Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas - All Inclusive Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Riu Palace, located right outside of party-hearty Cabo San Lucas, is an all-inclusive resort -- with reasonable rates -- packed with entertainment. This colossal 642-room resort offers meals at six restaurants, activities, and nightly entertainment -- such as a Michael Jackson impersonator -- all included in the price. Spacious rooms have palatial bathrooms and great views, but furniture could use an update. Perks include two large pools, one designated for relaxation and the other for activities, along with a swim-up bar and decent-sized fitness room. The resort can get crowded (because who doesn't love a good deal?), but the beautifully manicured grounds and white-sand beach help to make up for it.
Bel Air Collection Resort & Spa Los Cabos Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The mid-range, 100-room Bel Air Collection Resort & Spa isn't the most luxurious resort in Los Cabos, but it does have a pretty location along a gorgeous stretch of beach, a sprawling oceanfront pool with swim-up bar, and an optional all-inclusive plan. Thoughtful extras add value: welcome drinks, a continental breakfast (though it starts early, so late risers may miss all the good stuff), tea and snacks at sunset, petit fours with turndown service, and an excellent happy hour at the bar. Room decor is contemporary, the bathrooms have Jacuzzi tubs, and the kitchenettes are handy when trying to save a few bucks -- there's even a grocery store within walking distance.
Bahia Hotel & Beach Club Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The 81-room Bahia Hotel isn't directly on the beach (meaning the price difference between this hotel and oceanfront ones can get pretty drastic), but it's just a block away, and is home to a trendy, delicious restaurant, and relaxing pool area with cabanas and swim-up bar. Although more basic rooms have older tube TVs, and some rooms are more in need of an update than others, all are decorated with airy color palates, emphasizing the contrast between dark woods and white walls (including the indigenous-style stucco cubbyholes). The rest of the hotel has equally chic decor (demonstrated in details such as the dozens of ceiling-hung lanterns in the restaurant). There's a nice coffee shop on-site, too, for those morning pick-me-ups. Affordable nightly rates and free parking make it a solid value pick.
Welk Resort Sirena Del Mar Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Welk Resort Sirena Del Mar is a picturesque cliff-side property overlooking the Sea of Cortez and the famous Los Arcos. The 36-villa resort is beautifully appointed with travertine stone floors, thatched palapa roofs, and two stunning infinity pools. Three private decks allow for sunbathing throughout the resort, and the intimate cove beachprevents outside guests and vendors from wandering the property. Each villa comes complete with a fully stockedkitchen, accented by granite countertops and stone floors; colorful furniture and artwork; and simple bedrooms with huge sliding doors that lead to private balconies. Each bathroom has a separate Jacuzzi tub and shower.
Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos is a quiet resort that is mere seconds away from the lively action of downtown Cabo. This Mediterranean-inspired property looks like something that belongs on the Greek Islands, with stark white walls and spherical, blue-tiled roofs. The lobby features ornate moldings and carvings, as well as high, curved arches and black accent chandeliers. Calming colors of pale grays, beiges, and blues give the hotel a natural and tropical feel, while hand-painted details make it seem homey. The 174 rooms are a bit more kitschy than they are modern, with matching floral quilts and drapes, older TVs and built-in seating -- though the private balconies overlooking the pool and ocean are lovely. Overall, Pueblo Bonito is quaint, but not as contemporary as nearby Welk Resort or ME Cabo. But with a long free-form pool, on-site salon and market, and plenty of activities, it's a good value.
Solmar Resort All-Inclusive Rating: 3.0 Pearls
This mid-range all-inclusive property is on the smaller side, so guests get all of the perks of an all-inclusive in a more intimate environment. It also means guests don't get multiple food choices -- there is just one restaurant at the hotel (though guests are entitled to eat free at a few nearby restaurants as well). The real highlight is the hotel's beachfront location, within walking distance of the marina and downtown. All rooms are suites, with kitchenettes, but decor-wise they are a bit out-of-date. The bathrooms show some wear and tear, and the bedrooms feature old, small tubeTVs. Although the pool has a swim-up bar, the Solmar mainly attracts families to its (crowded) beach and nightly entertainment offerings.
Marbella Suites en la Playa Rating: 3.0 Pearls
While the suites at Marbella En La Playa are not impressively decorated or luxurious, they are some of the most spacious, clean and affordable in Baja California. They vary wildly in their offerings (some have full kitchens while others only have a microwave and empty mini-fridge), but they all have lovely views. The pool area is nice and shaded, if a little small and oddly laid out, and the Jacuzzis offer great ocean views. The attractive beach is the real draw, and replaces the booze-fueled parties of nearby Cabo with laid-back bonfires. The secluded surroundings cater well to couples or relaxed families.
Hotel Quinta Del Sol Rating: 2.5 Pearls
The words "luxury" and "central location" by no means belong as part of Hotel Quinta de Sol's advertising vernacular, but it is certainly one of the best deals in town -- with 72 no-frills, fairly spacious rooms with kitchenettes, a tiny and not-so-pleasant fitness center with modern machines, and a nice, decent-sized pool with kiddy area. That, on top of great freebies like continental breakfast and Wi-Fi, make it an excellent value for the money. But Cabo's downtown area is a 20-minute walk; the beach is half that distance, though you have to trek a hot stretch of street to get there.