Just because we are the first to review this hotel , doesn't mean this Hotel is any less popular.
We saw this hotel advertised in Air Mexicana VTP airline magazine/hotel resources.
We used selloffvacations - used it hotel directory as a starting price.Then, we called the hotel directly, the manager speaks English as well as French, we got a different price during high season.This was the first time we didn't use a traditional travel agent and saved us a bundle. Though, as posters commented elsewhere, Skyservice airplanes are bit dated - pleather vinyl seating,bathrooms had no running water, the in-air movie video was broken.They returned us the 5 dollars we paid for the headphones. But, we 're glad we paid it at a discounted price.I think it's owned by Signature since its logo is on the tail and everyone onboard had 100 dollar signature vouchers. I think if we waited the last week, we could have gotten an even cheaper price but at the risk of finding the plane full we waited to a month before.I did see a tray from the former owners - the defunct Royal Air.
Back to the hotel:
The rest of the staff speaks Spanish only.
About 95% of the clientele are Mexicans from the capital. Locals know a good deal. We met Britons and few Americans staying for a few days as a stoppover. Mostly real travellers who speak Spanish on their way to other beach destinations or the capital itself.
Cab ride from Crucecita to Marina is set at 16 pesos but on the first night we got them for 10. Tangolunda from real camino overcharged us 30 pesos, front desk Fabiola told us the truth.Can't recall how much to la Entrega or San Augustin beaches.
The location and the price is why you should consider this place.
We spent 300$ Cdn for one week's stay including breakfast. Your choice of breakfast:
frutas mixtas : papayas,pineapples etc, chiquiles, huevos rancheros (both semispicy and with queso Oaxaqueno) and hotcakes (pancakes) plus hot chocolate.
Genaro the waiter was so friendly and kind - even waving at us on his day off in La Crucecita.
At the front desk, though nobody speaks English except the manager, Fabiola was so sweet and helpful concerning cabfare,restaurants etc.Though Noemi and the graveshift girl were less useful when we couldn't find banks open on bank/constitutional holidays.Every bank they told us were closed or didn't exchange Cdn dollars (Eletra appliance store has a bank and HSBC ins Santa Cruz but HSBC in Crucecita does huge lineups).Go to Sant'Andrade, Scotia bank and Western Union , the last one for best rates.
The management is superb with private safes with keys you keep in the manager's office which is closed at most times.
Since we had problems finding a bank, they waited for the rest (we already gave a deposit though Noemi wanted blank Travel cheques as precaution ) and took our word that we were going to pay.
Location is everything -we were in front of Santa Cruz marina and walk to the public beaches, we were in walking distance to Santa Cruz shopping area and market, banks -the ones which have teh best rates are also nearby, taxi terminus as well to get into la Crucecita.
Its location doesn't mean it's noisy except early in the morning when the marina boys blare music from their vans and boats which is normal since even on vacation one must wake-up at a decent hour to do things.One night, there were drunk kids partying blasting a tv set at 3 am but most of the time, the place is very quiet.
The Mediterranean style of the hotel is open concept with palm trees and 3 round pools (dropping from palm trees) in the middle of this court.Check its pictures on hotel sites.There are indoor showers near the pool area for tourists who already checked out but need a shower before they embark on a plane.
The reason the souvenir shop is empty all the time is that it doesn't have interesting souvenirs, no disponsible water cameras or stamps.Mighty dusty and pricey items.
The rooms are spacious - ceramic floors, beautiful balconies which made me feel I was in a Mexican telenovella set in colonial times...
Depends which room you get, our friends had wicker furniture with sandflies (4rth floor 700ish) on day one but they disappeared - we didn't have any.
Our bathroom lavatory had a huge problem, everytime you opened the faucet - temperamental faucet squirts out water given us all an undesired shower, wetting our nightgowns and leaving a puddle on the floor. We told management and nothing changed (I think it's a constant problem seeing the tubes/lavatory had some were work done with cement). Just a reminder if you get ROOM B in B tower....
There are no elevators so you must haul your luggages if you arrive at an ungodly hour when there's no bellboy (he's there in the daytime).
One problem encountered was the Pelicanos Tours guy who stands under the Marina alcove. Please book you tours elsewhere. Blue-eyed Antonio fellow took our money but forgot to make reservations at both places. Cascadas Magicas guy didn't have our names and the Temaszcal down the road from Marina didn't have our appointments but took us in thankfully. Not only these technical glitches, Antonio lied to us saying there's a coffee plantation (this was our primary goal) at the Cascadas Magicas Tour - no such thing except for the plants around us but the falls were refreshing after the hairpin rides to get there. Antonio told us to wear flipflops.DON'T.There are lots of rocks and I wonder the safety of older persons trekking it.Tevas would be great.Only after this tour, we found out the only coffee plantation tours in the area (it isn't La Gloria either which isn't operational) is one where you book from a coffee shop on Bugamilla called La Pacifica (organic from Potchula) which tastes so good to our discerning palates. Cafe Huatulco kiosk's coffee is so-so.
Avoid the International/spanish 7-bays snorkeling tour of Hermano Lobo, also parked in front of La Marina - on three occasions, workers promised us to take us San Augustin but our Mexcian friends inside laughed and told us we were had.
I suggest reputable companies like Hurricane Divers or if you visit Signature (they also have English Herman Lobo tours), Apple counters in the all-inclusives (Castillo Huatulco) who say and do what they promised. Their names are on the line so they deliver.I'd chose Hurricane Divers (for personalized and intimate tours) next time who seems honest and on the up and up.
We didn't find much help in trying to book a plane ride to Oaxaca City.Before our departure, we emailed Paraiso agency from Barcelo, she told us a tour leaves every Weds for Monte Alban/Oaxaca (she needs a grp of 6, we were 4).When I called, she said there isn't any. She promised to call us back and never did.We tried at the agency at Castillo Huatulco, they tried the most.They were the only ones who told us booking direct: fly into Oaxaca in the morning but there's no return flight within the same day - that the plane returns the next morning.Suffice to say, my whole reason of being in Huatulco was this Oaxaca tour and I was heartbroken.
Like most of you shopping around on this site, we didn't have much info on the other smaller hotels so after I saw their locations, I was glad we chose Marina.
Minnas Binneguuidas is desolate on the street, la crucecita hotels like Flamboyant and Los Arcos look spectacular but noisy for some people and you need a cab to get to the beaches.Sueno Real is nearby la Marina in Santa Cruz perched on a cliff and looks beautiful.I have no idea how to get there by car or foot.
Castillo Huatulco seems well-organized witha shuttle bus to another beach but Santa Cruz beach is within walking distance nearby.Chahue area has Best Western which looks in a deadend area but Eden Costa hotel in Chahue is lovely, well-lit and houses the excellent fusion-cuisine Echalote restaurant.
Best beaches we visited:
Santa Cruz public beach within walking distance - has excellent seafood palapa restaurants.Umbrella and chairs given for free with the purchase of a drink.This is the democratic public beach for Mexcians.
La Marina has a private beach- so small and empty - not worth the visit, there is no beach club as advertised.Well, it's physically there, but empty but good old Antonio gave us the tour since he owns it.
La Entrega is beautiful.Worth cab ride.Restaurants here are more expensive. Arricife gave us one price and charged us another.
San Augustin beach is worth the ride though cabdrivers from Huatulco are afraid the gravel will bust his tires but the San augustin cabdrivers have special 4x4 wheels which the restaurant lady was kidn enough to call us on our behalf so. The beach's water is beautiful and white sand with few tourists. Paradise for Scandinavian beachbums we met who came from Zipolite/Puerto Escondido.The lady which advertises her restaurant as the cheapest con precios abajos is very kind and food is the very best.Seafood quesadillas.A bit different from the same old menu offered every palapa.
We didn't like Maguey because of the litter on the ground and floating in the water. Kinda contrary to the town's ecological mission. No sunscreen allowed in the water but no one enforces these ecological rules that supposed to benefit us all.So pick up straws, plastic sunscreen bottles and corona tops and give them to the restaurant owners.
If you go on a lancha to the secluded beaches- Cacaluta and la India are the prettiest but you might get seasickness since they are far away. You get to see them from afar in the seven bay tours. Our HERMAN LOBO snorkling experience we saw 3 different wildlife freaks of nature - water spider star as our guide a little boy swam to the bottom to fetch them for our viewing pleasure.There were some he couldn't raise to the surface because it's prohibited by law to ruin the fauna.We were told not to wear sunscreen which might harm the sealife.Here, we foudn an inkling respect for the environment that came from within and without the law.
Papaya club is very happening and fun minus for drunk middle-aged tourists and locals who are discriminated at the door by the bouncer- but pay attention if the waiter overcharges or shortchanges you on change. But there's a rule here too that management wants you to report such things.
Clubs are opened from Thurs to Sunday, as we found out to see La Mina close don Wednesday night.
Restaurants: La Crema was fun and happening with hippie sensibility found in PE.Great choice of Mescal...la pechuga.Pizza especial had pungent Oaxaca cheese which our party couldn't finish.Check out the EZLN memorbilia on sale.They sell fair-trade Mazunte toilettries, Frida Kahlo reproductions and ganja type paraphanelia.Popular with tourists and locals alike.
Cafe Dublin across the street is also popular. They accept toys, used car chairs, nutritional supplements pedialyte, ensure, enfantlac, folic acid for expectant mothers to reduce disabilities and malformations and school items for a centre for disabled children called Un Nuevo Amencar on calle Jazmin on top of Ferratool if you would like to personally visit the children. But if you prefer not to come in contact with the centre, Cafe Dublin takes in donations.
Best Mexican restaurant in la Crucecita we found was la taqueria Los Portales /adjacent to IGUANA Bar (underneath that organic coffeeshop on Bugabilla which offers the only plantation tour ).We had nopales (not marinated in a salad but grilled with queso) .Build your own Tacos with sauce.We played it safe at El sabor de Oaxaca which was hyped and disappointing.Mole sauce on chicken at Juan Naranja where we bought soem barra negra pottery.
Il Giardino del Papa serves authentic Italian cuisine.L'echalote is the other restaurant which I consider the two top restaurants in Huatulco.
Don Wilo has chain...we went to Don Porfirio's Noches Oaxaquenos in Tangolunda to see folkdances from the different regions of Oaxaca.We had better lobsters at beach palapas.
Real camino's Bitza bar serves excellent desserts such as Tres Leches.
Avoid Ve del Mar. Frente al Mar is very good on Santa Clara beach.The owner tries to sell his lancha Nacional tour of la India and Cacaluta.He wasn't friendly anymore on our last day but he sure makes a good pina colada/huacoco drinks.Try some food that peddlers bring on the beach: empanadas with pineapple or milk on weekends only, fried plantanos with/out condensed Carnation milk, tamales (black mole not a favourite), fresh raw oysters, scallops with a dash of lime and hot sauce.
Shopping: Mescal degustation shop, casa de los albrejitos (nice chocie and quality differ), albrejitos vendors sell some good quality only there on Thurs, there is no museum of the artinisat as advertised on some Huatulco tourism website -the address was a chic shop in front of Los Arcos B'n'B which sells top quality barra negra,alebrejites but pricey even when/if they bargain it down.There's a shop - always on Bugambilla with a pushy saleman Leonardo's trying to sell painted wooden bowls- the bowls are pretty - quality differs.Bargain not so much of a deal.
Good quality shopping can be had in Santa Cruz for real alejrites,barra negra pottery,jewelry.Avoid on Mondays when teh cruiseliners invade them.The Santa Cruz market has cheap stuff.Few places sell the Mayordomo orange-flavoured Mescal. I liked the promotional degustation place better. We didn't go to Museum of mezcal under papaya club. Maderno shopping centre isn't really for tourists except dept.store, movies, Z bar and grill , Jacky's sandwich shop, new sushi Don Wilo chain, but worth a visit a nice pastry shop.
Herman Lobo and the Pelicanos Tour give discounts to the Temazcal sauna experience -they only speak spanish. Make sure you have an appointment for sureif you book with Antonio (sweatlodge,aromatherapy with sage with cobal herbs,you put watery sand 'mud on yourselves, hydrotherapy is just a shower, herbal tea,Zapotec musictherapy , and a notsogentle massage (don't buy the musictherpay cd - ours was a blank,pay the amssage oils or incense are a better buy). There are swankier tezmascal spas in Chahue and spas in Crown Pacific.
There's no dutyfree in the airport. A shop (by then, you'd be all shopped out ) and some healthy fastfood counter.
There are two churches worth noting.The modern Cathedral in Crucecita (means small cross and was built when the fake town was built by Fonetur) has magnificant murals- the biggest mural of la Virgin de la Guadeloupe but I prefer the ones near the Tabernacle. The diocese has an open-concept simple church right on Sta Cruz beach which only has mass on Sundays to packed audience outside the church's alcoves....interesting to see.
If we do visit Huatulco ever again, we wouldn't hesitate twice to come here and to recommend this hotel to friends.But it's unlikely we will, we prefer changing scenery every year and visit other real or commercialized "eco" destinations like Costa Rica, Roatan Island, Honduras, Panama's Gamboa (though we read on Tripadvisor, it's a phoney ecolodge), Grenada the Spice Island and Dominica.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.