Old Reviews – Melia Azul Ixtapa

  Melia Azul Ixtapa   Jamie ~ Ontario

March 2009

Arrival: February 27 – March 3
We had an early arrival at the resort thanks to SkyService and in spite of the fact that our transfer bus made stops at various other resorts. In a group of 22 people, almost all the rooms were ready when we arrived. The front lobby staff were more than happy to help those in our qroup that requested a room change.

Our room, located on the 16th floor, was clean, cool and spacious. We had an almost spectacular view — unfortunately, the room overlooked part of the lobby roof and that cut off some of the scenery. Not a huge problem though. We found the halls and elevators to be extremely warm, but since it is all an open air concept there is no solution to that problem. Our friend had a room on the 19th floor and she found the walk to her room – at the very end of the hall and a very long walk – uncomfortable due to the height and openess. If heights bother you, ask for a lower level floor. Our maid service was spotty by times and were only got fresh towels, even though she had taken the used ones, if we phoned for them. Our room weren’t usually cleaned until later in the afternoon, which would not be a good set-up for those that like an afternoon siesta. There is a mini-fridge in the room, but you are expected to stock it yourself. They do supply bottled water everyday, but at a 5 star resort I am used to soft drinks and beers also. I did phone to request beer and soda and was amused to have delivered to me about 6 different kinds of pop and 4 beer. Unfortunately, the beer was in glasses with saran wrap covering them. There was no way he would deliver beer in cans so we bought some.

Restaurants and Bars
With a group our size it was difficult to book everyone for the a la carte meals because there are cards (supplied in your welcome package) to be handed in at the time you are making the reservations. Trying to track down 20 other people to get their cards was not my idea of how to spend one minute of my holiday, so we found smaller groups would end up in different restaurants on different nights. We found the buffets plentiful and varied, so it was not a big deal to us to miss the a la cartes. Overall, all the food was fine. Our main complaint — and one heard consistenly around the resort — was the children and lack of parental control. Kids could run rampant anywere, which is fine on the beach, but not so great in a restaurant. I felt sorry for the wait staff with their huge trays balancing on their hands as they tried to manouver around shrieking, running children. This resort automatically lost a star or two just because of this problem – all over the resort.

The beach is okay. All you have read about the sand is true. I rather like the darker sand with the flecks of gold. The ocean was almost too warm to cool off in, but on a windy day the waves were great to body surf on. No problem finding chairs and umbrellas. Each evening the resort staff take down all the chairs and umbrellas and store them for the night. In the early morning they put them back out on the beach – in very regimented lines, squeezed tightly together. If you are Mexican, there is a staff member readily available to move as many chairs and umbrellas to any location you wish. If you aren’t Mexican, chances are you will be digging your own hole for the umbrella and moving the chairs yourself. Not always, but enough to make me comment on it. This resort is very compact and built upon itself in tiers. Until you find the shortest route to your end of the hotel, be prepared for a lot of switchback walking around the pools. But the grounds are well maintained and the foliage very pretty. The pools were terrible. Too hot, too dirty and way too many kids, in every pool! We felt that having the pool with the swim up bar designated as adults only would have been part of making this resort live up to its five star billing, but no such luck. Little kids were allowed free reign anywhere, and it did get tiresome after a few days, especially the noise level. There was no where, except your room, to go to find quiet. Like many who take an all-inclusive vacation on a beach, most of us wanted to park ourselves under a shade umbrella (the only palm trees on the beach are fake) and read and doze. This is not possible at the Melia because of the screaming kids and their yelling parents and the souvenier sellers. I have never been at a resort where I was approached so many times, relentlessly, by someone trying to sell me something. Even if you were obviously busy reading, talking or sleeping, they would come right up to your chair. Over and over and over again. There are a handful of beach chairs on the boardwalk to the Oyster bar that allow for peace and quiet.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The hotel has great entertainment staff. Every evening there was something to do for all ages. We did go over to Ixtapa island to snorkel and have a drink. It is very beautiful there and just going to the dock to catch the boat is fun. One night on the weekend we walked to the pier and it was one of the best times of the week. Local people come to fish, visit and celebrate life. Smiles all around for the tourists and some encouragement to say a word or two in Spanish. It is chaotic and fun.

We took the local bus into the two villages and recommend Zihautenijo. It still retains some of the old fishing village charm and it is a nice way to spend some time, sitting in a chair with a cold drink watching people pick out their fish for dinner. We beat a hasty retreat when the cruise ship arrived
The golfers in our group were pleased with the golf courses.

Other Comments While the location and condition of the hotel are very good, this resort looses too many stars for various reasons. I do think it is a great place to take young children. I didn’t see any teenagers. But if you want a place to relax and enjoy the sound of ocean waves, go somewhere else. A five star resort that doesn’t stock your mini-fridge is just cheap. Not classy at all. There should be definate separation in certain areas of the resort…one adult only pool and restaurant. Getting around isn’t difficult, but it is not the easiest either. The layout could use some improvement. There are many stairs to climb so it is not great for people with difficulties in this area. It was also strange to be on holiday in a high-rise, it didn’t feel as ‘getting away’ as you find at other resorts with the 2 or 3 story buildings. I would give it a weak 4 star rating. We were happy enough with it, mainly because we got such a great deal from Sell Off Vacations, but would not go back


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  Melia Azul Ixtapa   Kamila ~ Toronto

January 2009

We were checked in fairly quickly and got to our rooms right away. The bus ride however is more like 40 minutes than 20. We traveled with an infant and the minutes feel like hours after a 5 hour flight.

The rooms were clean. The beds were very comfortable and the bathroom spacious. We had a great view of the beach and pool. It was very quiet, even during the day so that we could nap with our baby. Towels and water was refreshed twice a day.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet restaurants are good. Colores was our favourite for breakfast and lunch because its an outdoor patio style restaurant. Breakfast and lunches were much better than the dinners. The oyster bar is a nice romantic restaurant but there are no actual oysters served there. Very good guacamole (sp?), french toast, fish, oatmeal and fruit.

The pool and grounds are very clean. There was always a lounger available by the pool. The beach seemed clean enough but its not a white beach but a dark, clay type sand. You can swim in the ocean here because Ixtapa island blocks off the biggest waves.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went on the combo tour. Not really worth the time it takes. They take you to a place to buy silver and gold where you can’t really get a great deal. You get to see a coconut farm and a brick farm. Its just ok.

Other Comments: The staff was really good about accomodating us with our baby. There are high chairs everywhere and when our daughter made a mess with her meals it wasn’t a problem. There are lots of babies and children at the resort and they all seemed to be having a great time.

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Melia Azul Ixtapa Robyn and Corey ~ Red Deer, Canada

March 2006

We just returned from a very HOT week in Ixtapa. We traveled with our 3 year old son and 10 month old daughter. We traveled with Air Transat Vacations, and fortunately, they hire WestJet to charter their flights from Alberta. Westjet is always a great experience, and they now have tv’s in each seat, with satellite television, which was a huge asset for traveling with a 3 year old!

We arrived on time, and took the shuttle to the hotel. We had paid for a 1 bedroom suite, and we were very impressed. It has a huge bedroom, a king bed, and a full living room, dining room, and kitchen with a full sized fridge, microwave, sink, dishwasher and a stove top, and a nice sized patio. They provided an extra single bed as well as a crib for our kids. The only thing we expected due to our experiences with other all inclusives, was the fridge being stocked with a few pops, beers and waters. This hotel only provides a 4 litre bottle of water, and coffee grounds for one use. After that, you have to purchase your own supplies from the convenience store. We had room 2301, and our friends had room 2609. The rooms were very comparable, but the view they had was incredible! I read about the beds being uncomfortable hard, but I thought they were fine. The air conditioning works well, and you can set the temperature yourself or turn it off entirely.

I should tell you that we have stayed at Iberostars in Peurto Plata, Dominican Rebublic and the Mayan Riviera, Mexico, Occidentals in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Bahia Principe in Mayan Riviera Mexico, so these are the one’s we compare to.

The food at this resort was by far the best! There are three different restaurants for buffet… Mexican, BBQ, and Oriental. They also have 2 a la carte – Oyster (seafood) and the Costa Azul. We only ate once in the a la carte – the seafood. It was good, but, I think with kids, we enjoyed the buffets and the variety better. This hotel limits you to the number of times you can eat a la carte by giving you one card per adult per restaurant. Once you use your cards, you can’t go again. There isn’t ice cream available at the buffets, but if you ask the waiters, they will happily get you a dish of vanilla, chocolate, or coconut. Francisco, one of the waiters in the main buffet (above the pool bar) will offer you coconut ice cream with bailey’s on top… go for it! The pool bar served hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, chicken, pizza and chips, cheese and salsa. The kids like this.

There are waiters everywhere you go at the resort, so you never (seldom) have to go to the bar yourself for a drink. If you tip well, they will just keep them coming without asking! They have bottled water available at all the bars.

When you go to the pool or the beach, there are staff who work hard to get you chairs, umbrellas, and tables. I didn’t ever rush down to reserve chairs, there were always some available when you go down, and if there aren’t any umbrellas or chairs, they will get them for you. There are quite a number of lifeguards around all the pools, as well as on the beach. They are very active in their job, and it definitely is reassuring when you have children.

The sand on the beach isn’t white, but that is expected, it is also not fluffy and soft. We actually liked it better with kids, because they can make sand castles. The water is very calm and very swimmable. There wasn’t a red flag the whole time we were there. There also wasn’t much wind all week.

The temperature was extremely hot. We were actually told that one day it was actually 37+ degrees (Celcius)! I think the other days were probably low to mid 30’s. In the evening it barely cooled down to the mid 20’s. We never wore a sweater, or even took one with us in the evenings.

We went into Ixtapa twice. It is about a 15 minute taxi ride, and 80 pesos each way. There is some shopping and some restaurants. We ate at one restaurant in town, and the meal wasn’t that great, the portions undersized, and over priced (maybe called Laguana??). We would have been better off staying at the resort for dinner. We found the price of souveniers the same at the market as on the beach. On one of our taxi rides, we met a driver named Carlos. We really enjoyed visiting with him, and we actually asked him to give us a private tour of the Ixtapa and Zihuatenejo areas. It was great, we left at 4 pm and toured around, then ate at this amazing restaurant in Z right on the beach. He then took us to the markets at the Marina in Z for a few more souveniers. He actually stayed with us at the market, and helped us with the bartering. He was awesome, his English was great, and I highly recommend hiring him for the same experience. He charged 60 USD, and we gave him a very generous tip, since it was so worth it. He even took a number of family pictures for us along the way, and they all turned out great. His name is Juan Carlos Garcia Garcia (Carlos) and his telephone number is (55) 3 64 75, and his cell number is 044 755 55 9 20 05, he recommends calling his cell phone.

We bought silver on the beach and also at the markets, we paid around 100-150 pesos for a bracelet. We were actually told by the market vendors that the silver on the beach is only plated, and that they don’t have licenses to sell “real” silver, only in land is it legal to sell solid silver??? We don’t really believe that since all our silver has the same 925 stamp on the inside?

The other trip we took was to Isla Ixtapa. We walked down to the pier and caught a water taxi. We got off on the second stop, so we could snorkel. The first stop has a nice beach and better restaurants. The second has ok snorkeling, and ok food. We spent $125 USD for the day for 4 adults, 2 children for food, drinks, and snorkel equipment. I recommend taking beach shoes to the island as the beach is rocky and hot!

There were only 2 downfalls for us on this trip. The first one was that it was too hot for my daughter (10 months). We actually had her to the hotel doctor (Dr. Hector Garcia), because around her eyes were really swollen and he felt it was a reaction to the elements – sand, sun, etc. The other problem, was that I got a sickness during the last night from our supper in Zihuatanejo. The tour was a great experience, and it was a nice restaurant, but a friend and I split a shrimp dish, and both of us were sick by 1230 that night. We drugged right up and were both fine for the flight home.

My husband is a scuba diver, but even though he hauled his equipment all the way there, he never went out. The diving was from the Barcelo in town, and we were told by other guests that it wasn’t worth it. So he didn’t go.

The other comments I have are in regards to traveling with children. I highly recommend this resort, because of the activities for kids. There is a wonderful newly opened Flintstone playground. It is wonderful for the kids, especially in the evenings when there isn’t much else to do. The kids’ pool with the slides and fountains was a hit. We never used the kids clubs, but there were many and for different age groups. The evening entertainment was also good, and enjoyed by the kids.

I think this was our most authentic Mexican experience. The majority of tourists in our resort were Mexican’s, mostly from Mexico City, and I think this was why the food was so good. They were cooking authentic dishes and not trying to replicate American food like so many of the other resorts we have visited.

If you have any questions, send me an email…robynmaddox@shaw.ca

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May 2005

Got back a few days ago from this resort and felt the urge to write. I had previously read all of the reviews and was a tad worried. I like to have an accurate expection before I arrive at a resort….so here goes my rendition of a review….

Rooms – We upgraded to a Jr. Suite….highly recommended for families. Has a large kitchen, full refridgerator, microwave, table for 5, pull out bed, balcony, king bed in the bedroom, two large closets and a balcony. We were with a large party, we saw the regular rooms and if you have 2 small children with alot of junk like we do…check on the price…well worth it for the extra breathing room. If you don’t, the standard room is great. Very roomy with lots of drawers. A couple of the others had problems with some items in the rooms (safe not working….drawers in the chest broken), one call down to the front desk and not only was a repair person on the way…but the supervisor calls every 5 minutes to see if it was fixed. S! ome found this annoying…I personally thought it was a very nice touch. My husband & I thought the beds were great. Keep in mind it is difficult to appease all kinds of sleepers…not like you can ask for a king bed/extra soft no matter where you travel.

Food – The food was VERY good. There are a couple things to remember about Mexico when eating. First and foremost, the Mexican government does not allow food to be imported when it can be made domestically. In other words…if you are looking for imported mozzarella on your pizza or american beef….look elsewhere, like New York or Chicago. The other thing to remember is…big shock…you are in Mexico. If want oriental food or a tasty New York Strip steak, probably shouldn’t go to Mexico. The tamales, pico de gallo and guacamole were enough to keep my family coming back. My 4 year old ate guacamole for every meal and asked for it today (I’m not that good of a cook….so I will be going to the local market tomorrow). I wo! uld suggest that if there is something that you want at the restaurants…whether it be tortilla chips or french fries, just ask. I never encountered the words "we don’t have it" on my entire trip. I have stayed at a number of all inclusive resorts and found that the food here was the best so far, both in terms of variety and quality. There are two "reservation" restaurants. One is Italian…one an "oyster bar" (quotes due to the fact that there are no oysters on the menu). The oyster bar is good, but the Italian is much better. If you are travelling with kids, I would suggest that you tell the waiter that you would like the service expedited or you will be there literally all night.

Pool – The pools (emphasis on plural) were incredible. The upper pool was great for families with infants as it had a shallow wading area with umbrellas in the water. The lower pool was good for older kids (mine are 7 and 4) the 4 year old needed a tube because it was 4′ deep, those are avai! lable at the activities hut for no extra charge (we brought our own and left them for the maid). This pool has a swim up bar and it is in the shade. It was great for the entire family. The kids could swim up and order the "virgin strawberry daquiri" without a second thought. The adults could do the same…minus the "virgin" part. The best for the kids was the "kiddie pool" which was about 1 1/2′ deep and had about 10 water slides. The kids of all ages loved that pool which I thought was a really nice touch for them.

Beach – The sand on the beach was brownish. It was not the white sand that you encounter on "Isla Ixtapa" (Ixtapa Island) which is right across the water. The really neat thing is that the sand has some metallic flakes in it which causes gold swirls in it. I tried to capture this with my camera and I hope it comes out. Suffice to say that although it is not "white sand", it is still playable, walkable and able to make some incredible sand castles. The water was g! reat as well. There is a large covered area on the beach with chairs if you don’t like to take in that much sun.

Services – The hotel has a "spa". Manis, pedis, haircuts and the like. A few in our group found that these were both very good and very resonably priced. There is an internet cafe as well. There is also tennis courts (although how someone could play tennis in that heat is beyond me) and a soccer field.

Entertainment – Every night at the lobby bar there is a very good band (varies nightly). They play salsa, polka, samba, pop….whatever. Nice dance floor there as well. To the front of the lobby bar, there is a nice area for kids with pool tables, games (Jenga, Scrabble, Uno), foosball, and ping pong. Kids really liked that. The shows are good, dancers are great and there is alot of audience involvement. Disco is only open Wed – Sat and starts at 10:30. It is also open air. We would have liked this to be open all week, but danced at the lobby bar the rest o! f the time, so no real issue there.

Surroundings – The hotel is pretty much situated by itself. There is a small flea market down the beach by where you catch the "ferry" to Isla Ixapa. This has pretty much all you could need to purchase. There are very few vendors to bother you (unless you are on a first name basis with the jewelery guy like my sister). The hotel itself has 3 buildings. From the front, building 1 is the center, 2 is to the right and 3 is on the left (and kind of set apart from) building 1. Our whole group was in building 2 which we found very convenient to the pool, the beach and the restaurants. The new building (#3) has rooms that all have balconies. Some in our group did not have them. Ask when you arrive.

The towns (both Ixtapa and Zihua) are small and have retained all of the charm that I’m sure lead the developers there to begin with. If you are looking to "party" or to bounce from shopping mall to shopping mall….I would suggest you go to! Cancun or Vallarta. These are some quaint towns with lovely restaurants and shops. The people in both were courteous, friendly and non-americanized….I hope it stays that way.

Service – I saved the best for last. Suffice to say that I so overwhelmingly impressed with every aspect of the service at this hotel, again keeping in mind that this is an all inclusive resort, that I feel the need to comment repeatedly. At the pool, the waiters did not even wait for signal that a drink needed refilling. They simply arrived with drinks in hand. I had a hard time remembering when I had such great service even when I was paying and tipping on every drink in bars or restaurants in Chicago. We did tip every day ….although there were others that did not and I did not see a disparity in service.

The hotel has room service ($4 US per visit, not for what you order). This is great if you want breakfast in bed or just a late night cheeseburger and beer.

The maids were meticulo! us and came twice a day. Once to clean, next to turn down the beds and make sure all the dirty towels from showering after the day at the beach were refreshed.

Overall – I realize that this review may sound like I stayed at the Ritz, but I am cognizant of what I paid and what my expections should consequenty be. I was thrilled that my realization far surpassed my expections. I would urge anyone that travels to expect what you pay for and hope for better. In this case, I paid for an "OK" vacation and got an excellent one. Hope you do too.

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Melia Azul Ixtapa Cindy and Steve ~ Toronto

April 2005

Ages: 40+ Travel Dates: March 24-31 2005 Hotel: Melia Azul in Ixtapa Mexico

Airline: Air Transat

The flight going was approx 5hrs coming home was 4hrs. The bus ride to the resort was approx 20 minutes. When we arrived at the Melia Azul we were very impressed by the beautiful landscaping and the cleanliness. We were told on the bus ride we would not get our room until 3pm however we were pleasantly surprised as we got it immediately upon check in.

Rooms: Our room was spacious with a king size bed and a couch, coffee table and desk. The balcony overlooked the pool and beach. Everyday the maid decorated our bed with different flower/towel sculptures it was beautiful. At night our bed sheets would be turned down with candies. Beds are too firm for my liking but better hard than too soft.

Pools: Are clean and many. There have water slides so kids have a wonderful time. Reserve your chair early it gets busy. They have many umbrella for people that want shade.

Beach: Is not as bad as some of the reviews I have read. Yes the sand is darker than some white sand beaches I have been to. However it is not black sand. You can swim in the ocean, many people did. We took the water taxi to Ixtapa Island and had lunch at the restaurant with the Mexican Flag. I had garlic shrimp fresh and delicious, my husband had the rainbow trout which was also wonderful. You can also swim in the ocean there. There are many beach activities.

Food: We at the Costa Azul good food. The Italian restaurant was also delicious. We didn’t get a chance to eat at the Oyster Bar but we spoke to people that gave mixed reviews. The buffets got tiresome but that is usually the case with any vacation. But the BBQ was pretty good.

Town: We visited both Ixtapa and Zhauatinayo. Ixtapa is the place to go more shopping and it is lively. We took a horse and buggy ride which was fun and romantic.

Comments: This resort caters to families. Kids love it. So if you are looking for quiet adult time this is not the place to go. Although we choose the wrong week to travel being Easter and March break for USA. My husband and I enjoyed our stay the hotel staff are friendly and helpful. We would recommend this resort to anyone. We got a great last minute deal and well worth the money. A week went too fast wishing we had stayed at least 10 days.

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