Note ... this is a rather long and train-of-thought review. However, I believe it might give you some insight should you choose to explore this resort. This is the first review I've written ... ever.
1. We reserved a room a year in advance through RCI and, when the time came, traveled 3,000 miles to get there. Problem #1 - when you do get there, you are completely at the mercy of Reception. They make a big point about how they can't (and never) guarantee choices of rooms or buildings (except to owners, of course). That doesn't leave a lot of choices for RCI customers, believe me. What are you going to do ... go somewhere else?
2. Find a map online of the resort showing building numbers and locations of key facilities. Hard to do, but worth it. Not because it will change anything during check-in, but it at least gives you an understanding of the lay of the land BEFORE you get there. You can then at least try to communicate in an informed way. By the way, the numbering scheme is as follows: The first two numbers stand for the building, the third number for the floor and the fourth number for the room. So, 1752 is Building #17, Floor 5, Room #2.
3. This resort is built into the side of a small, ugly desert mountain. The only flat terrain is side-to-side. Stairs (if you're an in-shape walker) or 24/7 frequent golf carts are your only choices to move around. The first week, we were in Building #15 and we're walkers. We also generally don't take elevators. To give you an idea of the layout, starting at the beach, I counted 210 stairs to our room with fairly steep roads/paths in-between. Building #15 is only about two thirds up the mountain but it's on the same "level" as the lobby, gym, main bar, reception, etc. La Nao (the main buffet restaurant) is 180 stairs back down towards the beach -- one way. Try that round trip 2-3 times a day. And before I forget, do yourself a favor and always make reservations. You can do it the day before and it's worth it when the hordes show up.
4. Before I go any further, let me say that I did rate this resort a four star destination and that my major problems with Pueblo Bonito revolved around Reception. The attitude of these front line people is marginal, at best. My wife and I aren't very demanding and are normally quite polite, believing you get better results from a carrot than a stick. But that depends on how we're treated. Get past Reception and get settled, lace up your walking shoes and, with minor exceptions, you should be generally pleased.
5. After much prior debate, we chose the all-inclusive plan for several reasons: Although we aren't big eaters, the plan had several perks -- among them was use of the gym. We also took advantage of a slightly discounted RCI special rate from $115 a day per person to $105 -- saving $140 per person over two weeks. Here's a quick breakdown (per person, per day) of some of the basic expenses if you do NOT choose the all-inclusive plan: Breakfast buffet (M-Sat): $20. Dinner buffet: $30-45 depending on the theme of the day. Sunday brunch: $45. Small bottle of water: $2. Glass of house wine: $8. Frozen drinks: $10-12. Shrimp cocktail and salads: $12. So, an average food day per person would be at least $100. Plus, the gym costs about $18 a day. You're already at $118 and counting. Note: You can even choose the all-inclusive for as few as 3 days and do something else the other days. Of course, if you buy 6 days in a week, you get the seventh free, which factors out to be another $118 savings per person per day.
6. The alternatives are to shop & cook for yourself, pay a la carte, or take a $40 cab ride ($20 each way) to Cabo and eat out. Shopping also requires taking $40-50 cab because the resort won't let you take groceries on the free Cabo shuttle (which also requires a reservation both coming and going). Housekeeping charges an extra $10 a day to wash dishes, by the way.
7. Yes, internet is available everywhere on the property -- if you want to pay about $16-17 a day. Free internet is available (when operating) outside the Manila Bar, next to the La Nao buffet restaurant, near the beach and "main" pool. It's also available at the Sunrise Coffee shop near the top of the resort. A couple of observations: The internet is not always available, and when it is, the speed seems to be determined by the number of folks using it. Wi-Fi on phones works the same way.
8. Ah, phones. It seems that anyone who has a Verizon account is out of luck at this resort. Period. Now, if you have AT&T, that's different story. That's because AT&T has a monopoly on the area, we were told by the marketeer who gave us a tour. Except for e-mail, our only option was to use Skype with very random, and usually unsatisfactory, results.
9. Marketing Tours - For supposedly two hours of our time, we were offered $200 off any Spa charges and $200 off any additional food and beverage charges not included in the all-inclusive. More on that in a minute. If I remember correctly, one of the units we were shown had a list price of $37,500. We were made an initial offer of $27,500 by taking an old timeshare of ours off our hands (which we had off-handed valued at $10,000), and went all the way to -- are you ready? -- $8,000. Luckily, we had a brief period of time where we could jump on the internet and Google Pueblo Bonito marketing. Big red flags!
10. We were told by the marketing guy that RCI customers are only allowed to come to the resort every five years because it's so exclusive and they're looking to expose the resort to more potential customers. Given their supposed plans for expansion -- golf course, villas (Stage 2, of course - Stage 1 is sold out), etc., they need all the customers they can get.
11. The all-inclusive package is not all-inclusive. Anything you buy from the stores or delicatessen is not covered. Nor is the Sunrise Coffee bar. Nor the gym and spa. Nor Frida's, the elegant restaurant located in the big Reception/Lobby building. Nor certain brands of liquor.
But, as far as we were concerned, still a deal.
My wife and I are not party people. The town of Cabo holds nothing for us. We went in one afternoon and couldn't get out soon enough. We also visited the other Pueblo Bonito resort in Cabo called Rosé (like the wine, not the flower). They had the "B" team on that evening when we tried to visit one of those restaurants (also included in the all-inclusive plan, by the way). Far less friendly and helpful than at Sunset Beach.
Bottom line: A nice resort if you didn't have to travel very far ... and you don't mind stairs. But there are too many other great resorts much closer to the East Coast that are on flatter ground to make us ever wish to return. Overall, when we could forget about Reception and the occasional resort computer snafu's (like, "I'm sorry, but we have no one listed for that room number you gave us." Or. "Our computer only shows 2 people in that room, not 3." Or, "Your plastic entry key doesn't work? Oh, it must have been voided for some reason."
The staff (not Reception) are mostly friendly and helpful, the shrimp cocktails are killer, the breakfast buffets great, the coffee good. the rooms are nice, the views stunning (we saw several whales almost every day) and the waves at sunset are mesmerizing. And the "Quiet" pool was the better choice for us. No techno music pounding and no one hassling you to join the volleyball game or basketball tournament. Plenty to enjoy no matter what your preferences. Oh. And you can drink the water. They have several desalination plants on site and get their water straight from the Sea of Cortez.
Although I can make some good suggestions, Reception cannot promise nor reserve any room and/or buil...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.