Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos – Trip Report

Introduction

The Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is one of six all-inclusive Hyatt resorts throughout Mexico and Jamaica. These properties provide tremendous value for the miles and points enthusiast, as all the food and drink you can consume during the duration of your stay is included in the room cost.

The Hyatt property is located just south of San Jose Del Cabo and features six bars and six restaurants, a coffee shop, 24-hour deli, swim-up pool bar, gym, tennis and basketball courts, and all the beach lounging space you could ever need. Additional details can be found on the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos fact sheet.

We used two free-night certificates earned from the Chase Hyatt Visa signup bonus (offer no longer available) and 40,000 Hyatt points acquired from a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer for a 4-night stay. I originally booked into the basic standard room, a Ziva Pool View Master, hoping for an upgrade. Prior to departure, I contacted the property Guest Service Manager (Cesar Fajardo; [email protected]) to inquire about a room upgrade since we were traveling for an anniversary. At the time I had Hyatt Platinum status from being a Chase Hyatt Visa cardmember, and we were upgraded to a Ziva Suite with Ocean View upon arrival.

The people were extremely hospitable, the beer was cold, and the room was spacious and comfortable. The only issue I had was with inconsistency with food, though who can complain about four nights in paradise that you don’t pay for?

Note that this trip took place in May 2016. Since then, the Chase Hyatt signup bonus has changed from 2-free night certificates to a maximum of 45,000 points, and Hyatt has altered their loyalty program. All cardholders now automatically get “upgraded” to Discoverist status as opposed to the old Platinum status.

Hyatt All-Inclusive Award Chart

Below is the Hyatt Zilara/Ziva all-inclusive award chart. Note that “Ziva” properties are family-friendly, and “Zilara” properties are adult-only.

Arrival into Los Cabos International Airport

Upon arrival, we passed through customs and were MOBBED by touts trying to sell us their discount excursions (mountain biking, snorkeling, etc.). They will ask you where you are staying, and pretend like they have special deals just for you. IGNORE THEM unless you want to waste your time or are absolutely sure what you are getting into. Just proceed to the curb.

Prior to our trip, I had arranged with the Hyatt Guest Service Manager for transport from Los Cabos International Airport to the property. The shuttle cost $56 per person roundtrip from the airport, which took roughly 45 minutes to an hour each way in a Sprinter van. Our flight from Seattle was booked with miles on Alaska Airlines, so taxes+fees from the flight and the airport transport fee were literally the only charges we had for the entire trip. You may be able to negotiate a lower rate with a cab at the airport, I’m not sure.

View from the approach into Los Cabos International Airport.

Arrival at Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos

Once we arrived at the property, an attendant asked for our name and immediately led us to a separate air-conditioned office separated from the main check-in area. The manager welcomed us as “Platinum Elites,” offered us a snack and cold beverage, and gave us 21+ wrist bands and a run-down of the property. At the time, Platinum status got us top-shelf liquor and wine (though you had to request it). I would guess the current Discoverist status earned from the Chase Hyatt card does not give you any top-tier alcohol privileges, but I would love confirmation from anyone who has been more recently.

From there, two attendants grabbed our bags and led us to the top floor of the southern-most portion of the eastern-most building on the property. If you use upgrade certificates, you will likely be upgraded to a room in the building just east where we were, which contains the Ocean View master suites.

Open air lobby

Happy to be in paradise

Room location identified with red arrow.

The Room – Ziva Suite with Ocean View

Once we arrived to our Ocean View Master King on the 7th (top) floor, we were pleasantly surprised to find heart-shaped balloons on the door. The attendant opened the door, to which we found a very welcoming spread of champagne, cake with “Happy Anniversary” drizzled on the plate in chocolate, fruit and cheese, and a handwritten welcome card from the manager.

The 1-Bedroom Oceanview Master King Suite is 619 square feet and consists of a private balcony, two bathrooms, a king bed, and a separate living room with a sofa bed. Photos of the room can be found below. Additionally, the room contained a safe and large closet with 2 robes for use during our stay.

Heart-shaped balloons on the door.

Separate living room with welcome spread of champagne, cake, fruit, and cheese!

Very nice touch!

Sofa bed in separate living room.

Mini-bar in hallway between living room and bedroom. Bar contained a mini-fridge with complimentary beverages.

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

His/hers sinks between bathroom #1 and master bedroom.

Bathroom #1

Bathroom #2, in hallway near mini-bar.

View from our balcony.

Twilight view from the balcony.

Night view from the balcony.

View from the balcony.

View of future Mrs. Geo and the north part of the property.

The Restaurants

This was our first visit to an all-inclusive resort. As such, we had no idea what to expect regarding quality of food. During our five days/four nights, we tried a lot of food options, though we did not eat at Bon Vivant (french restaurant with a dress code including pants, no thanks!), or Dozo, a tepenyaki restaurant which we read some really poor things about prior to our trip. I am someone who eats to no longer be hungry and am not a connoisseur of fine dining. That said, I will be honest and say the food ranged from awful to delicious. I will give my ratings of each restaurant we tried below.

You can make reservations at some of the restaurants, and I imagine that would be necessary during peak season. The hotel was not at capacity while we were there, so reservations were never necessary.

Zafiro – Italian (awful)

This was the first restaurant we tried on our first night. It is located right on the beach, but even the scenery can’t help. It was awful, and I can say that candidly after ordering two separate entrees (it’s paid for, why not?). I had the prime rib, which was effectively one chunk of inedible gristle. Before you say “it’s prime rib, it’s fatty,” I KNOW, I love prime rib. Just not the type of prime rib you have to suck on for nutrients. I followed up the prime rib by ordering a personal tomato-basil pizza. Also just awful. To say I was disheartened after the prime-rib would be an understatement, and I never waste food. The good news? Wine was free, so I just had grapes for dinner. 

Cactus – 24 hr. Deli (decent)

The 24-hour deli was great for snacks throughout the day, or as something to sop up the wine you drink for dinner after going to Zafiro. The ambience was nice, and we rarely saw another soul in here. This is a great spot to grab water, coffee, or other treats between meals or after the restaurants close, or to get some air conditioning during a hot day. Think sandwiches, wraps, small burritos, fruit, etc. 

Mexican Plaza – (absolutely delicious)

This was our favorite sit-down restaurant, not only for the quality of taste but because there were so many fresh options. I believe we ate here for one lunch and two dinners, and were never disappointed. The ambience was great, as were the mojitos. Watch out for the white peppers though; they’ll make you sweat!

La Hacienda Steak House – (between good and great; fantastic view)

The steak house had a nice variety of fish and steak selections and a fresh salad bar. Both the sea-bass and the steak were filet were good if not great. This restaurant is right on the beach on the western portion of the property. Get a reservation, or get there early if you want a table right on the beach!

Daily Taco Bar (lunch; easily the best food we tried)

During the day, a taco bar sets up in the pool area. This is without question the best food we had during the trip. The tacos were simple and spicy with good ingredients. Add to the tacos a top-shelf margarita and I was in paradise.

The Beach

In 2014, Hurricane Odile hit Los Cabos and leveled the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. That means the beach got destroyed as well. I am a geologist and love natural landforms. There is nothing natural about this beach. It is renurished (not natural), steep, built up, and extremely inhospitable for swimmers. I also love the force of nature, and man are there some big waves that crash on this beach. We are not talking about surfable waves, rather break-your-neck waves if you get caught in the surf zone at the wrong time. I can’t emphasize this enough – you do not swim at this beach. The rip-tides are gnarly. That said, we enjoyed walking up and down the beach, lounging on the plethora of beach-front chairs and cabanas, and enjoying the sheer of energy of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the shoreline.

The Hyatt Property – Activities, Pools, etc.

Below are some select photos from the rest of the property that didn’t really fit in anywhere else within this post.

Swim-up bar in the main pool.

Secondary pool, just north of the main pool.

Main pool at sunrise. People had already claimed EVERY CHAIR before the sun even came up. This practice is absurd and ownership should be based on who is using the chairs, not who gets to them to plant their stuff first.

Main infinity pool.

There is a gym, basketball court, and tennis court that you can reserve. We used them every day to get some activity in between eating and drinking.

Watch out, Wimbledon.

Swim-up pool resort rooms.

Main pool.

There is a more secluded, relaxing, and shaded bar and pool area to the west behind the main area of the resort.

El Agave tequila bar. This was one of our favorite hangouts on the property.

Tequila tasting. This was offered as an activity every other day. You don’t have to drink all the tequila you taste. I did. It was awesome.

Main resort area at night.

Activities, including yoga classes, are offered on the beach every morning.

Night time entertainment.

The City – San Jose del Cabo

The city of San Jose del Cabo is 2 miles northeast of the Hyatt. We decided to venture outside the resort to see the city and get a little bit of perspective regarding the surroundings. It was a cute city, but man was it hot. The city is very artsy, and has some cool vendors for jewelry and art. I would recommend heading into the city if for nothing else than to actually say you’ve been to Mexico and not just “The Hyatt.”

Why hello, Mexico. Pharmacy en route to San Jose del Cabo.

Old church in San Jose del Cabo. Worth checking out, great history and architecture.

Plaza Mijares in San Jose del Cabo.

Summary

The 5 days/4 nights we spent at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos were a phenomenal redemption value, and a very relaxing time in the sun to escape the never-ending winter in Seattle. While the food was unremarkable to awful at points, it was also extremely good at others. The great part of this resort is that it is what you make of it. Want to workout, swim, and enjoy dinner and sunset with your significant other? You sure can. Want to drink and eat all day and night? You can do that too. There are lots of activities for kids as well, though we didn’t pursue those as we don’t have kids.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who has traveled to any of the Hyatt all-inclusive resorts since the loyalty program changed to see what type of benefits you received.

Questions? Comments? Let me know below!


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