If you are looking for a "Motel 6" on Cozumel then just choose pretty much any of the other hotels. But if you want to stay in a 5-star luxury hotel and be treated like royalty -- all for a very reasonable price -- then there is only one choice, the El Presidente' ("EP").
First, if you haven't been to Cozumel at all (or if you were just "dropped in" for a day by a cruise ship), then after a few days you will find this island enchanting and a true paradise for relaxing and unwinding. Be careful, though, as the island is very addicting! If you stay 3 days you'll wish you stayed 5, and if you book a week then you'll wish you had another week to take in this amazing little "Heaven on Earth" island (that's their new tourism slogan, and it is almost correct but not quite - we'll get to the minor downsides of the island in a minute). Indeed, my wife and I have been going to the island for roughly 10 days a year for about 20 years, and every time we have to leave then those 10 days never seem like enough!
The island is obviously most famous for its scuba diving. We can vouch for that. My wife and I have been blessed to travel all over the world diving at the places you see in the dive magazines - even the famous "Blue Corner" of Palau and lots of Caribbean and Polynesian islands like the Caymans, Rangaroa and Manihi, even the world-famous wreck dives like the U.S.S. Grover Cleveland in Vanuatu. Don't waste your time or money. There is no better diving than in Cozumel (unless you sign up for a live-aboard, but then you don't have any of the other wonderful aspects to your vacation like the beachfront living at EP).
So, in summary, if you are a scuba diver, then go to Cozumel and stay at the EP and you can rest assured that you are experiencing the best of both worlds - the best diving in the world and the best hotel on the island.
If you are not a scuba diver, then go to this island and stay at the EP if you want to REALLY get away from everything but still have all of the comforts of home, like internet access (but try not to work too much!), big flat screen TV's (with American channels like CNN, ESPN, etc.) fantastic restaurants, great shopping, heated pools, fitness center, etc. In addition, the spa treatments are great, the sunsets spectacular and the beachfront awesome. You can literally just step out of your room and be right on a beautiful beach, which not only has little palapas and lounge chairs (with umbrella drinks and food service), but also its own protected swimming and snorkeling area in the ocean where there is a coral reef and lots to see.
For divers and non-divers alike, the EP is about a 10 minute ($8) cab ride from "El Ciudad" which is the charming little town of San Miguel. It is the only town on the island. The first couple of blocks back from the ocean are all tourist shops and restaurants, and the rest of the city is primarily for the island residents (which number about 120,000). There are so many fabulous restaurants on the island that the common joke among the repeat guests (and most of the people you will meet at the EP are long-time repeat guests) is that the hardest decision to make every day in Cozumel is where to have dinner! There are hundreds of choices, and the amazing EP concierge staff will happily give you recommendations, or just ask anyone on the dive boats and they will be glad to share their experiences.
My wife and I enjoy fresh lobster and good Mexican food, both of which are abundant on the island. Our personal favorite restaurants are Casa Mission, which has a beautiful garden surrounding the restaurant and a great mariachi trio (except on Sunday night) (try the flaming Sexy Coffee - yum!), a new place that just opened a couple of week ago called "La Terrazza" located on a terrace (thus the name) in town overlooking some of the shops, and Prima, which is located at the top of the El Cantil condominiums with a sweeping ocean view and great food (try the peanut butter mud pie - yum!) (watch out though as the "market price" menu items are a bit high). Another place that looks touristy but has really excellent food is Pepe's Grill on the waterfront in town.
So, it is a great vacation getaway for everyone, but in our opinion it is the BEST vacation getaway anywhere for divers.
There is another important reason to stay at the EP rather than any of the other hotels. While my wife and I are not concerned about the safety of traveling in Mexico, we know many other people are worried because of the bad news we hear in the U.S. Most all of those problems are associated with towns near the U.S. border and on the Baja, and, quite frankly, those problems just don't exist in sleepy little Cozumel. Still, it is nice to know that this hotel is very private and has a gated entrance with a security guard so that you can feel completely comfotable staying there. They simply do not allow anyone on the hotel grounds except their guests and employees. So, if you want to go to Mexico but feel very safe then go to the EP.
Besides everything else, the EP staff is amazing. As other reviewers have mentioned, the concierges Jorge Luis, Lisha, Carlos, etc., are top notch. They will arrange any activity you want from swimming with the dolphins to driving around the island on scooters (fun!). And if you are a diver, then use the in-house dive shop Scuba Du as they are great and very convenient. Ask for Antonio to book your dives as he speaks perfect English and Spanish.
Finally, as noted above, while Cozumel and the EP are pretty close to "Heaven on Earth," there are still problems with this little island paradise.
Like most tropical islands, Cozumel has mosquitoes and other "gotcha" bugs. If you are really sensitive to mosquitoes (like me) then you need to take the strongest insect repellant you can find and apply it liberally in the late afternoon before sunset and also on your legs before taking any taxis or going to any restaurants.
Also, we agree with other reviewers who said that the food at the EP is REALLY exceptional at the El Caribe and the little palapa hut and bar, but we have seen the food at Alfredo's go downhill over time. This is a terrible shame because the restaurant itself is well appointed, the waiters are the nicest people you ever want to meet and the guitar player Antonio Loranca is unbelievably good. This is something that the EP seriously needs to address right away because everyone I spoke with on this last trip (just last week) agreed that they love Alfredo's but won't go there because the food just isn't particularly good.
Also, another reviewer said that he was hit on twice by a salesperson in the EP lobby to buy a hotel share package. We have experienced this too. Just don't talk to those people or make eye contact with them and they will leave you alone.
Finally, we did have one night when there was a wedding with an outdoor party (which was fine) but they played VERY loud DJ music until nearly 1:00 in the morning! We naturally assumed that the music would be turned off -- or at the very least turned down -- at about 10:00 so people could sleep. This is another problem that the EP needs to address. While it is understandable that weddings are an important revenue generator for the hotel and that people want to stay up late dancing at a wedding, there needs to be a compromise such that the music is turned WAY down starting at 10 or 11 - it is quite irritating to lay in bed for hours trying to get some sleep with the BOOM, BOOM BOOM of disco music blaring outside.
So, if you can avoid these downsides, then we predict that you too will fall in love with Cozumel and the EP, which really are about as close to Heaven on Earth as you can find!
- Also Known As:
- Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel Hotel Cozumel
- Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel Resort And Spa
- Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel Hotel
- Intercontinental Cozumel
- El Presidente Cozumel
- Cozumel Presidente
- Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort & Spa is the perfect balance of energy and ease. Adventurers love the scuba centre and nearby Chankanaab Park. Bringing the kids? The resort s Chiqui Club will keep them busy all day. When you want a slightly slower pace, you can head for our stretch of white sand, the exotic Mandara Spa or Cozumel s shops.After a 25 million dollar investment, this resort offers upgraded facilities and a unique vacation experience for the discerning traveler. The place to discover three experiences: great Dive, unique Spa treatments and Golf. ... more less
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