Thanks to the TripAdvisor community for this one. Based on the great reviews and especially the great reviews from the multiple-repeat vistors to this resort/hotel, we decided to take a vacation at Playa Azul, Cozumel.
The statements that many made about the place being a bit aged were correct. However don't confuse aged with bad here. Our room was spotless and remained so due to the diligence of the cleaning crew. This was our first trip to Mexico that we didn't stumble across some bug lurking on the ceiling or scurrying away when the bathroom light came on.
The rooms were a bit small but we were easily able to sleep our family of 4 (10 & 13 y.o kids) on the 2 queen beds and the sofas that got made up into beds in the living room area.
We did the all-inclusive and the food was very good. Although we found ourselves wandering into town for dinners because we wanted to experience more of the local cuisine.
Our kids would take their left over bread and papaya out to the entrance area where there were turtles in an enclosed area. They had a great time tossing the food to them (and some iguanas).
The pool-bar-ocean proximity was fantastic. Each was about 30 yards from the other. So we could be at the beach or bar and keep track of the kids at the pool and vice versa. It's a small place and our kids are old enough to behave. I would not recommend leaving kids who are a bit rowdy unattended as it is a small place and people can be easily disturbed by excessive horseplay.
The service was great and friendly. Tipping was appreciated but not required. If I had some pesos or dollar bills on me, I'd tip. If I didn't I'd catch 'em later. Never got any of the typical "tude" when I was in my swim trunks at the bar without money to tip for my drink.
The beach/ocean was nice. We snorkeled right from the hotel everyday. We could swim in both directions from the hotel and see things although the reef to the right going towards an old ruined buidling was the best snorkeling area. I counted close to 30 different species of fish in any 30-40 minute adventure. The reef is a bit beat up (to my unsophisticated eyes) but there is a lot of aquatic life there.
In the area to the left of the hotel you can rent Jet-Skis. We saw boats taking scuba divers out from the dock at the hotel. The bigger hotel about 200 yards up the beach to the left had a nice restaurant (Buccanos) and offered rock climbing and zipline towers that our kids enjoyed.
Our vacation was purposefully in the low season and it was quiet and great. I don't know if I would like it as much if this small place was loaded with a bunch of little kids running around.
Anyhow, we were pleasantly surprised by Playa Azul and may be one of those Trip Advisor people who indeed return for more another day....