Review: Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal – Luxury with Unique Setting (and Fantastic Hilton Free Night Redemption!)
In this review: Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal in Baja California, Mexico.
Overview, Location & Pricing
We recently visited the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, located on the south side of the cliffs that overlook the town of Cabo San Lucas. The truly unique setting is apparent upon arrival, as you approach the secure front gate of the resort up against the cliffs and then proceed through a long tunnel under the cliffs to the resort waiting on the other side. The property is effectively built into the rocks, squeezed between the cliffs and the southernmost beach of the Baja California peninsula.
This Waldorf property regularly runs for over $1000/night cash rate for standard rooms, only occasionally dipping down into the $800-1000 range. The standard points rate, when available, is 120,000 Hilton points. Thus, when those standard point nights are available, it makes for a fantastic redemption of Hilton Free Night certificates (info on those here). You can get these from the American Express Aspire and Surpass credit cards.
The town of Cabo San Lucas is a roughly 45 minute car ride from the airport (SJD). The hotel will provide private SUV car service upon request, but I believe the price is over $200 round-trip. We used Citi’s travel website to book one of many available private car services using ThankYou Rewards points. It cost just over 5,000 points on arrival (including a quick stop at a grocery store) and 6,000 points at departure. Unfortunately, Citi does not show the name of the provider until after booking, but we booked far enough out to know we could cancel if need be. After booking, we found the provider was Ballard Tours, and we were able to communicate with them via email enough to be comfortable with the details of the booking.
Lobby, Check-in & Covid-19 Measures
Upon arrival at the drop off point on the resort side of the tunnel, we were immediately welcomed by our personal concierge for our stay. While we are Hilton Diamond guests, I believe this treatment is fairly standard for all guests. The same concierge was our point of contact throughout our stay for all of our needs. We received very prompt replies to any requests via text message or email, even from other colleagues when it was outside of her normal working hours.
Because of the pandemic, we had our temperatures taken and before entering the beautiful open-air lobby. Worth noting: we found the hotel to be consistent in following protocols for the pandemic, including masks being consistently worn by all employees. While the occupancy seemed to be fairly low and spacing was not a problem, we found that most guests were also following protocols.
We were greeted by name at the front desk, and the check-in process was efficient, informative, and pleasant. A complimentary welcome margarita was also a nice touch. After check-in, we were escorted to our room by an employee, who showed us around a bit and then walked us through the features of the room.
Simply put, this is where the resort really shines. There is nothing “standard” about the standard rooms. All rooms are spacious, including a private balcony complete with an infinity plunge pool on the edge for enjoying fantastic ocean views. The bathrooms have both a large, free-standing tub and a big, open (not enclosed with glass) rainfall shower, plus a cushioned seating area. The bedroom area features a very comfortable king bed, a pleasant gas fireplace (with a timer that makes it convenient to fall asleep to), and sliding doors that open wide to the balcony.
The refrigerator in the room is stocked daily with complimentary refreshments, and all guests are given a fancy-looking bottle of tequila and shot glasses as an in-room welcome amenity. A big highlight of our stay was the daily delivery of fresh chips, guacamole, and pico de gallo to the room for “happy hour.” Also included is a couple of small bottles of Corona beer, but (pro tip!) we found them happy to substitute a couple of tasty margaritas. Note: you must request this service each day in the 4-6pm range, but it is quick and easy to do with your concierge via text message.
Among the standard rooms, the only real distinction is location. One side of the resort has a family pool, while the other side has the adults-only pool. Some rooms are closer to the beach and ocean than others, but all rooms feature full ocean views. One thing to be aware of is that most of the standard rooms probably do not get much sunlight on their balconies (due to the overhang), other than maybe morning hours when the sun is lower in the sky. There are a variety of suites, and, depending on the locations, the amount of privacy and sunlight may vary.
While we did not stay in a suite, we were able to tour a one-bedroom suite.
Pool, Beach & Whale Watching
Since we were traveling without kids, we spent our pool time at the adults-only pool on the East/right (as you face the ocean) side of the resort. The pool itself features a long, curving infinity edge overhanging the beach, as well as a swim-up bar. As one would expect, the water was just cool enough to refresh but warm enough to not be too chilly for lounging on the edge with a drink.
The lounge chairs were nicely padded and plentiful around the pool. There were some non-padded ones on a couple of shallow ledges along the edge of the pool. The service was great, with employees at the ready to cover the chairs in towel slips and move the plentiful umbrellas for you as the sun moves across the sky. It is difficult to know if competition for lounge chairs might be a bit more tight during peak (non-pandemic) travel times.
The beach is beautiful, with stunning views up to the resort and the surrounding cliffs. Given that there are only a few resorts on this fairly small/private stretch of beach, there was not as much (actually very little) pedestrian traffic as one often finds at many other resorts in Mexico. There were not many lounge chairs available, and in fact we didn’t see anyone using them while we were there (other than the beachside private villas). Going in the surf is not allowed, due to strong tides and shore break. But it is a very scenic beach.
When To See Whales
The first few months of the year are the prime whale watching season in Cabo. We saw numerous whales, both reasonably up-close from the beach and pool and further out using binoculars provided in the room. It was a bit sad to see tour boats chase down the whales at times, but other times we saw them uninterrupted–sometimes very close to shore.
Restaurants & Local Options
Other than food available poolside, there are just two restaurants at the resort. Don Manuel’s is the primary restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus drinks and live music most nights.
We had breakfast there every morning (conveniently served until 11am). As Hilton Diamond members, the “continental” breakfast was complimentary each morning and was very good and satisfying. It included a couple of fancy pastries and fruit plate per person, all you can drink juice and coffee (there is a charge for premium coffees), and some really yummy homemade granola and yogurt.
Diamond members can also pay a $9/person upgrade charge to order just about anything else on the breakfast menu (in place of the yogurt/granola), including some fantastic Huevos Rancheros or an omelette (get some fresh tortillas with it!).
We never ate lunch on property, other than some poolside snacks (including some fun little freebies they bring around!). For dinner, we ate at Don Manuel’s one night and found it to be moderately priced and quite good. The signature dinner restaurant on the property is El Farallon, located on the rocks on the end of the beach, complete with a great view and sound of constant waves crashing on the rocks.
They are well-known for their fresh local seafood. You are definitely paying in large part for the ambiance, but the food didn’t disappoint. We thought it was worth trying at least once, especially if you can time your reservation for a little bit before sunset. Don’t get scared away if you read that it’s well over $100/person and that sounds too pricey. Without wine pairings, the bill should be under $100/person.
Especially if you are staying for more than a few days, you will want to venture off property for some culinary variety. The good news is that the town of Cabo San Lucas is just a short golf cart ride through the tunnel (never a long wait and very fun!) and then a 5-10 minute walk away. Besides being an enjoyable walk (maybe take a short detour and enjoy the harbor and looking at some amazingly huge yachts), there are tons of cheap- to moderately-priced eating options nearby. Two of our favorites (highly recommended by friends and TripAdvisor reviews) for cheap, GREAT tacos were Tacos Guss (short walk and total hole-in-the-wall) and Gardenias (bit longer walk or short taxi ride but worth it!). While we didn’t get a chance to try it, we also heard lots of great talk about a restaurant called “The Office on the Beach” that is more moderately priced.
Final Review: Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal
We are big believers that the expectations you have for a resort can make or break how you end up feeling about your actual experiences at a high-end resort. At the risk of setting expectations too high for others, our review is that the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal did not disappoint. Service was great when we wanted it–without being overbearing. The property and rooms were beautiful and in great condition, as one would expect. Perhaps we benefited from being at the property during a period of low occupancy, but it should not ever feel too big or full with only 115 rooms. As noted, the luxurious rooms were definitely a highlight. And if you’re looking for a place to use a Hilton free night certificate, you can’t beat the redemption value! We certainly look forward to a return visit.