Kimpton Mas Olas, Hyatt’s Former (Deadly) Rancho Pescadero

Kimpton Mas Olas, Hyatt’s Former (Deadly) Rancho Pescadero

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In late 2022, we saw the opening of Rancho Pescadero, a Hyatt Unbound Collection property in Baja California. Several months later the hotel shut down, after two Americans were found dead, due to an alleged case of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you’ve been curious about what the future holds for this property, now we know (thanks to Corey for flagging this).

Hyatt’s Rancho Pescadero becomes Kimpton’s Mas Olas

Kimpton Mas Olas is accepting reservations for stays as of April 1, 2024. The resort is located in the small village of El Pescadero, Mexico, in Baja California Sur. The resort is a roughly 70-minute drive from Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), and just a little bit closer to Cabo San Lucas.

Kimpton Mas Olas is a 30-acre oceanfront property, where the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains meet the Pacific Ocean. The property features 103 rooms (including 13 villas), three restaurants and bars, a coffee shop, a 25,000 square foot spa (including a gym and lap pool), pickleball courts, pilates and yoga studios, and more.

Kimpton is of course IHG’s high-end lifestyle brands, so you’ll be able to earn and redeem IHG One Rewards points for stays here.

Regarding this opening (and the controversy surrounding it), IHG has issued the following statement:

IHG Hotels & Resorts and its brands were not affiliated with the resort when the unfortunate incident occurred. Kimpton Mas Olas Resort & Spa is now led by new brand management and leadership. The resort underwent a rigorous top-to-bottom re-inspection of all hotel safety processes and operating systems, including mechanical equipment, and continues to invest in the latest technology and processes to ensure the safety of our guests and employees. All changes and improvements have been validated by IHG Hotels & Resorts’ safety and risk team as well as third-party experts and meet local government safety requirements. Our goal is to bring the IHG and Kimpton experience to travelers traveling to Todos Santos through the resort’s beautifully designed spaces, opportunities to relax and indulge, and expertly crafted restaurant and bar experiences. We look forward to welcoming guests through our doors soon. 

Kimpton Mas Olas villa

Would you stay at a resort with this history?

I’m curious how OMAAT readers feel about this situation. Ever since the hotel closed about nine months ago, I was wondering what would become of this property. I figured it would reopen eventually with a different name, though I wasn’t sure if it would be independent, or if another hotel group would be willing to sign the property. For what it’s worth, it’s my understanding that the hotel still has the same owner.

With that in mind, I’m curious, would you stay at this property? I imagine the resort is safe at this point, in the sense that any carbon monoxide concerns have been addressed (at least I’d hope so — though you can always bring your own carbon monoxide detector, just to be safe).

However, personally I couldn’t bring myself to actually stay here. The negligence shown by the people running the hotel the first time around disgusts me beyond words. It’s one thing if the death of two guests was an honest mistake that no one could have predicted, but clearly that wasn’t the case.

A former manager at the property had revealed that the carbon monoxide detectors at the property sounded frequently over a period of several months, and after repeated complaints from guests about loud alarms, the property reportedly decided to disable the detectors.

Other employees claimed that management ignored complaints about the strong smell of gas from both guests and employees. For that matter, a few days before the two guests were found dead, a housekeeper cleaning that same room reportedly fell ill because of suspected gas poisoning.

As much as I adore Baja California and would love to visit this property in general, I just don’t think I’d actually enjoy myself, knowing what I know. But that’s just me.

Kimpton Mas Olas property

Bottom line

Kimpton Mas Olas is accepting reservations for stays as of April 1, 2024, and it’s a beautiful resort in Baja California. The catch is that this is the former Hyatt Rancho Pescadero property, where two guests died due to carbon monoxide poisoning, in an entirely preventable situation.

I was curious what would become of this property, and now we know. Personally I’m steering clear.

What do you make of Kimpton Mas Olas? Would you stay here?

Conversations (38)
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  1. SimoS Guest

    Here's the proofread version:

    Hi, if anyone reading this has any information about that hotel, can you PLEASE reach out to the family? Just send a DM on Instagram via the account @lovingmemoryogjohnheathco. Any information you can share with them would be very helpful. THANK YOU

  2. Karen Kariuki Guest

    The ownership (Lisa Harper) has NOT changed. New name of hotel but likely same practices of negligence. Can't fathom how she lives with herself. Terrifying.

  3. RS Guest

    I understand your position however I feel that your deduction and logic are grossly flawed. The people who were running the property at the time of that tragic incident were the Hyatt management group under contract with the original owners of the property. The original brand and owners ran that property for approximately 10 years prior to the update and renovation completed under the Hyatt flag. Again I am not advocating against the Hyatt brand...

    I understand your position however I feel that your deduction and logic are grossly flawed. The people who were running the property at the time of that tragic incident were the Hyatt management group under contract with the original owners of the property. The original brand and owners ran that property for approximately 10 years prior to the update and renovation completed under the Hyatt flag. Again I am not advocating against the Hyatt brand and what happened was tragic but to improperly access blame does no one any good.

    I had stayed several times at Rancho when it was operated by the original owner and I loved the property and had an incredible experience staying there. It was truly one of the most charming and unique resorts of its’ kind and from what I know about the renovated and updated version it looks like an even more luxurious version of the original property. My fiancé and I are looking forward to staying again at the resort to experience it again soon.

    It is fairly reasonable to assume that when a global brand like Hyatt takes control of a property that they themselves take full control of the operations of that property in all aspects. I can imagine that this has been a traumatizing time for alll who were impacted by the incident and have since read that such incidents are far more common than anyone would ever imagine. My heart goes out to those =families…and also the owners of the property who obviously put their lives work into creating such a stunning place meant for enjoyment and rejuvenation and could have never imagined going through such a tragic time as well.

    1. Glenn Gordon Guest

      Though I do not disagree with your ultimate conclusion, I do have a problem with your incorrect statement re. Hyatt's control. Rancho Pescadero was part of Hyatt's Unbound Collection, an eclectic group of properties for which their "owners and developers have the freedom to focus on what makes their property exceptional while leveraging Hyatt's global distribution network and award-winning World of Hyatt loyalty program." Hyatt never took full control of this property's operations, so the...

      Though I do not disagree with your ultimate conclusion, I do have a problem with your incorrect statement re. Hyatt's control. Rancho Pescadero was part of Hyatt's Unbound Collection, an eclectic group of properties for which their "owners and developers have the freedom to focus on what makes their property exceptional while leveraging Hyatt's global distribution network and award-winning World of Hyatt loyalty program." Hyatt never took full control of this property's operations, so the issue with the carbon monoxide detectors and the deaths of their guests was completely a private owner problem.

    2. Garry Simms Guest

      So Hyatt let the inmates run the asylum and then branded it as a Hyatt property while trying to keep the liability at arms length. The deaths were incredibly preventable and if Hyatt wanted to put their name on the property (and likely pour money into it in exchange for funneling off some of the revenue) then they should have applied what are objectively bare minimum standards. I understand no one wants the buck to...

      So Hyatt let the inmates run the asylum and then branded it as a Hyatt property while trying to keep the liability at arms length. The deaths were incredibly preventable and if Hyatt wanted to put their name on the property (and likely pour money into it in exchange for funneling off some of the revenue) then they should have applied what are objectively bare minimum standards. I understand no one wants the buck to stop with them these days but too darn bad. "Freedom to focus on what makes their property exceptional" is a vast canyon from freedom to ignore basic safety practices and since Hyatt has rebranded this place again - its not improper to assume that they have once again avoided basic safety protocols.

  4. Sharon Guest

    I live next to the resort and I know that they have a septic system problem as well. The pumper trucks run every day and there aren’t any guests yet!!! The owners haven’t changed and how can we be sure the problems are fixed ?

  5. RF Diamond

    No thanks, I'll skip this place.

  6. Lars Guest

    Ownership hasn't changed, so neither has my opinion of the place and those who preside over what ultimately goes on there.

    And yes, ownership is where fault ultimately lies. You can flag a hotel under any brand that you want, but at the end of the day ownership is ultimately in charge of what actually happens on the ground at the hotel. This is why all hotels of the same brand aren't created equal....

    Ownership hasn't changed, so neither has my opinion of the place and those who preside over what ultimately goes on there.

    And yes, ownership is where fault ultimately lies. You can flag a hotel under any brand that you want, but at the end of the day ownership is ultimately in charge of what actually happens on the ground at the hotel. This is why all hotels of the same brand aren't created equal. Varying ownership has varying standards, attention to detail, etc. As far as the flag/brand, all ownership has to do is the minimum not to get deflagged.

    Sure, the management team/company has fault, but who selected them? Who watches them?

  7. Fred M Guest

    “…. ignored complaints about the strong smell of gas from both guests and employees…..” That would be the burritos, eh?

    1. Lars Guest

      Hey-o!!!!!

      Nice one, Fred!!!

  8. Mark Monteiro Guest

    My wife and I were actually staying at Rancho Pescadero the night this happened. It couldn’t possibly have been handled worse.

    We were never told what was going on. No one came to check on us in our room. No one told us to be on the lookout for symptoms. And no one asked us if we had anything to add that might help get to the bottom of this. All of this despite...

    My wife and I were actually staying at Rancho Pescadero the night this happened. It couldn’t possibly have been handled worse.

    We were never told what was going on. No one came to check on us in our room. No one told us to be on the lookout for symptoms. And no one asked us if we had anything to add that might help get to the bottom of this. All of this despite a history of problems and two firefighters who had to be rushed to the hospital after entering the room. Not a word. From the owners, Hyatt or the local authorities. (To be "fair", Hyatt did offer to reimburse my points, IF I signed an agreement absolving them of all responsibility. Seriously.)

    That said, while I would never stay there again, I would like to see the hotel reopen. Under the same conditions as Regis mentioned in an earlier comment. There needs to be a definitive, public answer as to what happened, what has been done to fix the problem and who is responsible. I can’t imagine anyone ever feeling comfortable closing their eyes there until that happens.

    It is a stunning property that provides employment and opportunity for the locals. Right now, it is a big, sad, lifeless crater sitting in the middle of a vibrant, fun community. A sad reminder of a tragedy that probably could have been avoided.

    1. Biglaw V10 Partner Guest

      It couldn’t possibly have been handled worse.

      You could have died of gas poisoning...

      We were never told what was going on. No one came to check on us in our room. No one told us to be on the lookout for symptoms. And no one asked us if we had anything to add that might help get to the bottom of this.

      They probably didn't want to cause unnecessary distress.

      All of this despite...

      It couldn’t possibly have been handled worse.

      You could have died of gas poisoning...

      We were never told what was going on. No one came to check on us in our room. No one told us to be on the lookout for symptoms. And no one asked us if we had anything to add that might help get to the bottom of this.

      They probably didn't want to cause unnecessary distress.

      All of this despite a history of problems and two firefighters who had to be rushed to the hospital after entering the room. Not a word. From the owners, Hyatt or the local authorities.

      My apartment neighbor recently burned down their unit. Not a word from the building management or fire department. I only found out when the entire trash room filled up with burned torn-apart furniture, and then the New York City Fire Department posted an order to vacate on their front door. But my apartment building is non-combustible (fireproof) so the fire in one unit affected no others.

      To be "fair", Hyatt did offer to reimburse my points, IF I signed an agreement absolving them of all responsibility. Seriously.

      Lol. I'd sign anyway because I am a high powered attorney who can argue that the agreement was illegal or unenforceable in some way.

    2. RS Guest

      And again...this would be MANAGEMENT and NOT ownership that was handling those aspects of that tragic night. All I am saying is that this was indeed tragic...and to now be blame acessing in the wrong manner and piling onto what seems like the easy target...does no one any good and in fact could be damaging to people (the property owner) who may have no fault in how you and the situation were handled that night.

    3. SimoS Guest

      Hi, can you reach out to the family? They created an IG account to remember Johny and connect with friends. @lovingmemoryogjohnheathco I just think that any information you can share with them would be very helpful. I imagine they are very upset that the hotel reopened and it’s the same owner!!! It’s outrageous.

  9. Jordan Diamond

    I would only stay there if it were under new, reputable management (a management company with a great safety record). If the same parent company is re-opening the hotel under a different brand, then NO.

    1. Biglaw V10 Partner Guest

      It is under new management, but the same ownership.

      In practice what this means, nobody knows.

  10. George pickens Guest

    Why are you blaming ownership when Hyatt was the group managing the property? Hyatt was also the group that got sued, not the owners. I’ve met the owners - they’re lovely people who have been putting money back into the pescadero community since the mid 90s. To put this article out right when they’re reopening is incredibly malicious.

    1. Albert Vitale Guest

      The others may be your friends but they were absolutely culpable. You pining for them doesn't change the facts.

    2. Biglaw V10 Partner Guest

      Let me introduce 2 facts.

      - At this resort, people died under their ownership.
      - After the deaths, a luxury travel agent corresponded with one of the owners on Whatsapp about the tragedy. The owner replied with an emoji.

    3. Glenn Gordon Guest

      The Hyatt group was not managing the property. This property was part of Hyatt's Unbound Collection: privately run resorts with the benefits of Hyatt's reservation system, marketing, and loyalty program.

  11. Rick Guest

    This property is stunning and beautiful with extraordinary food and chef! I’ve stayed here multiple times it’s always been amazing. I respect IHG and believe they have ensured the property has been inspected and is safe. I highly recommend if you are looking to go to Baja California and stay at an amazing resort away from the craziness of Cabo to try this resort! You’ll love it!

    1. Biglaw V10 Partner Guest

      I respect IHG

      IHG sucks. A lot of hotels that don't qualify to be Hilton, Hyatt, or Marriott become IHG hotels.

  12. Curbanc-68 Guest

    Like the rest of us on this site, I don’t pretend to know ALL the facts surrounding the issue, but I *can* speak from my experience at this property.

    I stayed at the original Rancho Pescadero several times when it was a small 28-room hotel; I stayed at the newly expanded and renovated Rancho Pescadero when it opened under the Hyatt flag two years ago; and I have eaten at the signature oceanfront restaurant at...

    Like the rest of us on this site, I don’t pretend to know ALL the facts surrounding the issue, but I *can* speak from my experience at this property.

    I stayed at the original Rancho Pescadero several times when it was a small 28-room hotel; I stayed at the newly expanded and renovated Rancho Pescadero when it opened under the Hyatt flag two years ago; and I have eaten at the signature oceanfront restaurant at Rancho— called Kahal— that opened last fall.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the hotel operator responsible for all operations? Whatever was going on during Hyatt control is the responsibility of Hyatt, just as now it’s the responsibility of their current operator. I know this hotel was independent prior to Hyatt taking over. Regardless of the owner (except when they were independent), I don’t see how they bear responsibility here.

    If Hyatt was operating the hotel, we need to ask Hyatt the question.

    The one thing I do know that hasn’t been shared here is that MAS OLAS (new resort name) just completed a ten-day full buyout without incident, at least that we’ve heard of….
    so is it the hotel, the owners, or the operator?

    For those keeping score: no incidents during the 10 years they were an independent hotel, no incidents with the full buyout over the past couple weeks, yet an incident when operated by Hyatt.

    Since this is not the first wrongful death in a Hyatt in Mexico (see
    https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/san-diego-couple-reaches-settlement-after-toddlers-9-story-fall-at-mexico-hyatt-resort/3435563), rather than write off a property entirely, one might alternatively reconsider staying at Hyatt hotels in Mexico.

    1. Biglaw V10 Partner Guest

      If Hyatt was operating the hotel, we need to ask Hyatt the question.

      Hyatt was not operating the hotel. Hyatt was just the brand name that the hotel owners paid for the right to use.

  13. pez Guest

    It's interesting how little we think about our own safety. On our RTW retirement trip, we've been frequently staying at AirBnBs that have no carbon monoxide detector. While that's routine, there are often no smoke detectors either. Our current apartment in Hanoi requires keys to exit the unit, the building, and at night the outer gate, in a very congested area. I've found myself looking for alternative escapes. Don't just worry about big chain hotels...

    It's interesting how little we think about our own safety. On our RTW retirement trip, we've been frequently staying at AirBnBs that have no carbon monoxide detector. While that's routine, there are often no smoke detectors either. Our current apartment in Hanoi requires keys to exit the unit, the building, and at night the outer gate, in a very congested area. I've found myself looking for alternative escapes. Don't just worry about big chain hotels when it comes to safety!

  14. Scott Guest

    I stayed at this property just months before the tragedy, we are lucky we didn't get sick or worse and now we know why the fire pit didn't work. The property is beautiful, but the owner is ugly and it was her failure that led to these preventable and unfortunate deaths. As long as she still owns the property I will never stay there and put money in her pocket. She has blood on her hands.

  15. David Guest

    We stayed there a few weeks before the *incident* for our baby moon, and continue to be haunted by what-ifs and memories that weren't anything at the time ("I'm sorry, your room's outdoor fire pit will not be usable during your stay; we're doing work at the moment so all of the gas lines on property are turned off.") Personally, I would never go back, given the extraordinary negligence of what went on there. But...

    We stayed there a few weeks before the *incident* for our baby moon, and continue to be haunted by what-ifs and memories that weren't anything at the time ("I'm sorry, your room's outdoor fire pit will not be usable during your stay; we're doing work at the moment so all of the gas lines on property are turned off.") Personally, I would never go back, given the extraordinary negligence of what went on there. But that's me and based on my past experience. I'm sure that, moving forward, it's probably going to be plenty safe.

    For anyone considering, I offer the following feedback:

    It is a *stunning* property in the middle of nowhere. It is surrounded by a nothing village and desert and that's it. It feels like a true escape to another planet. The architecture and landscaping are extraordinary in their beauty. A very zen retreat. Comfortable rooms. Good (not great) food.

    BUT: At least when we were there, the beauty betrays some functional problems. The fancy umbrellas around the pool are essentially doilies on a stick, so they don't actually provide any shade. It is not possible to lay by the pool without being in full sun. The ocean is *not* swimmable there, and is actually quite a trek to get to. At least when we were there, there was no food or beverage service on the beach. So it's a beautiful beach resort, but don't go there if you're going to be able to actually make use of the beach.

    1. Stephanie Johnson Guest

      David would you stay in this area again? sounds like there are available homes for rent and wondering if this would be a nice area to stay. I do not believe I would stay here.

  16. Regis Guest

    For me to stay there the following would have to happen:

    - A full account of what occured in the property that led to the death of the guests;

    - Changes implemented to prevent reocurrence;

    - accountability of the owners and management involved.

    I am unconvinced any of this has happened, or will happen. So much easier and cheaper just to rename the hotel as the public at large won't know any better.

  17. Sel, D. Guest

    Reopening on April 1…..shows how out of touch they are.

  18. UncleRonnie Gold

    I'd stay there, but bring my own CO alarm.

    1. klsd Guest

      I would not reward the same ownership (probably new corporation name + setup) with any of my money. I would guess the local 'authorities' have been appropriately bribed for approving any installation + work.

      Tough for the local workers + perhaps small local businesses who lost jobs, etc.

  19. RP Guest

    Do we know if ownership has changed hands? If so, shouldn’t we give the new owners the benefit of trust we provide other hotels when we stay? Agree if it’s the same ownership with new branding, to stay the hell away

  20. Tom Guest

    Ben, a question - is this how you also feel about the 737 Max? If not, why not?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Tom -- That's a fair and very good question! While I have my frustration with Boeing, I don't quite view that the same way for a couple of reasons.

      First of all, while Boeing definitely cut some corners, I don't think the company was quite as negligent as the hotel owners were. There's a difference between cutting corners and turning off carbon monoxide alarms because they're too inconvenient.

      But I think the bigger...

      @ Tom -- That's a fair and very good question! While I have my frustration with Boeing, I don't quite view that the same way for a couple of reasons.

      First of all, while Boeing definitely cut some corners, I don't think the company was quite as negligent as the hotel owners were. There's a difference between cutting corners and turning off carbon monoxide alarms because they're too inconvenient.

      But I think the bigger reason is because we go on vacations to relax (most people don't go on Boeing 737 MAXs to relax). There are an endless number of properties to stay at, and I just think I'd be thinking too much about this incident to enjoy myself.

      Let me be clear, I don't think it's wrong for anyone to stay here, and I assume it's safe. We just all have our quirks and random lines we draw in the sand, and for me, this is one of them. And frankly, I can't fully justify it.

    2. SZ Guest

      How can you place blame on the owners and call them negligent when a hotel operator, as well known and established like Hyatt, is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the hotel? Are you familiar with hotels?

      Not attacking you here, just very curious. Seems like you have a remarkably biased opinion with little to no factual evidence or backing in what you're saying.

    3. Don Guest

      Hyatt was not running the hotel. RP was using Hyatts reservation, HR and other services.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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KN Guest

It has not. Same crazy owner.

2
RP Guest

Do we know if ownership has changed hands? If so, shouldn’t we give the new owners the benefit of trust we provide other hotels when we stay? Agree if it’s the same ownership with new branding, to stay the hell away

2
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Tom -- That's a fair and very good question! While I have my frustration with Boeing, I don't quite view that the same way for a couple of reasons. First of all, while Boeing definitely cut some corners, I don't think the company was quite as negligent as the hotel owners were. There's a difference between cutting corners and turning off carbon monoxide alarms because they're too inconvenient. But I think the bigger reason is because we go on vacations to relax (most people don't go on Boeing 737 MAXs to relax). There are an endless number of properties to stay at, and I just think I'd be thinking too much about this incident to enjoy myself. Let me be clear, I don't think it's wrong for anyone to stay here, and I assume it's safe. We just all have our quirks and random lines we draw in the sand, and for me, this is one of them. And frankly, I can't fully justify it.

2
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