This is a beautiful resort hotel, right on the beach. It seemed that almost every room had a view of the ocean. If you're looking for a great place to sleep whilst spending your days at the pool or beach - this is it, look no further.
The restaurants were good. It has an all inclusive option that isn't bad - if you get a reduced rate (more on this later) - and breakfast on the patio at the buffet was a splendid way to start the day.
The pools were nice, but odd. There is one big central pool that is heated, which has the jumping area for those inclined to dive or bellyflop, and a kids pool which oddly enough houses the swim up bar (huh?). There are two other pools, one was noisy and crowded while we were there and the other had a hot tub and large pool, but was almost always shaded and therefore very quiet and empty! There are constant activities at the main pool -- stretching, yoga, bingo, dart contests, beer drinking contests, etc. So, either tune this out, or go find a spot of sun near the quiet pool, or go to the beach.
Speaking of the beach, it is nice -- not a broad and soft and sandy as those you find on the Yucatan, but nice. There is the constant interruption of the local salespeople -- silver jewelry and hats seemed to be the main items for sale -- but the hotel has put up a rope fence to keep them from sitting next to your lounger. All in all, we liked the beach for our daily walks, and a brief dunk, and did our swimming in the heated pool.
Now to the less complimentary comments:
The room was really old. At some point they added a small flat screen tv but that was the extent of the upgrading. The beds were lumpy (but nice sheets). Lighting made no sense -- two lights between the bed never could be turned on, the room always seemed dark. The ceiling fan either was on or off -- the speed control didn't work. The AC was also either full bore or off. Odd stuff. The water pressure was good, but the temperature would fluctuate often and by large margins, going from cold to way too hot in moments -- made for exciting showers!
Now, here's the scoop on the timeshare thing... yes, the El Cid property is partially a points based timeshare resort, so you will get hit multiple times to attend a presentation. Here is how to handle that...
First, when you make your reservation, ask for complementary airport transfer to the property. They will give this to you, so that they can sign you up for a timeshare presentation. That's good, at least you will get a free ride from the airport, even if you turn down the presentation. But in my humble opinion, you should do the presentation. Why? First, a nice free breakfast buffet. Second, other freebees - they will offer you some tours etc, but you can negotiate what you want. So, I would ask for a tour to Deer Island, a free return transfer to the airport when you leave, free Mexican fiesta and reduced price on all inclusive days. We got the all inclusive price reduced down to $40 per day - that is worth it. Negotiate what you want, but they really need to fill seats in the presentations, so they will give you a bunch of stuff... just ask for it. At the end of 90 minutes, remind them of your agreement to stay for 90 minutes, and ask them to please wrap this up. Who knows, you may like the deal, and end up owning part of the resort.
The service at the hotel is very good, but it is clear the waiters and service people depend on tips. If you're wearing the all inclusive arm band and get a free drink at the pool, the waiter will ask "is the service good?" or some other reminder to tip them. I hate hearing this, so I tell the waiter up front that I will tip them before I leave - not every time they come up to me with a fresh drink. This seems to work. I was a bit shocked one day when we were not on the all inclusive plan when a waiter at breakfast asked if this was cash or going on my hotel bill - he flat out told me that I'd get a very big discount if I paid cash, meaning that the hotel would very likely not see that money because it would go right into his pocket... I put the breakfast on the room bill. Being a businessman, I hate seeing employees steal so I wasn't about to enable that.
I understand that this property is being remodeled from the top down, and the owners get the new rooms. I never saw a new room, but it is worth asking for a free upgrade.
I'd go back... it was a very enjoyable trip.
- Also Known As:
- El Cid Moro Beach Hotel
- El Moro Tower El Cid Mazatlan
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