrade policies. As a lowly Hyatt Platinum member who booked the most basic room type, I did not expect to get upgraded. My parents got here a day before my sister and I did and my dad has no elite status. They were checked in by the manager and asked about a paid upgrade – he proactively upgraded them to a suite with a partial ocean view and when we arrived the next day, they put us in the suite next door. While the rooms are outdated, they’re pretty spacious, with two bathrooms and a nice view. Totally sufficient considering we spend most of our time outdoors anyway.
That being said, I got a lot of different information from the front desk staff about paid upgrades and elite benefits. First, there was the question of whether upgrades could even be arranged ahead of time. Several front desk agents told me that would not be possible, while Hyatt Gold Passport agents actually provided rates.
At check-in, the agent gave me a black bracelet and when I asked him about benefits for Platinum members, he went out back and returned with a sheet outlining what I later learned were benefits for Diamond members. I confirmed with him that I was entitled to these benefits and he responded with, “No, you have to be a Platinum member.”
I had added the reservation to my Hyatt profile, but he somehow missed it. He explained that since I had booked with a travel agent, I wouldn’t qualify for elite benefits. I asked him to confirm and after speaking to a supervisor, he returned with a set of silver bracelets, apologized, and explained that I would in fact be receiving elite benefits, which included discounts on spa services, cabana rentals, and free premium wifi.
10. Knowing a bit of Spanish helps. Not everyone speaks fluent English, but it’s nothing Google Translate can’t take care of. I took 3 years of high school Spanish but you know the saying, “Use it or lose it”? I’ve occasionally had a hard time communicating with some of the staff who don’t speak English. Spanish lessons are on the activities list, so that’s a low-tech option for brushing up on your language skills. That being said, I’m not one of those people who goes abroad and expects everyone to accommodate my language abilities, so I don’t mind this at all.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. It wasn’t my idea to come here, since I initially wanted to spend a week in New York. However, my younger sister has been working very hard at school and wanted a week of relaxation. It was definitely a good decision and everyone has been enjoying it so far.
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