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“Second and Only Palmilla” 3 of 5 stars
Review of One & Only Palmilla Resort

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One & Only Palmilla Resort
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   Km 7.5 Carr. Transpeninsular, San Jose del Cabo 23400, Mexico   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Stay 4 Pay 3
Ranked #3 of 37 Hotels in San Jose del Cabo
Certificate of Excellence 2014
los angeles
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Second and Only Palmilla”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2014

Was here four years ago and boy have things changed. The food and service has gone WAY downhill. The younger and newer staff seem almost annoyed that you are there and asking them for things -- and everything takes FOREVER! Every time you see a member of the staff they put their hand over their heart -- they should put it over there pocket. I will say it was clean and the sushi bar was great and a new addition is the free kayacks and stand up paddle boards. My teenagers had a better time than I did -- they weren't paying But for what they are charging things should be more like a four seasons. If I had to tell another person my room number and that I had no food allergies, I was going to lose my mind. Also CHECK YOUR bill -- luckily I found about 400$ worth fo things that I didn't get that were on my bill. Experanza is much nicer -- but no beach. That's the bottom line

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OOPalmilla, Hotel Manager at One & Only Palmilla Resort, responded to this review, January 21, 2014
Dear Valued Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to review your most recent stay at One&Only Palmilla. We regret to hear that your return visit did not meet the same standards of quality established four years ago. We take great pride in constantly pursuing improved processes, facilities, and service, which is why we’re so surprised to learn of the issues you encountered. It is our hope that with each return visit, our guests discover even more to love about our resort. Indeed, as we learn more about you, we are able to better personalize your entire experience. With more than 800 staff members at your service throughout your time here—including your own, personal 24-hour butler—assistance is always within arm’s reach.

I hope you’ll contact me directly so that we can discuss your stay in greater detail. We take all feedback very seriously and hope to address any on-property issues as soon as possible. We believe in the One&Only experience and hope you’ll return again someday with your family. We would love nothing more than to make things right and show you the exceptional service, cuisine, and attention to detail that makes our resort so special.

Antonio Bugarin
Hotel Manager
One&Only Palmilla
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873 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (168)
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English first
New York City, New York
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2014

Palmilla is a gorgeously appointed property. We booked last minute during high season, so were given a very mediocre and noisy room at the rate of $1,500/night. We expected more amenities than we were given. The room had a very cramped bathroom with a faulty showerhead (bad water pressure, and only the hand held shower attachment worked--the waterfall head did not) and a very dark, small bedroom. Every morning we were awoken by our upstairs neighbors' stomping above our heads on the tile flooring at 6:00am, which was distressing, as all we wanted to do was sleep in on our vacation!

When we alerted the staff to this issue, they offered absolutely no solution. I understand that the hotel is fully booked during this high season, but they just kept repeating that there was nothing they could do for us. We were offered a free upgrade upon our arrival, but reception management later clarified that they couldn't upgrade us after all. I truly feel that one should not be offered such promises if they can not be delivered. I finally had to take matters into my own hands and ask our neighbors to be a little quieter in the mornings, which they happily obliged. But I would recommend to anyone planning their stay to request a top floor room if they aren't booking a casita or villa, because the tile floors are very noisy, even with normal walking. I'm certain our neighbors were not purposely trying to wake us up every morning!

Everyone I talked to about the Palmilla claimed that what differentiates the resort from other properties is the personalized and very high level of service. We did not have this experience at all. when we asked concierge to make us reservations, they responded that the restaurants we wanted to dine at were all fully committed, and forced other venues upon us that were touristy and not what we wanted. We called the restaurants ourselves and made reservations with no issues, every time. When we inquired into the possibility of hiking in the mountains, we were told that this activity was not "available" or "possible." But there are two nature reserves within striking distance of the hotel that have waterfalls and gorgeous views, and many companies that offer guided tours--I guess Palmilla would rather just not bother than liaise with them, or even try to do some research to arrange it for us as a possibility.

Our towels and robes were often not replaced, and the rooms were never cleaned to our liking. They left food out on the tables that normally should have been cleared, and just hung up wet and dirty robes on the one bathroom hook rather than replacing them as clearly indicated by their (wet and sandy!) presence on the floor. As a result the bathrooms were very sandy and not very clean the entire time.

We loved breakfast and brunch at market, and the ceviche by the pool cafe was perfect. But the majority of guests at this hotel were really crabby and out of sorts, so it was difficult to avoid a pervasive negativity on the property. People were complaining left and right; men with cigars were berating the staff everywhere we turned, and women with way too much plastic surgery were constantly whining at one another while pretending to read US magazine. I suppose what I'm saying is that the resort bills itself as this refined environment that it really isn't. It's basically a haven for the superrich (mostly from LA) who really don't care about anything and just want to feel superior to everybody else because they are shelling out wads of cash on everything. The staff was exceedingly deferential but not knowledgeable or helpful at all.

The clincher was the fishing trip we chartered through Palmilla, which was disastrous. We decided to charter the O&O fishing boat instead of the yacht, so we could do something different. The day before, we filled out a form requesting different kinds of delicious sounding sandwiches and drinks. the day of, we showed up on the beach, and were not met with anyone but our captain, who seemed a bit dazed and inept. Evidently he forgot to get fishing bait for us, and informed us that there was no food or drink on the boat for a 4 hour cruise up the sea of cortez. We were appalled. For $1,500, we would expect not only food and drink, but also bait and an extra person on the boat besides the captain who would furnish us with our needs and help us fish. In the end we had to go into the harbor at Cabo and eat half-cooked hot dogs for lunch because we didn't bring any money with us on the trip (thinking, as we did, that all of our needs would be met on the boat). The Palmilla staff first just tried to apologize to us for the oversights, but then in the end they did refund us for the trip, which was supposed to be a deep sea fishing experience, but was actually just a long cruise to the market on Cabo harbor. At the end of the trip, we waited for 20 minutes for the dinghy to come get us to bring us to shore. I was fed up at this point, so I just jumped in the water and swam to shore!

When we called the concierge to arrange for a cab to El Dorado, they claimed they would do it for us, and then when we arrived, that call had not been made, and we had to wait and were late meeting our friends. But then when we returned, our beds were covered in beautiful "flower designs." I love the extra little touches the Palmilla offers guests, but I'd much rather have them attend to our immediate needs rather than paper over inattentive service with inessential bells and whistles.

We spent a ton of money throughout the week on everything without complaint. But somehow, all that is resounding in my ears is "no, sorry, no, not possible, sorry!" I have never in my life received so many "nos" from a five star property in my life for completely normal requests, like dinner reservations and reasonable requests for off-property activities. The clincher was when my friend asked concierge if there was private (non taxi) transportation she could arrange to the airport. The answer, again, was "no." So she proceeded to give them her flight information, and when they found out she was flying private, they met her with a Hummer as airport transport. So! Note to self: even if you are dropping $18K on meager Hampton Inn-level lodging, the Palmilla will treat you like a second class citizen unless you manage to throw around some semblance of celebrity cred.

Lastly, Agua was laughably terrible, from its humid, cardboard like crackers, to its weird light up menus, to its overly salted dishes that were virtually inedible. Market, however, was consistently good. Go to Flora Farms, every night, if possible. The food and warmth there is just wonderful.

Bottom line: if you want to read magazines by the pool and drink margaritas all day for 6 days, this resort is for you. If you want to explore Cabo and expect the staff to aid you and give you good suggestions, you might be disappointed.

Room Tip: If you are staying in the suites, book the top floor! otherwise the tile floors are very noisy above...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OOPalmilla, Hotel Manager at One & Only Palmilla Resort, responded to this review, January 21, 2014
Dear Valued Guest,
We appreciate your honest feedback. It’s disappointing to know that your stay was anything less than exceptional, because our guests’ satisfaction is our number-one priority. On behalf of One&Only Palmilla and our entire team, I would like to personally apologize for what sounds like an extremely uncharacteristic experience. We believe that our reputation, both via word of mouth and here on TripAdvisor, speaks to our track record and commitment to excellence.
I encourage you to contact me directly at your earliest convenience so that we can discuss everything in greater detail. There’s nothing more important to us at this point than figuring out how we can make things right and avoid similar issues in the future.

From your review, it sounds as though there were indeed a few highlights of your stay, including glimpses of what makes One&Only Palmilla different than any other resort in the world. You’re absolutely right about personalized, professional service being our hallmark. With 24-7 access to a personal butler throughout your stay, you have a dedicated liaison for which no request is too large or small. It’s in our nature to try to say “Yes” as much as possible and to go the extra mile in pursuit of great experiences.

I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Antonio Bugarin
Hotel Manager
One&Only Palmilla
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Dallas, Texas, United States
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2014

I generally do not take a holiday during Christmas and New Years because I know that hotels are booked solid and rooms are at a premium. This past year I splurged and decided to take the week off and visit one of my most favorite places in the world, Los Cabos MX. We stayed at our usual hotel the One and Only Palmilla. Even though the hotel was 100% booked our service never dropped below their standards. I felt that we were getting more attention during this visit even though they were full of guests. There were more staff in place that I ever have seen in the past and the all made sure we were made more comfortable than before. This is truly a place to pamper yourself. Thank you One and Only Palmilla.

Room Tip: All the rooms are good. My preference are the beach front pool casitas
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OOPalmilla, Managing Director at One & Only Palmilla Resort, responded to this review, January 13, 2014
Dear Valued Guest,
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. We’re so glad you were able to join us over the holiday season and enjoy a week in sunny Los Cabos. We always love welcoming back a former guest, because it’s a new opportunity to surprise and delight with personalized service and all the little touches that are unique to One&Only Palmilla.
It’s important to us that our guests’ experiences are not impacted by our occupancy. We staff accordingly and make all of the necessary adjustments to ensure that every guest’s needs are handled in a timely and professional manner. Additionally, we make every effort to anticipate your needs with tailored suggestions. If you feel like relaxing, how about a floating bed on the beach for the afternoon? Thinking about a romantic dinner? Allow us to reserve your intimate table under the stars, complete with ocean views.
Thanks again, and happy New Year. We look forward to seeing you again soon. If there’s anything we can do before then, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Peter Bowling
Managing Director
One&Only Palmilla
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River Vale, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013

Just returned from our second stay at the Palmilla. Gorgeous place, attentive staff, excellent food and beautiful pool and beach. My wife would go back for just the complementary foot massages poolside! Very nice spa & exercise room too.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OOPalmilla, Hotel Manager at One & Only Palmilla Resort, responded to this review, January 13, 2014
Dear Valued Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to review your most recent stay at One&Only Palmilla. We always love to see familiar faces at check-in, which is why we’re so happy that you and your wife were able to make a return trip.

It sounds like you two had a very relaxing time, soaking up the sun, spending some time at the spa, and enjoying cuisine at our on-property restaurants. The poolside foot massages are undoubtedly a guest favorite, and it is our pleasure to offer them complimentarily throughout your stay. That’s just one of the many ways that we work to ensure our guests’ comfort and happiness from arrival to departure. With everyone on staff coordinating to make your experience exceptional, you simply won’t find the same level of personalized service at any other resort in the world.

Next time you find yourself wanting to spend a few days in paradise, just give us a call. We will be more than happy to arrange an itinerary full of your favorite activities, including moonlit dining on the beach and luxurious couples’ spa treatments.

We look forward to hosting you again soon, and hopefully raising the bar even higher next time.

Antonio Bugarin
Hotel Manager
One&Only Palmilla
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Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2013 via mobile

Just returned from a repeat visit to O&O Palmilla. All aspects of the resort are as spectacular as they were on a previous visit. The grounds are extra ordinary, the staff perhaps the most helpful you will ever encounter, the food is high quality and the location of the resort on the Sea of Cortez is a geographical wonder that soothes your soul.

One thing that was different about this trip was our room. We opted for a Pool Casita on the north end of the property(Turtle Beach). This room class made the whole stay(7 nights) even more spectacular then our previous visit. The view of the beach and the Sea of Cortez was just outstanding. Our casita was lacated in Casa Playa right next to Villa Cortez the 10k sq ft villa. This location is extremely quiet and private. We found ourselves not wanting to leave our room and dined on our ocean front terrace quite often.

Now, the sobering part of all reviews of O&O Palmilla......IT'S EXPENSIVE!, but IMHO worth every penny. This resort really exemplifies a work hard/play hard mentality. Our experience here was not measured by the total of the final bill at checkout, but rather by the world class services and accommodations that were afforded to us during our stay!

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OOPalmilla, Hotel Manager at One & Only Palmilla Resort, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear Valued Guests,
We’re so glad you were able to return to One&Only Palmilla for a relaxing seven-night stay. We always love to see familiar faces, and savor the opportunity to build on previous visits. The more we learn about you, the more we can personalize your stay.

It’s wonderful to know that your most recent experience was even more spectacular than your first. Next time you’re here, we would be happy to set you up in the very same room.

Lastly, we can’t thank you enough for your kind words. We love to hear from guests and always incorporate feedback whenever possible. If there’s anything we can do to help plan a future stay, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Sebastien Arnaud
Hotel Manager
One&Only Palmilla
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Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2013

Second stay at the Palmilla and I was not disappointed. Is resort is all about the details and service. Virtually every person with whom you come into contact is friendly and genuine in their effort to help and serve. Service is easy and friendly not stiff or overbearing. Clearly the management team does a great job with hiring and training. No detail is overlooked in anticipating everything you might want or need to make your stay perfect. Staff also seem empowered to go above and beyond in order to satisfy special or one-off requests. Food is spectacular and both Market and Aqua are a month the best restaurants in the area. Spa is up to Espa standards beach and pools are beautiful and well maintained as is the rest of the property. From the moment to meet your greeter at the airport until the drop you for your flight home this is a special and relaxing place. It's a favorite that makes you want to book a return visit as soon as possible. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Beachfront junior suites and spectacular. Great baths and roomy terrace with plunge pool
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OOPalmilla, Hotel Manager at One & Only Palmilla Resort, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear Valued Guests,

Thank you for taking the time to review your most recent stay at One&Only Palmilla. We’re so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time here, from your arrival at the airport to your eventual departure. We strive to create one-of-a-kind experiences for each and every guest, and as you found, our professional staff is integral in those efforts. All guests are treated to personalized and genuine attention from our butler team, which is available 24 hours a day. There is no request too large or too small, and we take great pride in making the impossible seem like an everyday occurrence.

As the only resort in Mexico with a Michelin-starred chef—Market’s Jean-Georges Vongerichten—we also take great pride in the food we serve. It sounds like you were able to experience both Agua and Market, which is wonderful. Should you choose to visit again, we would love to coordinate an intimate beachfront dinner under the stars with a menu tailored to your tastes.
We look forward to seeing you again soon. If there’s anything we can do to help plan a stay, just let us know.

Antonio Bugarin
Hotel Manager
One&Only Palmilla
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Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

The resort is beautiful and I know it is for the " rich and famous" but the prices are so far over the top it diminishes the stay.
I was not feeling well one day and ordered room service.I ordered 3 croissants and a pot of coffee and the cost was 22$ US
One breakfast for 4 was 225$
We were there for a wedding so the room costs were a lot less than the "rack rate" and a lot of meals were part of the wedding celebrations
Despite its elegance the prices are over the top
I would never return to this resort nor recommend it

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OOPalmilla, Hotel Manager at One & Only Palmilla Resort, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear Valued Guests,

Thank you for your feedback. We know that price is a consideration for all of our guests, and that is why we make every effort to provide exceptional value in all of our offerings.
From around-the-clock attention and service from our staff of more than 800, to world-class cuisine from renowned chefs, to a luxurious spa with certified professionals, you’ll find nothing less than the very best at One&Only Palmilla.

I welcome the opportunity to further discuss your stay and any concerns you may have. Please contact me at your earliest convenience so that we can better understand your experience and work to make things right.

Antonio Bugarin
Hotel Manager
One&Only Palmilla
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about One & Only Palmilla Resort

Address: Km 7.5 Carr. Transpeninsular, San Jose del Cabo 23400, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Sur > Los Cabos > San Jose del Cabo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in San Jose del Cabo
#3 Spa Hotel in San Jose del Cabo
#3 On the Beach Hotel in San Jose del Cabo
#3 Romantic Hotel in San Jose del Cabo
#3 Business Hotel in San Jose del Cabo
#3 Luxury Hotel in San Jose del Cabo
#4 Family Hotel in San Jose del Cabo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — One & Only Palmilla Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 173
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A verdant oasis on the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Where azure waters greet the mountainous desert and the Pacific Ocean merges with the Sea of Cortez. Where warm waves break onto a dramatic shoreline… and gray whales can be seen rising majestically in the distance. Here, the gracious style of Old Mexico - with its red-tiled roofs, whitewashed walls, and idyllic setting of exquisite fountains - is quietly nestled amidst swaying palms, bird of paradise and other tropical bloom. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
One And Only Palmilla
One&Only Palmilla Hotel San Jose Del Cabo
Palmilla Cabo
One Only Cabo
La Palmilla
One & Only Palmilla Resort Los Cabos/San Jose Del Cabo

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