06 DEC 2017: Normally this is my Save and Splurge column. And normally I'm not at all fond of all-inclusive resorts. But sometimes we all need a bit of a paradigm shift. With the permission of my esteemed colleague and queen of the all-inclusives, Sam Ion, I am going to tell you about my recent stay at the Paradisus Los Cabos. And confess that, I just may have become a convert to the "all-in" concept.

After the devastation of Hurricane Odile in 2014, many of the resorts in Los Cabos took advantage of insurance money and government grants to not only rebuild but to improve their facilities. Such was the case at what is now Paradisus Los Cabos. Millions were spent transforming the former Melia branded property into the all-inclusive Paradisus Los Cabos.

I was a recent Royal Service guest where the "wow" factor starts with a private check-in in the Royal Lounge. No tacky plastic bracelets here; instead a nice macramé wrist ornament. Carlos, my afternoon butler offered me a flute of bubbles and a little mauve macaron. In my room, with a patio overlooking the ocean and Cabo Real golf course, he explained some of the Royal perks: ironing a couple of garments, packing and unpacking, free mini bar that incudes half-litre bottles of gin, vodka, scotch and tequila. After the first night, I want to take the bed and fine linens home with me.

The Royal Lounge is open until 11 p.m. We "royals" are welcome to help ourselves to various sweet and savoury snacks throughout the day. We can also order breakfast, lunch or dinner from the Royal menu or room service. Drinks are unlimited throughout the resort and they don't scrimp on the brands. Hendricks gin, Glenlivet single malt and a nice selection of wines from Spain are on offer.

I was a very happy camper until I discovered that I had left my bathing suit in another hotel in San Jose del Cabos where I stayed the previous night. No problemo. Carlos arranged to have the swimsuit picked up and delivered to me in time for the Zumba aquatics class. This was but one example of the attentive and eager-to-please service. By now I also wanted to take Carlos home.

The décor throughout Paradisus is stunning. The lobby, rooms and public areas have a calming white and beige palette. Each of the seven restaurants creates a welcoming environment-from the Japanese lanterns and lacquered furniture of the Bana Asian restaurant to the rustic chic Mole Mexican restaurant. I learned that every Paradisus property throughout the world has a signature restaurant by Martin Berasategui, a Spanish chef who has been awarded eight Michelin stars. His Gastro Bar requires reservations and is not included in the all-inclusive package. But prices are reasonable considering the pedigree of the chef, the glamorous decor and the outstanding dishes that include gourmet tapas, rack of lamb, lobster and prime beef.

The restaurants at Paradisus are open to all guests and all have à la carte service. This was a welcome change from my previous all-inclusive experiences whereby guests competed to score reservations for the various à la carte themed restaurants or be stuck with the masses at a massive buffet. If you did manage to snag a table, you had to endure an overly ambitious menu and pretentious service, sometimes with white gloves and a silver dome. Somehow this made the bad cooking taste even worse.

I tried every restaurant at Paradisus Los Cabos and I was pleasantly surprised. The tuna tartar at the Gabi Beach Club was superb. The thin-crusted pizzas at Market Grill were perfectly baked. The chef at Bana's Teppanyaki restaurant dazzled us will juggling feats using his knife and spatula as he sizzled shrimp, steak, chicken, volcanic onions and more.

If you don't want to leave Paradisus ten pounds heavier, you can partake in a number of Life Enriching experiences. The free Melia app listed all daily activities and the opportunity to sign up for the ones with limited participation. I did poolside yoga, Latin dance, Zumba water aerobics and tried my hand at rolling a California roll at the sushi bar.

Activity Manager, Johann Coupé is always looking for new ideas and talent. Most nights guests can dance to live bands or be dazzled by a show-perhaps a troupe of fire dancers. One morning an opera singer impersonating as a waiter serenaded us with O Sole Mia.

The beach and pool scene are hard to beat. There are plenty of Bali beds, huge beach towels and reliable WIFI around the free-form pool, complete with swim-up bar. Paradisus Los Cabos also boasts one of the few swimmable beaches on this stretch of the Baja Peninsula.

Royal guests get their own pool and waiters who will happily concoct a special cocktail to your specifications. My waiter took the time to help me with my ongoing Spanish lessons. Another perk: The Royal Lounge and wing of the hotel is for adults only; another area caters to families and has a complete kids program and Family Concierge.

I could get used to this Royal treatment, but don't worry Ms. Ion, I won't be invading your turf…unless another invitation to a Paradisus comes my way.

 

 

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Anita Draycott

Quite aside from being an award winning writer, whose travel articles and photography regularly appear in golf and lifestyle publications and websites, Anita Draycott is a self confessed golf fanatic, who has chased dimpled white balls over five continents.  

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