In the greater Cabo area, there’s no shortage of all-inclusive resorts, from party-happy properties like Breathless Cabo, right on the marina in Cabo San Lucas, to high-end properties with restaurants operated by Michelin-starred chefs (here’s looking at you Grand Velas Los Cabos, one of the best all-inclusive resorts in the world).
But for points and miles enthusiasts, few Cabo all-inclusive resorts are as popular as the Hyatt Ziva in San Jose del Cabo. A family-friendly resort not far from the airport, the resort has been generally well received since it opened in 2015, years before the current trend of revamping all-inclusives swept the major hotel brands (and before Hyatt added over 100 all-inclusive resorts to its portfolio with the acquisition of Apple Leisure Group back in 2021.)
For me, an all-inclusive connoisseur who recently had a stunner of a stay at the dual-branded Hyatt Ziva/Zilara Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, I was excited to see how the older Cabo outpost compared to its sister property in the DR.
Here’s my Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos review — and everything you need to know before booking a stay there.
What is the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos?
Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is a family-friendly all-inclusive resort in San Jose del Cabo about 25 miles away from Baja California’s main international airport (SJD).
In Hyatt’s all-inclusive portfolio, Ziva is the all-ages-welcome sister of the adult-only Zilara brand that is often connected or nearby and offers shared facilities and restaurants. In Cabo, there is no Zilara, so the entire property is open to children, but with Cabo being a quick escape for people from Texas to California, the resort draws all types of travelers, from families on vacation to Bachelorette parties, destination weddings and corporate retreats.
Like most all-inclusive resorts, nearly everything is included in the upfront price, including most meals and drinks across 16 bars and restaurants, live entertainment, activities like water aerobics and beach volleyball (among plenty of others), a kids club and 24/7 room service. There are also paid upgrades and activities available, like an elevated dinner on the beach, spa treatments, cabana rentals and excursions.
One important thing to note is that while the resort has a beautiful beach, swimming is prohibited due to rough waters (it’s common at resorts in Cabo). There are, however, a series of pools, including an ocean-view infinity pool and an adults-only pool to enjoy.
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How to book Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos
I booked my two-night stay in an entry-level Master Double using points. As a Category D property in Hyatt’s all-inclusive chart, Standard Room Rates range from 25,000 to 35,000 points per night, based on peak/off-peak pricing. My late July dates cost 30,000 World of Hyatt points per night. Those same nights were going for about $568 per night, based on double occupancy, if I’d paid cash (but cash rates can be found as low as $380 per night). Despite my free nightly rate, I was required to pay an environmental tax at checkout that was about $2 per night.
My room was a Guest of Honor booking, meaning it was booked from a World of Hyatt account with top-tier Globalist status, and that (some of) those elite benefits would be passed on to me. At this particular resort, those benefits included a room upgrade to an Ocean View Master Double and access to the Club Lounge, along with discounts like 20% off certain spa treatments, private or romantic dinners and more.
It also included a checkout at late as 4 p.m. if available but with the caveat that the request needed to be made “one day before checkout.” Having forgotten that tidbit of information from the Globalist welcome sheet, I called the morning of our 12 p.m. checkout and requested an extra hour, but was told despite the Globalist status, I’d have to pay a fee upwards of $100 to extend. Instead, I waited for my car transfer in the Club Lounge.
At 584 square feet, my upgraded room was large and long, with two double-sized beds, a couch, an entertainment center with a large TV, a ceiling fan, a small table with two chairs and a balcony overlooking the pools and out to the ocean.
Don’t get me wrong, the room was fine and comfortable, but I immediately got the sense that it was a little past its prime and noticed cosmetic defects throughout. And while the decor and colors of the suite seemed to reflect Cabo’s physical surroundings, the dark browns and deep blues made the space feel dark and dated. At night, what little light the room offered was uncomfortable.
And while there was a large built-in closet between one of the beds and the wall, the doors wouldn’t open all the way because the bed was too close, making it nearly impossible to use in a functional way. After practically abandoning the closet, I did notice when double-checking for items upon leaving that the bed had been moved so the doors could fully open. Still, the space was so tight I’m sure I wouldn’t have used it anyway.
And then there was the massive bathroom.
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That bathroom featured a large soaking tub, dual sinks, a shower and a room with a toilet and a tempered glass door. Again, the bathroom did everything a bathroom should do, but thanks to its uninviting color palette and sterile feeling, it wasn’t the sort of place that inspired a long, luxurious bath.
Lastly (and important to folks who take advantage of every perk an all-inclusive has to offer), there was a mini fridge with Tecate beers, sodas, juice, a selection of candy, and Pringles and Oreos to snack on, all of which were restocked daily.
I’ll also point out there was solid air conditioning, something I very much appreciated considering my stay was during a summer heat wave. What I didn’t appreciate was how much noise came into the room from outside, especially when a large wedding in the main courtyard had people dancing after we’d hit the sack.
The food was delicious
All-inclusive resorts have a reputation for bland food — and many of the major hotel companies are working to rectify that. When we last reviewed this resort, back in 2018, the writer left with her tastebuds wanting more, but that wasn’t my experience at all. In fact, I was more than impressed with nearly everything I ate.
Restaurant options at this Hyatt Ziva range from an upscale Mexican restaurant and family-friendly Italian spot to the staple all-inclusive buffet, a French restaurant, a Japanese restaurant where you can have food (and a show!) cooked right in front of you as well as an oceanfront grill, a 24-hour coffee shop and a snack bar. Reservations are only offered for the hibachi portion of the Japanese restaurant and everything else is first-come, first-serve.
Over the course of my two-night stay, I only managed to get to a handful of the restaurants. My first (and favorite) stop was at Cortez, where we sipped refreshing mango margaritas while staring out at the ocean. I’m absolutely obsessed with fresh and raw seafood and the ceviches with chips, salsas and guac, along with fish tacos, were mouthwateringly good.
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For dinner, I was pretty impressed by the Mexican restaurant El Molino, which required a roughly 30-minute wait for a table. There, I couldn’t get enough of the melted cheese with rich chorizo and warm tortillas. I was also impressed with my main course of green chicken enchiladas, though there was no way I could eat all three by myself.
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For picky eaters, Zaffiro (the beach-facing Italian restaurant) is a safe spot, especially for kids. A simple burrata salad helped beat the evening heat, though the burrata itself wasn’t the Instagram-worthy kind you delicately slice into. Our two pastas were also tasty, but I particularly enjoyed the simple and not overly-filling pasta penne al pesto rojo, with walnuts and basil.
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I’m a big fan of breakfast buffets, and The Plaza’s morning selections didn’t disappoint. I had a hearty omelet with chorizo and piled on a green sauce, fresh fruit and mushrooms. I will say my Bloody Mary was very bland, but I was happy with the meal overall.
The pool vibes
The resort’s main pool complex, right in the center of the resort, is where guests spend the majority of their time. As you can see in the picture above, there’s the ocean-facing infinity pool overlooking the beach and then a massive pool directly behind that. There’s also a nice adults-only pool behind the tower on the right (picture below.)
The pool complex was fun and you could tell everyone was having a good time, whether they were swimming with their kids in the bigger of the pools, taking it easy with a drink in the infinity pool or just lounging with a book in one of the chairs.
In true all-inclusive fashion, people were up claiming chairs early in the morning. Die-hard all-inclusive goers have a tradition of bringing clips to attach their towels to chairs super early in the morning, and on my 7 a.m. walk, I’d already noticed a few.
I didn’t claim chairs that early, but did get primo in-water chairs at the infinity pool a little after 8 a.m. At that time, there was a surge of people grabbing loungers, so keep that in mind if you prefer a particular spot.
According to the resort’s website, all the pools are heated, which is great for visits in cooler months. But during my July stay, the infinity pool was very warm — uncomfortably warm. The running joke echoing across the pool was that it was just the community bathtub. I’m not sure if that had to do with the fact that it was unseasonably warm that weekend (even for the summer) or if that’s simply what it’s always set to.
Luckily, the bigger of the two pools was much more comfortable.
From the moment the main swim-up bar opened at 10 a.m., it was crowded and the bartenders did their best to keep up and keep guests smiling. Generally, the service across the resort was great, and everyone was super kind and helpful. But, I found the drinks underwhelming.
From a watered-down Aperol Spritz to a near-tasteless piña colada, I didn’t enjoy any of the cocktails from the pool swim-up bar. But when the cocktails failed me, I simply switched to something that’s hard to mess up: beer or Diet Coke and Malibu.
But even with the weirdly warm pool and blah drinks (served in middle school evoking plastic cups), the overall vibe of the pool was festive, fun and enjoyable. All-inclusive resorts are places where you tend to make friends — and that’s exactly what happened!
The activities got people moving
One thing I love about all-inclusive resorts is the calendar of scheduled activities, and this one had a lot. While I was there I enjoyed an over-the-top fiesta with a mariachi band and dancers alongside a bunch of booths set up like a market where local vendors were selling souvenirs and handmade goods. One afternoon there was an upbeat water aerobics class that tons of people joined in on and I watched folks of all ages play a pick-up game of beach volleyball.
Also out on the beach, local vendors had designated spots where they could set up to hawk goods like hats, bags and ceramics. I hadn’t seen this before at other resorts and loved that it gave the vendors a place to sell and guests a place to shop without being accosted while trying to relax.
While I didn’t have time to experience everything at the resort, it’s worth pointing out that there’s a spa offering various treatments, a large gym and tennis courts.
Before arriving, I was emailed by the spa with the spa menu and the opportunity to schedule appointments ahead of time. I also got a separate email a day or two before my arrival that linked me to an app-like program I saved on my phone. Through the app, I could get all sorts of information about the resort, including restaurant menus, that specific day’s activity calendar and a map of the resort.
The resort claims to offer “suites that are fully equipped for guests with special physical needs,” but those aren’t listed directly on the website, so it’s best to call to book various accessible room types. That said, I never saw a pool lift and the elevators were extremely small, accommodating only four people at a time.
All in all, I had a nice stay at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. Sure, the room could use a facelift, the heat in the pool needs to be addressed and the poolside cocktails weren’t totally doing it, but the food was really fantastic, the property itself was beautiful and the staff were beyond friendly. Most importantly, we had a good time — and that’s why we go on vacation, right?
To me, all-inclusive resorts provide a great value and so much convenience, and while my next trip to Cabo will probably be spent exploring more of the seemingly countless resorts (and tell you how they stack up), I would certainly stay at this property again in the future.