No matter your stance in the love-’em-or-hate-’em argument on all-inclusive hotels, we can all agree that they can make mapping out your travel budget a breeze. Of course, not every all-inclusive was created equal: some serve excellent dishes and top-shelf liquor, while others serve mediocre food and watered-down drinks. Some all-inclusive packages cover poolside service and nightly entertainment, others are mired in confusing restaurant reservations policies and other tripwires. Fortunately, a team of Oyster investigators compared and evaluated the many, many all-inclusive hotels in Los Cabos, Mexico — the Baja Sur region bounded by Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo — to determine this list of the best in the area.
Set on 18 acres of land outside of San Jose del Cabo, this grandiose adult-only resort is practically a destination unto itself. All-inclusive rates are among the highest in the area, even for a luxury hotel, but the six bars and eight restaurants provide guests with plenty of food and drink variety, and few restrictions. The 500 suites have modern amenities and playful, romantic touches -- some are swim-out. The hotel offers great views of the Sea of Cortez, especially from its two pools and golf course. Though most guests are couples, Secrets also attracts big (and sometimes loud) corporate groups with its conference center.
We've seen plenty of all-inclusive resorts, and modern, family-friendly Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is one of the nicer upscale options that we've visited. The all-inclusive plan here is one of the area's best: It includes unlimited dining in all of the resort's a la carte and buffet restaurants (reservations aren't necessary), theater shows, Wi-Fi, valet parking, access to the kids' and teen clubs, 24-hour snacks, and gratuities. Standard room features include minibars, large flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, air-conditioning, coffeemakers, air-conditioning, and ceiling fans. They also come with marble bathrooms, soaking tubs, and patios or balconies. Although the beach isn't swim-friendly due to rough waves, the pools offer more than enough space for taking a dip.
The adult-only Pueblo Bonitio Pacifica Resort is a tranquil, upscale resort on a gorgeous beach. It feels removed and secluded from the Cabo nightlife, though it's only about a 10-minute drive away. The full-service spa includes a beauty salon, a meditation labyrinth, and beachside yoga classes, and all rooms have patios or balconies with ocean views. Fun activities like tequila and wine tastings are often on the docket.
The luxury development a few miles outside of Cabo San Lucas is part of Pueblo Bonito, with sister resorts here and closer to town. Montecristo, for its part, offers 151 pinch-me-now, three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom cliffside villas overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Villas feature high-end amenities such as infinity pools, gourmet kitchens, and stainless steel Weber grills, but for guests who do not plan on cooking often, there are all-inclusive plans that cover unlimited food and drink (and taxes and fees) at many of the hotel group's restaurants, including the on-site CIBOLA, which offers all-day international dining in a semi-casual setting with indoor and outdoor seating with views. Casual quick-serve options like coffee shops, poolside cafes, and a convenience store for basics are also available.
This 250-room cliffside resort has enjoyed icon status ever since Keith Richards and Patti Hansen were married here in 1983. The family-friendly Sandos has undergone expansion and renovations since then, but one thing didn't change: the panoramic views of the sea, the bay, and rugged mountains in between. With its combination of history and scenery, Sandos feels less cookie-cutter than other all-inclusive resorts in the area, and its rates are among the most competitive in the area for an upscale resort. All guests have unlimited access to multiple bars and restaurants and 24-hour room service; there are also four gorgeous pools and an expansive beach leading to El Arco. Rooms are simple, but come with minibars and balconies; couples should consider upgrading to the Finisterra Suites for modern decor and access to VIP areas.
All-inclusive Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa has the charm of a boutique hotel but the size and amenities of a luxury resort. Its Spanish-style architecture features high ceilings with wood beams, large archways, white marble flooring, and intricate moldings throughout. The palm-tree-lined infinity pool and several outdoor restaurants overlook the Pacific Ocean and the beach. Portofino, which offers Italian fare, showcases luxe white decor with opulent candelabras, and an authentic sushi bar has Japanese-style floor seating. Each bright and airy suite features kitchenettes and flat-screen TVs, while the bedrooms are outfitted with dreamy bedding and soft drapes. Families tend to enjoy the jungle-themed kids' club, while the lovely beach is a highlight for everyone.
The mid-range, family-friendly Royal Solaris is an affordable all-inclusive option on the beach. This attractive time-share property (beware of sales pitches) has ample amenities, including four pools, four bars, and four restaurants, two of which are a la carte (though food, overall, is not a highlight). Rooms have traditional furnishings, mini-fridges stocked with free beer and water, and balconies. Daily activities keep the masses occupied, and while the beautiful beach is typically not swimmable, there are loungers under thatched umbrellas. A free kids' club, teens' club, nightly entertainment, dance classes, and a water park mean that families are the norm here, but the spa and adult-only pool are good features for couples.
Melia Cabo is a sprawling beachfront all-inclusive between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. Rooms are spacious and clean, and the grounds feature ping-pong tables, a pool with a swim-up bar and a separate kiddy area, and even a small, swimmable beach area -- unusual around San Jose del Cabo, where waters are rough. A 10-person whirlpool is perched on a top level overlooking the ocean. Melia Cabo isn't within walking distance of either town, so the two on-site restaurants may feel a bit limiting on a long vacation.
Located just outside of downtown Cabo San Lucas, the Riu Santa Fe is a classic Cabo all-inclusive mega-resort. The enormous hotel has 902 simple rooms with huge bathrooms. The all-inclusive program here includes drinks -- although don't expect a variety of liquors -- meals, and entertainment. While some guests complain about mediocre food, this resort does offer a gigantic pool with plenty of space to sunbathe. Extra hotel perks include a fitness center, spa, and nightly entertainment, but lounge chairs can fill up early and the water is too dangerous for swimming.