(San Francisco, California)
Sep 16, 2023
The Hotel Ziva does not live up to expectations as attested by recent negative reviews on this site.
If you are reading this, you are probably overwhelmed with the choices of all-inclusive resort in Mexico, and are thinking this looks like a good 'deal' in Los Cabos but do yourself a favor and keep looking.
This review is not a critique of the 1st line staff as are simply doing what they are told to do.
What do you imagine when you visit a resort in Mexico? -
1. Chips & guacamole
2. Fish tacos
3. Pina Colada
4. Cold beer and cocktails with an umbrella!
At Ziva they apparently discontinued pool service some months ago and so you are left with these choices, each and every day:
- Chicken tenders
- Cheese Burger
The buffet and restaurants are awful. I'm sorry but the food is inedible and it is sad to see these raw ingredients wasted.
In reality, you are staying at an all-inclusive Chuck-E-Cheese but with watered down and over-sweetened drinks.
On the bright side the pool is large and one is only a 10 minute ride downtown to where there are some great restaurants and you can enjoy a cold cerveza with a lime no less!
Worst check-in procedures
(Rancho Cucamonga, California)
Sep 16, 2023
Worst check-in procedures, was ina ransom situation and had to pay 600 dollars for my kids . Even though my reservation included them . They kept on saying it's for 2 adults. I was ina foreign country and couldn't go back so it was like pay for kids or forgo your prepaid tariff
No kids play area
Sep 15, 2023
If you’re coming here with kids (soon), don’t. The views are beautiful but that’s about all it has going for it. Power went out in our room in the middle of the night for a few hours when it’s 81 low. They refused to help or do anything other than move us rooms. The food is below average compared to places in Cabo. Ontop of everything, the kids play area is close and they didn’t update us or tell us in anyway saying, they had to do some quick renovations, and had “no time to notify anyone.” We are here for 5 days and they refuse to budge on anything
A fun trip despite low season cutbacks
Sep 14, 2023
We ended up at the Hyatt Ziva in Cabo due to a cancelled Maui trip, and we a bit wary going into it given all of the recent negative reviews and hurricane season weather being so unpredictable and hot. That said, we had a lovely four night trip with no major issues. There were clearly cut backs that we felt were mostly due to low season (the hotel was so empty, and rates were very low). This was our first all inclusive resort so we had nothing to compare it to, but we do tend to stay at nicer hotels/resorts within the US so our standards are certainly somewhat high.
I found a link to the hotel information with current dining/menus, which was super helpful to plan a bit in advance. I made note of which days certain restaurants were open to make sure we hit the ones we wanted to on the right nights. The concierge also emailed ahead of time about pre-booking spa and cabana services. We did book a cabana for two of our days ahead of time via email.
We paid about 105 USD for a round trip private transfer from Cabo Airport Shuttle rather than the hotel's service as it was much cheaper. I highly recommend this shuttle, we had a great experience. We checked in the day after Labor Day a few hours before check-in time and our room was not ready. Bell services whisked our bags away immediately and offered a drink as soon as we stepped out of the car. There was no wait for check-in, and throughout our trip I never saw more than one party checking in, certainly no lines. We had a meal, hung out in the lobby (and staff asked if we wanted a drink while we sat around), and at 3:00 went back to the desk and our room was ready. Bell services walked our bags to the room with us and gave a mini tour at the same time.
We stayed in the cheapest room, a Master Double. I am only a Discoverist, but I think we were upgraded to an Ocean View room based on our view. All room types were available for booking and our room rate was less than 350 USD/night total so it was definitely an inexpensive time to travel and I wouldn't be surprised if the resort was only 25% full. We loved our room, we did not overhear any other guests from inside room but the door definitely lets in a lot of outside noise (there was some sort of equipment in the hall that was quite noisy). We always travel with a sound machine and ear plugs and that was adequate in allowing us to sleep peacefully, so I recommend bring those. We did not hear our neighbors at all despite the adjoining rooms.
The beds were very comfortable, and the bathroom was fantastic. We didn't use the tub but the shower had excellent water pressure and was huge. The dual sinks were great and overall this was one of the better hotel bathrooms we've ever had in terms of space. Housekeeping did a great job cleaning daily and providing new towels, however the water bottles and mini bar were not restocked so you would probably need to request that. Water bottles are available everywhere (bars, coffee shop) so we just grabbed them throughout the day and brought back to the room. There is a ceiling fan and plenty of outlets, we did bring a power strip for the nightstand which was plenty large enough to share.
A lot of poor reviews were about the AC/Wifi and we had zero issues. We set the AC as low as 19 Celsius and it definitely got that cold. One thing to note is it will shut off if the patio doors are not shut and locked properly. Our AC was off one day and we called and that was their first suggestion, turns out you really need to slam the patio doors together before locking so they're closed tightly. The AC will turn back on immediately and we never had any trouble after that since we knew to do that. The wifi speeds were great, I ran speedtest and it ranged from 30mbps to 170mbps. We brought a Roku stick to plug into the TV (and learned that really only Netflix and Disney+ work in Mexico) and that was great since there aren't many English channels and it's not a smart TV. We had no issues with wifi throughout the resort, though it did take about 30 minutes after check-in to let us on. The wifi was down briefly after a big thunderstorm went through but it was back up by the evening and our cell roaming service worked fine for the short term.
The menus in their app were up to date, though choices were somewhat limited, we never ran into something being listed but unavailable.
La Plaza / El Molino were basically the same, they just traded which side hosted the buffet but they share the same check-in. I believe dinner started at 5:30. We experienced it for all three meals, for dinner they had themed nights so I imagine the food varies a bit. Breakfast was by far the best, though the choices were the same every day there were so many options we never got tired of it all four mornings. I especially loved the omelette station, chilaquiles, and fresh ripe papaya. There were multiple fresh juices, eggs to order (the scrambled were perfect), a taco grill...something for everyone. The fresh salsas were fantastic at every meal, and they do have genuinely spicy options. No guacamole, however. Lunch and dinner had a grill with fish and chicken and beef, the fish was the best option. Somewhat limited choices for lunch/dinner that get repetitive, so I recommend eating elsewhere for lunch/dinner (just have the buffet once). When dishes ran out, they were not always refilled immediately. Food could have been a bit hotter sometimes. Overall the buffet was great for breakfast, but lunch/dinner was just ok.
Zaffiro opened the earliest at 5 for dinner, it's outdoors and we really enjoyed this meal. Serving sizes vary, the spinach ravioli was only three pieces but it was the most delicious ravioli we've had. The pepperoni pizza was great, a Neapolitan style pizza but the dough is more sweet. The panna cotta was more interesting than anything else, it was fun to try things we wouldn't typically order. Service was very fast as there weren't many people seated, the wait staff was waiting around for more people to come but the resort was just so empty.
We made reservations for Dozo at the teppanyaki grill with the Concierge on our check-in day, it's not open daily so definitely do this right away as it probably won't be available the same day. It takes about an hour and 20 minutes, we had a great time and it was a typical teppanyaki experience. The appetizer was either California roll or miso soup, the roll was pretty subpar, the rice was good but there wasn't enough filling. Based on that alone I'd probably skip the regular table service at Dozo. The fried rice was especially good, the vegetables were perfect with lots of crunch. The shrimp is my recommendation as it was perfect, the chicken was quite dry and the beef looked too well-done for me. The best dessert was the tapioca pudding which we could have kept eating, the grilled pineapple was served cold but was still tasty. They brought out tequila shots mid-meal which was pretty funny.
We did not get a chance to go to Cortez which was just doing breakfast and lunch.
We had lunch at Coco Loco a few times out of convenience, there were burgers, fish/chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken strips, and pizza. The loaded fries were great, the pizza was serviceable and very cheesy (toppings varied), the burgers were better than I expected, and the fish sandwich was quite good. The chicken strips were dreadful though, the meat was really odd. We had hotter food when we got our food ourselves than when we had cabana service.
The coffee house was fine, everything is served in really small cups, and you can get iced espresso drinks. The smoothies hit the spot, and they serve ice cream (a rotation of strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla) after 12PM. Sometimes there were cookies, baked goods, fruit, yogurt, even sandwiches one day, it kind of depends. There's no menu anywhere, all menus are on the hotel app.
Bon Vivant was great, we were seated immediately when we went shortly after opening at 6PM. The wait staff made a point to only speak English which was rather funny! No language barriers anywhere by the way, it's pretty much expected to speak English, and 95% of the guests there were speaking English. The asparagus was some of the best I've had, the nicoise salad was just fine, the salmon was excellent and not fishy at all, the steak was very average and not a great cut so I'd stick to fish or something else. The creme brûlée was fantastic and so creamy, the suzette crepes were great and they provided a fun show by lighting the tequila sauce on fire and pouring it between dishes a few times before dousing the crepes in it. The passionfruit drink was also excellent here, the drinks were far better in the restaurants than at the pool bar.
There were storms one day, and since I imagine the outdoor restaurants (Zaffiro and Cortez) were closed, they brought a taco bar to the main lobby. These were the best tacos I had there, I wish they had it every day! The salsas were just so good, and the onion and habanero mix was spicy!
I will note that none of the bars have a menu or any specialty drinks listed, so you will have to come with an idea of what you'd like. The pool bars were watered down but we aren't big drinkers so we were mostly drinking frozen margaritas, of which they have many flavors. Bring straws as they are not provided, we got agave straws online which were prefect.
The highlight was certainly the pools, we have never been to an all inclusive resort and experienced pools like this. They were very clean, and the infinity pool is significantly warmer than the main pool which I believe is unheated. We alternated pools depending on the weather, we preferred the infinity pool on our cooler day and the main pool on the warmer/sunnier days. It never felt like "bath water" to us, but it did vary a lot based on the temperature so on really hot days I imagine it gets warm. It was around 90F and quite humid when we were there and the pool was the only reason we could tolerate it. I could tell the resort was really empty as the pools were very quiet, you could have entire sections to yourself.
There was no rush to reserve chairs while we were there, maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the chairs were occupied at the busiest part fo the day. Most people didn't even get to the pool until around 10AM or later, there were maybe half a dozen people in the pool prior to then. The pool hours were 8AM-8PM and I do wish they stayed open later, but it's a family-oriented resort so I imagine that's why they closer early. The kiddie pool was under construction while we were there, though I think the wading pool might have been open.
We did not use the adult pool though that was also quite empty, it was very sunny and there was no breeze there so it's probably better in the cooler months. It was a bit confusing during a thunderstorm since there's no communication about when the pool is closed/reopened, but there were activities set up by staff during the storm. We did some ping pong and board games and were constantly being asked by staff if we needed anything to drink.
Bring your own pool floats! I recommend the pool hammocks that have two small floats on each side. Small inflatable rings were 16USD and the hammocks are closer to 32USD if you buy them at the resort. We had a cabana and service and they were able to inflate our floats for us, if you tip I'm sure you could get help without a cabana as well. We had excellent service with the cabana, but we also had excellent drink service without a cabana, so it's only necessary if you want shade in our experience.
On Friday afternoon, they brought a fruit cart and Popsicle cart around the pool. I imagine this must just be on weekends during low season.
The Bali bed cabanas were 119USD with two coconuts included, with a 15% discount for Discoverist or higher status. The palapas were 229-299USD. You could choose and reserve a specific cabana prior to your stay using a provided map from the Concierge. We chose $19 on the left side of the infinity pool opposite the bar and it was perfect, very quiet and next to the restroom by Zaffiro. It was wonderful seeing the ocean and listening to the crashing waves. The shades provided sufficient shade from the sun and there was a strong breeze being close to the ocean. On our hottest day, I think we would have suffered in the sun without the cabana. The breeze was not nearly as strong by the main pool so I recommend an infinity pool cabana. The left side was quieter since the DJ is between the infinity and main pool, though they do not play music all day so it's not that loud.
We did not stay up for the evening shows, there were more on the weekends for sure. The pool activities were fantastic, and the pool staff was great. The morning exercise on the floating mats looked difficult but fun. The water aerobics was accessible to anyone and were so fun, Jose and Giovanni and team were absolutely hilarious, "if you want to see more you have to pay" we were laughing the entire time. We didn't do much else but overheard games like Bingo which sounded really fun. Water polo was hilarious to watch because they made everyone wear those swim caps.
We brought a lot of $1s and $5s and tipped generously. The employees were very gracious and never expectant, as tips are not mandatory. All the employees were working very hard and were so kind, everyone you passed would greet you with a smile and usually a hand on the chest. The employees definitely made the experience, even if it's not a super "high end" luxury resort with perfect white glove service, we felt very welcomed.
We would 100% go back, ideally in a cooler time of year but would probably avoid busy times like Spring Break as I can imagine it gets too busy then. We liked the low crowds a lot if you're willing to risk the summer weather being unpredictable. Though there were cut backs such as restaurants only being open several days a week, the cost was also like half of what it is during busier months, so we felt that was a fair tradeoff. The reviews really made things seem like the conditions at the Hyatt Ziva were miserable and we just did not have that experience, so I would say give it a try and go with an open mind. Four nights was the perfect amount, I would be tired of the food after a week but we enjoyed having three full days since we did have stormy weather one day.
Do NOT Stay Here
Sep 14, 2023
My friends and I plan a yearly vacation around US Labor Day, and this year we opted for Cabo! After scouring the internet for hotels and resorts, we settled on Hyatt Ziva. All I can say is that you should really, really, REALLY pay attention to the 1 and 2 star reviews. They are all true, including this one. We arrived on August 31st, around noon to the resort. Because it was a group of 6, with 3 rooms, we expected there to be a delay in getting our rooms. Typically all-inclusive resorts have a strict 3pm check-in. We weren't at all bothered by this, and happily stowed our luggage with the bellman. This was probably the best service we got during our entire stay, but more on that later. The bellman were friendly, endearing, and very informative. Luckily, the resort is near 2 very large grocery stores, 2 external restaurants, a spa, and several pharmacies. We had plenty of things to keep us occupied as we awaited our rooms. After wandering for a bit, our rooms were ready (after 3pm). This is where everything went wrong. We had 3 of the worst rooms on the resort. We were in the 2nd building, on the 2nd floor (all 3 rooms), and each of us had horrible issues with air conditioning, our rooms all had different items that were broken or dirty (my room's door to the bathroom did not close, and our overhead rain shower did not work at all. While a bit disappointed, we rallied and put in maintenance requests. We did have someone come in about all of our issues, but they were not fixed. Our rooms were horrifically humid, and we didn't get any relief until the sun went down. We could not stay in these rooms for 5 nights. The next day, we went to the front desk and spoke with Daniel, the supervisor, and expressed all of our concerns (each room had a list of things not in working order). He said that he would get our rooms moved, and to check back between 3-4pm to get new rooms. This wasn't an issue as we were going to be poolside for the day. Angel, the Adults Only Pool bartender was FANTASTIC!!!! He remembered our drink orders immediately and was extremely nice. We tipped him very well because his service was impeccable. Fair warning - this is not an all-inclusive where there will be wait staff coming around to take food and drink orders. On the Adults Only side, we would not see waiters for hours at a time, and had to get our own drinks (no issue, but not standard for all-inclusives). And if you wanted food, you had to make the trek to one of the open eateries or to the Family Pool side for the cafe. Again, no food brought to you at your lounging space. After hours in the sun and at the pool (a good day actually), we spoke to Daniel again at 3:30, and still, our new rooms were not ready. This time, he asked that we check again at 7pm. Annoyed, because we wanted to have nice rooms with working amenities, we obliged and went to dinner at the French Restaurant. Here, the food and service were good. I had great steak and salmon, and very good cocktails. After dinner, we checked AGAIN for our rooms, where Daniel had left for the day but passed us on to Adan. Finally, at about 9pm, we were all assigned new rooms in the same building, on a higher floor. The rooms were like night and day....totally different. The air conditioning WORKED, the rooms were clean and smelled clean, and we had a working bathroom door. I will say that the rain shower still didn't work in the 2nd room, so don't expect that to work if you happen to stay here (please don't). The rest of our stay was more of the same - us reporting issues, and not having them fulfilled. At one point, we had to order an obscene amount of towels, and hide them, just to have towels for the remainder of our stay. The room service menu is laughable, and has maybe 3 items available on the 24 hour menu. We could only get french fries after 10pm. On our last morning, we ordered breakfast 1.5 hours before our shuttle, and it never arrived. On one of our dinners at the Italian restaurant, our food was so bad that we opted to go to bed hungry instead of finishing the food. I've stayed at many, MANY all-inclusive resorts, and this was probably the worst of them all. It is NOT worth the money. The location is good, and fairly close to the airport, but again, do not stay here. At check-out, we spoke to another supervisor about how unhappy we were with our stay, and she offered us 10,000 Hyatt points per room if we signed a waiver saying our concerns were addressed. I'd much rather leave an honest review here than accept not even the equivalent of one night's stay at another property. Again, DO NOT STAY HERE.