Sorry, this is going to be a LONG post because it's going to take a while to make sure everyone knows just how happy I am with Marriott.
When I first joined this forum, I was pretty vocal about my hopes and dreams for earning Ambassador status for this year because I'd be going on my honeymoon. I joined in on several posts about maximizing bonus programs. Spent ten total weeks last year hotel hopping every night when bonuses were paid on stays, not nights. I worked hard to maximize every opportunity I could in prep for our honeymoon. By the time it came to make my reservations, I was sitting on 1.3 million points and 10 Suite Night Awards.
My ambassador worked with me on a fantastic strategy. We really wanted to book at Solaz in Cabo, but they only allowed basic rooms to be booked on points. We really wanted to make sure we had a fantastic room, so we simultaneously booked a room at the Cabo JW Marriott Griffin Club in case an upgrade at Solaz wasn't possible. So, I was sitting on almost 900k points worth of reservations between both hotels, 5 SNA's attached to Solaz in hopes of getting a Gallery Grand 1 Br Suite with a plunge pool. The idea being that my Ambassador would call me 5 days ahead of the honeymoon to see if we can get the SNA's to go through, and if not, we'd cancel the Solaz reservation. If they did, we'd cancel the JW.
As promised, Jackie gave me a call the day before our wedding (5 days ahead of our honeymoon.) The SNA's didn't go through right away, but she called me back later in the afternoon to let me know that she was still working hard at it. As luck would have it, my phone beeped while I was on the phone with her. I checked my email and saw that they had gone through for our desired room! We now had a 5 night stay worth almost $10k cash rate for only 240k points. This allowed me to cancel my 625k point JW reservation, bringing my total points back up to 1 million AFTER my honeymoon. Oops! Apparently I worked a little harder than I needed to, lol.
So the SNA's worked as designed. My Ambassador was being super helpful. How was Solaz?
Glad you asked. Hoooolllllyyyyyy **** were they amazing. I mean, I've never stayed at a "luxury resort" before, so perhaps my judgement is jaded because the nicest hotels I've stayed at are the occasional full service Marriott or the JW in Phoenix. But man, between Solaz's Artisan program and my Ambassador, this was truly an unforgettable trip where they went above and beyond at every opportunity. A valet opened my car door for me and said hello, even knew our names. As soon as we approached the check-in desk, they brought my wife and I two Moscow Mules which our Ambassador knew was my wife's favorite drink. The head Artisan, Paul Mclean, introduced himself and Ramon, who would be our personal Artisan for the trip. Paul explained that he was basically there to make sure than anything and everything we needed was taken care of. We got to know Paul very well throughout our stay. He's an incredibly nice gentleman with a VERY similar story to that of me and my wife. An Australian, we asked how Paul ended up in Cabo and he held up the ring on his finger. We laughed about how we both found love a long way away and how everything fell into place afterward.
Ramon took us down to our huge room. We entered what I thought was the front door to our room only to find out it was the front door to our own private courtyard. The real front door had a welcome message to us attached. Ramon opened the door where we were greeted with an iced bottle of champagne, a chocolate, and a handwritten note from the resort GM, Jullianne. As we entered the bedroom, we were blow away again seeing a framed photo from our engagement photo on the bed with yet another hand-written note from our Ambassador waiting for us. Someone did their research (stalking?? Don't care, it was an awesome touch!). And on an end table was yet ANOTHER personalized note with a gorgeous albalone shell as a gift to us to remember the trip. The room itself was perfect in every way. As a former AV geek, I was super impressed to find the room controlled with Crestron. Streaming music throughout the suite was super simple with Chrome Cast, even out on the back patio. The suite had it's own outdoor shower to clean off sand after a long day at the beach. The lighting throughout was a work of art.
We spent our first day at the Ojo de Liebre spa. The facility was absolutely breathtaking and the service was absolutely incredible. I had never had a spa day, so this was a new experience for me. The wifey has had plenty of treatments in the past and said this one was far and way the best she had ever received. After the spa, we walked around the resort just to explore and take in the architecture. 5 days is NOT enough to really absorb just how awe-inspiring the facility is. You can spend days just noticing the small details put into making the whole place one giant art exhibit.
The food? Well... Suffice to say I weigh a LOT more than I did before we got there. It's a rare opportunity to have 5 dinners in a row at 5 different restaurants at the same resort, and each night you both say, "wow, I think this is the best dinner I've ever had." We highly recommend El Cardon. We started with some grilled bone marrow to be adventurous and it was to die for. We then ordered the "Northern Barbecue for two". This was a complete lie. It was more like a barbecue for six... To put it in perspective, we may have been the first luxury resort guests in history to ask for a microwave to be brought to our room the next day so we could nuke our leftovers lol. Side note: the microwave was there in literally five minutes. Oh, and the free breakfast for Platinums at Cascabel was fabulous, also saving us $65 a day before gratuity.
We finished our final night with a private dinner on the beach. I had seen photos of this opportunity on the resort's website, and Paul had it set up for us. They hand-crafted a teepee on the beach for us (in the middle of a huge afternoon wind storm) and surrounded it with lanterns and these super cool light globes. It was such a fantastic way to close out the trip.
Paul and the concierge team effortlessly set up a few adventures for us off the resort. We went to Wild Canyon for a camel back adventure, zip lining, and what ended up being a completely private sunset sailing trip.
We had a completely personalized trip at a stunningly gorgeous resort where we were waited on hand-and-foot the entire trip. Our room was upgraded to a huge suite costing us only 240k points and 5 SNA's. If that doesn't embody what a Luxury Resort, the SNA program, and the Ambassador program should stand for, I don't know what does. I know some of you are still frustrated with your Bonvoy experiences, but I had to dote on Bonvoy for going way out of their way to make this such an unforgettable trip for us.
Thank you to Jackie, Paul, Ramon, Jazmin, and everyone else at Solaz for ruining every other hotel stay for the rest of my life