Old Reviews – Cozumel Hotel and Resort

April 2008

I travelled to Cozumel from Halifax on April 17, 2008, using Air Canada Vacations.

Arrival – The Air Canada flight was right on time leaving Halifax and landing in Cozumel. Although I was punished for arriving early at the airport (so my luggage was nearly last off the plane), customs was a breeze. I pressed the button and received a green light YAHOO!! There are no luggage carts in the Cozumel airport – if you have more luggage than you can handle yourself TOUGH!! Being a diver, I had a bag of dive gear, a suitcase for clothing, and my carry on for underwater camera equipment. I found it very difficult to handle it all without a cart to pile everything on. Time share vendors are directly outside of the customs checkpoint. Ignore them – just keep walking until you’re out of the airport, where you will find the friend Air Canada reps who direct you to the correct shuttle bus.

The flight left Halifax at 7am, landed at 1030am and we were at the hotel checking in at 1115am. Surprisingly, the hotel had rooms ready for everyone arriving!! No waiting until the previous tenant’s mess had been cleaned up. Very impressive. I had emailed the hotel ahead of time asking for a 2nd floor room with a refrigerator – if you have medication that needs to be refrigerated, there is no charge for this added item. Ocean view rooms are an additional $20 per night so I skipped that.

Rooms – My room was fine. It had 2 double beds, a table with 2 chairs, a roomy dresser, 32inch TV with satellite service, a good-sized closet, washroom with toilet and bathtub. A sink was outside of the washroom. The air conditioner worked almost too well – I set it at 25C and was good for daytime and sleeping. The TV received a number of HBO and US channels – some were translated into Spanish, some had subtitles, some were just plain old English. My room was at the back of the resort – a long walk from the lobby when carrying anything heavy, and the 2nd floor translated into what most people would consider the 3rd floor. The lobby is the main floor, Floor 1 is above that, and Floor 2 is above that – so even though it is a 3 storey building, the highest floor number is 2, if that makes any sense at all.

The patio had bars and hooks for hanging dive gear – this hotel is one of the best I have experienced when it comes to catering to divers. Across the road, through the dive shop, were dive lockers (over 100 of them!!), rinse tanks and bars for hanging gear to drip. The rinse tanks were changed daily, so you didn’t just rinse in other salt water!!

Restaurants – When I visited, the hotel was at 40% capacity, so only two of the three restaurants were opened – Los Girasoles is across the street and was serving breakfast, lunch and supper. Los Pericos was next to the pool and served a limited snack menu from 11am to 6pm. Los Arcos, the largest buffet restaurant was closed during my visit. Breakfast was good – pancakes, sausage, waffles, eggs and an omelet bar every morning. Lunch was OK – a selection of various small Mexican deep fried or baked treats (tacitos, enchiladas, burritos, etc.), refried beans, salad and the omelet bar turned into a grill for fresh fish, chicken, beef, hamburgers and “fajita of the day.” There was always a choice of dessert. Supper – well, it wasn’t so good. I ate at the hotel one night and decided to venture into town for the rest of the evening meals (a good decision). Some people loved supper, I was not one of them!! Keep in mind that although I spent money eating out, the price difference between European Plan (no meals) and All-inclusive was $30 for the week and the average price of a supper in a small restaurant was $6 per person!!! Come on, eat like a Mexican!!

Bars – There was a bar in the lobby (also served coffee all day long), at Los Pericos near the pool, and at Los Girasoles for beach dwellers. There was a pina colada and strawberry slush machine at the pool, where the beach bar had more types of juices to choose from.

Beach and Pools – There is no need to fight for a lounge chair at the beach or the pool – there are plenty!! The pool is huge – the largest on Cozumel – but I was told that it wasn’t so clean as the week wore on. I did notice that it was partially drained and being scrubbed on morning on my way to the dive boat.

The beach is not really a beach in my opinion – more like sand on top of concrete with chairs and lounges. If you want a great beach, so to another resort. But if you want to snorkel, this could be the place for you as there are schools of small fish right off the pier.

Grounds – The hotel grounds are well-kept. There is remodeling going on constantly. Half way through my visit the wing below my room was closed so that they could remodel that area – I never heard construction sounds or smelled paint or chemicals, but it was obvious that work was being done as all the rooms had the curtains removed and furniture moved to the balconies.

The maid staff is competent. When I arrived there was a small dead spider on the bathroom floor and it stayed there for 3 days, though. There are small ants on the sink vanity – but that is to be expected in a tropical setting. Towels were changed daily and my sheets were changed a few times during the week.

Activities – I visited Cozumel specifically with the intent to dive my butt off – and I did just that!! I had been to Cozumel previously and had not been totally impressed with the dive shops that I dealt with. Last year I did my research while on the island and chose my shop for this year. Deep Blue (http://www.deepbluecozumel.com/) was professional, on time, and safety conscious. And most importantly, they are busy enough to break up their customers into groups according to skill level – advanced divers in one group, beginners in another group – so I got to dive the reefs I wanted, with divers I knew to be competent. Excellent!! Currents were strong, visibility was lower than during winter months, and turtles were everywhere!! I was not disappointed in the least.

Deep Blue picks up at the Hotel Cozumel wharf at 915am and 215pm daily. I did 14 dives in 6 days and was quite waterlogged at the end of the week, yet sad to leave this wonderful island and wonderful dive shop. Deep Blue offers package pricing depending on the number of dives you do with them. In the end, I paid $60 for a 2tank dive, which included tanks, weights, water and fruit between dives. We would dive one site, head to the beach for a surface interval and then be off to the next dive site – no sitting in a small cramped boat slowly chugging along to the next site as Deep Blue has very fast sun-covered boats.

The hotel did have entertainment each evening – it ranged from Latino night (dancing & singing), to Karaoke night, to “Name that Tune” – a sad excuse for entertainment as the majority of tunes were Spanish and English speaking guests wouldn’t have a clue what they were. They also gave dancing lessons on stage to willing victims.

Tours – I did not participate in any tours. Instead, I rented a car from Ace Rent A Car (acerentacar.com) which is actually Executive Rentals but comes in about $10 less per day for rental of a basic compact car. I booked online, printed out the reservation, and Executive honoured the price – which came to about $27 per day after takes and mandatory liability insurance. One word of warning – even though Ace will reserve an automatic transmission vehicle for you, don’t expect to get one!!

I drove the entire way around the island (a whopping 78km in total), stopping at Coconuts for lunch, Playa Bonita to play in the surf, Punta Sur in the hopes of seeing mating turtles, and San Gervasio ruins to see what the Mayan people left behind. A one-day island tour is $45. I rented the car for $54 over two days and made the stops I wanted to make on the timeline I wanted.

Another excursion I would suggest is heading to Playa del Carmen for an evening – it’s a 40 minute ferry ride from downtown San Miguel, Cozumel – $22 return trip. It’s a nice change to head to the mainland, do a little shopping and have dinner as long as you make the last ferry back at 11pm.

If you are going to shop, the further away from the main square you go, the better the deals!! Walk a couple of blocks and a $50 ornament magically turns into a $10 ornament that can be bartered down to $5. And if you need more cash, the HSBC banking machine at Salas & 5th Ave dispenses pesos as well as US$. The Banamex ATM across the street only has pesos. And make sure you wear your hotel bracelet when shopping – resort guests get better deals than cruise ship patrons.

The only way I could have been happier with Cozumel is if the cruise ships stayed away – oy, those cruise ship people are a different breed than I am!!! All decked out in gold and diamonds wandering the town square next to me in my tank top and shorts.

Conclusion – I am certain that I will return to Cozumel, and probably Hotel Cozumel, as well. I was very happy with the accommodations, diving and staff at the hotel. The bell staff who carried my luggage to the lobby at the end of the week was extremely happy to take my cast-off Corona, potato chips and snacks that I hadn’t eaten my way through during the week, as well as the snack sized chocolate bars I had brought from home – his kids would be having a snack that night!!

If you would like to read my entire travellogue, visit http://cozumel2008.notlong.com, and for photos of the resort, diving, and things I saw, visit http://cozumel2008A.notlong.com. If you have specific questions, feel free to contact me at ScubaChick@rogers.com

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  Hotel Cozumel   Richard ~ Canada

February 2008

Arrival – we went on feb 04 2008. we arrived at the resort in the later afternoon. we were to get welcome drinks and be greeted. no one at the resort bothered with us. we were taken to the rooms that were to have been ajoining because we have 2 teenage daughters, didn’t get the ajoining rooms but they were side by side. we were to get a welcome fruit tray, nada. they did make up for it with four chocalate cover stawberries and a bottle of cheap wine later on after i told the sunwing rep about it.

Rooms – rooms were clean and spacious. sat tv was ok. beds were hard as a rock. lots of ants around the sink and a couple of coach roaches, but this is the norm for down south. they are currently doing renovations on some of the rooms and refinishing some furniture so if you’re close to this it stinks pretty bad and there are paint fumes. we lucked out and were at the other end of the resort.

Restaurants – restaurants were average at best. best food i found was at the poolside bar. didn’t try the alacarte because i didn’t like it last time. sucked that you couldn’t get anything to eat after 10:30 unless you went to the restaurant. food was the same day after day. the paste was realy good when it was made to order, same with the omelettes in the morning.

Bars – drinks were ok but ask for a plastico cup and you get a larger drink. some of the young bartenders were not very friendly and didn’t seem to want to be there.

Beach and pools – not much of a beach, manmade. large pool was clean during the day but by the afternoon had garbage floating in it.

Grounds – grounds were clean and well kept. they were planting new plants.

Activities – stop by the inner hallway to see the iquanas if you have never seen them. nights shows were ok but it was the same shows that they did four years ago when we were there. they need to switch it up a bit. day activities were ok, but we didn’t paticipate so cannot say too much about them.

Tours – do your own tours and save big bucks. most people speak some english so you should be able to get around by cab. close to town, you can walk in five minutes. best shopping is four blocks in from the main strip. 4-5 cruise ships are in every day so best to do you’re shopping in the morning

Conclusion – paid $800cnd each, so we got what we paid for. we go because it is cozumel and don’t particularly like this resort, but the price is right. mainly divers go here so they cater more to them. divers go to bed early and are gone on dives all day. i was really pissed when the said that they were going to take our wrist bands off at twelve on the day we were leaving because we were at the resort until five in the afternoon. this would mean no drinks or food after that time. sunwing rep told them to smarten up or sunwing would take there business elsewere. we ending up getting to keep them until we left.

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  Hotel Cozumel    Tracey ~ Ontario, Canada

December 2007

After using this site extensively to book vacations I thought it only fair that I should start giving my feedback, so here it is.

We went to the Hotel Cozumel Dec 1 to Dec 8/07. We went with Air Canada Vacations. Our flight was on time leaving and landed early. Our rep at the airport got us to the taxi and we were checking in about 1 hour after landing. Check-in was easy. We were given a room on the main floor, and being divers, we wanted a second floor room so our dive gear could dry safely. So we went back to the front desk and they changed our room easily.

Resort: This resort was clean and I had no problems with anything. The pool was huge and was cleaned every day. I read on previous trip reports the the pool had cups, debris, etc. but the only time I saw any stuff in the pool is when the clientel were being slobs. The staff did their best to clean up behind people but some people just don’t have any respect for anybody. The beach is definalty not for the type of people that like to just lay around. Its small but the divers don’t use it much. Most of the people there were divers.To get to the beach you either walk across the road or you can take the tunnel underground, if you don’t like playing frogger.

Room: Our room was awesome and clean. We had two double beds and coffee maker. Our maid did funky things with our towels and a few days, she even left us flowers. Coffee maker was restocked daily. Bathroom was clean too. The balcony had places to hang your gear (not over the railings) so that made drying our gear before flying out great.

Bars: The bar did close at about 10:30 most nights, but most of the clientel were divers, so it wasn’t a real issue. The last night we were there they kept the bar open late, but there were ALOT of people there, so the bartender kept it open. Beer is XX’s beer on tap but was really refreshing and the mudslides were really tasty. Don’t know about any of the other drinks.

Restaurants: There are two snack bars and one buffet restaurant. Buffet restaurant was used for breakfast and dinner. The snack bars were for your lunch. The breakfast consisted of breads, fruit, yoghurt, omellets or eggs, sausages, beans and rice and sweet breads. Juices, milk and chocolate milk was also available. The snack bar by the pool was basically pizza, chicken wraps, and natchos along with some other stuff. The snack bar down by the beach served hamburgers, grilled chicken, some fish (don’t know as I don’t do seafood at all) and salad stuff. There was also meat and cheese platters and finger foods. Natchos could be had there with salsa. The salsa was awesome. Dinner in the buffet restaurant was ok. Usually three kinds of meat, some rice or potato, great fresh breads, salads, a light menu area (never got there) and desert. The deserts were ok. You can have ice cream but you have to ask your waiter for it.

Diving: At the beach there are dive lockers but you have to get the key from the front desk. Do it when you check in and then your all set. They had dunk tanks there and fresh water showers. The dive shop on-site was Dive Paradise. We were going to dive with them, but upon asking questions regarding bottom time, I opted to walk 15 minutes down the road and dive with Papa Hogs http://www.papahogs.com/site/index2.php . They were amazing. They picked us up at our dock at 8 AM. We got to pick where we went, and we ALWAYS got back to the hotel at least 1 hour before anybody else. The dive masters are safe but let you dive your profile. I can say nothing bad about this dive op. They were VERY accomodating.

Staff: The staff was amazing. Everybody was nice and very helpful. Treated you well if you tipped or not.

Leaving the resort we did run into one problem. Our rep was never there and somehow he expected us to know that we were supposed to be in the lobby 3.5 hours before our flight left. My husband asked for tranfers and we were told that the taxi had already left. After a little conversation, the rep decided to give us the taxi voucher which clearly states (on the voucher itself) to be at the airport only 2 hours before departure, not 3.5. The people that did get there that early were not impressed.

This resort is clean and diver friendly. The food was not extravagent, but was ok. We talked about going downtown for some dinners due to the info provided in the trip reports I had read, but we never had to. We always found food to eat. We did see alot of contractors around measuring stuff. It looks like they are trying to bring this resort up another level. I have NO complaints, after all, considering the price, this was a steal. Our price: $470 canadian plus taxes.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at shark_bait_98@yahoo.com

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