Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal: Bottom Line Review

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Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal is considered by many folks to be the best Hilton property in North America. Famously cut into the side of a Baja California cliff (with an entrance tunnel that was dug underneath), it’s developed a reputation for luxurious rooms, excellent service and sky-high prices to match. Because of this, it’s among the most popular Hilton properties in the the Americas for both point and Hilton free night certificate redemptions. Earlier this year, there were a couple of times where a large swathe of standard award nights suddenly became available. While Cabo San Lucas isn’t our favorite place in Mexico, having never been to the Waldorf, my wife and I decided to use the opportunity to dust off a couple of expiring certs and see what all the fuss was about.

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Bottom Line Review

The Waldorf Astoria Pedregal is a great property by almost any estimation. The location on the cliffside is stunning and it seems completely separate  from the hubbub of Cabo San Lucas. The standard rooms are bigger than most suites, with balconies, private plunge pools and “fireplaces.” The service is exceptional. The first night we were there, we ordered takeout to eat on our balcony and texted the concierge to let them know it was coming. After finding out where we ordered from, they called the restaurant to confirm arrival time and then had someone waiting for the delivery in order to bring it to our room for us…all without us knowing or asking. And it went on from there.

It’s not a perfect property. There’s some odd design quirks to the room: the ground floor units’ outdoor spaces are severely lacking in privacy and our balcony near the back of the property was probably the buggiest outdoor space we’ve ever had in Mexico (unfortunately, we didn’t realize until day 3 that they had bug repellent in the closet of our room). The food & beverage pricing is more or less equivalent to what we experienced in the Maldives…but this isn’t on a private island in the middle of the ocean.

It probably goes without saying that I’d never even consider paying the cash price to stay here. However, it’s a terrific property overall and one that most folks who book with points or free night certificates will undoubtedly enjoy. Thumbs up

  • Price: We used four free night certificates (that we got from our Hilton Aspire and Surpass cards) when we stayed. The points rate would have been 120K/night and the cash rate was ~$1600/night, including service charge and taxes.
  • Value: From a strict cost per point perspective, this is almost always an excellent value. FM values the average redemption of Hilton points at 0.48 cents each and this would have been triple that had we actually paid in points. Getting over $1,000/night value from the free night cert was even better.
  • Location: The resort is quite dramatically situated. The entrance is via a private tunnel dug underneath the rocks and the rooms and restaurants are sandwiched between the cliffs and the beach. You can hear the waves from just about anywhere on property. It’s also an easy walk to the marina area of Cabo San Lucas and all of the restaurants and bars there (they will give you a ride to other end of the entrance tunnel in a golf cart if you don’t want to walk, which makes the trip to the marina even shorter).
  • Room: The “standard” room at the resort is the ~865sq ft Pacific View King, which is bigger than many suites that I’ve stayed in. Each room has a massive outdoor patio with a large, private plunge pool that’s set to a minimum of 82 degrees. Inside, there’s a large soaking tub, a small fireplace mounted in the wall and n/a beverages that are refilled twice daily. Each room gets complimentary guacamole, chips and beer delivered to the room between 4-6pm nightly. There are a couple of odd facets to the room, however. There’s a padded banquette with pillows right in front of the open shower. These get soaked everytime someone takes a shower and the cushions are covered with water stains (and who knows what’s inside). The entire bathroom has a barn-style door that slides closed for privacy, but never quite closed for us. Not a big deal for a couple, but worth knowing for friends or if there’s anyone else in the room. The outdoor balcony was incredibly buggy the entire time we were there.
  • Parking: Valet parking is complimentary for all guests.
  • Resort/Destination Fee: None. But, there is a 15%/per night “service charge” that is added on to the room rate. This is waived on award stays. On a cash stay, service charge and taxes add 35% to the bill.
  • Internet: We were in the very back of the resort, but the internet seemed to be just fine for whatever we needed to do.
  • Service: The highlight of the stay for me. Absolutely marvelous. Almost everyone that we encountered, from the housekeepers to the concierges (who can be reached 24/7 via text), was warm, thorough and constantly took small extra steps to provide for our stay. The beach attendants were prompt and attentive with refilling ice, water and towels, regardless of whether we were ordering f&b. The restaurant servers were resolutely determined to not let our coffee and water go empty, while the hot food stations take your room number when you order, then communicate it to a server who uses it to find where you’re sitting and deliver it to the table. Nearly everyone that we interacted with wished us a happy anniversary. It’s the best all-around service that I’ve had at a hotel in years.
  • Turndown service: Nightly, includes restocking of ice, n/a beverages and cookies.
  • Dining:
    • El Farallon: Flagship dinner outlet in a marvelous location squeezed between the cliffs and ocean rocks on the north side of the beach. It’s one of the more striking hotel restaurants that I’ve seen, strictly because of that location. It specializes in fresh seafood and the chalkboard menu ostensibly changes daily based on what’s fresh (although, in reality, it never did while we were there). The prices are simply jaw-dropping. Entrées a start at ~$90 before 16% tax and 15% service charge. They don’t have an online food menu, but a picture of the chalkboard during our stay in April 2023 is below in the image gallery. Open daily for dinner from 5-11pm. Reservations required.
    • Don Manuel’s: The main, all-day restaurant for the entire resort and the only one that’s open for breakfast. It has a massive patio and excellent service. The breakfast buffet, although modestly-sized, is uniformly very high quality. Many commenters prefer the food here to the much-more-expensive El Farallon. Open for breakfast daily from 7am-11am, for lunch from 12-4pm and dinner from 6pm-11pm. Live music nightly from 7-10pm.
    • Crudo: Doubles as the adult pool swim-up bar and a ceviche/crudo restaurant. Open daily for lunch from 11am-6pm.
    • Va y Viene: Small, beachfront champagne bar right in front of the adult pool area. It’s officially open from 11am-6pm, but I often saw it empty for most of the day with no server, and it sometimes would stay open much later than 6pm. Champagne starts at $40/6oz glass (not a typo) and the full menu can be found here.
    • Beach Club: Effectively the pool restaurant for the family area, serving the normal array of lunchtime sandwiches and snacks, as well as a full bar. Open for lunch from 11am-6pm daily.
    • Agave Study: Small pop-up bar that’s set up nightly in the lobby area. The emphasis, as the name suggests, is on tequila and mezcal. Open daily for cocktails from 5-11pm.
    • Neutral Coffee Lab: Small coffee bar and bakery located on the lobby level. Open for coffee and baked goods daily from 6:30am-4pm.
  • Spa: The Waldorf Astoria Spa is a full-service spa with an extensive (and blingy) menu.
  • Fitness Room:There is a multi-room fitness center located in the same building as the spa. There was enough equipment for a circuit workout and plenty of treadmills, but strangely only one working elliptical machine for the whole resort.
  • Hilton Diamond Benefits: 
    • Room Upgrade: I’ve heard from other Diamonds that the hotel is quite generous with upgrades and have seen examples ranging from an upgraded ocean view to a 2 bedroom suite. However, on the weekend that we were there, the hotel was almost sold out, with the exception of a $5,000/night oceanfront villa, so I wasn’t surprised when we weren’t upgraded.
    • Free Breakfast: Served daily at Don Manuel’s. Included for Gold and Diamond Members is a “continental breakfast” that includes a generous fruit plate, yogurt, house-made granola, coffee and pastries. A $10 upgrade charge gets you the full buffet with good hot stations, pastries, fruit, cold items and fresh juice. We did the full upgrade every morning.
    • Late Checkout: Didn’t need one, but was told to check the night before checkout for availability…so it’s not gauranteed at check-in.
  • Would I stay again?  We enjoyed our time quite a bit. However, I probably wouldn’t be in a hurry to try and go back. It’s a lovely property and the staff was an absolute pleasure. But the combination of the stratospherically-priced food and beverage, hard-to-find standard awards, high points cost and my ambivalence about Cabo San Lucas as a destination in general make it a place that I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to stay at. I’m glad that we went there once to experience the property and I wouldn’t be opposed to it as a destination to use free night certificates in the future, if it was convenient and availability allowed.

Pros

  • Beautiful property with good views throughout.
  • Magnificent service.
  • Feels very isolated from the scene in Cabo.
  • Excellent standard rooms with fireplaces and private plunge pools.
  • High-quality dining.
  • Just a few minutes walk to the marina and downtown Cabo San Lucas, making it easy to eat/drink/shop outside of the resort.

Cons

  • The food & beverage pricing is incredibly expensive. Like, Maldives expensive (and even worse in some cases).
  • The ground floor rooms are lacking in privacy from the public walkways…even many of the suites.
  • The mosquitoes on our balcony in the back of the property were horrible. (Note: many commenters have said that they’ve never had issues with mosquitoes here. It could be a combination of being in the back of the property out of the breeze and/or on the ground floor amongst the plants)
  • While the beach/ocean is beautiful, like most of the Pacific side of Cabo, it’s not for swimming. While we were there, the beach had such a drastic slope that it even made walking difficult.

Image Gallery

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Pacific View King Room

 

Welcome gift of apples, nuts and tequila. The decanter is a gift that can be taken home.
The wall-mounted fireplace created some nice ambiance at night, but doesn’t really put out much heat.

Closet with robes and complimentary beach bags
Mini-fridge with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages (restocked twice-daily)

Because our room was on the groud floor, this screen was all that separated our balcony area from the public walkway.

Private plunge pool…it hangs out between 82-85 degrees.
Complimentary chips and coronitas delivered nightly by room service.
…or you could have them bring margaritas.
Unfortunately, this was hidden in the closet on the top shelf and we didn’t realize it was there until the mozzies had had quite a feast.

One of the strangest parts of the room design was having a banquette with pillows right in front of the shower. Every time we took a shower, they got soaked. Judging by all of the water stains, it wasn’t just us.
Water stains on the oddly-placed banquette that’s right in front of the shower.
On our first night’s turndown service, they left this happy anniversary tart waiting for us in the room.

Nightly turndown service included cookies.

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Restaurants

El Farrallon and Champagne Terrace

Chamagne Terrace at El Farallon

Dinner menu at El Farallon. We never found out what a $26 shrimp tastes like.

Don Manuel’s

Dining room at Don Manuel’s
Lounge at Don Manuel’s
Breakfast at Don Manuel’s

Va y Viene and El Crudo

Va y Viene (Beach Champagne Bar)

Crudo/Swim-up bar
Va y Viene at night

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Pools

Adult-only pool with El Crudo in the middle

Kiddie pool

Sunset at the family pool with El Farallon in the distance

Pool at Waldorf Astoria Spa

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Common Areas

Entrance tunnel to the resort.

“Lobby”

Kiddie pool with Beach club lit up behind

Beach at night

Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Fitness Center

Stretching room in fitness center
Free weight room in fitness area
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Jay

My family and I just spent a single night here in September 2023 using a free night certificate. This review was much appreciated and spot on in terms of our experience. Only two items to add/update: The upgraded breakfast vs the free gold/diamond continental breakfast is now $15 USD. As Tim noted, the continental breakfast is delicious and extensive – large fruit plate, multiple excellent pastries, coffee and juice, and oatmeal or yogurt/granola. Unless you NEED meat/eggs for breakfast, you will not go hungry with the standard continental. My wife upgraded to the full breakfast and thought everything tasted excellent as well.

Second, the property has a lot of steps especially if you’re at the back of the property like we were. In the heat (and if you had any type of mobility issue) it might not be the most pleasant experience. I assume they would take you around in a golf cart if you wanted since the service is all around excellent but I didn’t bother requesting.

Otherwise it is an incredible property. Well maintained, incredible views, serene, and with very good food. Extremely expensive as noted, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go back if money was no concern. Eating lunch and dinner in town would probably help quite a bit.

Thanks for your review Tim.

Lily

I love this place and am going back at the end of this month. Super excited. Love the service, food and the spa. Service is the best I’ve seen anywhere and I’ve been to a lot of great resorts. As someone who does not remember names well, I was blown away by everyone calling me by my name always and going above and beyond at every turn. Food is expensive, yes, but honestly it’s just the resort pricing and you expect it so I’m ok with it and you also get that wonderful aperitif of guac and chips every night. And of course breakfast is amazing. OMG the spa is incredible but you do really pay for it, hah. Loved the yoga classes too! I actually wanted to add this in terms of availability: if you look at dates for the next 4-6 weeks, availability is quite good. Also, it will change frequently so you just need to check often. I usually book a backup hotel when I first start planning but end up finding award space at the Waldorf a month out or so. Hope this helps.

Sel, D.

Free room. Free extensive breakfast. Free tequila. Free margaritas. Free beach bag. Free chips and guac. Free treats at the pool. Free sunscreen.
“Place is expensive”

Dr. McFrugal

Great review. We stayed there last year, March 2022 using free night certificates. Just like you mentioned, it is a stunning property. I thought that the service was exceptional and among the best service experiences I’ve had. We didn’t have the bug problem that you encountered. The restaurants are indeed expensive, but we just ate the free continental breakfast and used our $250 Hilton Aspire resort credit for dinner at the El Farallon so we didn’t have to pay out of pocket for anything. Of course, if we had to pay cash, I would not shell out the money to stay or eat here 🙂

staradmiral

Stayed 3 nights in Dec 2021 using free night certificates. would never pay that cash rate. Apart from the free breakfast I ate off property. And the thermostats were in F? WTF, its Mexico, use Celsius. Cabo was not appealing, way to expensive and americanized with the all the condos and yachts obviously mostly not owned by mexicans.

my follow up 8 day trip to Mexico city was a way better experience . If you want to experience Mexico, don’t go to Cabo.

matthewsf

Tim-2 items that weren’t covered in the review…first, is the beach in front of the property swimmable or is it like many others in Cabo that are closed/off-limits due to the undertow? Second, how did you get to the hotel/what transportation? If using a shuttle from the airport, is the rate considered going to the Marina area, or is it higher being further away? thanks

Six Travelers

Stayed multiple times, but have never had an issue with bugs. Maybe seasonal? I bet they would have addressed this immediately.

I have not found the food and beverage prices to be unreasonable. As a PP mentioned, El Farallon prices include the entree and something like 3 other courses. On a cliffside setting perched above the ocean… Where you can watch whales jump while you eat. You’re both paying for the setting and the meal. If you go, it’s worth experiencing at least once.

As far as other free inclusions… A welcome margarita when you arrive. A complimentary bottle of Clase Azul Tequila, apples and cashews in your room. Usually some type of welcome amenity if you are celebrating something special. Free beverages in your minibar. Request a tea kettle and they’ll bring Dammann Freres french tea (the Bali is delicious). Afternoon chips/guac/pico and beer. If you have status, free continental breakfast. We always upgrade for the measly $10 and are never hungry until the chip/guac/beer rolls around. So you could literally spend $10 and be completely satisfied until dinner. And you should go out and have a meal in Cabo- it’s a great foodie destination.

NK3

Welcome amenities also include an amenity kit and really nice beach bag (at least they did the last times I have stayed there), in addition to the Tequila. As you leave they also gave us these boxes of turtle sugar cookies. Love this place!!

MRS

We were there from Apri 22-26 in room #332 using points/certs. Stunning property with great rooms – were able to watch for whales from our balcony’s plunge pool. Had a great stay and thought service was among the best we’ve ever experienced. The staff seemed genuinely happy to work there and clearly took pride in going above and beyond. Total agreement that F&B prices were obnoxious, ie $15usd for a simple latte from the coffee shop. We’ve had cheaper 5 star hotel F&B experiences in the Maldives and Bora Bora. Farallon was a beautiful restaurant but the food quality was a letdown and the service was a significant notch below what we experienced at the hotel. Cash prices were ~$1600 which I would never pay but it provided a good value for Hilton redemption and is an easy flight for us–further reinforcing the value of our Aspire cards! We did not have issues with bugs/mosquitos while were there, although it was pretty breezy during our stay so that may have helped. 

Dr. Jay

We just returned from our stay a week ago. No bugs at all. Could you add the month of stay to your review? For us, Cabo San Lucas was fine. The walk into the old town area was short and the streets are as you would expect from a Mexican or Central American city. The local food was great- wonderful street style tacos at Tacos Guss. Also heard great things about Gardenias, but it was a long walk or short taxi. We rented a car so we could drive to the estuary for some wonderful bird watching. We loved our time there and saw some lifers, though we’re new birders. We also did a 3 hour kayak tour out to the arch, which was amazing. Those two trips gave us the perfect mix with all the relaxing at the resort. We will be back with more FNC’s in hand at some point!

Dr. Jay

We were in the 600 building next to 500, I think, but were on the 3rd level. We also saw the mosquito repellant in our closet, but never noticed a single mosquito. Must be a ground floor issue.

Bobo Bolinsky

You were there during (what is for many families) Spring Break. Not a wise choice IMHO (unless you are not trying to work in your kids’ break week and have no choice) – which pretty much guarantees a full hotel and you get the worst room in the house.

Cabo is cabo. It’s grotesque over-tourism and fake in many places and many ways, but it’s also real Mexico if you can get away from the worst of the gringo tourists. Tacos Guss…yeah, mmmm.

Dr. Jay

No, it was actually shoulder season (April 28 to May 1). That’s after the Spring Breaks of March and before school is out in mid to late may (teacher here). I actually had a wonderful upgrade. I asked some of the staff where they love to eat and Tacos Guss was high on the list.

Scott H

Looking at the chalkboard, the pricing at El Farallon is completely illegal (above and beyond being completely outrageous), but this is very common in tourist areas that cater to Americans.

Legally, prices must be posted in pesos, or an exchange rate posted. Prices can also be posted in other currencies as a courtesy, but the official price is pesos. While I wouldn’t stiff the wait staff, requiring a service fee on top of pricing is also illegal. And finally, all prices must include IVA (tax) in the posted price. You’ll often see tax broken out separately on the bill, though, which is OK. FYI, Mexican nationals tip about 10% for standard service. I’m not certain what would be customary in a place like this.

And the Mexican consumer protection office, PROFECO, has teeth — they are known to issue substantial fines for infractions like this. Of course, that assumes that someone reports it.

If they were called on it, WA would probably jack up the prices to include everything, and/or give a horrible exchange rate.

You didn’t say how you paid for F&B and incidentals. One wonders if they are also running the “courtesy currency” scam on credit cards, where you’re presented the bill in dollars at a lousy rate and with an extra service fee. One way to avoid this, and avoid an argument is to pay with an AMEX card.

You can complain, and PROFECO even has an English language website for submitting complaints. Just something to keep in mind in tourist locations in Mexico.

Scott H.
Permanent Mexican resident
La Paz, BCS (about 150 km north of Los Cabos)

Scott H

It sounds like everything was quoted in dollars, which is, again, illegal. So is having two exchange rates. Does your AMEX account accurately reflect the dollar charge on the hotel bill? I’m almost positive they are charging the card in pesos, and the question is who’s doing the currency conversion (or if it’s being converted multiple times). Their bank will require working in pesos, unless their doing something even more sketchy with their credit card processing.

Do you know what the official exchange rate was during your stay? I use xe.com, if you don’t have another site that you prefer. Given that the processing takes some time, there could be some variation in the exchange rate between the time your card was processed at the hotel, and when the currency conversion occurs, so the charge on your AMEX account might be slightly different than the hotel bill.

Sounds like a nice property, and apparently there’s demand at their asking price. Every other high-end property in the area is probably doing the same thing, so they’re trying to look competitive.

We love Mexico, and I accept that if I go to a second-hand store and ask the price of something, it will be higher than if my Mexican housekeeper went in and asked. If I go into a grocery in a neighborhood with lots of expats, I expect the posted prices to be higher than at the same grocery chain a few kilometers away in a locals neighborhood. However, I bristle when big companies act like the laws don’t apply to them. It’s one of the reasons we settled in La Paz, where tourism is a relatively small percentage of the economy. This nonsense is much less common, and being the state capital, PROFECO has a large office here 🙂 .

JC1

We stayed here in February and found the service to be lackluster and far below 5 star service. It took many requests just to have issues resolved and it truly seemed like no one cared. Having stayed at all different types of hotels throughout the world, I can say without a doubt that our experience did not live up to all of the hype. I have had far superior service and attention to detail at the Hilton Sydney, Four Seasons Sydney, and Vivanta by Taj Maldives just to name a few. We may have had a one off but even after bringing our concerns to the attention of hotel management, the manager promised us things which he didn’t follow through on as well.

Lukas

LOL, the spa prices are MORE EXPENSIVE than the Maldives! Absolutely insane!

Also, I didn’t know what n/a beverages were. Then I thought about it and realized it’s non-alcoholic. Considering that saving of space is no longer required (we aren’t in the 80s DOS days), I think it would be much better to actually spell it out.

Brianne Ball

Well then what is your favorite city in Mexico?;)

ECR12

One note on Farallon… the prices are a bit misleading (I made the same mistake before dining there). What they are selling is a four course pre-fix menu. The price you pay is determined by which entree you select. For example, the $90 charge for amberjack includes the other three courses, so its not nearly as absurd as the picture of a menu would lead you to believe.

Bfan

Stayed there in March and service was great and we didn’t have any Insect problems. We also used certificates and points and food there was great and I loved the location.

LSP

Tim – Why don’t you like Cabo? After visiting Cancun several times, we loved Cabo – low humidity, interesting scenery/topography and of course a beautiful ocean (with whales in January!). My biggest knock against vacationing in Southwestern US states like Arizona is the lack of ocean/beach, and I describe Cabo like Arizona but with an ocean/beach.

Lochquel

Still not quite sure what f&b and mozzies are. Please refrain from the shorthand in your review.

Lukas

I agree. Even if you do know what it is, it’s definitely not necessary (see my comment regarding “n/a beverages” above.

Stevenson

i assume f&b = food and beverage while mozzies = mosquitoes

Scott H

n/a – non-alcoholic
f&b – food and beverage
mozzies – mosquitos

Dr. Jay

For my teens, mozzies = mozzarella sticks.

Mike O

Great review. I’ve stayed three times and never had any bugs on the patio. Must be seasonal.

NK3

Same here. We have stayed a couple times, in May and June, no issues with bugs.