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I was taken by surprise on November 2nd when I opened up an email invitation and was told that I was one of the Elite Top Producers for Pleasant Holidays in 2014 and that there was to be a celebration in Cabo San Lucas for the top 100 agents and their guests. As luck would have it, I didn't have anything on the calendar for the dates, which is so uncommon for the crazy Christmas Season, so there was no way we were going to miss this opportunity.
Not only was it going to be a pretty awesome trip, all expenses paid, all-inclusive resort, activities, massages, etc. but it was also going to give me the chance to see Los Cabos "post-Hurricane Odile" and see firsthand how the recovery efforts were coming along. I have a friend who had come down a month after the Hurricane and she had given me pretty good reports overall, so I was expecting great things from the fabulous people of Los Cabos. It really is true- Cabo is Unstoppable! The overhead view when flying into Cabo showed some signs of Hurricane damage, but once you were on the ground and driving to the resorts, you really didn't see that much destruction. There are a handful of resorts that have not reopened, but in part that is because they decided to take the time now to do big renovations since they were already closed for repairs, so you did see some of that construction. You also saw some construction of local businesses rebuilding outside of the resorts. That being said, I stayed at one resort and toured another and both were fully operational and you'd never know there had been a very harmful Hurricane just 3 months ago, except for the new Palm trees that have not been allowed yet to spread their branches.
We stayed at Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort. This is an adults only all-inclusive resort and it is beautiful! The rooms were AMAZING, I think this would probably fall into my top 3 of best resort rooms based on decor, amenities and spaciousness. We had a ridiculous bathtub AND a Jacuzzi tub on the balcony and a beautiful oceanfront view. Awesome sunsets and we actually woke up early enough for this amazing sunrise on our first morning! Some of the rooms are swim out and have their own private plunge pools off the balconies, which is very cool too, but you do sacrifice some of the ocean view since those are on the ground level. It really would depend on which building you are in, some of the higher level buildings would probably offer the better swim out room view. The room comes stocked with liquor, beer, soda, water, snacks and those things are replenished as often as needed. Because the resort is all-inclusive, you can order room service at any time as well. The resort offers free Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the resorts. In fact, there were so many hot spots, you never really had a bad connection and all suites are non-smoking.
The resort offers a choice of 8 different dining venues. Sadly, we didn't have enough opportunities to try them out because we had some group dining events. We did have breakfast twice in the Market Cafe (buffet) and that was very good, we had ordered omelets at the omelet station so it's nice and fresh. A wide variety of food choices, so really can't complain here. We did have lunch one day at the Seaside Grill, which is right next to the pool. Food was very good here. I was surprised though that they did not offer food service by the pool. You did have to go to the restaurant to order and either bring it back to your lounge chair or sit and dine there. Then on our last night after a group event dinner that offered many foods that several of us did not like (the picky eaters), we decided to go have a sit down dinner at Portofino's, the resort's Italian restaurant and it was FABULOUS! We did order room service breakfast one morning, but it arrived a bit too late and we had to eat what we could very quickly in order to meet our tour. It was good, but we just couldn't enjoy it. I can't really blame them, we ordered when they started to serve breakfast, but there were a lot of people doing the same thing - many of us up to meet an 8am tour. There are also several bars around the resort. We were mostly by the pool and service there was excellent- our buddy Nelson never left us with an empty glass- good thing the drinks weren't super strong! We also had very good service at the Rendezvous lounge (lobby bar).
The resort has a full service spa and we did have massages on our last day. Unfortunately, when we checked in and reconfirmed our appointments I didn't pay close enough attention to see that they had us down for a 25 minute massage and it was supposed to be 50 minutes. I'm not sure where that went wrong, there were other agents who had the same problem and some corrected them right then and there and did receive the 50 minute service. I did not because I was questioning if I had remembered correctly, so that was a bummer and really a waste of time for a 25 minute service- although the therapist was good, you just left wanting more--much more, especially since I am used to 90 minute massages at home!
The resort has a state of the art fitness center- I can't say that I used it. We had a pretty packed schedule, but it did seem like may resort guests did put the facility to use. There is also a very nice walking/jogging path throughout the resort -the loop is about 1000 meters, which is a little more than 1/2 of a mile per loop.
There is a golf course nearby, a putting green on site, beautiful stretch of beach with chairs & shade and yes you can go in the water here- it's safe. They offer a variety of services at the hotel such as car rental, wedding packages, business center, meeting rooms, private dinners on the beach, excursions and shopping. There is nightly entertainment in the Desires nightclub from karaoke to dancing, weekend sporting events on TV, casino night, you name it and there is definitely something going on for those who want to be entertained. The resort also offers daily activities: bike tours, art walk, pub crawl, tennis lessons, ping pong, yoga classes, beach/pool volleyball, water aerobics, rifle shooting, bocce ball, archery...there is plenty to keep you busy.
We had one group excursion to visit the nearby resort Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos All-inclusive Golf & Spa Resort, they gave us a property tour and then hosted dinner & fireworks to follow. By the time we got to the resort it was dark out, so it was hard to really get an overall grasp of the property, but we did get to see a standard resort room and toured the public areas of the bars/restaurants and spa. It's a fairly large resort and it did appear to be very busy, which is awesome in "low season" between the holidays and 3 months after a major Hurricane! Our dinner event was lovely, the food very good and the service was excellent! I did start up a conversation at the airport with two people who were staying at that resort and they said that it was really nice, they enjoyed their stay and would go back in a heartbeat.
Although, I've been to Cabo before and done the typical "tourist" things, I did sign up for the Taste of Los Cabos tour because I did want to see the destination and really get a feel for how everything looked and if the destination really was "Open for Business" as I had been hearing from so many suppliers. Well, my findings- YES, Cabo is Open for Business and I do not hesitate to send any clients to this wonderful destination at all! Our bus driver took us into Cabo San Lucas, we walked through a shopping mall that is still going through some renovations, but many of the businesses were open, we then got on a glass bottom boat to tour the marina and out to the Arches. Afterwards, tequila tasting in the mall at one of the shops. From there we stopped at a lookout point close to The One & Only Palmilla (scheduled to re-open March 2015) and you could see some of the damage that they are working to repair and renovate. We continued on our tour into San Jose del Cabo where we went to a Glass blowing factory and watched them in action- very impressive. Then a lunch stop where we learned how to make 3 different salsas and had a lovely lunch. Afterwards, there was time to shop and then we headed back to Secrets where we had a couple of hours to enjoy the sunshine. There was no noticeable damage in San Jose del Cabo and very minimal damage noticeable in Cabo San Lucas. I remain very impressed with the recovery that Los Cabos has been able to do in such a short time! They are amazing.
We did tip very well throughout our stay. After all, we had a completely paid for trip, so our baggage handlers, tour guides, transfer/tour bus drivers, massage therapists received some very nice tips. In part because we didn't have change, but then once you really consider that these people are trying to rebuild their lives and homes you find that you want to help them in any way possible. We received some very heartfelt "thank yous" when they saw their tip amount.