My husband and I stayed Secret Marquis Los Cabos for seven nights beginning December 15. During that week, the hotel was about 50% full, but it became increasingly busier the weekend we left before the holiday. The overall atmosphere is very laid back. This is not a party place. If you want to party at the pool all day, you will be out of place. Most couples and friends here are lounging out all day, reading and enjoying the views.
We took Transcabo (prearranged) from the airport to the hotel and everything went smoothly both ways. Secrets is one of the first hotels on the corridor, and is about 20 minutes from the airport. We flew in to Terminal 2, which is new. It was very nice. There were pushy sales people outside customs that became annoyed when you ignored them, but we just said "no thanks" and kept walking.
We arrived around 3:00 p.m. and our room was ready. The room was very spacious and nicely decorated. We had a room on the second floor (oceanview). Since the hotel was so empty, I was hoping for a free upgrade, but no such luck. Anyway, we were always very comfortable in the room and loved the balcony and the view. As other reviewers have stated, the bathroom is totally open to the main room. This can be annoying, particularly if one of you has to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Light will flood in to the bedroom and any loud noises can be heard. This is not a reason to avoid this hotel, but you should know what to expect before booking. The minibar was refreshed early every morning, and the room cleaned by housekeeping early in the afternoon. Turn down service was anytime between 6:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. If you were in the room on their first try, they would come back later to see if you were gone. The bathroom has very generous sizes of lotion, shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner for those that like that. I think they could easily last two people for a couple weeks. The TV is still a tube TV and the service is spotty. This needs to be fixed. Every morning we enjoyed the mini-breakfast on our balcony and watched whales swim by. They are out there if you keep your eyes peeled! Rays jumping out of the water could also be seen on several days. You can use a portion of promotional coupons towards wi-fi and we did so. It would have been $70 / week but with $40 in coupons it became $35 (not quite fair math!) Wi-fi access should be included with the room. When you consider the extra wi-fi cost and the TV, Secrets is really lacking in this area. It's almost 2013...rooms should have a flat screen TV with decent service and wi-fi included!
There is a breakfast buffet every morning at Vista Ballenas, but the restaurant also has a menu. In general I would say the breakfast is 1/3 American items, 1/3 Mexican specialties, and 1/3 European. The orange juice is freshly squeezed. They also have a green juice made with several juices and fruits - ask to try it! Very healthy and delicious. In addition to coffee, they will also bring you a latte, cappuccino, espresso...whatever you want! Sometimes there was a cook to make omelets, but if there wasn't, you could just order one of the menu. We were both very satisfied with the breakfasts. I personally enjoyed the Mexican items and wished they would have them available later in the day at a lunch buffet.
There are three pools. We ended up gravitating towards the right pool most often. To us, this had the best view since you could see out to the rock formations in the ocean, but there are no bad views at any of the pools! The temperature was comfortable most days, but on Thursday it was quite cold. It was like they turned off the heater for that one day. There were floaters available in each pool. The wait staff at the pools is amazing. They will bring you drinks, meals, and snacks all day! If they see you moving your umbrella, they come to assist you. These gentlemen are working so hard for you to be comfortable. The service was truly amazing! The pool on the right had menu items from Dos Mares and the pool on the left had items from Barefoot Grill. There was always plenty of towels available. We were always able to get loungers without any issue (including at 11:00 a.m. one morning after returning from Cabo) but some guests were going out there and putting a towel on their lounger before breakfast. The Friday before we left it was really bad. That being said, we did see the waiters give the loungers to other guests that wanted them if the original claimers hadn't been seen all morning. I thought this was fine and it's kinda ridiculous if people want to reserve a lounger and then go on an excursion all morning. The beach is beautiful for walking. You can swim at the cove in front of the Hilton. There are vendors on the beach each day. They aren't a nuisance but they are there selling silver, other trinkets, and pony rides on the beach.
There are activities scheduled all day. The entertainment staff will walk around and let you know what is going on (there is also a schedule, "The Sundial," delivered to your room each night.) During our week there were fitness classes by the pool, beach walks, volleyball, drinking games, R/C car races, a wine tasting, air rifle shooting, dance lessons, and tequila tasting. There is a pub crawl to Cabo for $20 on Wednesday and Thursdays. There is a snorkel trip to a nearby bay for $30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays but six people have to sign up for it to go. We tried both days but the hotel only had four people sign up so we never went. I suggest Secrets put more info on the trip in The Sundial and they might have more interest from guests. We had to go to the concierge to ask about where it was and how much it cost and many guests probably don't want to have to do that. In the evenings there were shows twice, an International show and a Mexican fiesta. The dancers were professional and amazing. There was also a gambling night and a beach party. Every other night a movie was shown at the center pool and that was fun as well. All in all, most people just wanted to relax and it seemed there was usually a small turn out for activities, but they are there if you want it. The entertainment staff is amazing and so friendly and we greatly appreciated their efforts!
All the restaurants were open during our stay: Vista Ballenas, Dos Mares, Canto del Mar, Barefoot Grill, and Spice. Spice recently opened and it is pan-asian but it is also tapas style. The food was amazing and exceeded our expectations. We never had a bad meal. The presentation was wonderful. The seafood is exceptional. We never saw food being "recycled." Dos Mares and Vista Ballenas were probably my favorites, but Canto del Mar was very good as well. You will be disappointed in the food if you are expecting a steak each night. You're in Mexico near the ocean, and the seafood is the specialty! There are beef and chicken selections on each menu but they are limited. Also, Spice was good, but it will likely not compare to your favorite sushi restaurant at home. Again, they are using local food, not flying in the highest grade fish for sushi. My recommendations: try the Yucatan ceviche and fish tacos at Dos Mares; the sea bass or other catch of the day at Vista Ballenas; the yakitori at Spice; and the beef medallion or chicken and shrimp at Canto del Mar. Barefoot Grill was typical grill food and we only ordered from there once. There were buffets setup outside as well on the evenings of the international and Mexican shows. I did not miss the large all-inclusive buffets and really liked the a la carte style. It was such a nicer dining experience. The waiters would bring you two of something if you wanted so you will not go hungry! That being said, after a week, you will have tried most items on the menus once or twice and will be ready for something else. I don't think the menus are lacking, but if you are there for an extended stay beyond a week, you will probably be bored with the menu.
The drinks were great as well. We both enjoyed their sparkling wine from Italy which is not too sweet. The house wines are from Chile. There was top shelf liquor available and they would gladly make whatever you requested. Not every bar has the same liquors, but if you wait a few minutes, they'll get you what you want if needed. They will bring you shots if that is what you want. The El Suspiro bar is nice, but I would say this property is lacking another bar (without TVs.) We were told there are plans to add a club and I would say that is needed.
We took the bus to Cabo San Lucas. It was $2 per person each way. The concierge doesn't recommend it but they will give you a map and explain where you will be dropped off. We took a water taxi to El Arco for $10 each round-trip. We got plenty of photos and there was no need for us to be dropped off. We went in the morning at 9:00 a.m. and were back at the hotel by 11:00 a.m. We also took the bus to San Jose Del Cabo on Thursday evening for the Art Walk. We took a taxi home for $20 though because it was dark and it felt safer. We enjoyed the Art Walk and it was a much more authentic experience in San Jose Del Cabo then Cabo San Lucas. The silver available in both cities is nicer than what was sold on the beach.
I've been to Florida, Hawaii, and Bahamas this same week before and Cabo had the best, most consistent weather. It was sunny every day, but the wind did pick up in the afternoon.
The guests here like to get dressed up in the evening, which I did not expect. I mostly brought casual skirts and did not bring any heels, and I often felt under-dressed. The restaurants state men should have a collared shirt and pants in the evening, but I only saw this enforced at Canto del Mar. Also, it did cool down in the evenings so be sure to bring a light jacket, shawl, or sweater.
In summary, this resort is wonderful. It exceeded our expectations and this was mostly due to the hard-working staff. You can tell they are genuinely happy to be working there. We wanted to relax for a week and we were able to do that here. We definitely recommend this property and wouldn't hesitate to go back. We will likely look at other Secrets resorts as well for future vacations.