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As a travel journalist, I’m lucky that some of my work requires me to review luxury hotels—from household names like the St. Regis or the Four Seasons, to boutique gems dotting the map. Sometimes, I’m able to take my nomadic buddies along for the adventure, an experience that is usually spent in fluffy bathrobes, negotiating who gets to take the next luxurious bath.

RELATED: These four Mexico spots are the next Tulum

With a gap in our schedule and no need to retreat back to the states just yet, I wondered: Could I line up enough hotel review assignments to turn myself into a 29-year-old Eloise… and live out of hotel rooms for six weeks? Two very excited and amazed yes-I’ll-join-yous later from my pals Jess and Liz, and we flew from Mexico City to Los Cabos to begin our resort hopping adventure. From the most jaw-dropping suites I’ve ever witnessed in my life to the sort of bickering that only comes with friends who double as family, here’s what it was like for three single ladies to spend six weeks moving every two to three days across 14 hotel rooms.

 

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Paradisus Los Cabos: Los Cabos

This all-inclusive in San Jose del Cabo surprises with its elevated food at every restaurant. We especially appreciated the lounge access, strong WiFi, coffee and dreamy ocean views.

Pro: None of us have children—yet, anyway—but we were impressed with the attention to detail they give families. Not only do they have a second check-in area, complete with a snack bar at kid-level, but they also offer childcare and activities.

Con: Comparative to some of the other rooms we experienced throughout our time in Cabo, the space was on the smaller side.

Top nosh: Book a wine-pairing meal at Gastro Bar by Martin Berasategui, a chef with eight Michelin stars.

ME Cabo by Melia

Photo courtesy of ME Cabo by Melia

ME Cabo by Melia: Cabo San Lucas

If Paradisus appeals to families, its sister property ME, featuring a mega DJ stand, a swim-up bar, easy access to the beach and a complimentary lounge chair, is where friends come to party. Don’t let the good-time vibes fool you, though: This property still takes important amenities seriously, including dining—we’re still dreaming of the Chilean Sea Bass we had at their signature restaurant, the Blue Marlin Ibiza. The vibe at ME is modern and trendy, with quotes written on our mirrors and a few unexpected delights like sweet treats and cocktails waiting upon our arrival.

Pro: ME features killer music and plenty of helpful, attentive bartenders, making it an affordable option for bachelorettes and groups of friends.

Con: Of all the resorts we stayed at in Mexico, ME Cabo was the only one to charge for extra bottles of water. They also asked us to sign an agreement that we wouldn’t bring in outdoor food or drink, which forced us to buy their expensive bottles. In the heat of August, this was a downer.

Top nosh: In addition to the sea bass cooked to perfection, their breakfasts are also memorable.

 

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Esperanza, An Auberge Resort: Cabo San Lucas

We will never forget pulling up to Esperanza: A circular entrance way gives us a peek over jagged cliffs, with sparkling blue waves crashing on every side. Even though I’m #single, this resort is my idea of a romantic escape. Our room included his-and-her sinks, a deep soaking tub, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and a high palapa ceiling over an oversized king bed. When we could actually be enticed to leave this dazzling room, cabanas on the beach and cocktails overlooking the sea were just about perfect.

Pro: If you have time to work out on vacation, their gym and spa area are expansive and well-maintained.

Con: Esperanza is likely a splurge for most people, but if you’re celebrating an anniversary or on your honeymoon, it’s worth it.

Top nosh: We enjoyed all of the food here, but be warned it is on the pricey side. Our favorite meal was their healthy breakfast, complete with juice and coffee, all with a view.

Chileno Bay Resort and Residences

Photo courtesy of Chileno Bay Resort and Residences

Chileno Bay Resort & Residences: Cabo San Lucas

With four infinity pools flowing into a crystal-clear, Instagram-worthy view of the ocean, this resort is elegantly laid out. Rooms surround the swimming area, making it easy to pop in for a swim and easily return to freshen up for lunch. Few resorts in the Cabo area have a lengthy stretch of beach, making Chileno Bay unique. We enjoy walking along at sunset and then returning to their cliff-side restaurant for a glass (or eight) of rosé. If you indulge in spa treatments on vacation, don’t miss their mostly-outdoor facilities.

Pro: For families traveling with kids, don’t miss their on-site movie theater that comes with popcorn, reclining seats and treats. Teenagers in tow? Their 13-and-up area features a recording studio.

Con: The pool area is the place to be, and finding empty chairs was a feat. You can reserve a cabana bed ahead of time, but it costs extra.

Top nosh: Have dinner at onsite eatery Comal and order seafood on the grill. You’ll get your own mini grill at the table that keeps it warm, no matter how long you linger, like we did.

Hacienda Beach Club and Residences

Photo courtesy of Hacienda Beach Club and Residences

Hacienda Beach Club & Residences: Cabo San Lucas

After ten days of unpacking three girls into hotel rooms, walking into a fully-equipped and plush residences felt like coming home. Here, all rooms come with full bells-and-whistles, including a kitchen, a balcony, a living room and—our personal favorite—a washer and dryer! One housekeeping deal we didn’t consider when resort hopping was the need to do laundry, so Hacienda saved the day—and our suitcases from wreaking. Though it rained every day we were at Hacienda, the apartment was just the refresh button we needed.

Pro: These residences are individually owned. This means the crowd is a bit more family-oriented, so don’t expect wild pool parties or loud music.

Con: If you’re traveling as a couple, this likely isn’t the best fit for a romantic getaway due to the family vibe and not-particularly-sexy rooms. But it’s great for kids and bachelorette parties.

Top nosh: Come hungry and have the surf-and-turf at Cocina Y Cantina. Even if you’re stuffed, ask for the desert sampling platter with churros, tres leche cake and other Mexican favorites.

 

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Four Seasons Punta Mita: Punta de Mita

After hopping a flight from Cabo to Puerto Vallarta, we made the journey to the Punta Mita region to experience a new side of Mexico. I’ve always found Four Seasons to have traditional charm, and that’s exactly what we found at this location. Our room was more than big enough for three, complete with a hammock outside, and we enjoyed breakfast on our balcony each morning. In addition to a handful of restaurants, pools and a lazy river, the Four Seasons also provides cultural immersion experiences that set it apart from other resorts.

Pro: We took a tequila class where we learned about the history of the nation’s liquor, and also made our own blend! It was a fun, educational and, ahem, tipsy experience.

Con: It’s a big resort and it’s easy to get lost. It also takes some time to walk from most rooms to the beach. To help, they do offer golf cart services.

Top nosh: There are plenty of options, but all three of us agree the breakfast is best! Made to order, with juice, coffee and the option to be in your bathrobe? Yes, please.

ALSO: Best way to earn Orbucks? Join Orbitz Rewards and start your own resort-hopping journey!

 

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St. Regis Resort Punta Mita: Punta de Mita

A hop and a skip away from the Four Seasons is an equally luxe property, the St. Regis. Though our room didn’t offer much of a view, the lobby is remarkable, offering an uninterrupted vista of their pool and beach. I tried out their spa services with a facial and massage package, which helped me to recover from the Mexican sun. We hiked around the property and ended up on a small island where we collected seashells and of course, had an Instagram photo shoot.

Pro: Though not a feature of the hotel per se, the sunsets here are not to be missed. After a few tacos and margaritas at their taco boat on the beach, we stayed until nightfall to witness splashes of pink and orange across the sky.

Con: Depending on where your room is, it’s a lengthy walk to the main restaurant where breakfast is served. For us, it was a 10-minute walk first-thing in the morning.

Top nosh: The taco stand! Make sure to stop by the beach for beers and tacos, complete with a killer sunset.

 

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Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta: Puerto Vallarta

After a few days of five-star living in Punta Mita, we checked out a more affordable Puerto Vallarta resort. Fiesta Americana is budget-friendly and much more what you would expect when booking an all-inclusive vacation. As a family-friendly property, there are many activities for kids. We were given access to their adults-only area, with private cabins ideal for napping or checking in on work. Without having to worry about the additional cost of drinks and food, we spent more of our time here filing deadlines—and then celebrating with a dip in the pool.

Pro: As someone who likes to have a place of her own, I loved waking up before my friends and heading to the beach to check emails. It was always quiet and it started my days with the zen I crave.

Con: If you’re looking for a getaway that’s romantic and quiet, shy away from this property. For parents with kids though, it’ll check all of your boxes.

Top Nosh: If it is in your budget, it’s worth the upgrade to experience the adults-only lounge featuring fresh, flavorful and filling salads.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Photo courtesy of Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Banyan Tree Mayakoba: Playa del Carmen

I’ll never forget watching Jess and Liz’s eyes light up when we walked into this impressive, beautiful resort. After a quick tour of our suite—complete with an outdoor bath big enough for two and our own private pool!—we headed to Saffron, their signature Thai restaurant.

Pro: Waking up to take a dip in our pool is as dreamy as it sounds. And with three bikes included in our rate, we enjoyed exploring the area. You can also take a boat to their beach area, which is a fun way to commute in your suit. For an extra cost, the kayaking tour to see cenotes is worth the booking.

Con: It’s tough to find one!

Top Nosh: The Thai food! We’re a tough crowd when it comes to Thai, since we all spent a month in Chiang Mai. Our verdict? It was so good, we came back the next night for more. Yum!

 

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Desire Pearl: Riviera Maya

As I was researching resorts, I was offered a stay at Desire Pearl, a couples-only, clothing-optional all-inclusive property. Without asking the girls, I booked it—and from that moment onward, we couldn’t stop talking about it. We’re three straight, single women—will that matter? In short: Nope. Since booking requires pairs, we were given two rooms and our topless trio definitely raised some questions. Once we explained our purpose, everyone was welcoming and kind to us. We attended a male striptease, an aerobatic revue and even a foam party. Jess and I decided to go all in and wear only our birthday suits, an experience that was liberating and empowering. Liz showed off her pole dancing skills, earning an applause from the crowd. It goes without saying that copious amounts of alcohol were needed to make us feel more comfortable.

Pro: It isn’t for everyone, but the permission to let it all hang out—literally—offers a lesson on beauty and sexuality. For me, riding naked on an inflatable unicorn while foam splashes on me and strangers cheer me on is a memory I’ll never forget.

Con: For a resort dedicated to encouraging others to explore their fantasies, we found the rooms to be outdated and not exactly sexy.

Top nosh: We were big fans of tapas-style Unik; in general, we found the food here better than at most all-inclusives.

Fairmont Mayakoba

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Mayakoba

Fairmont Mayakoba: Playa del Carmen

As a journalist, I really try to stay objective, but I have to give credit where it’s due: Fairmont Mayakoba was the one I liked best. From having avocado toast and chilled white wine at restaurant Breezes to waking up and having coffee on our dock overlooking the nature reserve of Mayakoba, this all-inclusive had me feeling right at home each night. Though our suite did have a private pool, roof deck and two rooms, what stood out the most was the staff. Fairmont Mayakoba offers a private butler for their guests and ours, Jorge, paid attention to every detail—complete with jokes, too.

Pro: We attended a tequila-filled cooking class at Mayakoba’s cooking school, El Pueblito. We learned how to make Mexican favorites—and our lovely chef, Karla, sent us home with avocado and honey face masks.

Con: I’m still singing Fairmont’s praises, so I’d have to really stretch to come up with a con.

Top nosh: Each of us liked something different. For Jess, it was the vegetarian-friendly options, for Liz, the poolside grill, and for me, well, everything.

Grand at Moon Palace

Photo courtesy of the Grand at Moon Palace

 The Grand at Moon Palace: Cancun

The name of this all-inclusive resort is an understatement. It not only includes its own main area, but connects to two other resorts, which equals numerous restaurants, pools and bars. The Grand Moon can sleep thousands, and definitely has a cruise-like vibe. We spent an afternoon hiding in our room until we were brave enough to venture out. Once we did though, we shared plenty of giggles floating through the lazy river and going down their three water slides. We finished a day of pool hopping, smoking hookah and reminiscing.

Pro: For kids or big weddings, Grand Moon is a smart choice. The rooms are affordable and there are plenty of happenings to keep everyone entertained and happy.

Con: It’s definitely overwhelming. We wish we would have booked a tour with a guide when we arrived to understand where everything was located. After a few days, you get used to it, but if you want a more intimate, boutique vibe, this isn’t your spot.

Top nosh: We loved the Lebanese-style restaurant Habbi, and the Peruvian dining, where the pisco sours took us back to our month spent in Lima.

 

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Occidental at Xcaret Destination: Playa del Carmen

The all-inclusive Occidental at Xcaret surprised us with not one, but two rooms! Since we were part of the Royal Level arm of the resort, we could dine at their private restaurant, which was a step up from the buffet offered to other guests. Because of its location, guests often book a day pass to Xcaret Park, where you can come face to face with flamingos, fish, dolphins and other wildlife. The park didn’t disappoint—even if we had some mishaps getting there.

Pro: Xcaret Park has an underground river that takes you through caves, and is worth the cost. The hotel, meanwhile, has a beautiful, sandy, seaweed-free beach surrounded by a cliff—a rarity in Cancun. The adults-only saltwater pool is gorgeous, too.

Con: There’s a big difference from the Royal level and the basic bookings—from food to room size and more. Stick to luxury level if you can afford it, as the food outside our area wasn’t anything to write home about.

Top Nosh: For sweets lovers, the pastry chef makes some of the best treats we’ve ever had. Order the cake pops and prepare to be impressed.

 

Tagged: Cancun, Los Cabos, Mexico

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Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay is a lifestyle and travel writer, and content strategist. She is a passport stamp collector with an affinity for great wine, coffee and conversation. You can find a full collection of her work at lindsaytigar.com.
Lindsay Tigar

@lindsaytigar

Freelance Travel and Lifestyle Journalist for @travelleisure, @voguemagazine, @usatoday, @bravotv @brides, @weddingwire and many more.
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