The Back Story
There’s an old Yiddish saying that translates, “Man plans, God Laughs.” My first attempt to visit the new Riu Palace Baja California was cancelled by Hurricane Sergio. The following year COVID-19 hit the world. Now, vaccinated, boostered and ready to travel (November 2021), I packed my sunscreen, water bottle, sandals, and bathing suit and headed to Cabo San Lucas for my long overdue introduction to the resort.
Much to my delight, I was contacted by Manuel Romero shortly after I made the reservation. We had met a couple of years earlier when I visited Riu’s sister property, the Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. At that time, Manuel was working at the front desk. He had seen my name and decided to contact me; nice personal touch.
Back to the earlier stay. Like many travel writers, I like to post photos and short vignettes while visiting a destination. Manuel and I cooked up a doozy. We pretended my credit card had been declined (it wasn’t), so he put me to work to pay off the vacation. The caper gots lots of funny comments.
Vacation in the Sun
The 1 1/2 hour flight from San Diego was uneventful, as was entry into Mexico. Epic Limo Service works with the resort and their pickup was timely and smooth. Upon arrival, the first thing you notice is the wow factor at the lobby/reception area. Check-in went smoothly, including a welcome drink. Next up: unpack and reconnaissance. As often as I travel, it’s always a kick to wander around. The resort is located on El Médano beach and there’s a nice array of chairs and umbrellas on the sand, but the real action is by the four pools.
There are six restaurants, three snack/food outlets, and four bars (plus two swim-up). Other amenities include spa, retail outlet, fitness room, and free wi-fi. The resort is adults-only, all-inclusive, and all rooms are suites with complimentary drink dispensers and a stocked refrigerator/mini-bar.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the Promenade Restaurant. It features a vast array of choices via food stations: salads, various ethnic entrees, breads, fruit platters, desserts, cheese, ice cream bar, carving stations, and daily specials. The five specialty restaurants are only open for dinner. They include Italian, Japanese, Indian, steakhouse, and “Fusion Gourmet” themes. There is also 24 hour room service.
I soon established my morning vacation routine. First, a visit to Pastelería Capuchino for a specialty coffee and pastry, then an early walk before it got too hot. My path snaked through the three Los Cabos Riu Resorts (yes, they are all connected).
Finally, it was time to secure a calm, shady reading spot overlooking the beach near the pool. Entertainment-wise, the pool area features exercise and games during the day, while at night music and live shows are presented on an outdoor stage. My secret find was Lounge 24, just off the reception area. It’s a quiet business center, open all the time, featuring a mini-cafe with snacks and self-service bar.
Splurge and get an ocean front suite; you won’t regret it. Views of the cruise ships and El Arco at Land’s End are spectacular.
Strict COVID procedures and policies are in place at the resort. Free testing, by appointment, is available and necessary before you depart.
Tipping is optional, however, the entire staff works hard and deserves a gratuity; maids, servers, bellmen, etc.
Flying from Los Cabos, my suggestion is to arrive at least three hours in advance of your flight. You will need a negative Covid test, paper boarding pass (not on your phone), and your customs paperwork handy. If you’re going to travel out of the US regularly, look into the Global Pass.
A fun in the sun getaway requires sunscreen and a good water bottle; sunburn and dehydration are not welcome traveling companions. My choices are Rubber Ducky and Klean Kanteen. Both are environmentally formulated/designed. Check out their products online at www.SunBlocks.com and www.KleanKanteen.com.
The Epic Group arranged our pickup at the airport. Their representatives can be found at the resort, making it easy to book tours and transportation. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or take a look at their website, www.EpicLosCabosdmc.com.
Riu Hotels and Resorts never disappoint. The Riu Palace Baja California was worth the wait and lived up to my expectations; great all-suite accommodations, attentive service, wonderful meal options, and vacation worthy. Go! www.Riu.com.
Personal Note: My amigo, Manuel Romero’s title is now “Subdirector” at the resort. Not bad for someone who started as a front desk agent. And, good for Riu for promoting from within. When we cross paths on my next Riu adventure, I’ll bet he’s numero uno at a Riu resort.
Thanks to the various websites mentioned for information and photos.