I stayed here in November 2012 with my wife, 2 yr old daughter, and in-laws. We purchased this vacation through one of those 3rd party marketing companies the resort uses offering a 5 night "all-inclusive" stay for $199 per person if you do the time-share presentation. Be very careful about the fine print with these types of promotions, because there ended up being alot of hidden fees and charges which my MIL missed when she booked the trip for everyone. There was an "in-season" charge of $200 per person that was applied for going anytime during 6 months of the year, even though traveling in early November is not considered "in-season" by any other resort's standards.
So now, that $199 per person offer for 5 nights is now $399 per person. When booking, we asked about oceanview rooms and were assured not to worry b/c all rooms were oceanview. This is NOT the case at all. Upon arrival, the reservation desk had us booked in rooms on the front side of the resort facing the dusty highway and mountains-no oceanview whatsoever. We brought up the guaranteed oceanview room, but the resort did not care and disclaimed any responsibility for the 3rd party marketing company (that they hired). We had to pay $434 per room to upgrade to an oceanview (not oceanfront) room for the 5 nights. Those 5 all-inclusive nights for 2 adults end up costing $1233 total, before additional charges during your stay for things other resorts don't charge all-inclusive guests for, like wi-fi, ice cream, fresh deli sandwiches, etc. Tack on $500 for adding 2 more nights to make it a weeklong vacation and the cost is $1733. Hardly a deal for what you get in return.
Rooms: After paying for the upgrade, we did receive a nice oceanview room on the 7th floor. The view was great (when standing on the patio, although the patio had a wall with flowers instead of a normal patio enclosure yo can see through when sitting on your bed in the room. The room does not contain any luxurious furnishings and there was a very small queen bed with hardly any sleeping pillows. I will say the room was clean upon arrival, the flatscreen TV was nice, storage amount was adequate, as was the bathroom (but not luxurious by any means). The kitchenette was fine, but they advised you would be charged for extra for taking any items (water, beer, coffee, snacks) of the pre-stocked items from the fridge, despite the fact we paid for all-inclusive. Room service was also not included in the all-inclusive option.
Food: There are only 2 restaurants on-site, Tortugas, the sports bar/buffet restaurant, and Bella California, an italian restaurant. The inside area of Tortugas, the sports bar area, was a good atmosphere for people to be able to watch their pro and college sports games. However, they served dinner at Tortugas outside in front of he entrainment stage and the food was absolutely awful. We tried it twice, then chose to eat at Bella California the rest of the week. Bella California is the beachfront restaurant, the view is gorgeous, and it offered good italian choices, but we would have liked more mexican dishes offered at this location which is where everyone wants to eat. Lunch options were very limited and it got very tiresome by the end of the week. The saving grace was the brickoven pizza offered poolside and at Bella California. Finally, the breakfast buffet offered at either restaurant is rather terrible as well. Really, breakfast isn't that difficult, but rubber-like pancakes in a warming tray are not appealing. The quality of the other food options (scrambled eggs, french toast, etc.) were also not that good. Food overall at this resort is not good.
Pools/Beach: There are 3 pools, as well as a teeny-tiny baby pool area. The pools are nice (th whale slide is great for older kids) but the pools are overall much too small for the number of people staying at this resort. Serious expansion is needed in this area. The pools are crowded and cramped, except for the adult pool which we could not use because of our daughter. Also, the best selling point at any resort located on Medano Beach is the beach and view of Land's End. The pool areas need to be expanded and should be ideally relocated to a more beachfront location to maximize the view. People want to lounge next to the pool and stare at an unobstructed gorgeous view, not stare through rows of palm trees, the boutique, walkways, etc. for a glimpse of the ocean.
The beach area was nice and the ocean was warm and calm enough for 5 out of 7 days for young children to swim in the water with their parents. Water clarity is very good and temp was about 80 degrees. There is a steep drop off and an extremely strong undertow, so children of all ages need to be closely supervised or assisted at all times. This is definitely not the Carribbean. The beach is a difficult to walk in due to the steep incline and heavy, course nature of the sand. We joked that it felt like quicksand. We booked a glass bottom boat tour and jet skis through Baja Watersports located directly next to the resort on the beach and they were great. Very friendly and fair prices. We enjoyed these activities very much and highly recommend them.
Service/Enterainment: Service was friendly, but spotty. Pool service takes forever (due to lack of adequate number of servers), so you end up walking to the bar to get a drink. Then you have to sign a "fake" check every time you get any drinks or food, which is ridiculous when you have the all-inclusive option. Waiting for a check at the bar, during meals, poolside, etc., often takes an extended period of time (5-10+ minutes) which adds up significantly over the course of your vacation and is very annoying. It is basically an attempt for each bartender/server to obtain a tip from you each time you obtain any drinks or food, which is fine for normal guests but not for someone who paid an all-inclusive rate which normally covers this. I worked in the service industry for several years and I appreciate how hard they work and tip very generously (even at all-inclusives), but I do not think it is appropriate for an all-inclusive guest to feel guilty about not tipping for every single drink they get. The nightly entertainment was fairly standard for resorts these days, but it was very loud and its location directly in front of guest rooms interferes with families who have young children trying to sleep. The outdoor karaoke night in particular was horrendous, loud, and extended past 10PM.
Location: The resort is located directly next to its more elegant and higher-end sister resorts, Villa L Estancia and Villa Del Arco. They are located on Medano Beach, but far enough away where you need to take a taxi or rent a car to venture into downtown. You even need a taxi to go to Walmart (cost is $15 round trip) which is located on other other side of the highway, but still about 1 mile away door-to-door due to the windy roads. The costs of taxis added up over the course of the week.
Overall: Cabo felt like a great place for people to come for vacation, more so for adults rather than small children. The desert tropical landscape, including the rock formations, is stunning and the fishing was great. I can see why everyone from California comes here, given they only have a 2 hour flight. However, for those of us from the East Coast, it is an approx 5.5-6 hour flight and the Caribbean and Riviera Maya offer much much more for our young family at this price point, and are even more beautiful. We will likely return to Cabo sometime in the future, but we will definitely be staying somewhere else, somewhere more high-end and probably within immediate walking distance to town.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.