I have to start this review by saying this was our 3rd trip to the El Cid Granada, and no we are not timeshare owners there. We keep on going back because it’s a perfect resort for our family. We travel every winter with our kids and have stayed at some 5 star resorts but the El Cid Granada is our kid’s favorite. It’s a great resort in our budget and has some of the best service we’ve ever had at any resorts.
Since this was our 3rd visit to the resort and we were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary the manager Daniel was very generous and gave us an upgrade from studio to 1 bedroom. They are renovating some rooms at the Granada and Daniel even tried to get us a newly renovated room but it wasn’t ready in time for us. He gave us a tour of the renovations and they looked wonderful with new tiles, linens, bathrooms completely redone and bigger fridges and flat screen TV’s. Hopefully we go back next year and get one of them. Daniel is a wonderful manager and did everything to make our return trip memorable.
I know that safety in Mexico is on everyone’s mind but I must say we felt safe all the time. Yes there had been some incidents lately but how many cities in your area haven’t had problems? We’ve been to Mazatlan 6 times in 25 years and feel just as safe now as we did then.
The El Cid resorts have security guards at the front and beach side of the resorts. There are always plenty of workers everywhere.
ROOMS- We had a 1 bedroom suite and it was wonderful. The one room has 2 double beds and a kitchen area (with microwave, stove top, small fridge) and a table and chairs. The kids also had their own bathroom. There is plenty of closet and storage space. Some of these units are a little different in that instead of table & chairs they have a counter & stools.
The other room had a king bed and another bathroom. Each room had a balcony with 2 chairs. The rooms are not fancy but they have everything you need. The maids do a great job at keeping the rooms clean.
It is across the road from the Castilla & Moro but really only a 2 minute walk over the bridge. We were at the beach from our room within 5 minutes. We’ve been to some beachfront resorts before and had a 10 minute walk to the beach. It is only 3 stories but they are spread out. Our room was along the side road going into the golf course. We found the noise to be not too bad if we had our AC on. We were close to the main road in front so could hear the traffic if you didn’t have the fan running.
POOLS- The pool at the Granada is very small but it’s nice and quiet. The temperature is great and if it’s too windy at other pools by ocean this one is always warmer away from the breeze. The pool at the Castilla is where the swim up bar is. The Moro pool is where the water slide and the jump off platform are. They also have a small kids pool with little water slide. The pools are all heated, much warmer then they were 2 years ago. You have use of all the pools when you stay the Granada. There are umbrellas around the pools for those that like some shade.
ACTIVITIES- There is activities going on all the time at the pools. They have everything from Spanish lessons, bartending classes, aqua aerobics, beach volleyball, crazy games (that involve all ages), bingo, soccer, darts and more. You can be busy all day if you like. You can also get boogie boards on the beach for 1 hour a day free with the All Inclusive. They also have movies outside by the Granda pool in the evenings once in awhile. There are 3 ping pong tables and a play area and slide for the kids at the Castilla. They have a table set up where you can paint ceramics for a fee. There are also 2 pool tables in the lobby bar (Castilla) for adults.
The kids club (Castilla) for ages 4- 12 years is well staffed by Abri, Fabiola, and Leiticia. Leiticia has been there for awhile because she was there 3 years ago when we 1st went. My son was very excited to see her again. They have activities planned all day with a schedule posted outside the club. They do crafts & games and take the kids to check out the animals at the Granada (deer & turtles & iguanas). The girls will also take the kids for lunch & supper which is nice if you want to go out for a quiet supper alone. They are open till 9 or 10 in the evening. The also have a teen club (Moro) with video games but my kids never used it so can’t really comment.
The entertainment every evening is excellent. They have a nice variety of shows. The shows are in the buffet restaurant (Castilla) and start at 7 or 8 (depending on season I think). The shows are included in the All inclusive and are very entertaining. Their fiesta is a lot of fun with Mariachi band & singers & dancers.
RESTAURANTS- El Patio at the Granada is open for a la carte breakfast from 7-11 and for snacks from 12-3. They have a great waiter there Ramon R that even remembered us from 2 years before. He is the kind of waiter that you love to have waiting on your table.
El Patio then changes to the Argentinean a la carte from 6-10:30(reservations required part of AI). They have an open grill for cooking their meat. We had some great shrimp kabobs, chicken & steak dishes there.
Sushi Bar located at the Country Club is open from 5-9:00 (with reservations part of AI). We had a great meal there and the kids all loved the sushi.
The Prime Grill Steak House is also located at the Country Club but has a $20 us per person surcharge. We never ate there so can’t comment.
El Alcazar (Italian a la carte, reservations, part of AI) is upstairs at the Castilla and open from 6-10:30. You have unlimited a la cartes per week, you just make reservations up to 24 hours in advance. They have a dress code at the a la cartes but not overly strict. Men are allowed shorts but must not be overly casual.
We had our favorite meal at the Italian with our favorite waiter of the 2 weeks Edgar. He did a great job serving us and entertaining the kids. He even remembered names the 2nd visit. The kids wanted to make sure they took a picture with him. We enjoyed the Italian so much that we went 3 times and enjoyed every meal. It’s the restaurant I picked for my birthday supper which they helped make special by bringing out a cake and singing for me. We had some great shrimp pizza, the kids favorite four cheese fettuccine, steak & chicken dishes.
Buffet- La Pergola (downstairs at Castilla). It is the main buffet for breakfast & supper. It’s open for breakfast from 7-11:00. They have 2 stations in the morning to cook eggs and omelets. They have plenty of fresh fruit & juices. There are plenty of choices between potatoes & pancakes & French toast & other main dishes & yogurts & pastries. They have excellent servers here and some of our favorites were Ramon Salsido (knew our kids names right away and took great care of us & Gilberto & Ismael & Rubin & Roberto.
In the evening this is where the supper buffet is located and where the entertainment stage is. They have a different theme buffet every night and are open till 10:30. They have Italian, BBQ grill, Mexican buffet (twice), Fishermen buffet, chef’s suggestions buffet, & Oriental buffet (with sushi & other great things).
There is always a great variety of meat and dishes. They also have 2 cook stations that make specials for the theme of the day. One of favorite cooks was Teodora Diaz. They are great at making things to your liking. There is always a lot of choices and something even for the fussiest eater. They always have hotdogs & hamburgers & fries if you have kids that aren’t into trying new things. They have a beautiful selection of fresh breads & pastries & desserts. If you need help with anything just talk to Joel the Captain of the buffet, he does an excellent job of helping you with anything, he’s very friendly.
Buffet-La Alhambra (oceanfront at Castilla) is the buffet for lunch, open from 12-5. It’s a beautiful location overlooking the beach, with your choice of sun or shade. The only bad thing is there are some birds because you have some people that think it’s a good idea to feed them.
They have a nice salad & sandwich area and soups. There is a cook station that they cook a different specialty every day. They have hamburgers & fries every day and a nice variety of fish & chicken & other meats. Every chicken meal I had was so good; the chicken was always so tender.
Snack bar- Castilla pool. They were open from 11-6. They served hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, onion rings, nachos & a few other things. The food was always served warm. There are a few tables around pool to eat at.
El Moro Restaurants- La Cascada – (Mexican a la carte reservations, part of AI)
In the morning from 7-11 it is an a la carte restaurant for breakfast. From 1-4 you can get a la carte lunches, we had a lot of great lunches here. They have some great servers here like Antonio. Our favorite was the shrimp tacos, melted cheese and hamburgers.
It is then open from 6-10:30 for a la carte Mexican. The food is really good and we tried all kinds of things and never had anything really spicy.
La Concha – not part of the AI so never ate there.
All a la carte restaurants close for 1 day per week. We could have had reservations every night if we wanted but we all enjoyed the buffet so ate there often. The only complaint on the food we had in 2 weeks was undercooked chicken breasts, and the main reason it was that way was because it was such a big & thick breast. After that we always made sure to cut in half to check before eating.
BARS- Granada- There is a portable bar set up at the pool for drinks in the afternoon.
Castilla- Lobby bar is open from 3-1:00 am. They have various big screen TV’s that show sports & 2 pool tables. The serving staff at the lobby bar is top notch. The bartender Gaudi does a great job of making drinks. Leticia is always busy trying to keep the guests from getting thirsty. She sure does a lot of walking in an evening.
Swim-up bar at Castilla pool is open from 10-6. You can also get drinks from it on the other side while out of pool. The serving staff is great around the pool & at the beach. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your lounge chair the waiters will come up and serve you with a smile. We tip every once in awhile and you get great service either way. Only once did we feel the waiter was rude looking for tip ever though he’d only served us once. Some of our favorite waiters around pool & beach were Adrian Estrada & Roberto.
Moro- they have a bar set up between ocean & pool for AI. There is also a swim up bar but in weird location, right beside the little kid’s pool.
BEACH- Castilla & Moro- The beach is really nice with palapa huts and plenty of loungers. It is one of the few resorts that actually have loungers on the beach. The sand is great for walking and we walked often on beach all the way to Pancho’s, beautiful walk. They also have parasailing & banana boats & boogie boards & kayaks.
CUSTOMER SERVICE- This is where the entire El Cid Resorts wins over any other resort we’ve been to. All the workers from security guards, maids, waiters & managers are all so friendly and willing to help you. If you have a concern bring it up with them, they are more then willing to help. When we had a concern about undercooked food we mentioned it to the captain of the restaurant and they were very helpful. The girls at the Elite Club are great with helping you with any problems that might occur. This is where you make reservations for a la cartes.
We had an issue with our Westjet Representative not wanting to honor some credits that we had and the girls at customer service were very helpful in handling the situation. The Westjet rep was the only person that had NO customer service and was very rude trying to overcharge us on tours. Watch out for them!
Of course the best customer service is from Daniel the manager at the Granada. He remembered from our previous trip that I had knee surgery and emailed me to see which floor I wanted since if you stay on 2nd you don’t have to deal with stairs to get to the bridge. He is the kind of manager that I wish every resort would have. I saw an elderly man fall down some stairs and the staff was great coming to help him. Daniel even came out to see if the man needed help, at some resorts you never see the manager be so hands on.
GOLF & SPA- We never did golf but we talked to some people who did and they said it was a great course. I used the spa for a manicure & pedicure. My friend & I both had manicures and the polish didn’t last 24 hours. I’m glad I had a credit for it and didn’t have to pay.
This is a great family resort, plenty to do; right by the shopping, great staff & customer service and the best thing is that the prices are great. Loved it and hope to be able to go visit again next winter.