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AI choice

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Toronto
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212 posts
17 reviews
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AI choice

Hi folks,

Considering bringing family to Los Cabos in April.

Narrowed AI's down to Barcelo Palace, Riu Palace, Dreams or Villa La Estancia.

We are a family of 3...ages 51, 49 and son 12.

Which would you choose? Any others to recommend?

Looking for pools, beach, good food, spa, golf. Would like to be able to swim in ocean but not a deal breaker.

Any advice much appreciated.

Cheers,

Chris

Puyallup, Washington
Destination Expert
for Cabo San Lucas
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9,191 posts
9 reviews
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1. Re: AI choice

Villa la Estancia is not an ai resort, it is privately owned condos which are beautiful and located right on the end of swimmable Medano beach. You will have a full kitchen and washer/dryer in your room there so you can stock your kitchen and still go out to town for meals as well. The have gorgeous pools there and I think you can still use the pools and faciliites at the 2 next door sister resorts if you want a bit more action. You can't beat the rooms there though.

Cabo is not known for lots of AI resorts like other places and most of us prefer not to do AI since the restaurants in Cabo are so good.

If you are set on doing AI, Barcelo and Dreams are on the corridor between the towns of Cabo and San Jose. You would need a rental car or use the bus to get to either town. It may be a bit isolated there for your son but both get good reviews. The Riu Palace is the closest AI to town but it is still a couple miles away. The reviews here are always mixed especially regarding the food. I have friends trying the Barcelo next month and am curious to see what they say.

Look at the review section in the lower left and see what you think based on the recent reviews.

There is also a travelers article in the upper right that has lots more info on the ai possibilites.

Lincoln, California
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4,233 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: AI choice

i agree with HH except that the Barcelo is in San Jose not on the corridor I believe and if you must do AI then Dreams would be my choice hands down and it is on the corridor

Edited: 12:33 pm, March 03, 2013
rpaulson7
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51 posts
32 reviews
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3. Re: AI choice

Read my review on the Riu Palace from early February. Let me know if you have questions. I think the Riu Palace would be a decent choice, but it does not cover all of your requirements.

The beach out front is not recommended for swimming, but walk 15 minutes down the beach and you can.

"Good food" is a judgement call based on your definition of good. If by good you mean average, then an AI including the Riu Palace will suffice. If you want gourmet, you'll likely not find it at an AI. I think if you stayed at the Riu Palace and had breakfast and lunch there, and ventured into Cabo for most dinners, you would be happy.

It has a spa that my wife enjoyed - not cheap though. Pools are large, and there are 4 of them. Two large quieter pools and two small swim up bar pools.

I cannot comment on any of the other AI in Cabo, as I only stayed at the Riu Palace. My kids are much younger than yours, but if they were in that age group, I would bring them to the Riu Palace.

Vancouver
Destination Expert
for San Jose del Cabo
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3,583 posts
52 reviews
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4. Re: AI choice

I think it really depends on what you want to do most of the time. If you want to hang out and chill at your resort, then either Dreams or Barcelo are good choices. You've probably checked out the reviews.

As SJ points out, one main difference is that Barcelo is in San Jose and Dreams is on the Corridor. So, what does that mean?

Dreams is 18.5 km away from Cabo and 16.5 km from San Jose. In order to travel to either place you will need to rent a car, take a bus, or taxi (which can be quite expensive).

So if you want to just spend a day off the resort, go into town, do some tours (boat rides, etc.) then Dreams will be closer to Cabo where you will find "more action".

If you want to do more sight seeing within walking distance, Barcelo is 1.24 km from the centre of San Jose, so it takes about 20 minutes to walk into town. You can also walk 4 km along the beach to the San Jose Marina which has a "swim with dolphins" attraction (about 45 to 50 minute walk). Also, the Marina Golf Course is just the other side of the Marina.

San Jose is quieter overall, with its centre having a more historic, boutique, feel with tons of little restaurants, and art galleries. Think "Unioniville" or "Niagara on the Lake" (Mexican Style). Cabo is more built up, with more 'action', lots of night life, bars and high end shopping (Gucci, etc.) as well as local crafts with most tourists focusing on the Marina Area.

The heart of Medano Beach is (IMO) a zoo, crushed with people and vendors at every turn. Down at the end, however, it is more peaceful. Both Dreams and Barcelo have nice expansive uncrowded beaches, but you can't safely swim there at that time of year due to pounding waves.

Regardless of where you stay, you will definitely want to go into Cabo, so if you want to do that frequently, then Dreams is closer. If you are doing a tour, some tour operators will come and pick you up at your hotel in Cabo or San Jose and transport you in for no extra charge.

Overall, we prefer the condo route as we enjoy exploring all the great restaurants that both towns have to offer.....downside....no swim-up bar or waiters making your drinks for you. :-)

Not sure if that helps. :-)

Edited: 1:22 pm, March 03, 2013
Vancouver
Destination Expert
for San Jose del Cabo
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3,583 posts
52 reviews
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5. Re: AI choice

I think it really depends on what you want to do most of the time. If you want to hang out and chill at your resort, then either Dreams or Barcelo are good choices. You've probably checked out the reviews.

As SJ points out, one main difference is that Barcelo is in San Jose and Dreams is on the Corridor. So, what does that mean?

Dreams is 18.5 km away from Cabo and 16.5 km from San Jose. In order to travel to either place you will need to rent a car, take a bus, or taxi (which can be quite expensive).

So if you want to just spend a day off the resort, go into town, do some tours (boat rides, etc.) then Dreams will be closer to Cabo where you will find "more action".

If you want to do more sight seeing within walking distance, Barcelo is 1.24 km from the centre of San Jose, so it takes about 20 minutes to walk into town. You can also walk 4 km along the beach to the San Jose Marina which has a "swim with dolphins" attraction (about 45 to 50 minute walk). Also, the Marina Golf Course is just the other side of the Marina.

San Jose is quieter overall, with its centre having a more historic, boutique, feel with tons of little restaurants, and art galleries. Think "Unioniville" or "Niagara on the Lake" (Mexican Style). Cabo is more built up, with more 'action', lots of night life, bars and high end shopping (Gucci, etc.) as well as local crafts with most tourists focusing on the Marina Area.

The heart of Medano Beach is (IMO) a zoo, crushed with people and vendors at every turn. Down at the end, however, it is more peaceful. Both Dreams and Barcelo have nice expansive uncrowded beaches, but you can't safely swim there at that time of year due to pounding waves.

Regardless of where you stay, you will definitely want to go into Cabo, so if you want to do that frequently, then Dreams is closer. If you are doing a tour, some tour operators will come and pick you up at your hotel in Cabo or San Jose and transport you in for no extra charge.

Overall, we prefer the condo route as we enjoy exploring all the great restaurants that both towns have to offer.....downside....no swim-up bar or waiters making your drinks for you. :-)

Not sure if that helps. :-)

Edited: 1:24 pm, March 03, 2013
Lincoln, California
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4,233 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: AI choice

Good info Pantix and one more thing to add...Dreams has a swimable beach about a 10 or 15 min walk away down by the Hilton.

Toronto
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212 posts
17 reviews
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7. Re: AI choice

Thanks for all the great info folks...very much appreciated.

We kinda like to just hang at the resort...pools...beach...swim-up bars. We have been to many AI's over the years but never Los Cabos. We will definitely go into to town...probably both Cabo and San Jose to check things out.

I will play at least 3 rounds of golf...maybe more...:)

As for Villa La Estancia...I'm confused...we can get an AI option thru Sell Off Vacations...would not want to book this and find out when we get there find out it's not true.

Thanks again everyone.

Cheers,

Chris

Vancouver
Destination Expert
for San Jose del Cabo
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3,583 posts
52 reviews
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8. Re: AI choice

I took a quick peek at the reviews and it appears it is a bit of both....mainly condos, with some affiliation with neighboring resorts? where you can purchase an All Inclusive package. Might want to check it out for sure and send a Private Message to one of the people who recently posted a review.

Branford...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Vallarta
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6,880 posts
14 reviews
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9. Re: AI choice

Another adder or Dreams 'no reservations' needed for dinner, no bracelets,, and smaller property; the Riu Palace IMO is much nicer, has more dining options, 2 huge pools and closer to town and golf.

Toronto, Canada
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233 posts
7 reviews
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10. Re: AI choice

Haywood - this has nothing to do with AI but assuming that you are flying out of Toronto, these are things to you may want to consider for your possible trip regarding your flight.

The flight down is 5.5 hrs and the flight back is 4.5 hrs, for us that is long enough when coupled with your time spent at the airport, already makes for a long travel day.

Just keep in mind when you are looking at various packages with air/hotel,

WestJet out of Toronto will always connect you if not lay you over until the next day via Calgary or Vancouver, hence we never fly with WestJet. Air Canada only flies direct once a week on Thursdays and Saturdays they fly but they will connect you through Montreal, Calgary or SanFran. Sunwing Airlines flies direct on Fridays and Saturdays but keep mind you are packed in like sardines on the charter plane so if you book Sunwing you may want to look at playing a little extra ($80pp-roundtrip) which upgrades you to Elite where you can pick extra leg room seats, extra luggage allowance and priority check-in at Pearson and in Cabo.