My brother and I spent a week in February. We chose El Cid based on Trip Adviser reviews and because the upgraded "Elite" package offered free golf.
The first disappointment was our arrival and greeting. We were left standing outside the airport for almost an hour as bus after bus loaded up and departed. Once on board, we were told we would be going to a number of hotels, and that the first, the Riu, would require 45 - 60 minutes of travel. After a five-hour flight from Toronto, this added delay was disappointing, as I had been told the El Cid was just a 15-minute drive from the airport.
At the Riu, we were greeted by a party of staff who off-loaded the luggage and came on board the bus to apply wristbands and welcome packages to the Riu guests. They were then told to head for the bar. their luggage would be waiting for them in the rooms!
We then proceeded to the El Cid, where we were dropped off on the main street in front of a Senior Forg bar. There was no-one to greet us or help witht he luggage, which had to be manhandled up steep stairs to the upper reception level. I was not the only guest who wondered whether I should have chosen the Riu instead!
The Elite package was supposed to include VIP check-in. Standing in line for another 20 minutes with a number of other new arrivals, I asked where the VIP reception was - only to be told it had closed at 9:00. We had been waiitng outside the airport at 6:50 and were shocked that we hadn't made it to the hotel for more than two hours.
After that disappointment, though, the rest of our stay was one pleasant surprise after another. Day staff were very couteous. On several occasions we were greeted outside of restaurants and accompanied to excellent seating. There was an abundance of tasty food choices and portions were unlimited. At the La Conch dining room, where we ate most meals, we had choices of lobster, coconut shrimp, prime rib and New York steak. An after-dinner Spanish coffee turned out to be a 15-Minute show of culinary expertise by our server, Javier, which proved so delightful that we took several photos of the process. We never had to wait to be seated at any dining room and the service was uniformly good.
The golf course is directly across the street and we were able to book preferred tee times for the entire week with just one visit. The course was challenging and fun, under ideal conditions, and the compulsory caddies were a jovial group who proved quite helpful in shot selection. Special thanks for some valuable tips to Gregory and Phillipe. They renamed me "polliot" or "little chicken" as many of my putts came up short!
I enjoyed two 80-minute sports massages at the Spa from a wonderful masseur, Fransisco. These were among the best I'd ever had and enabled me to play extended golf without pain (except for the occassional botched shots!).
There were always seats available around the pool and the beach-side dining area offered a wide selection of fresh fare, including shrimp and fish fillets.
The beach itself was a bit of a disappointment. At high tide, the water comes right up to the sea wall with little room for a beach. At low tide, the small beach area is roped off to protect guests from the horde of hawkers who aggressively try to sell their wares.
Due to an unusual spate of cooler weather, the sea water was too cold to swim without a wet suit. On the day we attempted to snorkel, we were turned away due to an infestation of clear jelly fish.
As a golf vacation, our visit was a huge success. I would not, however, plan to bring my fiance there as she prefers sunning and reading on the beach.
The Elite package cost an extra $500 but was worth every penny. It not only gave us unlimited free golf, but also a guaranteed ocean-view room and free meal upgrades (no surcharges). There is also an exclusive Elite Club room, which offers a self-serve free bar and internet, as well as helpful staff for booking tours, etc.
I found Mazatlan to be quite arid and poor with everyone on the hustle. It is not as lush and inviting as Ixtapa where I had been on two previous occasions. The Pacific is much cooler and darker than the more inviting Carribbean and so not as appelaing for a beach vacation.
Guests of the resort seem to be retired couples and young parents with children. There isn't much nightlife on the property but, at 61 years of age, I didn't really miss that and enjoyed a week of quiet and restful sleep.
Checkout was the opposite of check-in and couldn't have been simpler. Warning - you have to pay extra for the bottled water and coffee in your room. You can easily pick both up at one of the bars and bring them back to the room if you prefer,
I would not hesitate to recommend this resort to golfers looking for good service, good food and unlimited golf. For the beach and nightclub crowd, however, there are better choices.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the heart of Mazatlan's Golden Zone with splendid views of the ocean, refined comforts, and warm, friendly service, El Cid Castilla Beach offers a delightful combination of sun and fun for all ages. Relax on our beautiful sandy beach as the Pacific laps at your toes, sip a refreshing beverage at one of our two connecting pools or enjoy a gorgeous sunset from your balcony as it melts on the horizon. Serving as a tropical oasis for unforgettable getaways, Castilla's vibrant location makes it the perfect retreat for entertainment seekers as it is just a few sandy steps away from the energetic nightlife, enjoyable shopping, and restaurants including Senor Frogs restaurant and disco on site. • Ideal for Friends and Families • European, All Inclusive and Elite All Inclusive Plans • Three restaurants with international cuisine • Kids Club (From 10am -10pm) • Teens Club (From 11am-7pm) • Theme night dinner buffets with live entertainment • Two expansive, connecting free form pool with swim up bar • Beach front property with aquatic center • Pronatours Tours Desk • WIFI Internet Access • El Cid Golf & Country Club, offering golf, tennis, spa, and fitness center • Only 18 miles from Mazatlan Airport ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel El Cid Castilla Beach
- El Cid Mazatlan
- El Cid Castilla Mazatlan