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PLEASE NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS INTENDED TO PROMOTE SALES AS A TRAVEL ADVISOR, I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS IF YOU DECIDE THIS VACATION IS FOR YOU.
I finally took a real vacation in 2020 to Los Cabos, Mexico! As everyone knows, most of the world has been closed to tourists because of the Global Pandemic, Covid-19. In June, some destinations started to re-open to Americans and Mexico was one of them. I watched through the experiences of many colleagues and finally planned our first “Pandemic Vacation”.
I am going to explain our traveling experience from start to finish, with emphasis on the “new normal” with regard to Covid regulations and protocols.
I had pre-arranged a ride from our house to SFO using Execucar. I have used this service in the past and have had good success with them. Our driver was prompt for our 445am pick up to the airport. We were flying Alaska Airlines, check-in was a breeze with nobody in line and we were through the TSA pre-check and had walked all the way to our gate, seated by 520am. Even the Peets Coffee in Terminal 2 was not open yet, they opened at 530am and had a line forming. Our flight departed at 7am. We gave enough time not knowing how busy the check-in process could be or security but we probably could have slept an additional 30 minutes.
The boarding process with Alaska was easy, they boarded from the back of the plane forward with the exception of First class, they could board first. We were in Row 7, so we were close to the last people boarding the flight. Nobody was backed up in the jetway, we walked right on and to our row, easily stowing our luggage above. The flight was not full and middle seats were guaranteed to be empty, a policy that Alaska has in place for a limited time. Everyone was wearing masks and it was announced several times that masks were required and if you don’t comply you will be put on their “no fly list” until masks are no longer required.
The 3 hour flight was easy and drama-free. We were served a complimentary beverage and a package of biscuits. We had brought our own power bars because we knew we would not be fed and not really hungry until we’re up in the air. The power bars were perfect to stave off hunger until we arrived at our resort in time for lunch. On the flight, the flight attendants passed out the immigration/tourist card and customs forms for people to complete. This is nothing new and has been the process forever. There are ways to complete these in advance and print at home, but I personally have never had luck with the printed versions being accepted.
When we arrived into Los Cabos, we were given a form by the gate agent to complete upon arrival. This is a new “covid” form, health questionnaire; however, you can avoid having to complete this upon arrival, by doing so electronically and storing the completed QR code on your phone. We were the 10th people off the plane and everyone in front of us had to move over to the side to complete these forms. I showed the airport employee our QR codes and we were allowed to proceed down to Immigration. (When I book your vacation, I will guide you through this process).
There was NOBODY in the Immigration Hall, we were literally the first people through, easy process for the passport check, the tourist card approval, etc. We then walked towards baggage where we are asked for our health form or the QR code and at the same time you are being scanned for body temperature but you would not even know that it is being done. We then waited for our luggage and proceeded through Customs where we handed them our Customs form, pushed the red light/green light button and proceeded through the doors to the outside to meet our driver.
***Please note: airport experiences may vary based upon time of day, airline, etc. Our friend arrived a day later on a flight that was 2 hours later in the day and they had about 1000 people going through Immigration & Customs. I wish I could guarantee that you’ll always have this easy of an arrival experience, but I simply cannot guarantee an airport experience with so many ever-changing variables****
I had pre-booked our airport ride with Mayaland, we met our driver right away and he assisted with our luggage to the car, offered us cold water or beer for the 20 minute ride to the resort and we were on our way. The driver was wearing a mask. We wore ours out of respect for him but took it off briefly to gulp down the water, we were thirsty!
We spent our first 4 nights at LeBlanc Resort and Spa, Los Cabos. I visit Cabo often and have stayed at a variety of resorts, but I figured if I was going to finally take a vacation in 2020, I wanted to experience at least one new resort that I had never stayed at and I had been living vicariously through other travel colleagues' travels to Cabo and this place spoke to me.
What can I say? Le Blanc is pure LUXURY. This is an all-inclusive resort that is also Adults Only. I don’t mind kids around when I’m on vacation but if given the choice I will always choose an Adults Only environment if possible.
Our car was greeted with a warm welcome. Our luggage was taken by the bell staff for sanitization and holding until our room was available. Upon arrival, you are given sanitizer, then you are given a cold washcloth, then given sanitizer again. You are then guided to walk through a shoe sanitizer before walking to the entrance where temperatures are taken upon arrival. They missed taking our temperature but I did see them taking the temps of others. I think there is a little inconsistency here, but I’m not too concerned. As stated, your temp has already been taken in the airport and some drivers of car services are also taking temps. If done properly, you could have three temp checks between the airport and resort. Everyone has at least one temp check at the airport. We were then escorted to our check-in desk where we were treated to a welcome cocktail that involved coconut milk and damiana liqueur. We were also given a warm lavender scented neck wrap. It smelled wonderful and felt good!
Our check-in process went well, sanitized pens and minimal contact. The desks are equipped with plexi-glass barriers and ALL staff at the resort were wearing a mask. Our butler, Karla (yes, butler- everyone has a butler at this resort) gave us a brief tour around the resort and left us at the pizza restaurant (Blanc Pizza) for lunch to wait until our room was ready. We arrived at the resort around 1230pm and rooms are usually not ready until close to 3pm. We took off our masks to eat lunch and have to say that we rarely wore a mask after that during our 4 night stay. After lunch we walked around a bit more to explore and then though we’d see if our room was ready yet, it was not so another butler asked if we wanted a cocktail in the lobby bar or perhaps a coffee from the coffee bar. Did I mention that we were picked up at 445am for the airport? Yes, we went to the coffee bar (Blanc Cafe) and sat outside to enjoy the view and our caffeine while making friends with a couple from Tennessee. After coffee, our room was ready so we were taken to our room & Karla gave us a tour of the room and all of the amenities asked if she could assist with a dinner reservation, we unpacked and then took a nap on the balcony listening to the ocean waves and breeze!
The rooms are GORGEOUS! We had a corner room which provided us with a wrap-around balcony. I have no idea if this was just the luck of the draw or if they wanted to make a tired Travel Advisor feel special, I didn’t ask as I was just thrilled with the room, the location, the view and the idea that I was ON VACATION! I was also happy that the long walk to/from our room would give me some steps on my fitbit!
We spent the next 4 days lounging around the pool, drinking, eating, exploring the resort and trying out the various venues. The resort smells beautiful, you have beautiful white marble everywhere, it just feels super clean and open and airy. There are a variety of restaurants and we did not get to try all of them, which was a bummer but I have to say that everything was fantastic.
Pool Service: They are ON IT!! Our first day, we picked two chairs and within a minute out of nowhere we had a pool attendant with 4 towels setting up our chairs. As he was doing that the water attendant stopped by with an ice bucket and two bottles of water. Once our towels were in place the cocktail server came by for drink orders. Excellent service all day, every day.
One day we picked chairs and I didn’t see a pool attendant so I started to walk to where the towels were and again out of nowhere all of a sudden there was an attendant walking towards me with towels in hand motioning to me that those were our towels & that he’s got it! Even the food we ordered by the pool was very good, great presentation- I think it was the prettiest plate of nachos that I’ve ever seen, there is also a taco cart around the pool all day & then every day they have a different traveling cart. Bill was happy to get the clam cart one day! I would be remiss if I did not mention the 4pm Churro Cart!! You can smell them from afar and it’s a great way to tell what time it is!! They were delicious!
Bar Service: We really only went to the lobby bar a few times before or after dinner, great service, good drinks, friendly servers. Nothing to complain about. Everyone keeps a decent social distance.
Restaurants: We dined at Blanc Ocean twice, Blanc Italia once and Blanc International (steakhouse) once. We were bummed to miss Blanc Asia and we heard really good things about Mezze the Lebanese restaurant but never had the chance to try it out. Lumiere is supposed to be amazing but it is the fanciest with a strict dress code, so we decided in advance that we would not dine there given the need to pack more clothing/shoes to do so. Restaurants give you the option to view the menu with a QR code on your phone or they will give you the hard menus that have been sanitized. I LOVE having that choice. We really had great service and food in all locations. I’m a steak girl and had steak 3 of the 4 nights! This resort also has many options for wines by the glass. I’m not a total wine snob but I do have good taste, I was able to find wines by the glass that were acceptable. The bottle of wine in the room was Robert Mondavi Cabernet, so I’m OK with that as a “house” wine.
Room Service: We ordered breakfast twice and it was delivered hot and to perfection both times. We were able to pre-order the night before via the LeBlanc App, which allowed us to sleep in and have to allow some extra time to get up and order and then wait. We did this on our first morning. We ate in our room but we had windows with great views and the air conditioning! Our last morning, we got up and ordered, then took our showers and started to pack while we waited for breakfast. The only reason we didn’t pre-order via the app was because we noticed that the Avocado Toast was not on the pre-order option, but was on the app to order for immediate delivery. Not a big deal, but my husband wanted his Avocado toast!
Butler Service: This is a very cool thing to have. Karla set up her contact info in my phone so she was just a text away at any time. She made all of our restaurant reservations for us and she made a few changes to those reservations when needed. We were traveling with friends who arrived a day later, so we had to change one reservation to be where the birthday girl wanted to be on her birthday (this is why we dined at Ocean twice). Karla also helped us book a Cabana rental one day and she also helped to arrange our ride between resorts. (We were heading to another resort for 5 nights after LeBlanc). Your butler can also draw a bath for you, which I did one night and it was AMAZING. It was also nice to know if you had any issues, you could reach out to your butler and they will take care of it.
We had one issue when we got to our Cabana. When we booked the Cabana and Karla said it was ours from 9am-6pm, I specifically asked her if we could order breakfast from the Cabana and she said yes. When we arrived and got set up around 930am, I asked the Cabana Attendant and he said food service started at 11am with lunch but we were welcome to go over to Blanc Ocean to have breakfast. Well, that was not acceptable, we wanted to enjoy our Cabana so I texted Karla and about 5 minutes later we had the manager from Blanc Ocean at our Cabana with menus to take our order. Our Cabana rental came with a bottle of Moet Champagne, so we ordered some juice and made Mimosas to go with our breakfast.
Karla was also there on our last day when it was time to check out. She came to our room and assisted with the luggage, helped to check our bags with the bell service since we had about a 30 minute wait for our scheduled taxi and assisted with the check-out process.
Cabana Service: We had 2-3 people who were tending to our needs throughout the day. Replenishing our water, taking food orders, drink orders and just overall checking in on us. We had two lounge chairs, a table with two sitting chairs, a cozy chair and loveseat and a TV. We watched football games, lounged in the sun, I attended my virtual online church & we made friends with other Cabana guests. Our team did not play well, but we still enjoyed the experience.
Spa: We did not book any services at the Spa, though we would have loved to given that my income has been slashed this year due to the pandemic, just being on vacation was relaxing enough!! My fellow Travel Advisor and friend Kelly did have a massage for her birthday though and she said her experience was amazing and she really enjoyed the hydro-therapy bath experience that they guide you through prior to your massage.
Entertainment: Throughout our stay, Le Blanc also had a few buffet parties on the terrace and on the beach. We did not join in these as we really wanted to experience the restaurants & typically we are not fans of buffets to begin with. Each of these events though had live music, which we were still able to enjoy from other venues. These events are advertised on the TV & our Butler Karla also told us about them. There was always some sort of music being played in the evenings at one of the other outdoor bars and there is also Blanc Stage which is the sports bar but also doubles as a night club. We enjoyed live and DJ music a few nights after dinner. In all honesty, my “covid” comfort level is not quite at the point where I want to be on a dance floor that is close to others dancing, singing out loud and not wearing masks. It was never crowded, but was just not a situation that I would feel comfortable in at this time. I was OK though sitting in the lounge, listening to the music. It was a well ventilated venue with lots of sitting areas so that you could still maintain distance from people not in your party.
I loved this resort, I will be back for sure! It was luxurious. Food, service, coffees, wines were all excellent and served to perfection. Beautiful beach, though not an ocean that you can swim in due to the undercurrents and possible steep drop offs. I’m not a sand/ocean person, so I am perfectly happy to be by the pool looking at the ocean!
We had a few observations to note: the public restrooms are not always on the same sides. For example, by the pool the women’s was on the right and men’s on the left. Outside the Italian restaurant in the lobby, the women’s was on the left and men’s on the right. My husband might have gone into the women’s restroom one day and didn’t realize it until he couldn’t find the urinals. Housekeeping did not always replenish the shampoo/conditioner but we asked Karla and she made sure we had enough from there on out. We had a bit of a flood one evening with the shower and lack of a bottom seal, but a quick text to our butler and she had them clean it up once we were off to dinner and replenished our towels. Sometimes things will go wrong, but LeBlanc always made it right!
COVID: for the most part, masks were not required of guests throughout the resort. We would choose to wear one when we felt it was necessary, when we could not maintain the distance from others but for the majority of the time, keeping distance was easy. This is largely due to the fact that the resort was at a 50% maximum capacity due to Country restrictions.
We dined outside most of the time. Blanc Ocean, International and Pizza all have outdoor options which we took. Blanc Italia is indoor only and I felt that the tables were too close to each other. We had a 9pm reservation so the crowd had thinned out, but I’m 99.9% sure if we had a 6-7pm reservation and the restaurant was full, I would not have felt comfortable.
The Elevators had a 4 person maximum with social distance markers on the floor to keep as much distance as possible. I was not comfortable riding in an elevator with strangers if masks were not worn, so we just waited for our own elevator. We started to just walk down the stairs, though it would be tough to go up 6 floors!
We felt very safe, it was freeing to be in an environment that naturally promoted “distance”, the staff made sure you felt safe and cared for the entire time. It also felt good to not have to wear a mask every time you walked someplace. Don’t get me wrong, I will wear a mask when distancing can not be achieved and will wear one out of respect for others when and where it is required.
When you are ready to travel, please be sure to give me a call or send me an email!
As stated, we were moving to another resort when we left LeBlanc. We had a pre-arranged taxi pick us up. We all wore masks for the quick 10 minute ride to our next resort. I will continue my review of this trip and our journey home with airport experience here: Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos 2020