Dec. 23, 2016, was referenced frequently during my stay at the all-inclusive Paradisus Los Cabos, host of last month's Los Cabos VIP Summit.
That date marked the official reopening of the 350-room property, which Hurricane Odile had damaged two years prior when it was known as the Melia Cabo Real.
According to Rodrigo Martinez, the resort's international group sales manager, about 80% of the property was damaged. But amid that setback, executives at parent company Melia Hotels International saw an opportunity to rebrand the upscale property as part of Melia's luxury Paradisus brand and perform the attendant upgrades.
A roughly $40 million investment fueled the transformation, according to Martinez, and during a Nov. 12 reception for Melia's top producers, a fireworks display punctuated what was clearly a moment of pride for the resort's staff: For the 2016 summit, attendees could experience the resort only as a hard-hat site inspection, but in 2017, the Paradisus Los Cabos was open for business.
A few years back, I had been a guest of Paradisus properties in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, so I had a good idea of what to expect from the brand. Although the Los Cabos location doesn't match its sister properties in scale, it certainly is their equal in terms of amenities and service.
The resort's layout proved readily adaptable to the Paradisus model: all-ages accommodations on one side, adults-only on the other, with the main lobby and other common areas roughly at center.
Guests of its 30 all-ages Family Concierge suites or 98 adults-only Royal Service rooms enjoy exclusive perks such as butler service, Family Concierge and Royal Service lounges, the La Palapa dining venue for Royal Service guests and more.
But for the most part, all Paradisus guests have access to the same amenities. A big part of the resort's transformation from Melia to Paradisus was an overhaul of its dining options, which now include Naos, the breakfast buffet venue (which becomes an Argentinean-style grill at night); Bana, an Asian fusion restaurant; Mole, serving contemporary Mexican cuisine; and Gastro Bar by Martin Berasategui, an additional-charge venue specializing in Basque-inspired molecular gastronomy.
My Royal Service guestroom was noticeably smaller than the equivalent room category in Playa del Carmen, and given the reduced square footage, features such as a soaking tub were absent at the Los Cabos property. But practically identical were furnishings and amenities such as the fully stocked minibar, replenished daily.
And service, too, I found to be of the high standards I would expect from Paradisus. At checkout, I noticed staff members were wearing buttons that read: "If I'm not smiling, ask me why." It never came up: As the property nears the one-year anniversary of its rebranding and reopening, the staff of the Paradisus Los Cabos is all smiles.
Located in the Cabo Real development, the Paradisus Los Cabos is about 15 miles north of downtown Cabo San Lucas (a 20-minute drive or 40-minute bus ride), about eight miles south of downtown San Jose del Cabo. Tour operators such as Cabo Adventures
offer roundtrip transportation from the Paradisus and other Los Cabos resorts.
Nightly rates at the Paradisus Los Cabos begin at $331; visit www.melia.com