First time to Mazatlan; fourth year now to Mexico's pacific coast. Sunday 11th to Sunday 18th with Sunquest Vacations; direct flights from Vancouver to Mazatlan. About ~30 persons arrived for Sunquest; we all took the same bus from the Airport (~40 minutes). We paid $1010 CDN each (taxes included) which we thought was an excellent price for a new 5* hotel.
Amazing; big; grandiose; larger than life. Las Vegas-esque. Yes, the lobby isn't air conditioned... but you aren't there that often or long. Check-in was a snap for our group. Fruit punch and tequila shots were made available. Bellmen took bags up to your room right away as soon as you received your bracelet, room cards, site map and area package tour information. Some lobby areas have decent access to wireless internet - we had an iPod Touch to check our email.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday picks up with numerous local/travelling families in for the weekend. Monday was a holiday so there were more people and kids around that day. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were dead. Reportedly ~23% occupancy. Our group of Sunquesters had our own pool pretty much all week - we hijacked a drink tray as well and ordered a dozen drinks at a time just to avoid walking down to the swim-up bar area. There was a drink cart available on the first Sunday/Monday... but then that got put away when the numbers went down.
We did not encounter any at the hotel. We did not encounter any in Mazatlan or on any of our three tours that we did (Disclamer: that's not to say they are not out there =:)
Buffet Food (Breakfast & Lunch):
There was a wide assortment and selection... even for the slow season... I could see how you could get trapped into eating the same thing each day though if you weren't in to mixing it up. Beer (Dos Equis) on tap; Wine on tap; lots of other soft drinks and smoothies (breakfast) to choose from. Buffets are indoors - no access to bugs or birds getting into the eating area, which is a very good thing. Slow season... bacon made its way to the buffet on a few days. Peanut butter was not made available during the stay as there were too few people (I'm guessing PB is expensive). Waiters/Waitresses of note: Eduardo and Hilda (breakfast each morning) went out of their way to be funny, engaging and helpful. Alain, Jesus and Juan at the pool bar were more than accomodating for our group as we were ordering 8/12/16+ drinks at a time. We tipped them all well.
A la cartes:
Bamboo (Asian) - sushi was great when it was fresh; great noodles/rice/vegetable dishes. Tobasco (Mexican) - tortilla soup very good; fajitas were decent; like most restaurants you can always use more totillas to finish up your fajita fixings.
Steak House - nicely done to order ribeyes & sirloins; everyone raved about the ribs.
Will be stocked every 2 days. 6 x beer (Dos Equis); 4 x Pepsi, 2 x Diet, 2 x 7Up, 2 x Soda Water, 1 x 1.5L purified water and 2 x 600ml purified water. There is a liquor dispenser... but we didn't use it... we were not keen on Jose Quervo tequila (after sampling real 100% agave made at Los Osuna ranch - see Trips below) and the Gin/Vodka/Dark Rum domestic branded 38% alcohol bottles really do smell like paint thinner.
A/C works very well. King beds are typical - "Mexico firm". Three standard sized pillows. There is a fleece blanket in the closet if you wanted to sleep on that... or crank up the A/C. Decent sized balconies with privacy wall between units. LCD TVs. Caution: keep the A/C on or the floor tiles will get very slippery with the humidity. Caution: The bathtub was very slippery; there are grabholds to get in/out of the tub - anyone under 5' 7" will need them as the tub is elevated 6" above the floor (Truth be told... I found the concept of a tub very odd, since we've only ever had shower stalls in our past Mexican resort hotels). We only got a towel animal on our fist day (Elephant) - we kept tipping, hoping to see one of the dozen or so others that were modeled at our first breakfast.
Red flagged each day; very wavy. Beach is wide and very sandy. There is a roped off area that separates the water side public beach from the resort side beach area and keeps the vendors at bay behind the line. There is a Lifeguard in a tower. We didn't make it to the beach chairs, or even out in to the surf. We did walk north up the beach to the Restaurant... everyone raved about the Shrimp & Lobster and the 2-for-1 drinks; a MUST DO.
We did the "City Tour"; "Blue Agave Tequila Tour" and "Sunset Cruise". Had a lot of fun. Sunquest uses Ole Tours for transportation and Pronatours for activities. Both operators were very professional. Victor Urrea at Pronotours is a wealth of information about Mazatlan and an absolute gentlemen to talk to and travel with for the day (we had him on two of our tours =:)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * Opening summer 2009 * 12 km / 7.45 Miles from Mazatlan, overlooking the Pacific Ocean * Located on Playa Las Brujas beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 20-story main building * Surrounded by 13.500 M2 / 16.15 Sq. Yards of lush gardens * 10 km / 6.2 Miles from various shops * 12 km / 7.45 Miles from Mazatlan * 32 km / 19.87 Miles from the airport * Credit cards accepted: MasterCard, Amex, Visa ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Emerald Bay Mazatlan