My husband and I recently stayed at the El Cid Castilla with our 11 month old infant on an all-inclusive plan. We had a great week in Mazatlan and mostly enjoyed the hotel.
First off, I’d like to say that we usually use TripAdvisor to guide us in choosing a hotel. We usually use the guideline that if users have reviewed a hotel at 4/5 or better it must be a pretty great hotel. So, after looking up the Castilla and seeing the 4/5 rating we happily chose this hotel. Maybe I went in with elevated expectations because of that, but I can safely say that we were disappointed when we first arrived at the hotel. Here’s a quick summary of our pros and cons, though, before you read too much into this first paragraph…our opinion of the hotel did improve as the week went on.
Pros: very friendly staff, heated pool, filtered water, view from balcony, location, no sound travelled between rooms, availability of pool/beach chairs
Cons: food, rooms in need of renovations, timeshare people
Check-in and Rooms
Check-in went smoothly but we were disappointed about the room we received. I had made 3 requests when we booked – ground floor room, king-sized bed and a crib. I realize that requests are only granted based on availability but not one of our requests was granted (luckily we brought a play yard for our baby to sleep in just in case). So, we were already a little disappointed. Then when we saw our room we immediately wondered how this hotel could ever have received such great reviews. We paid for a pool-view room because we did not want to be in the tower. The room was very small, badly in need of a facelift and didn’t feel clean, probably due to the “old” feeling of the room. The room had 2 double beds and there was very little space left over for us to set up our play yard.
The second day we asked about moving rooms. They showed us one of the rooms in the tower which he said were much nicer and had been renovated. They all have balconies facing the ocean so the view was beautiful. But, the room also had 2 double beds and not much extra space and the renovations were minimal…looked almost the same as our original room. I went to ask if there were any other rooms we could see and was told we could have an oceanfront room for a small fee. We checked it out and ended up moving. This room had a king-sized bed and a small sofa which worked out perfectly for creating a separate space for the baby – we moved the sofa and put the play yard in behind so it was easier for her to sleep in the same room as us. We also had an amazing view and direct sun in the afternoon so when the baby was napping, we could sit out on the balcony and work on our tans and enjoy the beauty of the ocean.
The air-conditioning didn’t really work. We never got too hot so it wasn’t too much of a concern but if it had been any warmer (approx. 25 C when we were there), it would’ve been hot. The only thing it did do was create lots of white noise to help with the baby sleeping – very loud fan. The shower was nice and I really liked that the water was filtered. We didn’t really drink it but it was nice to not have to worry about brushing your teeth or getting water in your mouth (or the baby’s) while showering.
The pool was really, really nice. I’m fairly certain it was heated because it was really nice and warm all the time and the air was quite cool at nights while we were there. The pool and chairs around it were rarely in shade and there were an abundance of chairs so “saving” them early in the morning wasn’t necessary (although people still did it).
We were quite disappointed with the food. There was little variety and often lacked flavor. I’m not really sure what else to say about it. There was 1 buffet for each meal and then 3 a la carte restaurants to choose from. We tried them all and found the Mexican restaurant to the be the best (Coconut Shrimp very good). The Argentine Steakhouse was good – very nice setting. The Italian restaurant was barely ok. The food was blah and the service was lacking.
If it weren’t for the food, I’d give the hotel a much better review but when you pay for all-inclusive, the food included is a very large part of your vacation.
The staff at the hotel was amazing, especially the staff working the buffet restaurants. They were all very happy to see our baby and loved to play with her and make her smile. The staff was easily one of the best things about this hotel. Even the front desk staff was accomodating, with all our room issues. It was nice to see them try to help instead of just getting annoyed with our fussiness .
Although we didn’t see much of Mazatlan, we did like where we were. The water was quite calm in front of the hotel, although the beach was quite narrow. There were a few nice looking restaurants in the area if you wanted to eat off-resort and a coffee shop just up the street. There were also a few convenience stores very near by which is where we purchased diapers and baby food. We could’ve gotten them cheaper by going to a large discount store but we liked the convenience of the small stores.
The timeshare staff weren’t too bad at the Castilla – after the first day of asking us to see a presentation, they never really bothered us again, although we did get a few invitations slipped under our room door. The timeshare staff at the Moro hotel were another story, though. Since the two hotels are basically connected, we wandered over to the Moro a few times and each time we were hounded by the timeshare people and it was very difficult to get away from them at times.
Overall we ended up liking the hotel. It took a few days, though, for the pros of the hotel to outweigh our initial disappointment. The food was definitely an issue but that just meant we didn’t put on 10 lbs while on vacation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
March 11, 2011
Report response as inappropriate
I would like to thank you for taking the time to share your comments, without constructive feedback from our guests such as yourself, it is not possible for our company measure the quality of the services provided, and thanks to it we are able to continue with our standards of service and also have an opportunity to reinforce those matters that require it.
We take pride in the level of service and attention to detail that we are able to provide our guests, and when their expectations are not met, we have failed in our primary endeavor to ensure both, you and future guests receive the service expected for us.
Thank you also for noticing positives about the staff, location and pool.
Once again, my sincere apologies and we look forward to welcoming you back and extend to you the standards of excellence you have come to expect from El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel.
Mark Covarrubias Mckay
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.