Just back from Cabo and had a great time at Casa Dorada. Centrally located on Medano Beach, my girlfriend and I walked to a different restaurant for dinner every night and spent days by the pool making sure that the pina coladas and Pacifico didn't go to waste.
We booked a junior suite and while we did follow the recommendations to request 4th floor or higher for a better view, we were upgraded (without asking) to a one-bedroom suite on the third floor. The one-bedroom has a balcony that is twice as big as the junior suite, and while the third floor views of the Sea of Cortez and Land's End were slightly obstructed by palm trees, we still had a great view. Hats off to the hotel, as weather delays in Atlanta meant that we missed our connection to Cabo and had to wait until the following day to get to the beach. We were able to get the airline to add a day to the end of our trip and Casa Dorada was equally accommodating so we didn't miss a day of vacation!
I did get up early every morning (as I was on Eastern time) to claim a couple of pool chairs, but the pool was never so crowded that you had to do that to get a chair and umbrella--we simply found a place that we liked closer to the pool bar and in Angela's section for service (she was great).
As to the "vacation club" issue that gets mentioned, we did as many other reviewers suggested and were polite but firm when asked immediately after checking in whether we'd like to talk to the activities desk about "discounts." The developer is Globequest, and the sales people will typically wear embroidered shirts different than the hotel staff, so I recognized the pitch for what it was and explained that we were tired from a long trip in, would rather get settled and truthfully weren't interested in any sort of "vacation club" or sitting through any presentations. That was the last I heard of the issue beyond overheard sales pitches from neighboring tables during breakfast.
If you want to kayak or try stand-up paddle boarding, Cabo Sup is right in front of the hotel on the beach. Early morning is the best time as the water gets a bit choppy after 9am as the waverunner rentals get started and the water taxis begin to troll the beach for fares. We did take a glass bottomed boat from the beach out to Land's End to see Lover's Beach and the Arch, which was a relatively quick and inexpensive trip I would recommend.
There is an outdoor activities desk at the hotel as you walk onto the beach and they will try to set you up with various vendors. I probably could have just walked to one of the beach vendors and found a water taxi, but made the mistake of talking to the hotel activities people who had me prepay (this is where they would apply the discounts for sitting through the presentations if you had done that) and then sent me down to one of the taxi companies' "office" in a tent down on the beach.
My girlfriend and I got a massage at the spa one day and it was amazing. Seriously. We booked our trip through Orbitz, and had a 25% off discount for spa treatments, but were told that instead we could get an 80-minute massage for the price of a 50-minute massage and opted for that. I now believe in time travel because there is no way that 80 minutes could go that fast (it did, I checked my watch)!
Quick list of restaurants we liked:
--Edith's, next door to the hotel: one of the more expensive options, this was my favorite of the trip and well worth the price. Make sure to get reservations in advance--we stopped by on Friday to get reservations for 2 on Sunday and then only had a few options.
--Bar Esquina, across the street from the hotel in the Bahia hotel--live music at night, fantastic food, great outdoor space. Coffee bar is good for a bagel or muffin in the morning if you want something smaller.
--Maro's Shrimp House: where else can you get a quarter pound of lobster and quarter pound of shrimp for $16.95? They are known for their signature drink, the "Bulldog" that includes lemonade, tequila and a Corona. I can't begin to describe how your waiter will make it for you, but having experienced it I now understand what other reviewers meant about the "hip action."
--Pancho's: we told our driver from the airport to the hotel that we were craving some authentic Mexican food and good pico de gallo and guacamole in particular. Pancho's didn't disappoint.
--Salvatore's: there were a surprising number of Italian places in Cabo, and Salvatore's was a good one...very low key and more casual than I thought it would be.
--Baja Brewery: there is one in the marina, but the spot to get to is the rooftop bar in one of the neighboring hotels (I believe it is the Bayview Suites a few doors down from Casa Dorada...you'll see the signs). Take the elevator to the 6th floor and then one flight of stairs to the roof on the 7th floor. They had live music several nights and fantastic views of the beach and Sea of Cortez. I'd recommend going for drinks, but eating dinner elsewhere as their food was just OK.
--Sunset Mona Lisa: the "one that got away," we heard about this place but didn't look into it further when we heard you had to get a cab to get there from Casa Dorada. After seeing some of the pictures and hearing the rave reviews from other guests at the hotel, we'll have to go back to Cabo just to check it out.
Transportation from airport to the hotel: I priced several options, but opted for TransVIP and worked via email with Giovanna Romero, the owner. If you let the companies know that you are shopping around, they will give you a break from their quoted fees. Our drivers were prompt, courteous and helpful. We had them stop at Wal-Mart for water, beer, snacks, etc. on the way to the hotel when we landed, which was a good idea. The Wal-Mart is fairly close to Casa Dorada so we probably could have found a cab to take us over there later, but we felt like it was better to just knock it out before we got to the beach and started to relax!
Fourth floor or higher is better, but 3rd was fine. Our room # was in the "20s," which pu...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.