Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal: Full Review & How to Save By Booking With Points (2023)
I recently stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal for my 36th birthday, and it exceeded my sky-high expectations. This luxury Hilton resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, is the most excellent hotel I have ever stayed at. Here is my full review, starting with how to save a ton of money by booking with points or using a free night certificate.
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The Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal is not cheap. The good news is booking with points or Hilton free night certificates can save you a ton of money. Here are your booking options.
Cash (worst option)
Expect to pay at least $1,500 per night for the most basic room during non-peak seasons. That includes a mandatory 15 percent service charge plus 20 percent in taxes. Many upgraded rooms are over $2,000 per night, with some costing as much as $8,000 per night! As lovely as this hotel is, it is not worth the cash prices.
Point bookings start at 120,000 points per night. That is how I booked my three-night stay, saving me thousands of dollars. It can be challenging to find availability, however.
The total cash price for my room was over $3,800, but it only cost 360,000 Hilton points. I transferred American Express points to Hilton during a 25 percent bonus offer (the usual Amex to Hilton transfer rate is 1:2). That means I only needed to transfer 160,000 Amex points to get 360,000 Hilton points. Here is how much 160,000 Amex bonus points are worth for other standard redemption methods.
- Flights Booked via Amex – 1 cent per point = $1,600
- Other Travel via Amex – 0.5 to 0.7 cents per point = $800 to $1,120
- Statement Credit – 0.6 cents per point = $960
Compared to other common redemption methods, I received tremendous value ($3,800) for my 160,000 Amex points. I probably could have gotten even better value transferring to an international airline, but I was happy with the redemption.
Here are a few other thoughts on booking this resort with points.
- Better Availability the Closer it Gets – Your odds of finding multiple 120,000-point nights in a row increase the closer you get to the dates. While it is possible to find availability many months out, the sweet spot is within two to three months. For example, I booked my October 2023 trip in August 2023.
- Avoid the Service Charge/Taxes by Booking with Points – Cash bookings are subject to 35% in fees/taxes per night. Point bookings avoid these expensive charges.
- Transferring Credit Card Points – American Express points transfer to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio. That means 60,000 American Express points get you one 120,000 points per night booking. In most cases, transferring Amex points to Hilton is not a good value, but this hotel is an exception. Additionally, various Hilton credit cards earn points through bonus offers and spending.
- Buy Points – If you do not hold an American Express or Hilton credit card, it may make sense to buy points. Hilton regularly has 100% bonus offers for point purchases (though you can only buy 160,000 points per calendar year). For example, it costs $1,200 to purchase 120,000 points (plus another 120,000 points for the 100% bonus) for a total of 240,000 points. 240,000 points are valid for a two-night stay at the base 120,000 points per night rate. Depending on the dates, the cash price would likely be $2,500 or more, so the savings are significant.
Free Night Certificates
The following Hilton credit cards offer free night certificates, which you can use at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal. Previously, these certificates could only be redeemed on the weekend. Now, you can redeem them any day of the week.
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card ($550 annual fee) – Every active cardholder receives a free night certificate the first year and at renewal. You can earn second and third free nights after spending $30,000 and $60,000 in purchases, respectively, in a calendar year.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card ($150 annual fee) – Cardholders earn a free night certificate after spending $15,000 in purchases in a calendar year.
- Hilton Honors Business Card ($95 annual fee) – You can earn first and second free nights after spending $15,000 and $60,000 in purchases, respectively, in a calendar year.
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Location & Getting There
The Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal is at the southern tip of Baja California, 47 kilometers from the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD). Depending on the traffic, it is around a 45-minute drive. We landed at SJD around 10 a.m. via an Alaska Airlines flight from San Diego.
Here are your transportation options.
- Rent a Car (the hotel offers complimentary valet parking)
- Allow the Hotel to Arrange Transportation (They quoted me $160 plus tax each way)
- Arrange Your Own Transportation (we used Cabo Airport Shuttle; it was only $143 roundtrip)
I highly recommend booking your own transportation. Cabo Airport Shuttle had fair pricing, friendly drivers, and provided free Coronitas and water bottles. Other shuttle companies provide similar excellent service based on my research.
The hotel is a short walk from downtown Cabo San Lucas, which features a variety of bars, restaurants, and other entertainment. We felt safe leaving the property on foot, both during the day and at night.
Arriving at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal (checking in)
The hotel is separated from the rest of Cabo San Lucas by a tunnel carved through a mountain. Yes, a mountain! Provide the security guard with your name, and they will open the gates after verifying your reservation.
After a short drive through the tunnel, they will drop you off near an outdoor check-in area. We were instantly greeted by agents, our personal concierge (Francisco), and a bellhop. Additionally, they handed us margaritas to get our stay off on the right foot.
Despite arriving around noon, they were able to check us in quickly. Since the hotel was not at full capacity, they upgraded us due to my Hilton Honors Gold status (which my American Express Platinum Card provides). We went from a standard Pacific View King Bedroom to a similar room with a better view on a high floor.
Further Reading: Hilton Honors Loyalty Program Review
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Service & Personal Concierge
While the resort is beautiful, the service is where the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal truly shines. Here are essential things to know.
- Personal Concierge – They will reach out to you via email around two weeks before check-in. They will assist you with making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, scheduling tours and excursions, and anything else to improve your stay. After checking in, you can text the concierge team 24/7 for any requests.
- Welcome Margaritas & Daily Chips, Guac, & Coronitas – You’ll be warmly greeted with margaritas upon arrival at the hotel. Additionally, the hotel staff will deliver complimentary chips, guacamole, and Coronitas to your room every single day from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- My Birthday Was Celebrated the Entire Trip – I let the hotel know I was celebrating my birthday. I received special dinner desserts, a welcome letter, and present on the first day.
- Restaurant & Pool Staff – Every server provided excellent service, and many of them knew us by name. Upon arriving at the main pool each morning, a staff member quickly assisted us in finding chairs to our preference, opened the umbrella, and took our drink and food orders. It was always a much better experience compared to other resorts.
- Golf Cart Service – While we walked through the tunnel a few times, the hotel offered golf cart service when leaving the hotel and when arriving back. We used it when coming back after eating dinner in town.
- Be Wary of Outside Excursion & Activity Markups – Concierge offers a variety of activities, from swimming with whale sharks to all-day hikes. There is a markup, however, so I recommend booking directly with the provider.
Room Review & Pictures
Many other reviews complain about the rooms, but we were highly pleased with ours. We did not find it dated, and the view made up for shortcomings. We were in room 641, which is on the fourth floor and offered fantastic ocean views.
The plunge pool was easily my favorite part of the room. The water was warm, and the view was second to none. Each room has a plunge pool, but the higher the floor, the better the views. Additionally, many people who stayed on the ground floor said it lacked privacy.
We enjoyed our daily chips, guac, and Coronitas in the plunge pool before dinner. Additionally, you can purchase a floating breakfast to eat in your plunge pool, but it is costly. During our stay, it was $120 for two people plus a 15% Tax and a 16% Service Charge!
The food is delicious. I enjoyed every single meal, which is rare for me as I can be picky. Here are your dining options.
El Farallon & The Champagne Terrace (Dinner Only)
El Farallon is the hotel’s top restaurant, and it did not disappoint. I came across a picture of it on Instagram last year, which led me to research the hotel. Here are important things to know.
- It’s open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily for dinner. If possible, book a reservation around 30 minutes before sunset.
- It is a popular dinner spot for people staying outside of the hotel. Make reservations as early as possible (via OpenTable) or through your concierge.
- While it’s a seafood restaurant, there was also a steak option on the menu.
- The staff will bring a chalkboard with the current menu to your table. It is not cheap (our bill was $500), so expect to pay at least $350 for a party of two. 31% in fees (15% service and 16% tax) are not included in the listed prices.
- My seat was located close to the edge. Some people have complained about getting wet (the waves splash aggressively), but I did not find that to be true.
- Before getting seated, you’ll be directed to the Champagne Terrace. While the view is terrific, the champagnes are very expensive. Additionally, we ordered small pours, but they poured and charged us for bigger pours (I think it was over $120 for two champagnes).
- The food was delicious (I got the sea bass), and the service was top-notch. While expensive, the experience was worth it.
Here are a few other pictures.
Don Manuel’s (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner)
You’ll likely eat the majority of your meals at Don Manuel’s. Not to take anything away from El Farallon, but I’d argue Don Manuel’s has better food. Here are important things to know.
- Breakfast is served daily from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond members receive a free daily continental breakfast, but you can upgrade to a full Mexican breakfast for $15. I upgraded each day and enjoyed huevos rancheros and custom omelets. Regardless, the continental breakfast is great and includes an assortment of meats and cheeses, fresh fruits, yogurt, breads, and more.
- Lunch is served daily from 12 a.m. to 6 p.m. The chicken tacos al pastor and Mexican pizza with chicken were absolutely delicious. From the main pool, the servers bring you a Crudo menu, but feel free to order from Don Manuel’s lunch menu (though they are similar)
- Dinner is served daily from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. We ate here our first night, and I got the Beef Enmoladas. There are many non-seafood options for dinner here, so it is a better spot to eat for non-seafood lovers than El Farallon.
- The Don Manuel’s bar offers a variety of delicious cocktails. My favorites were the Guava Margarita and the Carajillo Expresso. If you like the traditional Espresso Martini with vodka, the Carajillo Expresso with tequila is worth trying.
- Don Manuel’s is a popular dinner spot for those not staying at the hotel. Make sure you book well in advance via OpenTable or through your concierge.
Here are a few other pictures.
Other Dining & Drink Options
Here are other dining and bar options.
- Don Manuel’s Bar – This is a great spot to hang out and grab a drink. It has the most diverse drink menu, and it is centrally located near the main pool. It has live entertainment at night, which is nice if you do not want to leave the resort. We regularly ordered drinks from its menu, and the staff was happy to oblige despite us being in spots with different drink menus.
- Travesía – Taco dinner experience. Unfortunately, my girlfriend does not eat seafood, so we skipped it. During our stay, it was $195 per person, including cocktail pairing, $155 per person, including non-alcoholic cocktail pairing, and $135 per person for taco experience without cocktail pairing. I’d have loved to do it.
- Crudo – Swim-up bar and food spot located at the main pool. Offers lunch essentials like tacos, burgers, and tostadas. I really enjoyed the grilled shrimp tacos. My go-to drink was the Guava Margarita. Your pool server will provide you with a Crudo food and drink menu.
- The Beach Club – The Beach Club is located on the quieter side of the resort near the family pool. We ate there on our first day for lunch and shared chicken and shrimp tacos. The Carajillo Expresso was not on the menu, but they were happy to get it for us from Don Manuel’s.
- Neutral Coffee Lab – Located near the lobby, Neutral Coffee Lab offers delicious but very expensive coffee. My cold brew was good, but I do not think I’d spend that much money on coffee again. Additionally, the lab features snacks like cakes and pastries, which looked tasty (I almost tried the red velvet cake but had multiple desserts the previous day).
The Pools & Beach
The resort has a few pools, but we spent all of our time at the main adults-only one near Don Manuel’s. Crudo is in the middle of it, which features a swim-up bar.
Here are the other pools:
- Pool Near The Beach Club
- Kids Pool Also Close to the Beach Club
- Pool at the Spa (must use the spa to access)
Expect great service at each pool. Generally, someone will seat you immediately and return often to take food and drink orders.
The beach is absolutely beautiful. During our stay, there was no seating or service, however. Due to the rock and waves, you can’t go swimming, but it is great for walking and lounging.
Other Assorted Pictures
Here are a few other random pictures from my trip.
The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts
Here are a few final thoughts on the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal.
- Booking With Points/Free Night Certificate is Essential – As previously mentioned, I highly recommend booking your stay with Hilton points or free night certificates. This hotel is not cheap, and it could save you thousands of dollars.
- Your Hilton Status May Get You a Free Night – Those holding Hilton Silver Status and higher earn a free 5th night when booking standard rewards stays of five consecutive nights. Unfortunately, our room was only available for three nights, so we could not take advantage.
- Food & Drinks are Expensive – For three nights, our final bill for food, drinks, and a wine tasting was over $1,800! Keep in mind, we only paid $15 for breakfast each day due to my status. We also ate our final night’s dinner outside of the resort.
- Tipping – Every meal, drink, and experience includes 31% in fees (15% service and 16% tax), so keep that in mind when considering additional tips. We always added enough tip to make it 20%.
- The Resort Has a Lot of Steps – While the room buildings have elevators, you will probably have to walk up a lot of steps to get to them. If it is a problem, ask for a golf cart ride.
- The Spa is Very Expensive – I almost booked massages for us, but I just could not justify the cost. The cheapest price for an 80-minute massage was $350 per person before the 15% service fee and 16% in taxes.
- Cabo San Lucas is Safe – If you have time, leave the resort. My girlfriend and I went for a run and felt very safe. Additionally, we enjoyed our last dinner at La Lupita Taco & Mezcal, which had delicious tacos.
Concluding, we had a great time. I would return, but only if it was for a points or free night certificate booking.
Featured Photo: Phil Dengler / The Vacationer
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