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HOTEL REVIEW: ZADUN, a Ritz Carlton Reserve in Cabo, Mexico

Candile Lounge

This was my first time staying at a Ritz-Carlton Reserve property, and the most important thing I can tell you about it is that it has nothing to do with Ritz Carltons, it’s on a completely different level.

There are currently only 4 Ritz Carlton Reserve properties in the world–in Krabi, Thailand; Bali Indonesia; Los Cabos, Mexico; Dorado, Puerto Rico. A fifth is scheduled to open next week in Japan. I would describe the Reserve concept as ultra lux resorts that capture a sense of place and showcase local art and culture, all while providing every luxury amenity and service a 5-star resort is expected to.

Ritz Carlton describes them this way (from their website): “A rare place set aside for those who appreciate an exotic sanctuary tucked away in the most exquisite corners of the world. Where extraordinary moments unfold. For the most discerning travelers seeking a personalized meaningful escape, these resorts feature chic, relaxed intimate settings that weave indigenous flavors with highly responsive, individualized service”.

The setting at Zadun is desert-meets-ocean with a desert landscape strewn with cactus and desert blooms. As it’s only a year old, the landscaping will take some time to grow into the setting.

The service here is the real standout–genuinely warm, personalized hospitality with many special touches and above and beyonds. Example: I was taking pictures as sunset was approaching, and Marjorie the Restaurant Director saw me and brought me to her favorite secret place on property which she thinks is the best vantage point. Later that night when I returned to my suite, there was a hand written note from Marjorie with little take home bottles of spa essence water. That’s high-touch, and as a guest makes you want to return.

NOTE: I did not receive any compensation from the hotel and I paid for my own stay. The opinions expressed here are my own.

  • Zadun is located outside the charming town of San Jose del Cabo in a gated reserve.
  • Modern, clean contemporary Mexican design in neutral colors in a desert setting featuring art, textiles and decorative art from artists and craftspeople from all over Mexico.  Noticeably beautiful tile and stone work throughout.
  • All-suites, villas and private residences and even entry level suites have a very generously sized (heated) plunge pool, and large outdoor space including dining table and chairs for 4 and loungers and a daybed.
Oceanview Suite
Oceanview Suite View
  • Every suite has a personal butler or what they call here a “tosoani” who stays in touch via text or WhatsApp
  • Every suite has an indoor and outdoor shower, Spa Alkemia (their own) botanical products, cotton robes and even a cashmere robe, o la la.
  • 2 brimmed sun hats and a really nice straw /leather beach bag you can use while here and also keep
  • 3 golf courses in the Reserve
  • Adult-only pool and L-shaped elevated pool.  No charge for pool cabanas, first come first serve.
  • Jean-Michel Cousteau “Ambassadors of the Environment” program for kids and adults
  • Alkemia Spa is gorgeous with very lushly landscaped spa pool and has a standalone spa-within-a-spa building called Casida Privada that can be used for a small group or couple for complete privacy.  Has its own plunge pool, massage room and steam room.
Entrance to Alkemia Spa
Alkemia spa pool
  • Spa is only spa to have a unique sound treatment room for sound therapy!
  • Some spa features such as steam room and jacuzzi and cold plunge were not open due to Covid
  • The pool area has a taqueria and the casual restaurant El Barrio, and is designed to look/feel like a Mexico City street food scene.
Delicious Huevos Rancheros
  • All restaurants were open.  No menus, all paperless, everything by QR code.
  • Candile bar/lounge has indoor and outdoor space with firepits and is the prime spot to watch the sunset enjoying artisan cocktails made by the very talented mixologist Hector.
The A-MAIZE-ING cocktail at Candile–the BEST COCKTAIL IN CABO!
  • Friday night is Peruvian Fish Market night, eaten on the beach or near the adult pool.  Set 3 course menu featuring only fresh catches of the day with a Peruvian twist on Mex/Baja style.  Recommend!
  • Upon checking-out, my toisani walked me to my waiting car and gifted me with a small decorated ceramic cactus and a painted notecard explaining the myth of the sentry cactus protecting the reserve.
Departure gift

Things that could be a negative for some:

  • Desert setting can be a negative for some as it doesn’t have the feel of a beach resort
  • Some rooms’ outdoor spaces may not have privacy due to how the rooms are situated on different levels of terrain.
  • LOTS of steps and uneven stonework…..but you can call for a golf cart to take you anywhere around the resort.  You are able to walk the resort.
  • Beach is not swimmable
  • At dinner at the Peruvian Fish Market, it’s the first time I have ever gotten a service charge on a  restaurant bill for NOT ordering alcohol!   I believe only $10 but just surprising.
  • Though pricey, the food and drink here was excellent.

Through our Virtuoso affiliation, our clients receive these exclusive perks at ZADUN:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (suites and villas excluded)
  • Daily full breakfast for two guests, per bedroom
  • One time $150 USD equivalent Resort credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Complimentary one-way private airport transfers
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary parking
  • For family rooms, family suites, one bedroom suites and villas: Complimentary round-trip airport transfers

Contact us to reserve!

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Luxury Travel Adventures Denise Burcksen

Hi I'm Denise

Founder of Luxury Travel Adventures

With 52 countries (and counting!) stamped in my passport, I’ve gained lots of first-hand knowledge and invaluable on-the-ground contacts—and I love putting my experience and expertise to work for my clients. 

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