A busy couple of days. It began with a flurry of inquiries via VRBO (listings here and here). The way I work those is to quickly answer any questions, if any, then tack on the boilerplate with all the rates and options. It’s fire & forget. Never a follow-up, I don’t add their emails to a list, and they’ll never hear from me again unless I hear back from them with specific interest. When I do, I go to work to check availability, set them up with online booking, then lock it in and get their paperwork to them.
Ideally, I can have it all done in an hour or two, all online, zero physical paperwork. So, out of all the inquiries, perhaps 5 or 6, three got back to me, lots of questions, spoke with one woman in New Jersey, called the booking office and got confirmation on availability for all three, set them up with online booking via OwnerReservations.
Then I met Scott for breakfast. He’s the sales guy I fist bought from just over three years ago and have since popped for two additional contracts, the latest one just three weeks ago. Part of the reason I’m here, as I said, is to experience the place myself after setting up 54 reservations for others over the last three years. The other part was to get the low-down on the new Solmar Co. resort HKS Architects designed: Rancho San Lucas Vacation Club, 4-5 miles up the coast. My Grand Solmar contracts will give me access to this property as well.
Whereas, The Grand Solmar is a reasonably small property—locked in by a mountain, ocean, and The Playa Grande (another, older Solmar property)—that will have 250 rooms and suits when the final building is complete in July, this new property is enormous, like 3 miles along the beach, and will have 600 rooms, suites, and villas. It’ll have a Greg Norman golf course, a road straight from the airport (already under construction), a salt-water lagoon, lazy river, and a wave pool. So, it’s more like a Disney resort property in terms of all the family centric stuff.
Incidentally, in case you think Grand Solmar isn’t world class, 1,136 of 1,373 reviews on Trip Advisor are 5-Star. Only 17 reviews are 1-Star—the sorts that would complain about accommodations in The Taj Mahal. Pretty much in line with my feedback. Out of 54 bookings, only 1 complaint over construction noise and an unavoidable power outage.
So, after all that, I had lunch for $7 including tax and tip, by the pool.
Then, having been there a while and considering the idea, I sent emails out to the four sets of my guests staying here concurrently: “Hey, if you happen to see a guy with long hair, a black flag tat on one arm and a devil on the other, stop and say hi.” I almost immediately heard back from George: “I saw that yesterday, see you soon.” A couple of hours later, Michael and his daughter swam up in the Sunset pool and we chatted for a long while. I’d left the blog address in my signature, and he’d already read my previous two posts. It’s really gratifying to see families so enjoying themselves.
I met Scott down at the lobby for dinner. He’s lived here for 9 years, and this is his favorite place:
That plate goes for a whopping $22. The lobster was firm & tender, like lobster should be and the clarified butter comes in one of those ramekin thingies with a flame under it. The shrimp was crazy good and the “cocktail” sauce? Slightly spicy, slightly sweet. Reminded me of chutney. So highly recommended. Can’t wait to take Bea there. Scott insisted we go early, so we were seated immediately, by about 6:15. When we left about an hour later, there was a huge group waiting for tables.
Scott showed me around Cabo a bit, pointing out some other restaurants of interest, like Hacienda Cocina. Then he dropped my back and I stopped by the lobby bar to chat with folks which seems to come so naturally in a place where most are here for a week, Saturday-Saturday, or Sunday to Sunday. You keep encountering the same folks over and over, and it’s quite nice.
Then I sat quietly by the pool for about an hour, marveling at how the ambient temperature was literally perfect.
Having fielded some questions for all three of those potential bookings during the day and getting them all set to finalize, I was a bit disappointed that nothing had come through. So, hit the sac. When I got up this morning at 7, there were two bookings, a 1BR Suite and a Studio Suite. That just paid for this whole vacation, times 4.
Jumped on the phone at 8 when the booking office opened, and Marta answered the phone—one of six bi-lingual call-center people (5 gals, one guy) I talk to regularly. She took care of both bookings promptly, like always, and I told her I had a surprise.
Two hours later, I walked the 5 minutes over to Playa Grande where their office is located and walked through the door. Total “Rock Star” moment ensues. Turns out that while a few members do rent their places out, nobody does it even close to what I do, or to this extent. Also turns out I get dispensation over a number of policies and procedures, such that I can get on & off the phone fast. It was really surreal and a total joy, to finally meet people I’ve spoken with dozens of times over three years, but never met face-to-face.
Lunch by the pool after wasn’t really photo worthy, as I figured ‘well, you’ve got to have at least one poolside club sandwich on vacation.’ Obligatory. And I’m just a bit OD’d on fish and shellfish, so I believe I’ll be heading over to the Ruth’s Chris on the marina for that Big Filet, medium rare, and perhaps a Cesar salad. I’ll chock it up to penance to the doGs of low-carb dieting for my wayward ways of late (…and I had a Mexican, cane sugar Coca-Cola with that sandwich, too).