Review: Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal

Infinity pools, ocean views and top-tier service define this Hilton Honors property in Mexico's Cabo San Lucas
Brad Walters
By Brad Walters 
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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For anyone who’s dreamed of having their own little private pool with infinity views out over the ocean, the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal delivers — and for the points and miles enthusiasts among us, award nights can be surprisingly accessible.

Not every piece of this rugged paradise is perfect, though my recent stay came pretty close. Here's a closer look at the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal.

The basics

The resort, part of the Hilton Honors portfolio, is located on the southern tip of Baja California Sur in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It first opened in 2009 and was rebranded to a Waldorf in 2019; it's one of just 34 Waldorf Astoria properties worldwide.

One of the resort's two beachside pools. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Other things to know at a glance:

  • Standard check-in time: 3 p.m. (earlier for some Hilton Honors elites if available).

  • Standard check-out time: Noon (later for Hilton elites if available).

  • Cancellation policy: Varies from as little as 14 days out during the off season to 90 days out during peak times.

  • Room types: Starting with standard rooms up to larger casitas and multi-bedroom private villas. There are 115 rooms and suites in total on the property.

  • Transportation: Los Cabos Airport (SJD) serves several hubs on all the major U.S. carriers. The hotel is about a 40-minute drive or cab ride away (Uber isn’t allowed to do pickups). If you’re adventurous and packed very light, the slow but comfortable Ruta del Desierto bus from the airport’s domestic terminal can get you as far as Puerto Paraiso mall, a mile from the resort, for $5. On the other end of the cost spectrum, private transport can be arranged with the hotel.

  • Parking: Complimentary valet parking.

  • Location: Along the southernmost stretch of beach in town, a 15-minute walk from the tourist center.

Balcony with plunge pool. (Photo by Brad Walters)

This property stands out even among other luxury properties in Los Cabos because every unit, from the standard rooms on up, comes with its own (small) heated pool. We’ll have plenty more on those pools below.

Booking with points

Paid rates all-in start at just over $1,200 a night for a standard room, but at high season those rates can more than double.

Awards start at 120,000 points per night for a base room, in which case your redemption would be worth no worse than 1 cent per point and easily north of 2 cents per point at peak periods.

NerdWallet values Hilton points at 0.5 cent apiece, so award bookings here can represent an outstanding value.

As with many things in award travel, fortune favors those with the flexibility to drop everything and go. When I booked this with points in mid-March, every single day for the rest of the month was available at low-level award pricing:

If you have a Hilton free night award certificate, it’s usable if you see the 120k rate.

What’s more, Hilton elites get every fifth night free when booking five or more consecutive standard award nights, which can effectively reduce the per-night rate to 96,000 points.

Watch out, though: Rates can jump to over 1 million points per night based on demand.

At last check, no 120,000-point dates remained for the winter 2023-24 travel season. If that’s when you want to go, watch award availability like a hawk, as it seems to come in waves.

🤓Nerdy Tip

American Express Membership Rewards transfer to Hilton Honors points at a 1:2 rate, meaning 60,000 AmEx points could theoretically cover a night here. If you prize luxury hotels over fancy flights, it’s a decent value.

The base room for award bookings is a Pacific View King. In my recent stay and a prior stay in 2021, the Hilton Honors™ Gold status conferred from holding the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card ($150 annual fee; terms apply) scored me a double upgrade to an Ocean View Deluxe room. It’s the same size as the base room with a full, unobstructed ocean view.

Around the resort

Around the resort. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Design and layout

Cabo itself is situated in a landscape where desert, mountains and sea all seem to collide, and the resort's design blends well with its surroundings.

Entry/exit tunnel. (Photo by Brad Walters)

In fact, you actually have to go through a little mountain — via a chandelier-lit tunnel — to get to the resort from town.

I arrived on foot, passing through a security checkpoint before getting whisked through the short tunnel on a golf cart. Once on the other side, I arrived at the open-air check-in lobby, where I was greeted with a welcome margarita.

While standard check-in time is 3 p.m., I arrived at noon, which gave me some time to explore the grounds before the desk texted me around 1 p.m. to tell me my room was ready.

Hotel beachfront. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Beyond the lobby, the resort sprawls out over 24 beachfront acres along and up the base of the mountainside.

Most common areas are grouped on two-tiered levels; it only took me a few pleasant minutes to walk from one end of the resort to another.

Hotel grounds. (Photo by Brad Walters)

The tiered design assures that every unit has a view of some kind, although some views are better than others.

Generally speaking, the higher on the property you go, the more expansive the view — but the more you’ll see between you and the ocean.

Casita with personal pool, as seen from main walkway. (Photo by Brad Walters)

In terms of privacy, it can vary wildly. The outdoor spaces of some of the casitas around the pool are quite exposed, as are the lower levels of some of the larger buildings. I wrote ahead to request a more private room and was happy with what I wound up with.

Inside the common area. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Although the resort’s design can feel somewhat spare from the outside, the small details stand out once indoors.

Food and beverage

The property features four restaurants ranging from fancy to poolside casual, along with three bars and a coffee shop.

As a Hilton Honors Gold member, I could enjoy the $34 continental breakfast buffet for free at Don Manuel’s, which is open for all meals of the day but serves breakfast starting at 7 a.m.

Granola with yogurt and berries. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Continental breakfast included granola, fruit, cereal, coffee, freshly squeezed juice and a selection of pastries.

Breakfast chilaquiles. (Photo by Brad Walters)

For an upcharge of $13 (including taxes) I upgraded to the Mexican breakfast, which included made-to-order huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, omelets and a rotating daily special, among other hot items.

For the sheer selection alone, it’s more than worth the price to upgrade, especially since you’re allowed to sample as many items as you’d like.

Pastry station, included with continental buffet. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Everything I tried was good, but the most memorable items I had were the crackling, delicious buffet pastries and a spiced hot chocolate.

The walkway to El Farallon, by day and at last light. (Photos by Brad Walters)

The highly regarded (and priced to match) El Farallon is open for dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. I didn’t partake during my short stay, but the cliffside location looked stunning.

Agave Study bar. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Meanwhile, a recent addition to the resort’s bar offerings is Agave Study at Peacock Alley, which offers mezcal and tequila tastings paired with local bites.

Champagne bar, complete with swings. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Down on the beach you’ll find a separate champagne bar with swings for chairs, a fun place to spend a few minutes even if you’re not indulging.

Additionally, the resort offers cooking and cocktail-making classes for a fee.

Pools and hot tubs

Adult pool. (Photo by Brad Walters)

The hotel features two main pools, one for adults and one for all ages. Each was consistently busy during my stay; these photos are generally from early in the day.

Both pools are designed with an infinity-style setup overlooking the long beach, which is shared with a few other hotels but felt secluded otherwise, given that it’s essentially cut off from the town proper.

Swim-up bar. (Photo by Brad Walters)

The adults-only pool boasts a shaded swim-up bar, while the family pool features a built-in hot tub.

Family pool with hot tub in center. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Just see an attendant and they’ll set you up at an available lounger with umbrella shade as desired. Sunscreen is available at both pools, too.

Poolside service was prompt and friendly, with several small water bottles delivered in a bucket of ice as soon as I got settled. (That said, I far preferred spending time in my own little balcony pool, where it’s a lot easier to imagine you're the only one at the resort.)

Staff occasionally comes around with free popsicle treats, which is a nice touch.

Family pool. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Farther up from the beach are a small circular kids pool, suitable for splashing around, and a pool reserved for spa guests with small waterfalls built in.

🤓Nerdy Tip

As with most beaches around Cabo San Lucas, the ocean here isn’t really suitable for casual swimming due to waves that crash like thunder, plus an immediate, steep drop-off into deep water. For a more peaceful wave experience, take a short ride to busy Playa el Medano or a longer trek to gorgeous, less touristy Playa Palmilla.

Other amenities and extras

Gym. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Elsewhere at the resort, you’ll find:

  • The aforementioned spa, with a full complement of paid treatments.

  • A kids club, which offers “family movie nights, curated programming, scavenger hunts, Spanish classes [and] cooking adventures,” the resort says.

  • A business center (basically just one room with a computer) and meeting facilities.

  • A well-appointed fitness center with yoga and a variety of other classes available.

  • A gift shop.

  • Two tennis courts.

Additionally, you’ll receive an email before arrival outlining the various paid excursions the resort is happy to set up for you, including land and sea activities.

In the room

Building 1. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Once my room was ready, I was escorted over and given a full tour by the agent who had checked me in. My unit was on the third of four floors of Building 1, beachside on the edge of the property next to El Farallon.

Previously, I’d stayed in Building 3, higher up near the lobby. The views were excellent in both cases, but I preferred Building 1 because there was no visual distraction between me and the beach/ocean.

Infinity view from inside the balcony pool. (Photo by Brad Walters)

The star of the show was the infinity ocean-view balcony and plunge pool, which is roughly 12 feet long by 4 feet across. It’s 3 feet deep with a full-length step-down that can seat at least 4 comfortably.

Full pool, looking down toward the beach. (Photo by Brad Walters)

While nobody would confuse this for a full-size pool, you can paddle around and even do mini-laps if you desire. Or you can sit, stretch your legs, soak for hours, and (in season) scan the horizon for whales — your choice.

The only whales I spotted were a couple of cruise ships as they meandered past, alas.

The plunge pool got good morning sun but was shaded for most of the day, which I actually appreciated. It’s kept at a comfortably warm temperature (between 80 and 84 degrees year-round, the resort says) and felt nice even on mild 65-degree nights.

Looking north from my balcony pool. (Photo by Brad Walters)

The balcony features slanted privacy slats on the side making it easy to see out while shielding others from seeing in. There’s plenty of comfy seating, although I wouldn't have minded a full-size lounger in lieu of one of the two small sitting couches.

Daybreak view from balcony. (Photo by Brad Walters)

In terms of outside noise: I didn’t hear much of anything while in my room (score one for the soundproofing), but on the balcony, it’s pretty much impossible not to hear others nearby enjoying their outdoor space. If you’re anywhere near a main pool, you’ll likely hear that during the day, too, but it’s nothing a good pair of earbuds can’t cancel out. At night, all I could hear with my balcony open was the sound of crashing waves.

Closet door, fireplace, minibar/coffee/safe area with TV above. (Photo by Brad Walters)

The room was a cozy 856 square feet, which included a knob-controlled fireplace and an oh-so-comfy king bed. (The square footage includes the outdoor space, too.)

Looking in from the balcony. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Looking in from the front entryway. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Generous closet space. (Photo by Brad Walters)

The open bathroom boasted a rain-water shower and a large soaking tub with a loofah and what looked like honey but was actually bubble bath solution. It also had a mini seating area that functions as a visual buffer as much as anything else.

Sink area plus shower. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Bathtub. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Toiletries come in the form of pump-style bottles meant to carry over from guest to guest, a slight letdown to those who like to take home leftover samples of fancier stuff than we’d otherwise use day-to-day.

Customized minibar. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Rooms include complimentary mini-bars stocked with water and soft drinks. (Did I get in touch in advance to request a fridge full of zero-calorie Coke products? Maybe…)

🤓Nerdy Tip

Tap water in Mexico isn’t safe to drink, but the staff will bring you as much water as you need upon request for free. As far as room service dining goes, that’s available too, but for an extra cost.

Tequila, nuts and fruit upon arrival. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Also in my room, and complimentary for all guests, was a 200 mL bottle of Clase Azul Reposado tequila (a roughly $40 value and equivalent to four or five shots) with a ramekin of warm nuts, along with some apples. The tequila bottle is yours to take home and makes for a nice keepsake of your stay.

Every unit on property, from standard rooms to stand-alone villas, also includes the following:

  • A Nespresso machine.

  • Plush bathrobes for use during your stay.

  • A set of binoculars, useful for whale-watching.

  • A nice toiletry bag that was stocked (rather sparsely, in my case) with mouthwash, shoe shine, a sewing kit and a shower cap. The bag is yours to keep.

  • A beach bag, also yours to keep.

  • Free Wi-Fi, which was reliable all over the property (at least for basic internet browsing).

  • An afternoon snack of warm tortilla chips served with outstanding guacamole and pico de gallo, plus a pair of Corona beers, available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and delivered upon request. (The hotel has a chat feature in the Hilton app that makes this or any other request seamless.) On both of my stays the resort accommodated my request for margaritas rather than beers.

  • A safe to lock your valuables.

Afternoon chips with guac, pico de gallo and margaritas. (Photo by Brad Walters)

An evening turndown service is offered in addition to morning housekeeping, but allow a wide time window for both. When asked at check-in when I’d prefer my turndown I said 8 p.m., but it wasn't done yet when I returned to my room a little before 9. By then, I was ready to fall asleep to the crashing waves and texted the front desk to (nicely) say never mind.

🤓Nerdy Tip

I initially thought I’d have to unplug a lamp by the bed to charge my phone, but upon looking more closely, I found that the night tables have a well-camouflaged set of plugs and USB outlets on the sides adjacent to the bed.

Stand-alone beachfront homes, some of which feature hammocks. (Photo by Brad Walters)

Larger suites and stand-alone villas might include such extras as a fire pit, a larger private pool, beach hammocks, a full kitchen or even a dedicated butler.

Beyond the resort

Cabo San Lucas marina. (Photo by Brad Walters)

If you’re staying longer than a couple days, it’s well worth budgeting some time to get to know the Cape region, preferably by car.

Central Cabo San Lucas (just outside the resort) exudes an overtly touristy party vibe that might not be for everyone. Large cruise ships dock here often, and strolling the pedestrian zone that encircles the marina is a great way to feel like you’re back in the States.

That said, if it’s endless shopping you’re after, check it out — just try to time your visits to avoid those midday cruise crowds. You can walk through the tunnel into town or request a golf cart to take you as far as the outer security gate, from which the marina is a 5-minute walk.

Playa Palmilla, near San Jose del Cabo. (Photo by Brad Walters)

San Jose del Cabo, closer to the airport, is San Lucas’ more sedate, artsy counterpart. The strollable streets of its compact central core radiate from Plaza Mijares, a large car-free public square. A pleasant walk (or bike ride, along separated green lanes) southward along the estuary and then westward alongside the beach resorts is a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours.

If you like San Jose, you’ll likely love Todos Santos, an even more charming, artsier outpost about an hour north of San Lucas. Even farther afield, La Paz is known for its pretty colonial downtown. The largely unspoiled East Cape is also worth exploring, but you’ll want a 4x4 to access many of its jewels.

When to go

Cabo San Lucas has a dry, relatively mild season from roughly December through March. The rest of the year is warm to hot, with rains mostly confined to August through October. Hurricanes are a factor to consider; for instance, Hurricane Kay brought heavy rains as it passed just west of Cabo in September 2022.

For me, the sweet spot for visiting Cabo is between mid-November and New Year’s, when the ocean is still warm enough for comfortable swimming (at wave-free beaches) but the air temperature isn’t sweltering and rain chances are minimal.

The bottom line

When this property became bookable with Hilton points it was an instant darling in the world of award travel, and for good reason.

It’s more than just that warm pool of your own, where hours can easily slip away gazing out at the ocean with a pleasant margarita buzz.

It’s also the gracious service that’s there when you need it but never hovers, delivered with a palpable sense of pride that makes it easy to forgive a few relatively minor lapses.

Given that the base rate for many standard-issue Hilton properties these days is 40,000 points per night, it’s easy to wonder how much longer this oasis can be enjoyed for just triple that amount. Soak it up while you can.

This stay was independently reviewed and paid in full by the writer.

(Top photo by Brad Walters)

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