Old Reviews – El Tukan Condotel

  El Tukan Condotel   Lehmann (Calgary) – Brown (Calgary) – Hunter (Toronto)

March 2008

A little about us. We are 3 professionals ages 34 – 35 – and 36 on a boys trip to Mexico. We are all easy going and not very picky. We were looking for a one week vacation that was not to extravagant and staying right in Playa Del Carmen so there was no need to cab into town.

Rooms – The rooms at El Tukan are small but clean. We had a main level room that opened to the pool and a patio. All the room amenities were good and we had no complaints. Daily maid service and it was always clean when we got back from the beach. You need to pay $1/day for the room safe lock. Good to keep your valuables in there.

Restaurants – There are 3 restaurants. The main buffet which is just off 5th ave where you get most of your all inclusive food and drink from. International Restaurant right out front on the corner of 5th Ave for your reservation dinning which you get one/room/week here. The Mexican restaurant which is located 2 blocks behind the hotel away from 5th Ave for another option for reservation dinning which you get one/room/week.

The Main buffet is average at best. Its a place to grab something quick and is free. The food was ok when we found it served hot, but you really have to time it right. I suggest getting them to make up a pasta dish or something they are cooking right there on the spot. Again we were not picky, but Playa has some fantastic restaurants and I suggest you use this as a filler and go out and eat. You can also get most mixed drinks here. Good for getting primed up after the beach and before you go out. Nothing special here… but gets the job done. My suggestion again is to go out… your in Playa and there is lots of options.

International: We had a fantastic dinner here. You need to book first thing in the morning for this restaurant. This is also open to the public so food here is fantastic! We were put a bit in the back since we were not "paying guests"… but the food was fantastic and this was a great meal!

Mexican: We did not fair to well here. Once we found it… it turned out the kitchen was having a problem and they only had a couple menu items. It had the potential of being a good dinner, just not for us on this occasion. Over all… you get what you pay for… so if your looking for something great… go to the International or go out! haha Again… we were not picky eats but it was on the sub-par side for the buffet.

Bars – There are 3 bars. The main buffet bar, Living Bar, Pool Bar. The main buffet bar is where we did most of our free drinks across the street. You can go over anytime before 11pm and get a drink to go or sit outside. The waiters were friendly and bartenders easily confused if you asked for anything other than a beer. But you just had to keep at it and you would get your drinks in a fairly speedy fashion. This is Mexico after all… and my Spanish is not as good as their English… so no complaining! haha Always got one more to go. I suggest the Ron con Pina! The living bar is great bar open to the street in the front of the hotel. It is easily confused by guests as part of the all inclusive since it is part of the hotel… but is a cash bar. This didn’t stop us from sitting out on 5th Ave here and having drinks.. again for the location and comfort. The pool bar never did open… do not know what the deal was.

Pools – There is one main pool and "hot" tub located in the middle of the hotel. Always seemed like you could get a chair if you wanted… but we usually only had a drink or two in this area after a day at the beach. Nothing special and nothing to complain about. The hot tub was filled with cool water. The pool water is always freezing compared to the ocean. All I can say is go to the beach! Your in Mexico!!!

Beach – Beach club is about a 10 minute walk down the beach. I think it was combined with another hotel. On a sunny day… all the chairs were scooped up early and as we always arrived around 11pm… we usually did not get one. Most days we paid for a chair right beside the club with an umbrella for $8. There was a beach bar here and most of the regular drinks. Also had access to the washrooms right there. The beach is one of the best things about Playa… and if you come and don’t like them… you have issues!

Grounds – The grounds in the hotel were well kept and swept everyday. Lots of vegetation and cozy. This is clean quite little resort that is a 3 star. Don’t expect to be blown away with water statues and people running around bringing you towels when you bark.

Activities – The hotel doesn’t really offer much other than a basic all inclusive with a beach club. There is a person in the front offering tours that works for the hotel. Prices are pretty much the same where ever you go so if you book thru them… you get picked up at the hotel so it is convenient. Lots of paid activities to do. I also suggest going on the ferry to Cozumel and renting a jeep to drive around the island. Takes about an hour… or six depending on how many beaches and bars you stop at.

Conclusion – This is a basic hotel that is clean. If you want to stay right in the middle of Playa del Carmen on 5th ave… this is a great location! Since we only paid about $1200 each… the price matched what we wanted and expected. If you pay $1600… you should be able to find something better with more all inclusive to take advantage of. For $2000 I would have major complaints… so if your paying around $1000… which includes a flight… this is just fine. I would probably find someplace else to stay if I had kids in tow. I would rank this hotel as a 2 star that is clean. If the food was better and the pool bar was up and running… it would be a 3 star. Saying that… I would stay here again paying $1000.

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El Tukan Condotel Marty & Hilda ~ Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

March 2006

We stayed at the El Tukan Condotel from February 25 – March 11/06 (14 nights). This is the third time that we have been to Playa del Carmen. We stayed at Hotel Paradise (in 2000) and this is the second time that we have stayed at El Tukan (first time was in 2002). We were on the fourth floor overlooking the pool. We booked a studio room which included a "kitchenette" (fridge, counter with hot plate and sink), king-size bed, balcony, bathroom with a huge shower. Staying on the top floor was nice because the room had a cathedral ceiling but the downfall is that there were lots of stairs to climb every day. If you book a standard room, you will probably be placed in a building which is across the street. We prefer to be in the main complex around the pool. The pool is very small and there are only about 12 lounge chairs so it is very rare to actually get a chair. The rooms are kept very clean and the maid left us towel art a few times.

The beach club is approx. a 10 minute walk away. Unfortunately, the beach club building/restaurant is currently under construction but you can still use the lounge chairs, palapas and washroom there. They also had a temporary restaurant set up under a tent and they served food and drinks at the beach. The beach is beautiful! The water is clear, warm and usually calm. There is excellent snorkelling at a reef at the far end of the beach (where all the boats are anchored).

The location of this hotel is perfect. You are right on 5th Avenue, close to all the shops, bars and restaurants. We had excellent meals in Playa del Carmen: Vagabunda and Cueva del Changa (for excellent breakfasts), El Chino, El Almendro, Ajua, Idea Pasta, Il Barretto, Mananitas, Buenos Aires, El Oasis (great shrimp tacos), Babes, H.H. Carnes (excellent arracherra steak), etc. Prices were pretty reasonable at all places and food was great.

We rented a car for a few days and travelled to Valladolid and Ek Balam (Mayan ruins), Tulum and Muyil (Mayan ruins with a beautiful wooden pathway through the jungle), Akumal, various cenotes and beaches. We also went on a tour called Hidden Worlds Cenotes Park. This was a very interesting tour where we snorkelled in two different underground caves which was quite an experience.

We would not hesitate to travel again to Playa and to stay at El Tukan again. We booked through Signature Vacations and felt that the package cost was very reasonable. We prefer to stay at non-all-inclusive hotels in Playa because there are so many great restaurants all within walking distance. Playa is changing and becoming more developed everytime we travel here. It is still one of our favourite destinations.

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