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“Never Ever Again” 1 of 5 stars
Review of El Cozumeleno Beach Resort

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El Cozumeleno Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Santa Pilar Km 4.5, Cozumel 77600, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #30 of 54 Hotels in Cozumel
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Never Ever Again”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2014

Have you ever seen the episode of Golden Girls where the ladies go on what is supposed to be a dream vacation on a tropical island but turns out to be a complete nightmare? They are staying in hotel that is nothing like what is promised in the brochure, but in order to try to make the best of things they decide to try out the “vibrating” bed. They put quarters in the bed only to have one of the rude staff members burst into their room and begin shaking the bed with his foot while singing Guantanamera.

Welcome to the El Cozumeleno!

Where do I begin? We stayed all of last week and I have never been so happy for my vacation to be over. My list of complaints is never-ending; but I have decided to try to keep it as concise as possible by categorizing the experience below:

The facility/rooms:

The décor of the hotel is completely outdated which you could live with if everything else was great (everything else was NOT great). There is no a/c in the lobby, therefore it is very hot inside. The associates at the front desk manage to muster a smile, though they all must be some kin to Kristen Stewart as it seems more difficult for them than passing a stone, yet they are not very accommodating and sometimes just flat out rude.

This resort is NOT non-smoking; therefore there is no lack of smoke, ashtrays, cigarette butts and ashes anywhere on the resort and the beach. People are smoking by the pool, IN the pool, on the beach, everywhere!

The WIFI in the lobby is completely intermittent and you will be lucky if you can get on at all.
I never saw the night club, pool table, lounge or arcade/game room that they advertise on their website.

They have recently updated their website, but previously they were advertising a karaoke bar and a sports bar which plain just DO NOT exist.

The rooms smelled really bad, like a nasty cleaning solution of some sort, every day.

There is not a bed sheet in the place that is not stained or does not have holes.

The view from our “ocean view” room was completely obstructed by a palm tree.

The food/restaurants:

Lord! We left there a couple of days ago and all of our stomachs are still all bound up and displaced.

All of the food is disgusting! I repeat, disgusting! It is almost inedible.

La Veranda:

This is NOT a fine dining establishment.

Also, you have to make reservations to dine in this restaurant, but they only fill the restaurant halfway, it is NEVER full. Never once did I see this restaurant full at dinner time. They take only enough reservations to fill the restaurant halfway then they start telling people that there are no more reservations, that way they can pay only enough staff to accommodate half the restaurant and thereby save themselves money on food and labor. The resort is all inclusive; therefore you have already paid for this food and service so they could care less if they only fill the restaurant halfway. This really upset me because it is a scam, plain and simple! You pay for a fine dining restaurant but they turn you away half the time because there are “no more” reservations.

They try to “change up” the menu every couple of days but the food is really all the same in both restaurants, they just change the placement on the plate or include slight variances.

Every time I ordered a salad the lettuce was wilted and there was a ton of water at the bottom of the bowl. The food was NEVER hot (in fact, nothing that was supposed to be hot was ever hot and nothing that was supposed be cold was ever cold) and almost always tasteless, if you were lucky. Usually, they had different kinds of cakes for dessert but they all looked to be made the same exact way (layered cake with cake and cream) just with different flavorings.

During breakfast and lunch they keep the beach doors open in this restaurant so that they don’t have to turn on the a/c (I don’t know if they are trying to save money or the air just doesn’t work properly), therefore it is usually very warm. The breakfast bar that they have with the pastries, fruit, etc is overrun with flies and ants and what they have on the hot breakfast buffet is pretty much the same thing that is on the menu. The pancakes are tasteless and the French toast is chewy and I am sure it comes from a box. The coffee is awful and so is the iced tea.

Also, there is a dress code for this place which is laughable, all things considered.

El Cocal

We ate in this restaurant one or two times when we first arrived and after that made sure to eat at La Veranda for the rest of our meals.

This restaurant is hot and there are birds, flies and ants everywhere. Gross!

Bananas snack bar

The snack bar consists of hotdogs, these super flat “hamburger” patties, popcorn and tortilla chips with this movie theater machine queso, which is a great snack bar unless you are over the age of 8.

Room service

We ordered room service exactly one time. We ordered nachos which came to us on a dirty plate with tortilla chips, movie theater machine queso and jalapenos…we threw it out and remained hungry for the rest of the evening.

The bars:

There are 4 bars, two by the pools, the swim up bar and the one in the lobby.

The alcohol selection is laughable at best, they have about 5-8 bottles of name brand liquors at each bar which they display, however if you ask for a rum and coke, they are not going to turn around and give you Bacardi, they are going to reach down and use some off brand, well liquor. They don’t ask you what kind of liquor you want, YOU have to specify.

All of the drinks are served in these old, dingy plastic cups that probably only get rinsed after each use.

The pools:

There are two pools and while both of the pools are very nice, I spent most of my time at the smaller more quiet pool. While the other pool is nicer, it tends to get a little raunchy in the afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that we are on vacation at an all-inclusive resort and you want to get your money’s worth but it just seems like this resort has more completely over the top, loud, drunk people than their fair share per capita.

The beaches:

The water is absolutely beautiful and the snorkeling is great, but there is not much sand on the beach and you have to go out a little ways in order to get by all of the rocks that are there when you first enter the water.

I could go on for days, but needless to say, I was so glad when the last day of my stay came and I could get the heck out of that place. Some of the staff tried, but this place just needs to be completely renovated and all of the staff and employees completely retrained under new management and ownership. The more we talked to the staff, we discovered that this place was owned by one person which makes complete sense as resorts are very expensive to run and are usually owned by several people and/or businesses and it is obvious that this guy (as long as the money is coming in) just does not care about his resort. The place is completely run down, his employees are completely unhappy and it shows. Overall, it was a terrible experience in a crappy resort with subpar customer service all the way around and I will NEVER return.
I have read several of the reviews and people say that because this hotel is such a “great value” it is a little lower class than other resorts, but I don’t know what great value they are referring to as this place while it was not the most expensive resort on the island was not cheap by any stretch of the imagination and I have stayed at other resorts in Mexico for a similar price that were excellent.

Don’t waste your time or money on this place. You would have a better time at home.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the "new" tower.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,447 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2014

This resort has the essentials for a nice stay in Cozumel. Rooms are nice and comfortable; we had adjoining rooms for our 2 teenage sons. Balconies with an ocean view. Although not as glitzy as the resorts in Cancun, it has the essential amenities. The resort was very competitive cost-wise. The staff were friendly and accommodating. I only had 1 issue with the room, where the key was sticking; someone was sent up to fix it promptly. The resort was kept clean, and maintained. Beds were a little hard, but manageable.

Buffet was not as large as some resorts I have stayed at, but the food was good overall, what I consider island food, not Texmex. The fish was always good, and there were many vegetable options prepared where you could eat healthy. On one side, toward the pool, was a buffet of what I call junk food: fries, chicken nuggets, nacho cheese, hot dogs, etc., probably to appease the kids. There is a restaurant which requires reservations and a dress code, with good service and more upscale options. Since the buffet overlooked the ocean with a terrific view, we gravitated there. Bars offered various mixed drinks, or pretty much anything you wanted. Most of the time, it was water since we were diving a lot.

We made reservations for the restaurant the day we arrived, but somehow this was not recorded, and we were not given a ticket (did not know we needed one). After some explaining, they let us in anyway.

Water is available at any of the bars (both water and ice are purified), or at the restaurants, and they leave a couple of bottled waters in the room. None of us got sick in 6 days there.

Buffet service was sometimes great, sometimes slow. Tips are not required, but if you bring lots of $1 bills, those tips really make the staff feel appreciated and do not add much to the cost of the trip.

On Thursday night they had Mexican night in the 2nd floor convention center. This was a highlight with interesting, authentic Mexican food (wish there were more of this every day though), and a great show with dancing, colorful outfits, and mariachi showcasing different Mexican states.

We stayed here for our honeymoon in 1989, and returned for our 25th anniversary in 2014. The place has really changed - the old section is still there, but there are 2 new towers, at least 3 new pools, the restaurant is larger, etc..

There are several connected pools on the new side, and a nice feature is what I called the grotto, a shaded area with a waterfall that stayed cool. The noisier folks tended to gravitate toward the swim-up bar area in the main pool. The old pool is still there, on the right side, which tended to be quieter.

It has nice beach areas, though the water itself is rocky in most places so you will need water shoes. Various tropical fish swim around. Snorkeling was OK here, for right off the hotel. Highlights were seeing some barracuda (harmless despite mean appearance), parrot fish, and my wife saw what she thinks were small squid. Most people were not aware that immediately to the right of the hotel facing the ocean, is a beautiful white sand beach going right into the water with a soft sandy bottom. This is a public beach, not part of the resort, but literally a few feet away. Walking to the left of the hotel, is a rocky shore line, with some interesting tide pools.

From the hotel front, you can walk along the walkway to the right. About 5 minutes walk is the lobster house across the street. A walk downtown is a bit far. Here, you can take a taxi from the hotel for $8, and be there in around 10 minutes.

Cell phone reception was good. For only $15, with my provider Verizon I could get 1,000 shared Mexico minutes for a month which made calling easy. WiFi is free and good in the lobby. Our old IPAD could pick up WiFi in the room but the iPhone could not.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2014 via mobile

I am leaving this resort tomorrow, but will return here for my next vacation to Cozumel. The resort is clean, the pools are great, the ocean view is awesome, the employees are kind and efficient, and the drinks are great. Having said the positives, there are some areas of improvement for this resort. The air conditioning in the entire resort is faulty. We bought our own fan on day 2 after having our air worked on twice. We were vacationing with three other couples and all but one of our rooms had air conditioning issues. There is no air in the common areas, and even the reservation restaurant is hot. Secondly, the food is marginal. You will not starve, as there is always something to eat, but the food is not great. There are also some sanitation issues in the buffet (birds, food temperature, use of hands by employees.). We found making reservations for dinner to be our best option. The food there was usually very good.
Overall, we had a great time, and we would return! We mainly hope the air conditioning issues are resolved.

Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
2 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2014

Lovely resort. Beautiful water. Beautiful people. everything you need is right there. The staff couldn't be more accommodating. I found this resort through a Groupon package and I'm so glad I did. Wonderful memories.!

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2014

For the price it was not a bad stay. Pros: the drinks are good, snorkel at the hotel is pretty good but all man made. Nice pool with a nice view. Clean rooms. Cons: You WILL get burnt out on there food by the second day same food everyday with not very much taste. Real slow service around the pool most of the time. Room service stops at 11 pm and takes average 1 1/2 hrs. The beach is narrow and real rocky but it is clear water.
It's not a bad place to stay for the price just keep in mind the food is not gonna be great at all. You will also have to leave the pool most of the time to get drinks. Take sun screen or buy it in town 25 usd at the resort. I would not recommend this resort.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2014

I would definitely return to this place. The staff was very polite and welcoming. My family is already planing our second visit to this place. We really did not want to leave this place. We fell in love.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2014

I had a great time at El Coz. The staff and service was excellent. We did see the infamous birds that everyone talks about. The buffet does have shields. It is only when people leave the shields up, that the birds can and will get into the buffet. They also have a great restaurant where the birds cannot get into, if that's a issue for you. I also got ate up by the mosquitos. Otherwise great experience and I would come back!

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Cozumeleno Beach Resort

Address: Playa Santa Pilar Km 4.5, Cozumel 77600, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cozumel
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Cozumel
#15 On the Beach Hotel in Cozumel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — El Cozumeleno Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 252
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Also Known As:
El Cozumeleno Beach Hotel Cozumel
El Cozumeleno Beach Cozumel
El Cozumeleno Cozumel

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