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“Beautiful, quiet and fun - must come back in a few years”

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Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at The Islands of Loreto
Ranked #2 of 20 Hotels in Loreto
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Beautiful, quiet and fun - must come back in a few years”
Reviewed November 28, 2011

I have to preface this with the fact that I don't know how much everything we did would have cost if I didn't have a pre-paid all inclusive trip. But the property, though not completely finished yet, is gorgeous.

ROOMS: We had the most basic room on the 7th (highest) floor with a view of the pools, bar, sea and mountainous backdrop. Our room came equipped with a fully stocked kitchen, small stove, microwave and mini fridge which would have come in very useful had we not been all inclusive. The rest of the room was much like a regular hotel room except for the giant balcony. It was a little strange that there was a window cut out between our room's balcony and the room next door. When someone from next door sat outside we could see and hear everything they were doing.

FOOD: The first night we ate at The Market which is their "Italian" restaurant. Nobody liked what we ate. We got spinach ravioli which was under-cooked and near flavorless. My husband got a t-bone steak which looked more like a Salisbury steak and our other friend got a cold, under-cooked, wet spaghetti carbonara. Not only was the food upsetting, the service was extremely slow. We decided to give it another try later which ended up much better but still took over three hours to eat dinner which we were fine with since we didn't have any plans and like long meals occasionally. One stand out dish was an appetizer which was basically a deep fried ham and cheese sandwich. Casa Mia is their bar restaurant open for lunch and dinner. We opted for this restaurant much more. They had delicious wood fired pizzas and great steak fajitas. The bartenders, Alberto and Alejandro, made our vacation amazing. They were extremely friendly, fast and enjoyed chatting with us and experimenting with new drinks.

ACTIVITIES: Included with our all inclusive was one hour per day of either paddle boarding, kayaking or snorkeling. We opted for paddle boarding one day and saw some blow fish and sting rays right near the resort. We also made plans to go into town (about a 35 minute shuttle ride on their free shuttle that runs 3 times a day). There was a small shopping street for souvenirs and we made plans to catch a boat to Coronado Island through the Villa's rep in the city. He was great in setting us up with taxis to the pier and back to where the shuttle let us off. He also gave us soda, beer and water with some ham sandwiches and chips for lunch. Our boat captain was a lot of fun as well. He drove us right up to a huge pod of dolphins and a bluff with tons of Sea Lions. He even offered to take us fishing the next day for $10 each. Next time we'll have to do that! We kept hearing stories of how great the fishing was and how you can pay a little extra for the boat captain to hook bait, clean and fillet the fish for you. We also went horseback riding along the beach at the Villa which didn't last too long since the beach was too wet and we didn't get to trot. Later in the week week we got massages which were really good and I'd recommend. The massage room right now is just in a suite room until the spa gets finished but I'm sure the spa will be gorgeous when complete. The Villa also had activities scheduled through them every day such as Aquarobics, cooking classes, karaoke, dancing, etc. They reminded me of the cruise boat activities so I would attend with that kind of mentality.

TIME SHARE: We were harassed a little bit about attending a time share talk for a free VIP breakfast and one hour kayak rental (which was already included in our package anyhow). We kept avoiding the talk since some of us had recent bad experiences with time share sales pitches and a couple of us weren't old enough according to the qualifications. We definitely would have been pitched to if we were offered an upgrade on our room which we learned later that could have been a possibility if we asked. Another couple said they went on the tour and it was interesting but took 3.5 hours instead of the 90 minutes they suggested.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Kymt16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Spruce Grove
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 20, 2011

WithOut Worry...That is the only way to describe this Wonderful Resort. Having traveled to the Baja for 16 years to celebrate our Anniversaries, this new location was by far the BEST. Management did indeed listen to our requests and suggestions put through their staff. The complex is not completed and we understood that when we booked. Rooms are clean and spacious, food is great, and the beer is cold. Activities around the pool are ongoing and fishing, kayaking, snorkling are all available.
Sixto, the General manager, and his staff management team (Daniel, Ernesto, Carlos, Lois,Bryan) can't do enough for you. Ana and Caesar at the front desk are terrific, as are Roberto at the pool bar, and Omar, Luciano, Alberto at the Casa Mia bar, all work together to make the stay so great.
Bob and Mark in the Sales Department are not pushy and were very understanding with regards to needs and benefits in our upgrading requirements. Any concerns or questions we had, weather they were options that were available or services we suggested might be beneficial to owners, were always addressed right away. There was NO Manana.
I would suggest that if you are celebrating an anniversary or a birthday, you let the management team know that.
Will we return soon? Yes! Of course.

Room Tip: All the rooms have a great view of the sandy bay area and the Islands.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank gr0vester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 16, 2011

If anyone has been to any of the higher end Villa properties, this place follows the same floor plan. Just like Villa del Arco in Cabo. Great rooms and kitchen, in-room washer/dryer. It is extremely secluded with desert mountains and the bay all around. There is an unfinished very long dirt entrance road to the resort. Land has been staked out for more hotel rooms, a golf course, a grocery store, but right now construction seems to be at a standstill. A little eerily quiet with 30-40 guests in a very large empty resort.

The water in the bay was knee deep and warm. Unfortunately a windy spell drove off the fish so we couldn't do too much snorkeling.

In a few years after the spa, gym, tennis courts, and golf course are completed, we'll probably try the place out again.

Also, the drive from cabo to loreto is 6-8 hours. We did it to save $$$ on the expensive flights into loreto, but I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank peili2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed November 16, 2011

This is the first review I've ever submitted and I hesitate to do so because this new resort is truly Mexico's best kept secret. The only hitch is getting there as there are limited transportation options and only a few flights a week from the US; thus my motivation to encourage others to visit. We had one of the most relaxing vacations ever and if you crave peace and quiet in incredibly beautiful surroundings, this resort is for you. True to the Villa del Palmar standards, the customer service is excellent, the rooms are spacious and well appointed and every room appears to boast an amazing view of mountains and sea. We snorkeled, hiked, kayaked and felt as if we were the only ones in the world! The resort is quite remote but offers lots of on-site activities (Bryan and Victoria are excellent at their jobs!) as well as a free shuttle to the quaint town of Loreto several times a day. The weather/temperature was perfect (mid November) and only rained one day while were there which we were told was the first time in two years!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Marilee C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gig Harbor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 14, 2011

Bought 1st time share ever Dec 2010 when the swimming pool was just a hole in the ground. We went for a 2 week stay the last part of Oct and 1st part of Nov. 2011. We knew it was still in a "soft opening" mode and did not know what to expect. Yes the road into the complex is still under construction and the spa/gym was not yet finished but we had the best vacation of our lives. Smooth and seamless check in. Upgraded room immediately. Great view. No problems. Not all of the complex is totally open but what is is being kept is outstanding condition with workers keeping everything clean and manicured. All of the staff from the front desk to maids to security and landscape workers were exceptionally friendly and helpful. The shuttle now runs 4 or maybe 5 times a day to town (40 min away) and is very reliable. There is no need for a rental car unless you plan to do your own adventures outside of the Villa or Loreto. The food and beverage service was very good both in the restaurant and outside by the pool area. Prices were reasonable. The chef made a special appetizer and main course dish from fresh Dorado we caught which was outstanding. We went fishing one day and caught 6 Dorado and a Blue Marlin (released). Went SCUBA diving and had a great dive just minutes from the Villa. Went kyaking and snorkling on our own from the Villa. Carlos has made a new trail up the backside of the complex that was a fun and relatively easy hike that was well marked. Excellent ocean landscape view on that hike. The beach is very shallow for quite a distance but warnings of sting rays and rock fish were way overblown. 4 hours of snorkling the bay scouting for hazards revealed only one of each. It is still a good idea to stay out of the rocky areas on the beach and shuffle your feet on the sandy part just in case. Previous reports of very low census were not confirmed with about 200 people on average staying at the resort but there appeared to not be that many using all of the ammenities. The resort seems to be attracting older customers that enjoy the beautiful vistas and the peace and quiet that comes with the remoteness of the location. This site is the opposite of a Cabo. The Villa is still trying hard to fine tune on site activities best suited for this different clientele. All of us want to give a "shout out" to Louis who took such a personal interest in making our stay fun: Bryan to keep up the great work with Villa activities and David at El Sanctuario our fishing,diving guide who was also kind enough to make cerviche and fish tacos for us from some of our Dorado. We will see you again next year.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Douglas S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 13, 2011

We just got back from a 4-day stay at the new Villa Del Palmar resort in Loreto, Mexico. It is a beautiful building in a very secluded bay. The entire peninsula is apparently owned by the Villa Group with eventual plans on developing the area.

We drove from Cabo San Lucas through Todo Santos. The road is under construction and were dealing with unpaved gravel for about an hour, travelling about 30 km/h. Needless to say, it was very difficult and slow. Although it is a longer route to Loreto from Cabo, it is supposedly faster when there is no construction. I would advise checking the road conditions and construction prior to going on that route. We took the mountain path on Hwy 1 coming back to the airport and it took us 5hr 30mins with a gas/potty break and going VERY VERY fast >120 km/h on many stretches. So be aware, that it will likely take 6 hours or so for more casual driving. This is likely comparable to the Todo Santos route. Do NOT believe anyone who tells you that it takes 5 hours from Cabo to Loreto. Expect 6-7 hrs and plan accordingly.

Prior to going to the resort, if you are in to purchasing groceries, do so in Loreto itself or even better, in La Paz. The resort does not have much of a grocery store yet although there are plans to put one in.

The resort itself is quite nice. The rooms are in great shape. Some apparently do not have ocean views which would be frustrating as all you would otherwise look at would be canyon walls and construction sites. Our 1 bdrm came with Washer/Dryer (not sure if all of them do).

When using the kitchen please be aware of any food left out or falling on the floors, the ants are ridiculous and come like bees on honey. That would be my biggest complaint is that the room service did not do a good job of cleaning the floors and could improve that.

The gym just opened and the spa is being built. The golf course is at least 1+ years away and no tennis courts yet. The beach is terrific and you can wade 1/4 mile up to your knees. Bring your snorkel gear as there is snorkelling on the reef next to the building.

The pools are great, but need to be kept more clean. My son got stung by a bee because some sort of filter let out a bunch of dead or not-so-dead bugs into the jacuzzi. We were sort of irritated that the resort made no ammends other than an on-site health aid. (I feel they could have at least offered my 5-y/o an ice cream or smoothie or something for not keeping the pool clean). Unfortunately this insect thing kept happening throughout our stay and included the largest central pool as well, so becareful when stepping in.

The restaurant selection is still limited, but the food is good.

If you're a golfer, definitely head up north to the only golf course in the area. Very good price and some spectacular views. It has a driving range and practice area that are in good shape.

Overall, we plan on going back in a few years when it is more developed and hopefully they will have fixed the ant problem and the insects-in-the-pool problem.

Room Tip: Try to get into building 2, 4th floor or higher. They are all ocean view.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank seeker911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pullman, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2011

My wife and I visited Loreto and VDP in early November on an Interval International exchange.
We had not previously visited Loredo area or been a part of the Villa del Palmar Resort properties in the past.

We had found the postings on this blog quite helpful and wanted to add to the comments previously made by others as we felt several additional comments might help people to make a decision to visit this resort.

Location: 700miles from USA by car, 300 + miles from Cabo, 2.5 hours by plane from LAX 4 times /week in a turbo prop Horizon /Alaska Air 78 passenger plane. Big marine reserve at your door step.

VDP- 20 miles or so south of airport , on main paved road with last 2 Km by a new gravel road , soon to be paved - to us from rural Wa. state this was a non issue.

Transportation:
Taxi - $25 USD /person each way to and from airport.
or
Rent a car
or
Free VDP shuttle to Loredo (not airport though) 3 x /day - drives right past airport but rules keep VDP apparently from transporting people to and from airport.

Highly recommend people travel into town to eat and shop and see the sites of a friendly , safe smallish Mexican city.

Facilities at VDP: Clean, 1 building of the 3 finished able to house most of the guests so far. 2 nonstarted building sites on the west side of the pools.
Stairs and elevators somewhat distant from llarge , open , central check in area .
Underground parking
Lots of staff available to keep property sparkling .

Just opened rec center (partiallly) in early November- appears rest of building is on schedule to finish in the next few weeks

No golf course or tennis courts expected in near future- lots of land to build on though.

Activities: Wild Loreto is a separate but affiliated business located in house and Carlos is working to secure your patronage for his land and water acitivity business and is willing to find things for you to do weather dependant .We took a tour to the San Javier Mission 25 miles or so west of Loredo up in the mountains. Memorable--- Recommended so long as don't mind riding in an open aired Army type of vehicle (UniMog made by Mercedes Benz) which is helpful but not a necessity as the last 8-10 miles is on a rough surface road and you would not want to take a real low clearance car on it. ( just about anything else is fine at a 15-30mph pace. A side trip into a small ranch did require a pickup or SUV . Watch out going up the new oiled road as it is twisty and you climb 1500+ feet I would image from the ocean and there are few if any guardrails..
I think as the resort fills there will be more things to do, activities to book and equipment to rent.

Other outfitters are located in Loreto for water sports/ fishing and there is a large marina in a protected harbor at Puerto Escondido half way between Loreto and VDP- just would need to find a way to get their as the shuttle makes no reg. stops otherwise .

We missed a snorkeling trip as the fall weather is starting to get a bit breezing and at 20 knots the water was too rough on several days. The water temp was still comfortable in the ocean while the pools, which can be individually adjusted apparently are now anywhere from just right to too cool .

Watch out for the rays on the ocean shallows- shuffling , and walking single file to a panga/ or sail boat or just walking in water is suggested.to avoid a painful sting.

Oh yes the staff do have scheduled activities including exercise classes, theme nights and sporting activities - several staff are truly multitalented and are a joy to be around.(Bryan et al). Take the "kitchen tour - a 1 hour on site tour of the underground workings of this resort - much more than seeing the kitchen.

Food; 3- choices ; Cook your own, eat in Loreto or eat at the resort: The Market with moderately priced items ( We ate there several times and spent $30-35 / dinner meal including 1 etoh beverage or right next door is the open aired Casa Mia that provides good pizza / drinks and swimming pool service / sandwiches. We experienced all of the above options and would recommend being flexible as the menu options at VDP, for some of the people that we talked to, were still somewhat limited .

Some purchased an All Inclusive package for about $85 or so / day for a min. of 3 days. - made sense for some but we didn't expect to drink enough etoh to make it pan out.
.
Staff: Well trained, most spoke some if not excellent English. All have been indoctrinated (maybe coached would be more appropriate) in the art of being considerate to you, asking you how you are and trying hard to make eye contact with you when you passed them anywhere on the resort. I think the top brass down to the 1st day employee really want to be helpful and there were more than ample chances to give feedback. I believe they have read this blog and have made corrections based on the comments found on this type of medium.

Drawbacks: Yellow and red wrist bands , placed on registration: required for access to your rooms - Labeled " SNO Mountain with a moose on it." Seems a bit ironic to still have these after 8 months of operation "Real ones on the way" we were told.
$3.50 single/ 7..00 for 2 room daily room charge to provide tips to the "less visible" staff required by management / Universal Vacation Club. We missed this in the small print of the registration pamphlet - just beware- .
No cash accepted at resort in general - only major credit cards - you can bill with your room number fortunately so you don't need to carry the plastic to the pool ; where as in Loredo mostly need cash either USD/ or Pesos if you go to some of the smaller shops;, larger or more upscale ones do take plastic.

Location: Finally the resort is in an area known as Escondito Blanca and is surrounded by desert flora, mountains, occ oases, and free ranging domestic and some wild animals .This is a rural area and standards of living that you will see reflect this.

It is not near any other resorts,and there is no noise from non resort activities. You will see heavy equipment currently working in and around the resort but this did not distract , at least at this time , from our experience.

Paraphrasing a Canadian expatriate we met while visiting the separate development of Loredo Bay, (where there is a golf course) " it is not that I came to change Loreto but hopefully Loreto will change me". If you don't like what you see on the web cam or described by others on this blog then you will probably be impatient with the tranquility and/ will potentially be looking to catch the next ride to Cabo San Lucas.
Probably this is for the best as those who "get it "- will be back and find more time to slow back down to Loreto time .

appledoc
Pullman, Wa.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Appledoc55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at The Islands of Loreto

Property: Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at The Islands of Loreto
Address: Carretera Transpeninsular km 84 | Ensenada Blanca, Loreto 23880, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Baja California > Baja California Sur > Loreto
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) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Loreto
#1 Family Hotel in Loreto
#2 Spa Hotel in Loreto
#3 Romantic Hotel in Loreto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at The Islands of Loreto 4.5*
Number of rooms: 181
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
If you're seeking a place that defines luxury, look no further than the Villa Group Resort's newest shining-star resort in this amazing Baja village. The hotel epitomizes luxury within a small town while also offering complete privacy and every modern touch. The perfect place for everyone from honeymooners to large families.The resort features 4,447 acres of unspoiled beauty. Boasting three restaurants and 20,000 square feet of turtle-shaped pools, Villa Del Palmar is minutes away from Downtown Islands of Loreto, extraordinary beaches, and world class golf courses.Our restaurants are not limited to just extraordinary Mexican food; featuring restaurants that serve delicious steaks to fine Italian food that tempts every palate. You can even cook up dinner your own room in the private "gourmet chef's kitchen". Naturally, all the amenities that guests of the Villa Group Resorts have come to expect are here too. Send your wife to the spa to enjoy a signature Islands of Loreto-massage, or join your children on an outdoor sports-fishing adventure. Whatever you're in the mood for, it is here waiting for you. See, although Islands of Loreto was actually the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California Peninsula, it will be the last place you'll ever want to leave. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villa Del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa At The Islands Of Loreto Hotel Loreto
Villa Del Palmar Beach Resort And Spa At The Islands Of Loreto

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