Let me start off by saying that after reading some of the other reviews in advance of my vacation I was a bit nervous. However, my initial fears were completely unfounded and the Mayan Palace Mazatlan turned out to be a very nice resort. I've stayed at a variety of places in the last fifteen years - places ranging from sub 1-Star hotels during college spring break to 5-Star luxuries such as the Four Seasons and St. Regis. While the Mayan Palace will not be mistaken for a 5-Star resort, it is a very solid 3.5 to 4-Star hotel with a nice, clean decor, friendly and helpful staff, and amazing water views. I'll walk you through the pros and cons below, but overall you can expect to have a wonderful week....we certainly did and would highly recommend the Mayan Palace Mazatlan to any of our friends.
Mayan Palace Pros & Cons:
Views - The views from our room were simply spectacular. The Mayan Palace building has ocean view rooms that face directly out at the water and if you are able to secure one you are in for unbelievable sunsets and the sound of the ocean lapping the shore throughout your trip. It was a major highlight.
Building/Rooms - Although the main buildings of the Mazatlan Mayan compound were built in the 70s (lobby, restaurant, and Sea Garden hotel), the Mayan Palace building is only a few years old. We found the buildings (and grounds) in general to be impeccably clean and the Mayan Palace rooms to be very nice. While they could probably use an update such as a flat-screen TV, we don't travel to the beach to sit and watch television so it wasn't a big deal. Also, there has been some chatter in other reviews regarding the room-safe being too tall. I'm no giant (5' 10'' on a tall day) and didn't have any trouble using the safe. They also provide a stepstool for smaller guests. In short (pun intended) we wouldn't worry about it.
Staff - The hotel staff (from the front desk to the waiters to the cleaning crew) were all exceptional. Very nice, very helpful, very willing to do something extra to help you enjoy your trip.
Food - Room service, meals at the poolside bar, breakfast, and non-buffet dinners meals at the restaurant were very good. Our favorite dish was the fish tacos, but the burger and fries, club sandwich, and other mexican dishes were also quite good. However the dinner buffets (theme buffets) were terrible. The food sat out way too long and had become very rubbery. As long as you stick to ordering off the menu and avoid the dinner buffets (the breakfast buffet was good) you will be fine.
Pool - The pool was very nice, had an interesting waterfall feature, and was very well kept. However the pool was not heated and I doubt it will be warm until April at the earliest. It was great for the occasional cool off, but a bit cold to swim in for long periods of time.
Location - The hotel is north of the main tourist area, which led to quiet, peaceful nights and mornings. However there is almost nothing within walking distance, so if you want to go somewhere else to eat you need to take the bus or a cab. We used the busses exclusively, and for about $0.50 you can take a 10 minute bus ride from in front of the hotel to the "Golden Zone" tourist area. It's very convenient and unless you're in a major hurry we'd highly recommend the busses.
Safety - Besides the fact that Mazatlan is very safe, the hotel also had a good security presence and as a result we felt very secure throughout our trip.
Other Amenities - The Sun Shop on the premises sold most of the items you'd need for a week-long trip. If you're going longer (or have a larger group), people really raved about the Mega. But because we didn't want to spend time grocery shopping on the trip we opted for the Sun Shop for all our needs. Although the cost was slightly higher than the Mega, beers still only came to $1 a piece, so we can't complain too much. In addition to the sun shop, there is a computer center for internet in the hotel, and 30 minutes cost $2 - again not too bad.
Mazatlan in General:
-Mazatlan is a tourist community, and the locals really know how to take care of their guests.
-It is incredibly safe and we never for a second felt in the slightest bit threatened (including when we wandered aimlessly around the city).
-The busses discussed above offer a safe, reliable, quick, and extremely inexpensive way to move around the city.
-The "Golden Zone" area of resorts/hotels offers a bunch of restaurant options should you venture out for dinner (which I highly recommend - the restaurants offer more variety and are less expensive than the hotel).
-In general, the tourists visiting Mazatlan were an older bunch and mostly retirees. This didn't bother us as a 30-something married couple, but if you have teenagers or are in your 20s there may not be much nightlife of interest.
-The beach is very nice, but because all beaches in Mexico are public there are lots of vendors. Just say no thank you and they'll move on. Also the water was pretty rough. I'm not sure if it is always like that or just because it was February but we didn't see many people in past their waists.
-The weather was perfect. High of 80 and low of 50. Sunny every day. Just perfect.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.