Are You Ready?
I have a special place in my heart for Grand Solmar. In September of 2014, Hurricane Odile landed directly upon Cabo San Lucas, directly on top of Grand Solmar. At the bottom of this article, I have included the video I made of our experience with Odile, and my personal tripadvisor.com review to show you exactly what we went through.
Being a traveler, I have stayed at many luxury resorts, from the St. Regis Kauai, to the Presidential Suite at the Biltmore, Scottsdale, and many others. Unquestionably, for me, the most beautiful setting belongs to Grand Solmar. 30 seconds looking out the Window to the Sea, and I’m confident most people will agree. The video below was created by Daryl Jackson, and does a very good job covering the location. I recommend watching it full screen!Video Graciously Provided by Darryl Jackson
Setting / Location:
View From Room at Grand Solmar
Grand solmar is situated literally on the last piece of land on Land’s End, directly north of the famous Cabo San Lucas Arch (El Arco). The eastern side of the resort is protected by large granite hills, into which the resort is nestled. The views of the Pacific Ocean are unobstructed from just about any room not on the first or second floor. Rooms on these floors still typically have an ocean view, but tend to be obstructed by the beautiful grounds and infinity pools (I know, terrible right?)
One if the great benefits of the location is that you get the serenity, the peace and quiet of resorts on the corridor, but unlike those resorts, you are not relegated the resort or long drives into town. You will definitely hear the waves crashing from every room, and it won’t be interrupted by the hustle and bustle of the city!
Grand Solmar is about a 10 minute walk to the south western side of the Marina. It is just across the street from the area where they weight and clean the fish. From there you can easily walk around the marina to shop and eat, take a few steps into downtown Cabo, or take a quick water taxi ride to Medano beach for some fun in the sun.
Now that construction is complete at Grand Solmar, they have released the complete resort map. This will give you an idea just how “ocean front” you are when at Grand Solmar:
Staff / Customer Service:
Grand Solmar is consistently rated in the top 3 hotels in Cabo San Lucas on TripAdvisor, and without question, the reason is the customer service. After your first day, you’ll begin to feel like you’ve arrived at your favorite restaurant that you’ve visiting for 20 years. The bellmen will remember your name, your room number, ask if you want more ice. The pool staff will know your favorite drinks, poolside eats, and your favorite spots.
One of the themes you’ll hear if you visit any of the Solmar properties is that they are “Your Home Away from Home.” This mantra is carried out by attentiveness and care provided by staff of all functions at Grand Solmar, and they are expert at ensuring you do indeed feel taken care of.
As with any property, there are a couple of standout performers. Everyone has their favorite bellmen, bartenders, wait staff etc. Below are two of my favorite guys!
But What About Timeshare Sales People?
If you’ve never been to Cabo, then you need to understand timeshares provide a very large percentage of the jobs in Cabo San Lucas, and thus, a way of life. Regardless of what you have heard about timeshares and timeshare sales, if you have questions about timeshare I’m certain I can help you figure out the right approach timeshare sales, as you will be approached at least once during your stay at Grand Solmar.
Whether you want to completely circumnavigate them, are slightly interested, want to take advantage of the free offers, or are actually interested in purchasing timeshare, just leave a comment below and I’ll tell you what I know.
In Suite Dining – 24 hours.
The rooms at Grand Solmar are beautiful, HUGE, and well appointed. One of the things I like most about Grand Solmar is that it really fits the location, inside and out. They have done a great job of blending the resort into the granite hillside, and the rooms just seem to fit. Another great touch is that not all of the rooms are decorated the same. Each penthouse I’ve stayed in has different decor and different outdoor furniture, and undoubtedly folks with floating weeks and hotel guests will have their very own favorites.
The entrance door is large, dark wood. Black rot iron accents the entire room. Depending on your room size, a large couch, table, entertainment center with flat screen tv are provided. In larger rooms, large tables that seat 8+ people are included.
The beds are very comfortable, with flat sheets covering fluffy duvets. There is an excellent pillow menu as well, just be sure to ask for it from the front desk! I have never personally slept on the murphy beds or fold out couches, but my kids say the murphy beds are quite comfortable.
The kitchens at Grand Solmar all include stainless steel appliances and full sized refrigerators. All of the cooking utensils, pots, and pans you need are also there. There are plenty of plates and glasses in the room, even if it is at capacity.
*tip #1 – I always bring a non-stick pan with me. If you are going to cook eggs, etc, this will make your life much easier.
*tip #2 – Seasonings are expensive, and the sizes are always way too much for a week. I go to Fred Meyer or REI and buy some small canisters to bring my spices along.
*tip #3 – Either ask the front desk during check-in, or call the service desk for ice delivery. They will bring a several pound bag of ice and put it in the freezer for you.
Deck / Balcony:
To go along with the theme, large deck / balconies adorn all rooms. Even the studio has a large slider with a full width deck that is at least 15 feet deep. Patio furniture is functional and comfortable, with some rooms even having nice couches to go along with the standard metal furniture. As previously stated, there literally isn’t a bad view in the entire resort.
In Room Safes:
Every room has a digital safe in each bedroom. We’ve never had any problems at any of the Solmar resorts, but we still recommend locking up passports, credit cards, and other valuables when you are away from the room.
Housekeeping is provided daily, including dish soap and sponges. The housekeeping staff is very thorough; having worked in the hotel / hospitality industry for over 15 years, my wife and I are very picky about clean rooms, and we’ve never been disappointed.
Here are a couple of videos of two different 2 bedroom penthouses at Grand Solmar.
Food & Drinks:
Cabo is famous for its food. Read any forum, twitter, facebook, ask around, and there will be a consensus that there is so much great dining, that you it would be a shame not to explore different restaurants in town. That said, for vacationers looking to relax for several days during their trip, we highly recommend the Grand Solmar all inclusive option, as the chefs and bartenders will provide you with culinary and mixology experiences that are well worth your while.
tip #4 – We provide our favorite menu items and dining experiences in our Viva Los Cabos. Are You Ready?
Don Luis –
Named after Cabo San Lucas legend Senior don Luis Bulnes, this restaurant provides dishes that reflect fresh Baja cuisine with clear Mediterranean influences. As the dishes are fresh, the preparations are changed daily!
Before La Roca opened, Don Luis also hosted the breakfast buffet, which is simply fantastic. From Mexican favorites such as chilaquiles, to thick center cut bacon, to an amazing spread of fresh fruits, you just can’t go wrong with the buffet. After Hurricane Odile, La Roca was out of service, and we are not certain when La Roca will re-open. Until then, the buffet has been moved back to Don Luis.
La Roca is where Grand Solmar now hosts breakfast, and I must say we were impressed with the breakfast buffet and fresh egg / omelette bar. The buffet has a nice range of basics like eggs, french toast, bacon, etc. They also have a nice spread of fresh fruit, pastries, cereals, and drinks. On top of that, there is a cheese bar, Mexican dishes such as breakfast fajitas and chiliquiles as well. The fresh egg / omelettes are included in the buffet price.
There is also a breakfast menu, although I have never personally used it. I will have to try that when we return in July!
La Roca is also where the fresh fare dinner menu is served. SInce it is a rotating menu, I can’t really make any recommendations, other than to say everything is decent, but not earth shattering. We used it during our all inclusive and were more than satisfied with the quality, taste, and presentation of the food. However, if I was paying full price, I’d want to go to Cocina Del Mar.
Las Brisas / Las Olas Pool Bar –
3 things you have to get here.
- Ginger-soy tuna sushi
- Shrimp Tacos
- Jose’s Margaritas!
Room Service –
We ALWAYS get the chocolate dipped strawberries to go with champagne (which our friends at Flutes and Rocks bring with them). We generally stock our refrigerator with tons of food, and don’t get regular room service.
In Villa Private Chef –
We have yet to try this experience, but it could be amazing. If you have done this, let us know, we’d love to hear about it.
The all inclusive option at Grand Solmar is a topic of great debate on TripAdvisor; it seems to come up at least monthly. I have nothing but great things to say about the option and here is why….
- It’s optional
- It’s only a 3 day minimum
- Includes discounts on spa services and other things
- Even though it’s pricey, it CAN be a great value
There are a few nuances you need to know about the program before I can go into further detail. First, you must sign up for 3 consecutive days on the program. Second, everyone in your room must be signed up at the same time. Third, they give a small discount (5% as of this writing) if you sign up for the AI before you arrive. Fourth, it isn’t cheap, currently around $115 / day / adult. Kids under 5 are free, and kids 5 – 11 are half price. Fifth, you can change your “start” day right up until the day you start. Finally, you can add additional days any time during your consecutive AI days.
Would I Benefit from the All Inclusive Option?
I like to say there are two types of trip, travel, and vacation. Going to Europe and bouncing from country to country and city to city on trains and small planes is a wonderful experience, but that is most definitely travel.
Then there is vacation. For me, vacation means the moment I walk out of airport I have a drink in hand, we make a beeline for the resort. Ideally, I never have to get in another car until it’s time to go back to the airport. I want to sit in / next to the pool, drink good drinks, and eat great food. If I feel like leaving the resort, I can walk / take a boat to what ever I want to go.
If my version of vacation sounds perfect to you, then Grand Solmar’s all inclusive option is quite literally tailor made for you.
How to Get The Most Value from the All Inclusive Option
There are several things we have learned that are totally legitimate ways to maximize your value on the plan.
- Definitely do not start the plan on your arrival day, and do not end it on your departure day. This seems pretty obvious but I can’t tell you the number of people who asked me to get it setup for their entire stay.
- Plan for breakfast and dinner to be your big meals. The breakfast buffet is $26 and is quite delicious, with enough variety to keep you busy for the entire week. Dinner and glasses of wine / champagne are also high cost meals, so make your reservations at Don Luis / La Roca all at once
- Eat the Sushi dishes while at the pool. Try the serranito, easily my favorite poolside dish.
- Order the guacamole.. Duh.
- Drink! This seems obvious, but skip the overly sweet tropical crap and get yourself some good booze.
- Here’s a little secret nobody ever talks about. Bottled water is included in the all inclusive plan. I order one with every cocktail, and get two benefits, more value from the AI and no hang over!
- Use the discounts. The 20% off of kids club is a great value. They also give a 15% corkage discount for you wine drinkers out there..
- Use the the mini-golf and tennis courts. We like to play drinking mini-golf. We also combine the holes to make the puts that much harder!
- Skip the theme nights. You simply can’t get the same value as a good dinner. The theme nights are fun though, just use them while not on AI.
- Skip any of the restaurants at Playa Grande, exception, the lobby bar. Drink values are just not the same at Playa as they are at GS.
- Don’t forget desert. You can order the chocolate covered strawberries and bring them back to your room!
Here’s the number one pro tip I can give you. The first day when you get to the pool, swim / walk up to the bar, and hand your bar tender $100 tip. Trust me!
To Tip or Not To Tip
And speaking of tips, I’ll make this simple. The wait staff does all of the work, and they get nothing from your purchase of the All Inclusive Plan. Tip, and tip well. You’ll get better food, drinks, and service. “I guarantee it.”
Grand Solmar has 4 infinity pools, 2 interior pools, and a kids pool called the Whale Pool:
The infinity pools are as follows, from southern most to northern most.
The VIP Pool – I believe some people also call this the adult pool. Located to the south of the very last building (I), this pool is secluded from the rest of the resort. It is nestled in between the building and the granite cliffs, and is sensationally peaceful.
Las Brisas – Stretching across buildingings G and H, Las Brisas is a long, winding, narrow pool with incredible view of the beach and Land’s End. Las Brisas also has a swim up bar, and easy access to a rinse station on the backside of the bar.
*Tip #5 – We’re not sure why, perhaps because access to Las Brisas requires a bit of extra walking, but this pool tends to be far less busy than Las Olas, the other pool with a swim up bar.
- Las Olas – Swim up bar and in pool tables – If there were to be a “party” spot in Grand Solmar, Las Olas pool would be it. Located Just to the south of buildings B & B1, Las Olas has the unique feature of in pool tables and seating. To be honest, this pool tends to be fairly busy, and is a bit too noisy for our taste. We haven’t spent very much time there. I do know our favorite bar tender Jesus now works at Las Olas, so make sure you order from him!
- La Puesta Del Sol
Regarding the 2 interior pools, we personally have never used them. They do have some really neat in pool covered casitas with lounge chairs and other unique features. There is plenty of staff working these pools, so it should be no problem getting food and drinks.
another thing I’ve noticed about the pools, is we’ve never had to fight for a lounge chair, and never really have had any difficulty getting an umbrella. The pool staff i s very helpful in moving these things around, particularly if you tip well!
Opened early in 2016, the Grand Solmar sports bar offers a Mexican twist to a traditional American sports bar. The menu has a range of items from comfort bar food, to organic grass fed porterhouse for two! Food and drink prices are pretty standard for a nice resort, and is included in the premium AI plan. It is a fantastic place to catch a football game, or for a later evening aperitif. They have a decent selection of single malt, bourbon, and of course Tequila (although it’s not a very creative selection, unfortunately).
The only thing that is missing is a good cigar lounge!
Opened in late 2014, the kids club at Grand Solmar is state of the art, and as expected, the staff are amazing. You can take your kids to the kids club without guilt, knowing your kids are going to have a great time, in a safe and controlled location. My kids request that they get to go each year!
SPA / SALON
At the time of this writing, I haven’t been back to the resort since the gym opened (late March, 2015), and the SPA facility hasn’t been built yet.
The Spa Cabanas at the very end of lands end offer an incredible location for a massage. Couples massages are also available. Obviously, you’re going to be paying resort prices for the message, but the location is WELL worth it.
Top of the line life Life Fitness functional training and traditional cable stations, rubberized kettle bells, dumbbells up to 100 lbs, a smith machine, plenty of treadmills and elliptical trainers, are some of the highlights of the new fitness facility at Grand Solmar. The also have several group fitness classes including:
- cross fit
- boxing / mma workouts
- functional training
Mini-Market: An often overlooked amenity is an onsite market where you can buy those items which you run out of, or have forgotten. Snacks, drinks, Advil, etc are all available. *Tip #6 – Bottled water is actually quite reasonably priced in the mini-market. Other resorts have much steeper markup on their water.
The little mini-market by the original check-in desk that is now the lounge is closed, and it moved over to building 3, just as you walk out of the new lobby. It is larger than the previous mini market, and has enough food and sundry items that you can certainly make do. The one thing about the store is they have kept the bottled water prices reasonable, much cheaper for some reason than even Playa Grande. They have sun-screen and after sun products, toiletries, some fresh grocery items including eggs, limes, and pre-made sandwiches. It is a nice upgrade from the smaller mini-market.
The deli at Grand Solmar is a great place to get a nice cup of coffee. The also have a nice selection of fresh baked Mexican pastries, flat breads, salads, and sandwiches. Here is their menu
Each building has its’ own laundry facility. You must buy tokens from the front desk.
Being in Cabo during and after Hurricane Odil is an experience we’ll never forget. Having lived through it, and talked to others about their experiences, we know that Grand Solmar was probably the best resort to be staying int he days immediately following; all of this even though Grand Solmar was the first place to be hit, and was directly in the center of the storm. We are forever grateful to the entire staff and Grand Solmar. Oddly, this experience has only deepened my fondness of this resort.
Here is the review I posted at TripAdvisor:
A heart felt thank you and God bless from my wife Victoria and myself goes to the entire staff at Grand Solmar for their courage, generosity, and hospitality. We know from asking people about their first hand accounts that our post Odile experience was vastly better than that of those at many other resorts. Rodrigo Gutierrez and his staff went WAY above the responsibilities of their jobs to make us feel safe and comfortable.
The Grand Solmar resort needs no description. Take two of the worlds most beautiful bodies of water, a gorgeous desert landscape, and drop a resort in between it all, and that is what you have at Grand Solmar. Amazingly, that location and the beauty are not the most amazing part of the experience, that honor goes to the staff.
I’m really poor with names, so those of you who I don’t cal out by name please consider yourself in this list. To Sammy, Manny, Carlos, Bruce, Raul, Leonardo, Ana, and everyone else truly make you feel like royalty. They remember your name, face, room number, things that you like, what pools you want to be in, what drinks you like.
These amazing people went home briefly after the hurricane, hugged and kissed their families, and came back to work to take care of us and their resort. Each one gave us hugs and told us that we are their guests, and they would do anything to make sure we feel safe and comfortable. This was so beyond hospitality, I can’t even use the right words to describe it.
The best quote I heard was from Directory Ricardo Orozco Arce:
“If I have 1 tortilla, I will share it with all of you.”
It may sound trivial, but I honestly believe that we would have been given the shirts off their backs if we needed it!
The morning after the hurricane, Rodrigo and the resort engineers inspected the resort, and had us coming back from playa grande and checked into dry rooms, with windows, before noon. It was an enormous effort to organize and execute.
I could continue and write a book about the amazing job the staff did at Grand Solmar post Odile, including our evacuation experience. As I sit here back in my home, I am motivated to stop telling our story, and to beg everyone who reads this review over the next few weeks to go to the Solmar foundation website and donate anything you can. The wonderful citizens of Cabo San Lucas need our help!
3 Bedroom Penthouse Photos
2 Bedroom Penthouse Photos
1 Bedroom Master Suite Photos
The VIP / Adult Pool Photos
Las Brisas Pool Photos
Las Olas Pool Photos
La Puesta Del Sol (The Sunset Pool) Photos