Hurricane Odile damage

Flickr photo by Ricardo CA

Editor’s Note – As of September, 2015, most closed hotels mentioned in this article are now open for business. The remaining few (like Westin and Melia) should be back in business by the end of 2015.

On September 14 of 2014, Hurricane Odile slammed into the the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula and hit the popular tourist region with heavy winds and waves. Since most of the resorts are right on the water, none was completely spared and some will be closed indefinitely. Many tourists have been stranded at shelters after their all-inclusive vacation turned into a sweaty survival mode situation with no electricity or running water.

Hurricane OdileAt least they have a home to go to though: many of the residents of the area—nearly all working for those tourists in some capacity—didn’t have well-built houses of reinforced concrete. Some have lost everything they had. If you want to help, the Red Cross is very active there right now.

Both the Los Cabos Airport and the La Paz airport suffered extensive damage, which has made getting the 26,000 or so tourists out of there very difficult. The Mexican military has been flying some to Tijuana, where they could cross the border. Of course most will have a long trip ahead of them after that. Some haven’t gotten their luggage back from damaged rooms and don’t know what’s left.

If you ask me, you’re probably better off waiting until at least December to go on vacation there, but the hotels and local tourism offices will tell you differently because the whole region’s economy is dependent on dollars from people like you to survive. All those locals who lost their homes still need a job to rebuild. But the region is a mess right now, with power lines down, roads destroyed, and stores looted. It’s going to take a while to get going again.

Here is the lowdown from specific Los Cabos luxury hotels though.

One&Only Palmilla – The website is a study in contrasts right now, with a hurricane damage warning being right above this line: “One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos Resort, a retreat of gracious splendour, where exhilaration and serenity thrive in blissful harmony.” Um, maybe not. I’ll believe this one more: “We are still assessing the full impact of the hurricane in order to determine when the resort will reopen and are currently in the process of rescheduling and cancelling reservations with arrival dates on or before October 15, 2014.”

If you’ve seen a severely damaged hotel on your TV screen, chances are it was a new Hyatt (looking like it was built in crappy style of roadside U.S. hotels, all steel beams and drywall) and the Hilton Los Cabos. It could be next year on either of those.

Hyatt after Odile

Twitter photo by @RodrigoEBR

This article from Travel Weekly says the Secrets properties only received cosmetic damage, but that seems doubtful for Secrets Marquis since it is right next to the Hilton. If you look at this other article in iTravel Cabo on how much hotels were damaged, the guests are telling a different story. Definitely not “Majestic. Dazzling. Lavish.” as it currently says on their website.

Rosewood’s Las Ventanas says it will provide an update next week, but they were one of the smart ones that flew all their guests to the United States before the storm hit and sent employees to hurricane shelters.

Esperanza Resort is closed until October 13 and it could get pushed back further if they find it necessary.

The pictures I’ve seen from Solmar are nasty and here’s what one reader of Jaunted wrote in: “Solmar was devastated with the vast majority of rooms blown out and the restaurant and pool area totaled.”

Some hotels either haven’t updated their websites or maybe don’t have access to do so—like Capella Pedregal. Just because you can book a reservation for two weeks from now doesn’t mean you should! It’s going to be a mess for a while. No word yet on how all those beautiful golf courses in the area fared, including some that were opening anew at the end of this year, but assume they’ve got a big clean-up job ahead of them.