The Westin Los Cabos Resort Villas & Spa is back in business after an extended closure for restoration in the wake of Hurricane Odile's devastation in the fall of 2014.
According to general manager Beat Meier, the then-20-year-old hotel's "structure was OK, but after the hurricane, it was a shell."
That storm set the stage for a total overhaul, during which the property's 243 rooms were converted into 147 studio and two-bedroom units. All have sitting and dining spaces, kitchenettes and washer/dryers. All have balconies, too.
The swimming pools, spa, children's facilities and food outlets were totally redone, and a deli was added.
The reconstruction period coincided with a 2016 corporate restructuring that saw the Los Cabos property, and others, spun off from their parent company, Starwood, into a stand-alone vacation club business called Vistana Signature Experiences.
This summer, I attended the official relaunch of the property. The interiors may be vastly different, but the dark terracotta exterior looks reassuringly unchanged. Ditto for the dramatic architectural features: All guests are accommodated in two towers that together form a sweeping arc that curves out toward the Sea of Cortes.
Furthermore, the West Tower features a huge arch, purposely suggestive of the area's iconic rock formation called the Arch. The hotel's arch provides some shade for the swimming pools plus striking views from the property's public spaces to the beach and the sea.
The 10,000-square-foot spa and fitness facilities encompass seven treatment rooms, expansive spaces for bathing and relaxation and the WestinWorkout fitness studio. Golf is off site, three miles away, while lighted tennis courts are on site.
Westin Los Cabos now has barbecue stations on the grounds, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Mercadito, the new deli, is meant to be the go-to shop for guests who are barbecuing or using the kitchenettes.
Other hotel eateries serve meals in casual settings; there are even light menu choices at the Margaritas swim-up poolside bar.
But the upscale dining choice, El Ciruelo, is located at the small timeshare resort next door called Baja Point, formerly Grand Regina. El Ciruelo specializes in Latin American cuisine and, set on a hilltop, it offers striking views of the sea and the sunset.
In June, Vistana took control of the 32-unit Baja Point by buying all its unsold timeshares. Baja Point's two- and three-bedroom units are designed so they can be rented as studios with the second and third bedrooms offered as separate hotel rooms, for a total of 76 keys.
The units are being renovated to align them with Westin standards and style; once the renovations are completed, the property will be called Baja Point at Westin Los Cabos Resort Villas & Spa.
As for the Westin Los Cabos itself, a newcomer to timeshares, Meier said it would be typical for its early years if owners were 10% to 20% of guests. For now, though, all the guests are hotel customers, he said, and North Americans are 90% of the total.
Room rates vary widely, depending on season. For example, a studio can be $199 per night or up to $899; rates are 50% to 90% more for a two-bedroom in the same time periods. See www.westinloscabos.com