On the morning of September 15th 2014 Hurricane Odile scored a direct hit on the resorts of Los Cabos in Mexico and left a trail of destruction in its wake. At the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos the beach, carried by the storm surge, ended up in the swimming pool; all but one of the palm trees were flattened and staff and guests were left in tears at the scenes of devastation.
But if life hands you lemons, you use them to make lemon meringue pie. Miracles have been wrought in the year since the hurricane and the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos - a five-star plus super-luxury all-inclusive resort for the whole family - is back to more than its former glory. If you're looking for a place to escape from the gloomy skies of a Seattle winter, then you really don't need to look much further.
Focused round two enormous swimming pools - one for all ages and one adults only - which lead down to a white sand beach and the sparkling blue Sea of Cortes, the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos is a 'choose your own adventure' story disguised as a resort. Morning yoga or morning lie-in? Green juice at breakfast or tequila tasting in the afternoon? Relaxing massage or vigorous game of beach volleyball? An evening by the fire pit or an evening show in the theatre? The only stress you're likely to encounter is that of having to choose between all the different options for entertainment and relaxation.
From the moment you enter the lobby, you know you're about to enjoy a very special experience. Local interior designers were brought in to advise on the resort's redecoration and have created a handcrafted, contemporary Mexican ambiance in shades of rust, ochre, gold and peony pink, with absolutely no kitsch Mexicana to be found.
The 591 rooms - all fully refurbished after the hurricane - are large and supremely comfortable, with luxurious bathrooms and rainfall showers, balconies, sitting areas - all rooms come equipped with sofa beds - and the famous Hyatt beds. The whole resort had to be fully rewired after the hurricane and it shows in the state-of-the-art lighting and the super fast and reliable wi-fi in every corner of the resort.
A resort is only as good as its staff though, and the staff here are utterly delightful. Nothing is too much trouble and I was greeted everywhere with a big smile and a cheery 'hola!' Fairies would sneak into my room morning and evening and the wait staff at all the restaurants and bars were charm personified.
And as for the food? Well you'll need to go into intensive training before your stay. Hyatt likes to call their Ziva brand 'the evolution of all-inclusive' and this is all-inclusive done on a luxury scale, with all the food you can eat and complimentary drinks available at any one of the 12 enticing bars and restaurants on site.
Embark on a culinary world tour from the beachside Italian restaurant to the beachside Argentinian steak house, via the newly-extended Asian restaurant, the Spanish tapas bar, the romantic French restaurant and the Mexican buffet. Partake of the biggest breakfast buffet I've ever seen, or just hang out in one of the seven bars and snack bars dotted throughout the resort. Everything comes as part of the deal and is spectacularly good. Other all-inclusive hotels often operate from a central kitchen, but here each of the restaurants has its own specialist kitchen and chef. The décor in every restaurant has been carefully thought out too, down to the beautiful serveware and dishes. Drinks are included, though you can pay for premium wines, while the all-inclusive ethos extends to complimentary room service and little petit fours arriving every evening at turndown.
The only things not included in the cost of your stay are the world-class spa - though you should definitely indulge in a treatment or two - golf and any excursions you take, making this the perfect venue for a destination wedding or corporate meeting.
Even though it's tempting to spend all your time at the resort, do make sure you get out to explore the area. The term 'Los Cabos' refers to the entire administrative area and takes in both San Jose del Cabo, the 'siesta' town, about a mile away from the Hyatt Ziva and Cabo San Lucas, the 'fiesta' town, about thirty minutes in a taxi from the resort. Charming San Jose del Cabo is well worth a visit - with a mission church, beautiful architecture, upscale boutiques and galleries full of gorgeous Mexican handicrafts. I loved La Dulce Ines for coffee and artisanal Mexican candy and the Field Kitchen restaurant at Flora's Organic Farm is worth the bumpy taxi ride.
Cabo is the place to go for nightlife and watersports. We took a boat trip with Cabo Adventures to see Cabo's famous stone arch and take in some snorkeling. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to snorkel through Finding Nemo, then wonder no more, the colors of Mexico's undersea wildlife are utterly breathtaking.