Review: JW Marriott Los Cabos, San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico

This post is one chapter on our trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Alaska Airlines. This trip was booked and credited to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan using a two for one Companion Fare courtesy of the Alaska Airlines credit card. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: JW Marriott Los Cabos, San Jose Del Cabo, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Booking and Getting There:

I had picked this resort as it looked to be fairly new. It didn’t have a lot of on line reviews in this forum, but it seemed to meet all the needs for a luxury resort; beachfront, nice rooms and a cool vibe. I further applied a Suite Night award which cleared into an Umey Suite, Corner Room. I am happy to report that it was one of the best upgrades I’ve ever had in over 420 nights in this program with 6 years at Platinum.

I happened to check earlier in the day and the Umey Suite was being offered for over $800 USD; quite an upgrade from our $300 USD rate.

Since the SJD airport is well out of town, it was a choice to take either a hotel van to the resort or rent a car for our 5 day stay. Both were about the same price. I read advice on line to get a car as the resort was also quite a ways out of town and not having a car would limit your off resort transportation and dining options. This turned out to be very valid advice.

As we walked out, we located a person with a Hertz Sign outside similar to the limo drivers. We were led to a Hertz van and taken 3 minutes off the airport grounds to a light industrial complex immediately off the airport property where all the car rental outfits were situated.

The car rental was handled promptly and we were led into a warehouse to inspect the car. The first attendant, whom I thought was a Hertz attendant handling our car inspection started with an upsell for a golf course visit in exchange for a $100 USD discount off the price of the car. I knew there were time share sales in Mexico but I didn’t anticipate it to start right in the middle of the Hertz office. LOL. We were then passed off to another representative to go over the car. As with rentals in Africa, there was a though inspection, including check of the spare tire and related equipment. Since the attendant was with me every step of the way, I was extra careful to have every nick and scratch no matter how minor and even those the size of a dime, entered onto the scratch sheet. This later paid off in a much speedier return. I got the impression that the staff had been instructed to be super through with marks. It was perhaps another form of ancillary revenue… We rolled out off the lot in a new white and Hertz stickered VW Vento (similar to a smaller Jetta) and drove the 30 minutes down to San Jose Del Cabo.

Arriving to the JW Marriott:

Showing my age, despite having printed Google Maps, we had a little difficulty with the street signs since they weren’t well posted. We ended up using Google Maps online just to be safe.

We arrived to the hotel and were checked in. We were offered a complimentary drink while we awaited the process. MrsWT73 selected margaritas, which were produced from the bar after a few moments. There was a check in offer for an upsell to the Griffin Club, which consisted of a fully catered lounge with alcohol for certain periods of the day. Knowing that the value of the upsell was approximately $250 USD per day (in advance), I didn’t even get to confirming the last minute upgrade price. We were also introduced to Julio the Marriott Bonvoy (hotel) Ambassador, who offered his services throughout the stay.

The Room: An Umey Suite, Corner Room

We were escorted to the Umey Suite in Building A. We were assigned room #A501, which was a top floor Umey Suite. The suite was simply massive and easily the best return on investment on a Suite Night Award that I’ve ever experienced.

Yeah, this will work…

The room offered a completely separate bedroom.

The attached bathroom was massive and featured two separate sink areas. There was also a sitting area in the bathroom. The toiletries were Bulvgari branded.

There was also an entry way full bathroom with 2nd shower.

There was a fully stocked bar (at cost) and the usual coffee makers.

A Room with a View:

The icing on the cake was the wrap around deck with 3 seating areas; living chair and lounger, table and chairs, and two private loungers.

Unfortunately, the view of the abandoned and deserted next door hotel wasn’t all that great. Perhaps the quiet element of a deserted property made up for any noise of having neighbors. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be Mexico without these types of things.

Aside from that, it was a pretty great view from the room, made even better by MrsWT73’s self catered bottle from duty free.

The hotel offered turn down service every night, along with a bottle water replenish and JW Marriott bedtime chocolates. This made MrsWT73 very happy.

Food and Beverage, including a Platinum Breakfast:

The next day, we set out to explore and spend some time at the resort. We started the day with a Platinum Breakfast benefit. The hotel offered a beautiful buffet with lots of selection, but in the usual Marriott cheapness of the Bonvoy Reward program, Platinums don’t get access to the full buffet. Keeping to the letter of the terms and conditions, Platinums get offered a smaller continental breakfast of teas, coffees and pastries. The upsell for the buffet breakfast was $20 USD per person; which we didn’t partake during our stay. I found the upset price a bit steep, as a elite. The best part was the patio dining outside every morning; pretty much the only part of the holiday where we actually had to wait for a table. Fifty nights will get you this:

Along with the inside breakfast buffet

Around the Resort: Lots of Pools

The hotel offered separate family and adult pool areas. The family pool area offered three separate tiered pools and one saltwater pool that we didn’t get the opportunity, nor desire, to get over to visit.

Since WT73jr opted to stay at home with the previous administration on this trip, we ended up setting up camp in the adult pool area. It offered a shady swim up bar that was set up every day. The staff at the pool were very attentive and world class. I was addressed as Mr.WT73 at each and every opportunity; even on days when we weren’t ordering food. We never had to save any chairs or otherwise get down early to find a place to sit.

The hotel offered a roof top bar (actually on lobby level). The concept was great; beverages under the stars. Unfortunately, we never got an opportunity to try it. The bar closed at 8:30 PM every night and we were otherwise enjoying sunset on the Umey Suite deck or off property. The grounds around the roof top bar were quite nice and a pleasantly landscaped use of space.

The whole resort offered a very contemporary feel and vibe. Some may not like the look and feel but I enjoyed the sleek profile of the resort.

The Beach at the JW Marriott Los Cabos:

It’s worth commenting about the beach. The hotel is elevated off the beach and you need to access stairs to get down to it. The beach itself is nothing special. Aside from a quick visit for photos, we didn’t actually spend any time down here, despite some chairs and loungers being set up there every day. The water isn’t that attractive and flags were up every day of our visit prohibiting swimming in this area.

In addition to the roof top bar, the lobby bar offered seating outside overlooking the infinity pond. There were ample liquors, spirits and tequila. Everything was around $20 USD per drink by the time you added taxes tip and service. We ended up on our beautiful deck instead for private sundowners instead of spending any time down here.

The Room: A Deluxe Ocean Facing View

Our plan was to stay 5 nights, but about mid way through the trip, I realized that for some reason I had only made a hotel reservation for 4 nights in the chaos that is our usual everyday lives. Since we had applied Suite Night Awards that had cleared, I was hoping that with another 1 night reservation AND another Suite Night Award, they would be able to clear into the Umey Suite again and we wouldn’t have to move out of the comfortable furnishings. Unfortunately, our luck didn’t hold out and the Suite Night Award failed to clear and was returned to us. As a result, we got “downgraded” to the usual Platinum upgrade. I’m not sure whether we were lucky getting cleared into the Umey Suite or whether they were expecting guests. Despite this, the hotel was showing the same suite available for sale that night on both revenue stays and points stays. There wasn’t any way that I was going to spend 188,000 bonvoy points (equal to 62,000 airline miles!) for the room so we just accepted the downgrade.

The usual Platinum Upgrade is, as reported on many review websites, not so exciting or special. The hotel lists 299 rooms (45 of them in the Griffin Club area) and I would estimate that less than 20-30 of them our suites (based on 5 per floor and 5 floors in the Umey building A). As a result, I get the impression the hotel does not hand out many suite upgrades. Since almost all the rooms appear to have the same configuration and size, the strategy then becomes how much co-pay do you put on your room reservation so that you have a water view versus a partial water view versus no view. At any rate, our upgrade appeared to be among the highest floors and best water views. Having said that, it’s a substantial downgrade from the Umey Suites.

Getting to the room, we ended up with an Ocean Facing View. It is a standard room on a high floor with a distant ocean view. This isn’t to say that the room is bad; rather, it’s just a standard almost brand new hotel room in the typical rectangle with a nice but smallish deck.

We got immediate access to room C405, which is at the bottom of the U on an almost top floor. First impressions were that it’s much smaller than the Umey Suite…

Room with a View:

I still can’t complain about the view… not a wrap around deck but certainly nothing to complain about…

The view could easily be appreciated with the small deck, that we ended up using more since the room was much smaller…

The bathroom was much smaller of course, and of the usual hotel room variety. At least it had two sinks, which always is a help.

The room had a pay mini bar that was well stocked. There was also a Nespresso coffeemaker that was nice to have, but we never used.

The JW Marriott Los Cabos Bottom Line:

Overall, we had a really nice stay at the property. It was good to very good and we’d probably return. On the plus side, the place is super slick and sophisticated. It’s easy to get a beach chair and it’s spacious enough that you don’t have to run around to save chairs; nor did it ever feel crowded. Unfortunately, aside from the awesome Umey Suite Night Award (which was spectacular), I didn’t understand the cheap breakfast which is unlike our other Starwood experiences like the Sheraton Maui where they are providing full breakfasts even for families of 3. You’d get a better breakfast in a Residence Inn without any status than here. The general Platinum upgrades aren’t all too special either. Both of these things left me scratching my head a bit. Still, the hotel remains an interesting option for those coming from the United States and we’d probably stay here again if we were through this corner of the world again.

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