Old Reviews – Holiday Village White Sands

  Holiday Village White Sands   Fred & Sue ~ Exeter, Ontario

May 2009

Arrival: April 1 to the 8th
Arrival was fine check in was a breeze stayed on the Royal side so no problems here.

Rooms:
Rooms are a bit small however very clean but who stays in the room anyhow. We live in the outdoors twenty four seven if we can.

Restaurants and Bars:
The Mediteranean was fabulous, beef medallions, wow the first night paid for the upgrade. Filet was done just how we liked it and cut with a fork tender. We just about everything on the menu and were not disappointed. Only had breakfast once in the buffet, and only ate at the oriental once and it was ok not fantastic. Lunch everyday at the pool grill was fantastic.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach was great, the water was churned up when we were there so did snorkle off the beach. Cleared up the day we left. Spent everyday on the beach. The grounds are perfect an older resort so quite mature despite of the hurricane damage previous. Private adults pool great.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Jeep tour of the Island was fantastic a must do. Other than that nothing.

Other Comments: This is an older resort and if you go without children stay on the Royal side it is worth every penny you pay. We got a sell off and feel we got every bit of worth out of it. Not a large resort but well worth it and just what we were looking for. The service is top and oh ya if you can do the lobster dinner on the beach, night made in heaven. I would reccoment this resort to anyone. They cater to children and the childrens pool and play area is a dream in heaven for a youngster.

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  Holiday Village White Sands   Robyn and Jennifer ~ Ontario

April 2009

Arrival
Very cramped flight (Skyservice), quick ride from airport, long hassle and confusions with check-in

Rooms
Rooms were okay. Moved to Royal Club Suites, which are the same size rooms, not suites. They had pretty much everything we needed, but the Royal Club is far from any bar service after 7 pm.

Restaurants and Bars
The food was good. We tried the Mediterranean, and found it a bit boring. We enjoyed the variety and the Mexican food at the buffet more. The lunch buffet had a great variety of salads. Overall, we liked the food. Bar service in the evening was in 3 bars right around the lobby, which was inconvenient, especially if you didn’t want to hear the horrible "entertainment."

Beach/Pools/Grounds
We didn’t go in the pools, but they looked nice. Kids seemed to be having a lot of fun in the water park area. The beach was beautiful, although we could not snorkel directly from the beach, which was a huge disappointment. Lots of beach chairs and palapas. Frequent announcements over a loudspeaker about activities were a bit jarring. We could walk a long way on the beach, which is a ghood workout, due to the soft sand. The grounds were very well maintained. Iguanas and crabs were fun to watch, and at night we saw geckos on the outside of some buildings. The entire resort is around one central courtyard area that houses pools, lunch/snack area, etc. This felt a bit cramped.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We went on the 2 reef snorkel tour, which was good (besides a boat passenger puking into the ocean – perhaps they should bring barf bags for those who choose to stay on the boat). We also rented a car and toured the east side, which was beautiful. Lots of pounding surf and long stretches of beach with few people. Went to Coconuts, which was a lot of fun and had great ceviche! Went into San Miguel twice. The constant call of vendors trying to entice you into their shops was tiresome, but stopped as soon as we left the tourist area. You have to try "Agua Fresca." It is sold in little shops that look like ice cream shops, and is fruit with ice, sugar and water. The watermelon (sandia en espagnol) was fantastic!!! We went to La Choza for dinner. It was good, but we might have preferred something a little more off the beaten track.

Other Comments
HVWS is great for families, I think, but we were disappointed. The evening entertainment was British twenty-somethings, doing things like getting kids to tell jokes. Horrible!!! We wanted Mexican entertainment. Found the Signature rep to be a bit useless, and we didn’t meet the other 2 Signature staff until they said goodbye to us at the airport. The Mexican staff were great, though. Overall, we would not go back to this resort, nor would we really recommend it to anyone. We also will not use Signature Vacations again.

Helpful hints: bring US$ and pesos – the exchange into pesos is often not in your favour. Also, the hotel desk had a poor exchange rate, we got a much better rate taking money out of the hotel ATM, although it ran out of money and they were unsure when it would be restocked.

– we often felt like we were told different info depending on who we asked. Ask several people if it is important to you

– we had grea shore snorkelling at Dzul Ha and south of there. The trick is to take the beach road, not the main road, once you hit Caleta. Snorkeling opportunities abound.

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  Holiday Village White Sands   Theo ~ Canada

March 2009

Arrival: March 7 – 14
Our arrival was trouble free moved quickly and arrived at our resort in short order.

Rooms
The rooms were not spacious however very clean,had everything we required.The girls mentioned more lighting in the washroom area would be nice.

Restaurants and Bars
Should your require some privacy and away from children go for the upgrade ( the Royal Suite ) which gives you access to the Mediteranean Restuarant, could not say enough about the wonderful staff and the food preperation was out of this world,overall the food was excellent. The management and staff deserve so much credit for making our stay so pleasant, keep up the great work!

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Pools and grounds were well maintained, and the iguanas were a nice touch, beach areas wonderful as was the snorkling.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
Jeep rentals are avialable and would highly recommend you see the island, although not large a wonderful day out, lighthouse and San Gervasio ruins a must. Should you want to do a picnic and view the ocean rollers, tour the beaches for "critters" do it! do not fear for your safety, absolutely a safe island.Should you require more adventure the town offers a variety of things to do, ferry ride to the mainland, submarine ride,shopping etc.

Other Comments This is not our first trip to Mexico and we have never had a bad experience, we are in the habit of reading your reviews before we go on a trip, however some of the reviews on our resort (we feel) are so unfounded, we do not understand what some people’s expectations are so here is another positive review well deserved, would highly recommend this resort to anyone!

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  Holiday Village White Sands    Kathie ~ Canada

February 2009

Hello, we would like to tell you our experience at the Holiday Village White Sands Resort in Cozumel. First of all we were going there to attend a wedding and were realy worried because the reviews on the place were so bad. The bride was thinking about cancelling due to the reviews. We found them all to be incorrect. Our room was beautiful and kept clean everyday by Jorge. The food was excellent. The people were fantastic and very kind and courteous. The beach was beautiful, snorkeling was wonderful. We had maybe three mosquitos. The wedding was a dream, great set up by the co-ordinator. Every time you woke up during the night you could hear something going on but not enough to ever keep us awake. We stayed in the Royal Jacuzzi suite right off the beach, the location was the best. We did rent a vehile and go around the island and are glad we did it. We got off in a remote area and were a litle concerned that we were lost, but upon leaving that area we saw the tour buses going down there so I guess we were okay. We did like coconuts bar and another bar on our travels. We went on the submarine ride and if was good but we had hoped to see more, we saw more snorkeling on our own. We did charter a fishing boat twice. The first charter was great even though we only caught 4 small tunas and a blue runner. The crew did their best and we know what fishing is like. The guide even cleaned a raw tuna for us marinated it and we ate it on the boat. Then they took us snorkeling as we had never been before and he was very patient and kind. Someone mentioned there was a bed bug experience somewhere in the resort but no problem where we were. Ezekiel in the mederterrain resort was spectacular. On the beach we had great waitors like Jesus, Emanuel and Oscar. The wedding party organized a snorkel event for the whole wedding and even though we had to return due to the bad weather that one afternoon, we still saw quite a bit and they refuned half of our money. I would tell anyone that this is a great place and it just goes to show not to always pay attention to the reviews. A lot of the reviews were poor due to the working one the resort before had but that was all completed when we were there. Thankyou and keep up the good work.

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  Holiday Village White Sands   Michelle ~ Hamilton, Ontario

February 2009

Arrival: Jan 28 to Feb 4
Arrival at the airport was great. Told on the plane to find our Signature rep. outside and aviod the time share people. Taken to the resort in taxi’s but the service was suprisingly quick. Once at the hotel, check in was slow as usual with a whole plane arriving. Disappointed at the hotel. Told to come back 15 minutes later for our room key. When we went back our room was still being cleaned. I think it was because we didn’t upgrade our room to a family suite. All the "family suite" people had their rooms. Then with four of us travelling we were only ALLOWED one room key. What a pain in the butt!

Rooms
Our room was a standard carribean room. It had 2 beds a bathroom. The maids work hard to keep them clean though. Friends of ours did upgrade to a "family suite" and these rooms are great. The one room had a king bed while the other had 2 queens. This had 2 bathrooms too.

Restaurants and Bars
Only had 1 location for breakfast which was a buffet. Lunch was only served at the beach restaurant. Dinner had 2 reservation restaurants or 1 buffet only. This was alright though as the resort is not huge. Has 1 issue with a chef and our daughter which was resolved immediately from the head chef! Was very impressed at how quickly the took care of this.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Clean grounds with lots of beautiful landscaping. The guys were out every morning raking the beach clean. Our spot was nice to sit on or utilize for activities. Trying to walk up the beach was difficult a other spots were not so well groomed. The 2 pools were kept were clean and my 8 year old daughter loved the waterpark!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
On the resort we did private swimming lessons. Our 8 year old benefited immensely from these. She can now breath properly doing from crawl. Yeah! The kids club was alright. The have different age groups. Eg. 4-8 years old and 9-12 yeards old. We fibbed and filled out the older club as the younger one was too babish for our 8 year old. She did a choclate party (extra$), a wii challenge and archery. The high ropes course was awsome @$20 usd per try. This gave you a round of the high ropes and 2 free fall jumps. My 15 year old even enjoyed this. Our 8 year old did it twice. The also had a waterpark on the resort with a couple of slides and a tipping bucket. Nice but only open certain hours. We rented a car and toured the island. This was great. Very safe to drive there. Neat to see how developed the one side is and the other side so natural. The island is only about 90 min. to drive. Went into downtown Cozumel for dinner @ "la mission". The food was outstanding. Well worth the money and the trip.

Other Comments The resort itself is great. Bring lots of $ as lots not included. Hgh rope course was $20 usd a try. Water ski doo’s $60 USD FOR 1/2 hour. The car rental are cheap. 24 hours with full coverage for $90 usd.

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  Holiday Village White Sands   Michael ~ Mitchell, Ontario

February 2009

Arrival:
This package was through Signature vacations using Skyservice. Toronto departure was on time – return departure out of Cozumel delayed due to weather in Toronto.

We landed in Cozumel directly. Agents were waiting for us at the airport and we were shuttled to hotel promptly. Check-in was smooth and greeted with cold drink. No issues with reservations – everything as ordered.

We did not stay in the Royal section but they have a separate check-in.

The Signature staff were great (say hello to Simon – he’ll still be there)

Rooms:
We had two Family rooms. Each family room gives you two adjoining rooms each with own bathroom and balcony with hammock. Three rooms had a King bed and the other two doubles. The rooms are laid out eight to a building.

There is a Safe in every room and key is free. There was not a ton of storage space but adequate. There is a TV but didn’t turn it on so no idea what service is. Each room has separate A/C and ceiling fan.

Rooms were clean and maids managed to do something in the room each day.

When we arrived the toilet was leaking and a couple of bulbs were burned out. Someone was out within a half hour to resolve.

Restaurants and Bars:
There are two a la carte restaurants (Mexican and Asian), one breakfast/dinner buffet restaurant, one lunch buffet restaurant and one snack bar. There is also a restaurant specific to the Royal room guests.

Both a la cartes were good. You would expect they could do a god job at Mexican (which they did) but we were surprised at the how much we enjoyed the Japanese theme.

The food at the buffets was good. At the dinner buffet, they had a different theme each night so there was good variety. They always had a couple of Mexican specific dishes to one side which were interesting.

There was always a choice of meats and fish. No one in our party was left wanting. Quality was also better than I expected. Vegetables were al dente and meats not overcooked.

The food was always hot and when an item was running low is was quickly replaced. No one in our party was sick (and we try all of the different foods). Also we never heard of anyone else getting sick either.

Service was excellent and wait staff were courteous and friendly. Drinks are served at the table.

There are six bars at least. One in each buffet restaurant, one by the beach, one after hours that serves till 0600 and one by the entertainment.

Service was prompt and courteous. Tipping is not required to get prompt service, but of course appreciated if you did.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is awesome. Pinky coloured fine ground coral. No vegetation debris and very calm water. Beach volleyball court that always has a game going. Lots of beach chairs that are free to use. You can walk a long way along the beach in either direction – very nice.

There are at least three pools. One about 6 inches deep with a water park for the kids. And yes it does have a horn that goes off to warn the kids that water is going to be dumped on their heads. It stops at 5:00, so not a problem unless you are trying to sleep nearby during the day. The resort is beautiful and very well maintained. It is also reasonably large so you never feel like you are crammed in.

There are some mosquitoes. They spray regularly and they were not an issue, but be aware that at night if the wind dies down you may get one or two bites.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
There is lots to do on the resort. For little kids there is a water park, play gym and day care. For the early teen crowd there were organized activities all day. The In2Action crew kept the rest of the crowd busy with activities (such as make your own drink seminar – yes with the real stuff). They were actually reasonably unobtrusive and friendly.

They also had a high ropes activity (fee) that my daughter enjoyed. The Hobie Cat, kayaks, snorkel and windsurfing gear is free to use.

There is a PADI dive shop on the resort property and the boats leave from the pier at the resort. The reef is less than 1km off shore. You can also arrange to dive with a different shop and they will pick you up at the pier. General feedback from the regular divers was that this was a good shop and rates were comparable to other locations ($290US for 10 dive package using own gear, $184US for Open Water test). I did my open water test on this trip and had a good experience, however I would not rate their teaching ability as high as my dive shop in Ontario.

Snorkeling is awesome right off the shore or you can get a two hour two reef dive for $29US (worthwhile). Book at the dive shop directly as opposed to through Signature desk and book ahead as you need at least 6 people before the boat will go.

Cozumel has no buses so everything is a taxi or rental. Taxi into San Miguel $15US each way for up to four people. Rent a jeep for $100US/day, scooter $35US/day (all in price). All can be handled right in the hotel.

The evening entertainment at the resort was enjoyable.

Cozumel has a ton of jewellery shops. Check out the prices and then buy from Alejandro on the beach at the resort. He’s there every day at a fraction of the price. He’s pretty laid back and the only vendor there.

Other Comments:
Background – family of five (kids 11-17) for a week, who’ve travelled a fair amount.

We had a great week and loved this resort. We could find no faults with it. We would actually return to the same resort and we have never said or done that before.

There are lots of negative reviews about this resort on the web and they seem to be from when the resort was transitioning. It also used to be called the Occidental Allegro. They have it all sorted out now. Bon Voyage.

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