Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos: Six things to know

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.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Hal
Guest
Hal

Great review. Rates are so low right now for the one is Cancun. I was thinking of going, not taking the baby, and hopping between the Ziva and Zilara to fill out my Hyatt brand explorer. Hope that one is as nice as Los Cabos.

James
Guest
James

Yes, the one in Cancun is just as nice as Los Cabos. I’ve been to both Ziva and Zilara Cancun and (at least when I was there), I actually preferred the Ziva. More/bigger pools, larger grounds, more restaurants. The location on the corner of the beach zone is fantastic.

losingtrader
Guest
losingtrader

Hal, the Ziva in Cancun is much bigger. The beaches on either side of the property are beautiful and swimmable. I don’t think the rooms are as nice, and everything is a longer walk. Cancun is more humid year-round. The Ziva in Cabo is desert-like in terms of humidity during the late October-March period.

Darcy
Guest
Darcy

Curious – did the staff know that you’re a travel blogger?

losingtrader
Guest
losingtrader

Sure, don’t bother mentioning that meeting me was the highlight of your trip. I didn’t realize your room could see directly into mine. Good thing I kept the curtains closed.

Liz
Guest
Liz

Stayed there with my husband a couple years ago and agree on all fronts. Except, I found the food decidedly average – good for an all inclusive though. Having stayed at other all inclusives I was very impressed by the genuine service there. We have a 3 month old now and are thinking of returning since it’s very family friendly as you mentioned (that was actually our biggest complaint at the time – it was TOO family friendly! Now that’s a positive).

ETA: I hear the kids club employees are the babysitters that the hotel offers and quite excellent, just as a tip for parents out there 🙂

George
Guest
George

Is that a horse I see in the last photo? We are in SoCal and I”ve been trying to get my wife to go there for a couple years now. If there are horses there to ride that might be the push she needs to agree to go!

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Nick has been an awesome addition to FM. Love his articles.

escot
Guest
escot

Helpful report indeed, and glad you and your family could enjoy the Hyatt aic experience. I’ll give you slight extra credit that you did briefly, if barely mention the one huge negative for the property — the beach being quite dangerous, and unsafe for swimming or any water activities. For us, that’s still a key reason to skip this one, even though it’s 20% points less than other Hyatt aic’s. (unless they start busing to beach areas nearby that are swim safe?)

By contrast, we have been to three other marriage-saving 🙂 Hyatt all-inclusives (we were first enticed into this realm long ago by Daraius of MMS)…. In our experience, the (adults only) Hyatt Zilara at Montego Bay by far had the best, most incredible food experiences (in part as you can also imbibe the dining delights at neighboring Hyatt Ziva). The Cancun Zilara’s superlatives included the nicest rooms and views. (most rooms having huge two-person whirlpools, and EVERY room is ocean front there — none of this “ocean view” partial nonsense sooo common at beach places…. and yes, we got the post-card wine & rose-petals everywhere treatments too. 🙂 On the other hand, because of it’s location, the Cancun Zilara (unlike Cancun Ziva) is prone to having its beaches closed due dangerous red flag conditions…. lost one of my best uva students long ago to those Cancun undertows…. not to be trivialized or ignored…. )

Christian
Guest
Christian

The Hyatt Ziva/Zilara Montego Bay is super nice. Great rooms, unusually good service, lovely beach and water, and superb food. Just a thought.

escot
Guest
escot

A nice thought too. Concur re. the superb Rose Hall food. 🙂 We were there just after it had opened, and the beaches were still rather narrow/ragged. Have they been able to build out the planned beaches? One of two things holding us back a bit from return vacations to Montego Bay is the astronomical taxes on airfares, coming & going. (London-class, worst in the region) While I can “discount” them a bit if buying via CUR, they do rankle…. The other issue has been local (if comprehensible) resentments & unrest — focused especially on the lack of public beaches. (google it — ironic and yes, very sad)

escot
Guest
escot

Just got the email with the fall rates sale for the Hyatt aic’s in Mexico and Jamaica…. beginning at just $125/night. That’s awe-some…. (If you’re buying via Chase UR’s points, that’s likely half the equivalent of what you’d pay in Hyatt points…. The trick of course is making sure you can cancel with refund, in case your planned time gets washed out by another hurricane. (and fly southwest for the same reason)

wise2u
Guest
wise2u

first, the $125 rate is only for Puerto Vallarta, which is only 20k hyatt points and hyatt points are more easily refundable. Second, you really don’t want to fly SW to Jamaica, they they have horrible schedules unless you live in ATL or Florida….we usually get non stop AA flights from DFW using BA points to get to any of the Hyatt AI’s at a bargain rate..and lastly, If you haven’t experienced an all inclusive, hyatt is a great way to start….the only thing that put me off was Cabo has cartel problems and that hyatt had a shootout, with fatalities, in the lobby a couple of months ago…guests ran for cover as police and cartel members had a shootout…no guests were killed, but still, west coast mexico would be low on my list of places to stay.

Elias
Guest
Elias

Using 20k points for a $125 stay is terrible. You would get better value on amazon LOL. Specially considering you get points for the stay and 4th night free with citi prestige.

Anastasia
Guest
Anastasia

You had me until you mentioned the part where you can’t actually swim in the ocean. What’s the point of going to an oceanside resort if you can’t get into the water on the beach?

Boonie
Guest
Boonie

It looks like they did a great food presentation with the caprese salad! The great thing with AI you can eat and drink as much as you want. Only bad thing as a previous poster mentioned about Cabo is the beach is too rocky and can’t enjoy it. We’ve been once and that’s the reason why we haven’t gone back.

Matthewsf
Guest
Matthewsf

As nick pointed out, the lobby shootout was some time ago (not recent) and it’s obvious that the fence perimeter at the street-side entrance to the driveway is new and in response to that. A couple of things to call out/mention:

1) I read a posted Q&A response on tripadvisor from the property that La Plaza Buffet will be open for DINNER, which is great as before you could only do to a specialty restaurant ordering off the menu or next door to the Mexican Buffet, which gets old fast. This was one of the limitations here compared to Puerto Vallarta. I don’t know the date of when this is to begin/start.

2) This resort is popular with travel groups, corporate and private parties, which I imagine is seasonal. One visit there were private parties every night in the outdoor pool areas, with one night 4 (yes FOUR) going on all at once. Another visit, there were none. With the pools normally open till 10:00 they might close down areas early to accommodate these groups.

Parts Unknown
Guest
Parts Unknown

We just booked tickets to SJD yesterday for Christmas. Looking at the Hyatt Place which is just next to the Ziva. Curious about how you found the immediate surroundings- felt safe, easy to get navigate, anything to be aware of, etc?

Yusuf
Guest
Yusuf

Hey Nick,

I’ll be traveling to the Ziva with my first born soon. I noticed the seat your son is sitting in in the picture of your wife and son at the restaurant. I’m curious to know what seat that is?

Thanks!

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Nick – Do you think it is worth it to use points and cash? For a family of 4 to stay five nights it would cost 100K Hyatt points and $1,500. Was planning on staying in April. Thanks