Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos: Six things to know

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Last week, I spent 5 nights at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, and it was awesome. Travel has long been a hobby for me, but this was without a doubt a vacation. I slept in (as much as a 7-month-old allows), ate delicious food, and enjoyed the relaxed pace. Whether you’re stacking the 4th night free with a best rate guarantee or using 20K Hyatt points per night, I think the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos All-inclusive is well worth it. Rather than a comprehensive review, I thought I’d share a few things I think are worth knowing about it beyond the standard details.

Waking up to this view every morning didn’t get old even after 5 nights.

The staff is awesome

Hats off to the staff at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. The level of customer service was well beyond what I usually expect in North America. I was impressed from arrival to departure.

Victor, who escorted us to our room with our bags, not only gave us a warm welcome and thorough rundown of the resort layout, but he remembered my name every day. And not just my last name – he called me by my first name every day up through the moment we were loading up the car to leave. He really set the tone with his upbeat, jovial spirit.

At breakfast every morning, the hostess Margarita greeted us with such warm enthusiasm that by the day we left and were saying goodbye, my son was reaching out to hug her.

Marcos, who waited on us at the on-property Italian restaurant “Zaffiro”, gave us excellent recommendations, including the fact that I should substitute out the potatoes that come with the beef osso buco for the creamy asparagus risotto that comes with another dish as he thought the creaminess was a great complement to the savory meat dish. He was not wrong. I don’t even like asparagus, but he had really lit up explaining it when I asked him about the osso buco dish that I had to try it. I’m glad I did.

And those were just a few of many people at the Hyatt Ziva who really stood out amongst a great staff. I initially felt like management deserved a lot of credit for excellent training, but later decided that HR deserves at least as much credit for hiring good people. Some will take it as a given that customer service at a resort should be good. I thought it really stood out here.

Food is better than expected

My wife and I had never done an all-inclusive property before and didn’t know quite what to expect. I’d read mixed reviews about the food, though most people seemed to agree that it was good for an all-inclusive resort. Perhaps it is because I had adjusted my expectations downward accordingly, but I was really impressed with the food. It wasn’t Michelin-star-quality, but most of it was better than your average tourist restaurant. Here’s the caprese salad at Zaffiro:

The caprese salad at Zaffiro, one of 5 sit-down restaurants on-property, tasted as good as it looked.

And there were plenty of other great dishes along the way (plenty). I sampled enough of the menus to tell you that you will not walk away hungry. If you do, it must be because you somehow skipped the coffee shop, where you’ll see that the tongs on the pastries face outward since it’s all-inclusive and you can just serve yourself on those.

The resort has several sit-down restaurants:

  • Zaffiro (Italian, by the beach)
  • La Hacienda (steakhouse / grill, by the beach)
  • La Cortija (Spanish)
  • Dozo (Asian)
  • Bon Vivant (French, adults-only)

But those aren’t the only options for food. Other options:

  • La Plaza (buffet)
  • El Molina (Mexican buffet)
  • Coffee Shop (with pastries as shown above, plus gelato and an additional special case of cakes and other baked goods)
  • Coco Loco (pool side “snack shop” serving tacos / quesadillas / chips and guac / etc)
  • 24hr Deli (just an unmanned buffet with pre-made sandwiches / burritos, coffee, and soft drinks (all serve yourself)
  • Food carts by the pool that vary – there were taco / quesadilla carts and a nightly crepe cart)
  • Room service (Don’t get the cheeseburger. Trust me – don’t do it.)

With 5 nights, I expected we would sample everything above. As it turned out, we liked Zaffiro and La Cortija enough to go back to each a second time and we ended up skipping out on La Hacienda or either buffet apart from breakfast (and we ate enough at breakfast that we usually just ordered a quesadilla by the pool for lunch). I should note that the breakfast buffet spread was impressive. I felt like I ate both breakfast and lunch there in the space of an hour each day.

There is a lot to do and it is very family-friendly

Our son was happy to help mom peruse the menu at La Cortija

Along those same lines of our inexperience with all-inclusive resorts, we didn’t know what to expect in terms of atmosphere. Before we started looking into this for vacation, I think I had assumed that an all-inclusive property’s main focus was on a party atmosphere and that it was probably only worthwhile for college students who could drink their room rate in free alcohol each day. While I’m sure it probably feels that way at times like spring break, I was very pleasantly surprised at how family-friendly the place felt. Sure, there were plenty of drinks being served to satiate any adult’s thirst, but there were also tons of other things to do. An activity schedule posted for the week shows organized activities from beach yoga to a ping pong tournament and Spanish lessons.

There was water aerobics daily and live music by the pools nightly. Our son doesn’t stay up late enough to have made it to any of the nightly 9pm shows in the theater, but the performers roamed the restaurants each night to drum up interest. Two of the singers from the Three Tenors show performed a snippet one night during dinner and I was impressed.

There is also a kids club with its own activities schedule, including face painting, craft making, movie time, etc. The minimum age for the kids club is 4 years old, so we didn’t spend any time there though it looked like kids were having a blast there.

I took this photo in the morning before it opened, but I promise kids were running around and having fun during the day.

There is a much cheaper spa across the street

This tip came from a reader (H/T losingtrader). If you’re looking for a massage and don’t care so much about the full spa experience of the resort, head across the street. If you head out the gate of the Hyatt Ziva and make a left, you’ll see a little strip mall across the street. It has a small grocery store, a dentist, and Natura Spa among other things.

The spa is very reasonable. My wife got both a 1-hour massage for $40 and a 90-minute massage for $60 while we were there. Two and a half hours of massage across the street totaled less than the cost of one hour at the Zen Spa on-property at the Hyatt. Natura Spa certainly didn’t have the same atmosphere you’d expect at the on-property spa, but they had a number of massage therapists on duty and my wife reports that the massage was a solid very good (and well worth the cost). She felt that was especially true here since a random massage therapist (as opposed to someone you visit regularly at home) is always a bit of a gamble in terms of the quality of the massage. While Natura wasn’t the best massage she’s ever had, she went back for the 90-minute massage after trying the 60-minute to start.

There is also cheap laundry nearby

One of the many things I didn’t know about having children until this year was how much laundry a baby can create. Wow. We packed a suitcase for our son that weighed roughly three times what he does…and I’d say we didn’t overpack. Carrying around clothes caked in baby food isn’t really my idea of a good time. Furthermore, we’d spent a couple of nights in LA before heading to Los Cabos and we would be spending several more in San Jose after, so we accumulated some dirty clothes and needed to do laundry. I had read in a review that there was a laundry spot nearby the hotel, and it turned out to be really easy to get there. They charge 80 Mexican Pesos per load (about $4.21 based on today’s exchange rate) to wash, dry, and fold. That sure beats paying by the piece at the hotel. They weren’t fast — we dropped it off on Wednesday afternoon and they initially told me it would be ready on Friday. When I was clearly surprised, they said they could have it done Thursday after 6pm. Still, for less than five bucks a load I won’t complain.

The laundry place is in the basement level (at the bottom of the escalator by the parking garage) of the shopping center with La Comer, which was described by everyone at the Hyatt as a Mexican Walmart. If you need some sort of supplies, the store had most of what you would expect to find at Walmart – so basically everything you would need. Prices were US-reasonable.

To get there, head out the gate of the Hyatt and make a left. Just after the strip mall with Natura Spa, you’ll see this staircase:

At the top of the staircase, you’ll see the entrance way / escalator for the La Comer shopping plaza on your left. Again, the laundry place is at the bottom of the escalator towards the parking garage. It has Max in large letters and is clearly a dry cleaner. It’s to the right of the escalator as you can see here:

Sunsets are awesome

While not swimmable due to dangerous undertow and strong waves, the beach at the resort is stunning. And it gets better at sunset. These photos from my phone won’t do it justice — it was hard to leave.

Bottom line

I didn’t know exactly what to expect at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. It was our first all-inclusive experience and I didn’t know how it would work out with a baby. It turned out to be a fantastic stay. An all-inclusive property was perfect with a baby — if he got too fussy during dinner, it was easy to return to the room and order room service or pick up something to grab-and-go (though we only had to leave early once). This was probably the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever taken. Food was better than expected and there were a number of things located nearby, so we saved money on laundry and massages. I’d definitely go back to this property and I am sure we’ll check out the other Hyatt Ziva properties on future vacations.

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