Old Reviews – El Presidente Intercontinental

  EL Presidente Intercontinental   Lee ~ Vancouver, BC, Canada

April 2008

We wanted a quick all-inclusive trip and chose this hotel expecting it to be like an Intercontinental. However, from the moment we saw the crooked logo tacked amateurishly to the wall at the front desk, we knew we were wrong. I guess it all comes down to expectations: if you expect anything more than the average North American motel, you’d be disappointed. It’s absolutely, definitely not a five star or four star resort. The food was so-so but at times and for certain items, surprisingly good . . . The staff were generally friendly and helpful, but some of them surly and rude and inept. We paid extra for a ground level ocean view room, but the smell of sewage was so bad that we had to change to the other side of the resort. The torn hammock was changed immediately, but the toilet didn’t work. After being told it was fixed – it wasn’t! – they sent a team next morning who tinkered around for an hour or so . . . After which we were told by the front desk to please go for a walk for a couple of hours while they took it apart. That was the final straw, and we checked out and spent the rest of the week at a truly fabulous resort up the road. (The Grand Mayan).

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EL Presidente Intercontinental Regis ~ Barrie, Ontario

May 2007

The Presidente Intercontinental in San Jose del Cabo bills itself as a five-star resort while offering a fraction of the amenities you might find in a Cuban four-star for the same or less money. During our stay in this Los Cabos all-inclusive May 5-12, we registered our disappointment at the customer service desk and in a detailed comment card; no attempt was ever made to even discuss our issues. After an informal survey, we came to the conclusion that most other Los Cabos facilities aren’t much different. Los Cabos is currently a “hot” destination, so they most likely could care less about losing us (or you) as a customer. Here’s the list:

(1) While your tour operator will denounce the hordes of salespeople attempting to sell you time shares and other “promotions”, the first thing the hotel service people do is to try talking you into their “club” memberships; for the extra fees, you may get the kind of services you expected for your original fee.

(2) Rooms are smaller than most all-inclusives and bathroom facilities are especially cramped.

(3) You most likely will not get a balcony or terrace; if you do happen to pay more for an upgrade, the small balcony will further reduce your inside space.

(4) If you happen to awake one morning unable to recall where you are, nothing in your room will give you a clue that you aren’t in a Comfort Inn somewhere on a Canadian expressway; Cuban resorts, most with two-level junior suites, a balcony and distinctive Spanish décor outclass the bland interiors at the Presidente.

(5) Some ala carte food quality is great but there’s no guarantee; lack of consistency means you might get mediocre fare that night. The morning buffet is virtually identical daily.

(6) For our first three nights, there was always something missing in housekeeping service: No wash-cloths, no water bottle, the wrong kind of coffee in the chintzy in-room coffee service. After doubling the tip we left the housekeeper, remarkably, the service improved immediately.

(7) If you happen to have received the “free upgrade” to an ocean-view room, that’s great because all you can do with the ocean is look at it. Somewhere in Los Cabos, there are a couple of breaches considered safe for swimming or wading, but you’d never dare risk the undertow on 90 per cent of the beaches; the sand is gritty and coarse. Again, I can’t help the comparison with Varadero, Cuba where for most of the 20 kilometres of beach, you’re walking on powdered sugar just before you dive into warm, clear turquoise ocean.

(8) Anywhere you go in San Jose or San Lucas, you will be badgered by hustlers of one type or another; remaining polite becomes a challenge.

(9) Whereas in all our other resorts we’ve had the convenience of an in-room safe for daily cash and document security, the Presidente has you using their front desk safe deposit boxes.

(10) Some of our five-star resorts in the past charged a miniscule extra fee for “premium” food or wine; the Presidente has a wide range of steak, and seafood items listed and the charge is never below $25 US; premium wines (that is, those with recognizable names) will also start at $25 US extra.

(11) There is an outdoor “foosball” table; no shuffleboard, billiard tables or any other such games.

(12) Entertainment is limited to about three nights a week although live music may show up at the lobby bar occasionally. “Theme” nights like the Mexican fiesta and tropical night are disappointments.

On the positive side: We’d have to say that, by and large, service staff is great, helpful, friendly and deserving of your tips. Weather in Los Cabos is incredibly consistent. During our May visit, no-one could remember the last time it rained, speculating that it might have been some time in November. The surroundings are Baja desert and, if you take security precautions, a spectacular experience. That and the fact that we have friends living in San Jose represented the trip highlights. If you’re thinking of the Baja as a second home, be prepared for sticker shock; the place is booming with condo and villa developments where a million dollars US won’t get you your dream home. For us, been there and done that. If your choice is between the Presidente or Los Cabos in general and somewhere else, you may want to consider the “somewhere else.”

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EL Presidente Intercontinental Cherry-Ann ~ Milton, Ontario, Canada

January 2006

We have just discovered this web site and really appreciate reading all the reviews!

Travel dates: December 5 – 12, 2005

We traveled with Sunquest who are always very satisfactory, mostly on time and reasonable. We always book with Robert at Skyventure Travel. They are very competitive and reliable. We Canadians are fortunate to have very reasonably priced all inclusive package tours available with direct flights.

We had wonderful, relaxing week in a perfect climate. Not long enough!

LOCATION: On the beach within a 20-minute walk to San Jose del Cabo either along a trail beside the fresh water estuary or along the main road. The small town is old, safe, and clean with nice shops, reasonable prices and a lovely town square that was decorated for Christmas. Very friendly locals and you should explore thoroughly – nice enclaves of shops and restaurants and it’s a good idea go there in the evening on a Sunday.

The hotel is spacious, spotless and has a huge beach. On the north side there is a fresh water estuary/lagoon with hundreds of species of birds. No problem with bugs!

ROOMS We stayed in the ‘adult’ area of the hotel overlooking the estuary and crescent-shaped, heated ‘quiet’ pool and small bar. Our 2nd floor room had a fantastic view of the coast and mountains in the distance. Ground floor rooms have a nice patio and hammock, 2nd floor have large windows and one which opens and 3rd floor rooms have a balcony. We did have to wait a long time before our room was ready but we spent the time exploring the hotel and beautifully landscaped grounds. For a photo tour log on to www.ichotelsgroup.com . The trees and cactus have matured since those photos were taken.
Our room was ‘no smoking’, spacious, clean, quiet with 2 comfortable double beds and a couch and table and chairs, large closet, TV and phone. A coffee maker was included too! Great pillows; not too thick and the bed sheets were changed daily. Air conditioning was easy to control but we usually slept with the window open and the air off. The bathroom was large, shower only with lots of hot water and the toilet always flushed properly. The sink taps could be renewed – they have seen better days. There were no odors from drains. The dry climate seems to keep everything fresh – not like the humidity in the Caribbean and Central America. There were no sewage smells around the hotel either!

FOOD Fantastic! There is gourmet dining with super service and very nice menu selections at Napa and El Patio. Wine was pretty good especially the white. Spanish coffee was a show and huge. It was easy to make reservations in the morning at about 8 – 8:30 am at the concierge desk off the lobby. Ask about the schedule for the week. At La Terraza we found the food overcooked and service not too friendly. December is cool at night so bring a sweater and jacket even though there are patio heaters in the alfresco restaurant. There are theme nights outside on the patio near the beach. The Mexican night was great fun but unfortunately we missed the Oriental and BBQ nights. Breakfasts were buffet style and very good. Lunches were buffet style with a good variety and the beach bar El Carabeno had a nice menu and a machine for soft ice cream. The drinks were good – we drink mostly beer but the margaritas were a nice change. Bar tenders, as with all the staff couldn’t be better.

WATER Excellent. I believe the hotel has its own desalination plant. It is safe to drink and we also had bottled water left in the room every day. With the dry climate, you need to drink lots of water.

BEACH was VAST, lovely white sand and a calm ocean during our stay. We did paddle and swim at the edge at low tide and always together. They warn of undertow but it was not evident to us. There are stingrays playing and feeding where the waves break so take care not to step on one! We did not snorkel here. Lots of walking – we walked to the new marina construction site about 45 minutes to the north. There is plenty of space for everyone.

CLIENTEL: The guests at the hotel were mostly quiet and well mannered and there were very few children. We met quite a few Canadians at the resort as well as guests from the US. It seems that this hotel is a destination for incentive travel groups but no problem with that as they had private beach dinners and didn’t attend the a la carte restaurants en mass. We met a super lady and her daughter who were from Monterey in Mexico. We had a great time with them, going by public bus to Cabo San Lucas for a glass-bottomed boat tour at the Land’s End arch.

It was $20 each for the boat, available at the huge, lovely marina and only $ 2 for the bus. It’s quite a walk up to the Mega store where you pick up the bus. The next time we went to Cabo we took the shuttle from the hotel. After having a good browse around the modern mall, we walked along the beach to ‘The Office’ which is a restaurant right on the sand where we were lucky to get a ‘two for one’ beer special and complimentary nachos and salsa. Pacifico beer is the best! 4 beers were $ 10 US. Didn’t need lunch! Reserve for the hotel shuttle at the concierge desk early in the day or the day before. It is $ 10 each return trip door to door.

BICYLE TOUR: Included in our package. We took the tour the first day at about 9:30 am. Bikes are not too bad and the route into town very nice with a few hills. The guide was not forthcoming with information but we did enjoy it.

ENTERTAINMENT: There were no shows at night. A fellow played sax at the a la carte restaurants and we had a fun evening at El Carabino where a couple played great music and sang. The mariachi band played at the BBQ and Mexican theme nights. If you want to party hard into the night, this hotel is not for you.

CAR RENTAL: We rented a car at the hotel lobby for 2 days. Unfortunately on the second day we started off for a round trip in the area and it was not running very well. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was too late to take a better car. No problem not paying for that day. Always ask for a late model car – ours was quite old. There are a few car rental offices just a short walk towards town, not far from the hotel and I imagine they may be more reasonably priced. Another suggestion is to rent one from Canada before leaving. It’s a wonderful area for scenery, easy to find your way around and its great to have wheels to visit beaches and go snorkeling. It is much cheaper to rent a car for a day than taking a snorkel tour.

SNORKELING: We are avid snorkelers and had found out before leaving that there are two coves not too far from the hotel where snorkeling is great. We parked (free) at Bahia Santa Maria and at Chileno Bay around Km 13. The enormous hotel beach towels are ideal to take with you. At the first spot the ocean was calm and clear, however we encountered a few jellyfish that we had been warned about by a fellow in the parking lot. They were easy to spot whilst snorkeling but I was stung on my back while exiting the water! Very painful, like a bad burn and of course the Benadryl cream was back at the hotel! Next time in, I wore a T-shirt but we didn’t see any more jellyfish. Didn’t see any at Chileno. It was fairly busy there but if you go to your right along the beach, there is a nice reef. We saw a good selection of fish and coral etc. and a nice change from the Caribbean varieties.

OTHER ACTIVITIES We are active people and Brian is a runner and he really loved the dry, cool early mornings, running into town and along the Corridor highway. We saw horses every day going along the beach, past the hotel. You can arrange a ride across the road from the lobby next to the fountain. Check with your representative for other tours in the area. The pools at the hotel are clean and warm. It would be nice if they had a Jacuzzi!

LOBBY: Front desk staff is very efficient and friendly, especially if you are congenial and polite! Safe deposit boxes are available (none in rooms) and there is a small office across from the concierge’s desk just off the lobby where there are two computers available at no charge. I was able to check e-mail once in awhile. The lobby is very plain and could do with some flowers and different colour paint! There was a decorated Christmas tree in the corner when we were there. There are sales people in the lobby during the day selling membership to a Club. A small shop is open most of the time.

GYM: The gym at the hotel. It was well equipped and clean. Not easy to find but it was excellent.

We recommend this lovely, immaculate hotel. We had no complaints! Plan to stay for two weeks if you can! We have visited many Caribbean islands, Costa Rica and other parts of Mexico and feel this is an area well worth a visit and a hotel we will return to.

It is a good idea to thoroughly research an area before visiting, wherever you go. Especially helpful is to print out some maps and gather information from this web site! Glad we found you and thanks to all who take time to send in their critiques.

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EL Presidente Intercontinental Shelia ~ Canada

September 2005

Six of us just returned from a wonderful stay at the Presidente. This was a 10 year anniversary trip for our business so we were all very much looking forward to getting away before our winter sets in. It was 38 everyday and we found out that this is the hottest time of year there. Incredible! We flew America West Express out of Calgary with 2 stops, Vegas and San Diego before arriving in Cabo.

The Express planes are brutal, very close and hard seats, but great flight attendants.

Apparently all along the coast of the Sea of Cortes you can not swim. Which we found out once we arrived. At first we were very disappointed that we couldn’t swim in the sea but soon after making great friends with Omar at the swim up bar near our complex we soon forgot about the trek to the sea, although it was as warm as a bath tub.

We were in room 7219 which gave us a great view of the water. We all thought the food was awesome. A great variety. El Caribeno (the snackshack) was great for lunches. The salsa is amazing. Victor was wonderful over there, always happy hour….2 for 1.

We never got to Da Antonio but all the other al a cartes were very good. Men must have sleeves, women didn’t matter, even at the buffet. Rented mopeds for a day $35.00 each and went into San Jose del Cabo, had a great time, lots of bartering. Cabo Wabo was alot of fun, unfortunately we just missed Sammy and apparently two days after we left he was there and played that night.

Took the Spin Doctor tour, scenery was beautiful, saw the Arch and Lover’s Beach. The snorkeling wasn’t so good, very windy. But we all had a good time and little too many tequila’s and cervaza’s. Beware of people trying to sell time shares, they stand inside the Mega Store (large Extra Foods type store)(within walking distance of the resort). We purchased our tequila at Mega which was better pricing then at the airport.

We would definately recommend this resort, especially in the month of September as it was very quiet as this is their slow season. No line ups, except for when a goup of Century21 staff came in from Vegas. Also, next time we would most likely rent a car. For anyone going, hope you enjoy your time as much as we did.

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EL Presidente Intercontinental Taleen ~ Canada

April 2005

Purpose of the trip:This trip was an organized "Top Performers Conference" for 75 of the top sales representatives of our organization and their spouses/significant others from across Canada.

We flew out of Toronto directly to Cabo San Lucas. The flight was uneventful and departed approximately 30 minutes late though we arrived in Cabo on time. The transfer to the hotel went off without a hitch and upon arrival, most of our rooms were ready.

Although this resort is listed as a 5 star, it lacked many of the amenities a true 5 star offers! The hotel lobby did not make a great impression and was rather outdated…. much like the rooms. Though the hotel needs a little "oomph" it is very clean and the staff do their best to make you happy. Having been to many all-inclusive resorts in various regions of Mexico, a few of us noticed the lack of flowers and colour….. the grounds were landscaped with beautiful groupings of cactus instead.

I am not a picky eater and have NEVER complained of the quality of food offered at an all-inclusive resort. This resort however, did not impress me with the "taste" of their food. The quantity and variety of food offered was great but the tast of the food was unfortunately bland. I did find things to eat and I certainly did not starve, but neither lunch nor dinner were times of the day that I looked forward to! I think I resorted to the nachos, salsa and guacamole to fill me up since they were the best tasting foods there.

A safety deposit box was available at no charge though it was not located in your room but rather at the front desk. This was a little inconvenient though better then not having one at all!

The beach/pool towels are huge and some are newer then the others. The hotel should retire the ones fraying at the edges….

The most disappointing thing at this resort was the inability to swim in the ocean. The beach was long, wide and beautiful…… but not swimmable! What a shame!

We went ATV’ing and had a great time!

The weather was fantastic and we have a beautiful tan to prove it.

We went to Cabo San Lucas one day and took a glass-bottom boat ride to "The Arch". We saw sea lions and many, many tropical fish. The boat dropped us off at Lover’s Beach and we spent approximately 3 hours laying on the beach. Upon our return to Cabo, we had lunch at Billygan’s. The food was good and cost us $78US for 4 people.

One night we went to Cabo Wabo and had a great time. The band was great and we had a great time dancing and watching the crowd….. I have a hard time understanding why so many ladies lose control and seek attention by lifting their t-shirts to expose themselves and feel the need to get up on stage and "grind" the performers….. Oh well, to each there own!

All said, we had a great time. I would not return to the Presidente Intercontinental mainly because it does not have a swimmable beach. Perhaps I would try the Riu Palace in Cabo since that beach appears to be swimmable.

Oh, one more remark about Cabo…… My husband and I have been to various places in Mexico (i.e. Huatulco, Cozumel, Mayan Riviera, Cancun, Manzanillo) and have noticed that Cabo does not appear to be as poor as the other cities. Not sure why…… but the prices are also alot more expensive than any of the other places.

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EL Presidente Intercontinental Linda ~ Canada

January 2005

We recently returned from a great vacation to Los Cabos, in Baja Mexico. Los Cabos is the name that refers to 2 towns, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

We were there from dec. l8 to dec. 25 We flew from Toronto on Skyservice. The flight was 5 hours and transfer to the hotel was about l5 minutes.

The hotel is wonderful but not 5 star as rated in the sunquest brochure. It lacks many 5 star amenities and we would rate it as a 4 star hotel. The beach is very very wide and very long and very walkable but not swimmable.

It was about a l5 minute walk into the town of San Jose del Cabo which is fun to walk around. We always felt safe.

You can take a public bus which runs every 30 min from the highway near the hotel to Cabo San Lucas. The trip takes about an hour and costs about $2.00 each way. The other alternative is to take the hotel shuttle which takes 1/2 hour and costs roundtrip $l0. Or take a taxi which costs about $35 each way. Cabo San Lucas is a fun town with lots of restaurants, bars and shopping places. There is a very modern mall near the very modern marina. Cabo San Lucas is mostly made up of time shares and condos. There are McDonalds, Dunkin Donoughts, Burger King.. etc… and a few taco places.

We took an excursion to the nearest town to the north which is Todos Santos. It is a town with art galleries, and shops and restaurants and the famous "hotel California" We walked around for 2 hours and finally saw some "mexican streets" with real "mexicans on them."

The countryside is beautiful. Very bare with mountains and cactus.

December weather is not hot hot but is pleasant. The temperature got down to the low sixties in the morning and at night. In the outdoor eating places, there are gas heaters to keep you warm.

There is no evening entertainment except a duo playing a keyboard in the lobby bar. They played the same songs every night and there was no where else to go except to that bar or to eat late then go to bed or to take a taxi to Cabo San Lucas to party.

The hotel has 3 lovely pools, heated and a kid’s pool as well. The staff is outstanding, always willing to help with anything. The food was good, but not a huge variety. There was a buffet each night along with 2 a la cartes open. You had to check the schedule each day to see which restaurant had which theme or which was the buffet restaurant for that night. This was a bit too much thinking to do on vacation and it got a bit confusing. There were some vendors on the beach but they werent too bothersome. There are no mini fridges, no irons, and no safety deposit boxes in the rooms. There is no internet, no spa, no jacuzzi, no disco. There is a 24 hour gym.

We had a great time. it was very relaxing and we really liked the people of the Baja. any questions, I am happy to answer them . Linda.
merengue@primus.ca

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