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“You won't find better hosts in Cozumel!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Villas Diamond K

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Villas Diamond K
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Ave 11 & 55 bis, Cozumel, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #21 of 31 Specialty Lodging in Cozumel
Kansas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“You won't find better hosts in Cozumel!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2010

Well, we had a fabulous time in Cozumel while staying at Villas Diamond K. I can't believe our two weeks there are already gone.

Doug and Terri (the owners) are great. I don't think you could find anyone else on the island more willing to help you and show you a good time than Doug and Terri. They will even help you get married if you are crazy enough to want to do that...and we were.

Anyway, we stayed in room #114. The high-season rates put it at about $65 a night, I think. This room is about 2 flights up above the garage, which was good because we needed the exercise. The bedroom window looks down onto the pool. It's a good location. We had easy access to the pool, which we used nearly every day. (Doug does not over-clorinate, so it was almost like swimming in fresh water. Very nice.) We could also access the street easily. And, from this spot it was easy to harass Doug in his office on a regular basis, haha.

When we couldn't decide where to get married, we finally asked Doug if we could get married poolside. It worked out really well. While we wouldn't really advise anyone to jump through all the hoops of getting married in Mexico, now that we've experienced it first-hand, we can say that if you are so inclined, Doug and Terri are the perfect people to help you accomplish such a goal. (Plus, the judge's office is less than two blocks away on the corner of Ave. 11 and 65 Bis. which helped because we had to make several trips there!) They are truly generous people who want to see you have a good time and who want to create a fun and welcoming atmosphere for their guests.

Villas Diamond K was the perfect place for us to stay while in Cozumel. It was our first time in Cozumel and Doug and Terri's knowledge of the island was invaluable. Doug is willing to escort you wherever you need to go or lend advice for anything you might be thinking of doing. (We brought snorkels and masks and he let us borrow flippers, which was great. Snorkel gear is VERY expensive on the island.) They have created a very safe-feeling environment (The compound has gates that are locked at night, which I liked). We really appreciated all the tips they gave us including where to snorkel, where to shop, where to eat, etc...

They also have a housekeeper who comes in 3 times a week and a gardener, Eli, who is very helpful. Eli did some extra painting while we were there and his efforts were noted. He also served as one of our witnesses at the wedding. Thanks, Eli!

I think Villas Diamond K is probably best for a long-term stay. Most of the people we met there were staying two weeks or more. It's far enough away from the shore that you can get away from all the hucksters and tourist traps and get a feel for a real part of Mexico.

As far as what I didn't like, well those things were minor. There are sticky doors (humidity-issues, but hey, it's an island), the street is a little noisy and you do have to drive 10 minutes or walk 20 minutes to get to the shore and nearby snorkeling spots, but that's not really a big deal. It can be a little tough catching a cab from VDK, but they are around if you are patient.

The apartment we stayed in could use a little fine-tuning. There are some leaky faucet issues that trigger the water pump a little more than it should. I couldn't use the dehumidifier because it was too noisy and I'm a light sleeper. The stairs could use some non-skid strips. But to be honest the apartment is really cute, very comfortable and we liked it a lot. Oh, if the weather is bad like it was for 1/2 our trip (thanks Tropical Storm Alex) don't count on watching t.v. or using the phone or internet. But otherwise, being able to call home for free was great.

As far as what to wear...I had some trouble with this. It is so freakin hot and humid you will want to live in shorts and a summery shirt, or your bathing suit. Water shoes are great, too.

For snorkeling, Mexico beaches are free so you can walk right though a hotel or restaurant/bar and put in at their beach. This works really well because you can put your things at a table or in a lounge chair and not have to worry about them walking off. I wouldn't leave anything really valuable, but I left my backpack, towel, shoes, etc... and it was just fine. We looked at putting in at a couple of the more open, public beach areas but I never felt good about them because there was a lot of broken glass all over the beach and no one to watch your things for you. Don't be surprised if you've worked up an appetite while snorkeling. And it's funny how nothing quite quenches your thirst down there as well as a cold beer! We felt it was only fair to buy a couple beers if we used a hotel or restaurant's beach.

We snorkeled at the Money Bar twice and Hotel Barracuda three times. At Barracuda we actually SAW a barracuda, which was cool. Also there we saw an octopus, a sting ray, a tiny squid and....I saw a shark. No kidding. Really did, but it didn't stick around long. But everyone there will tell you they don't have sharks in Cozumel. Ok, whatever.

A staff member at the Barracuda told me lockers were $25 for two hours so I told him never mind. Our things were fine just sitting out, anyway. The food there is expensive, too, and not very good. I had a frozen margarita that sucked. So save your pesos for the restaurants I will mention below.

Saw (and felt) lots of jelly fish at Money Bar one day. ouch. But this is a real easy beach, not too deep and access is pretty easy. We liked it.

Snorkeling at Chaukanaub, the ecological park, was my favorite. The fish are huge, the biggest we'd seen. We also saw eel here. However, the park closes at 5 p.m. When they started whistling for us to get out of the water we figured it was close to 5 p.m. Nope, they were having people get out of there around 3:30 or 4. So, after spending $20 a person to go snorkeling for a couple hours I was pissed they ejected us so quickly. If I'd known it was so early I would have stayed in longer.

Stick around at the dolphin area and you will get to see them feed the dolphins. It was great because they charge out the nose to go swim with the dolphins, but you can watch them do flips and other tricks for free.

Buy your snorkel gear at home. The $10 snorkel masks we bought at Walmart would have cost us $25-30 each at the store in Cozumel. We left our masks so other VDK guests could use them and Doug has 2 or 3 sets of flippers. Be sure to wear socks with your flippers and check that there is no sand in the heel. The sand chewed holes in my heels that hurt the entire time I was there.

Where to eat: El Torito and Esmeralda. These two places are both within walking distance of VDK. El Torito, located on 65 Bis, just 3 blocks south of Ave. 11 on your left - look for the peach-colored awning with a bull's head - doesn't look like much, a little hole in the wall, but the food is excellent. I don't know if I'd call it gourmet, but pretty darn close. Certainly exquisite. I had the best enchiladas verde of my life here and the best seasoned, fresh grouper. They also serve really nice mole enchiladas, for those who like mole. The chef also works at a hotel on the shore. He certainly knows what he's doing. Soup comes as an appetizer. We ate there 3 times and had black bean soup, a chicken tortilla soup and a creamy corn soup. All were fantastic.

Esmeralda Restaurant/Bar: Walk four blocks towards the shore from VDK past the orthodontal office. It's located on Av. Felipe Angeles, I believe. Orange building. Doug can point it out to you. He should remember it well since he ran out of gas taking us there on a rainy day - haha. Start ordering beers (About $1.50 each. Sol is really good and fresh.) and they will keep the food coming: black bean dip and chips, fresh fruit, empanadas, little tostadas made with a type of puffy fried batter topped with veg and chicken or pork (delicious), etc... Such a great venue of local fair. It all comes free and you get more the more beer you order. You won't go hungry so be sure and tip well. If you order a meal, and you should, be sure to get the seviche. It is OMG good. One of the best meals I have ever eaten! We had it several times. They make it with both fresh fish or conch. Both are excellent.

The manager, Joel, who is also the chef, is super nice. And his staff members, Gabby (who is also a GREAT dance teacher at Tiki Tok close to the Hardrock Cafe), Dulce and Norma are the best. They speak a little English, so if you speak a little Spanish you will do just fine.

FYI, this place is a definite must on your trip to Cozumel, but the atmosphere is a little more flavorful than you might expect. I'll just say on the weekends they have a drag show. We missed it, but I know it would have been fun. Definitely go for lunch. They are open from noon to midnight every day.

Please tip well at both places if you go. These people became our friends while we were there and you can tell they work hard for their money.

We went to Los Garanones (I think that's the name). It's just a few blocks from VDK on Ave. 11. It is an open air restaurant. I had chicken fajitas which I did not care for. The chicken was chopped up small, but was rubbery and tasted like beer, so I'm sure they cook with it. My meal was supposed to come with guacamole that never showed up.

We stopped at Hardrock Cafe to use the bathroom. ONE beer cost $4.50. Can't believe how over-rated that place is, but probably not more over-rated than Carlos Charlies on the shore. Can't believe how so many people (tourists) flock to that dive.

About the grocery stores: The two big ones are Mega and Chedraui. We preferred Chedraui because they have a huge produce section and an enormous bakery. Mega has good choice, too. We bought some excellent rib-eye there. But be warned. Count your change at Mega!!! A clerk tried to charge me $10 for a 60 cent ginger ale. In my experience there, the 20 and 30-somethings are real jerks. When you go to the check-out counter try to get a 40 or 50-something mom type. They are much nicer. Mega also advertises that you will get a good exchange rate in change, but that is only if you spend at least $40 and pay with a $100 bill. Otherwise, they won't give you pesos as change and they are really nasty about it. Just pay with your debit or credit card. It is easier and you get an accurate exchange rate, not questionable numbers from some rude boob punching on an old calculator.

Oh, and if you need a taxi but don't want to spend a fortune on it, pick one up at Mega. It only costs $3 to go from Mega to VDK, so we would walk a little farther sometimes if we were elsewhere.

I didn't expect to see so much beautiful jewelry there at places in the plaza and bought several pieces. The silver jewelry is made in Tasko, Mexico. We were told the cruise ships buy the stock to put in the stores. It's definitely a barter system, so feel free to negotiate a price that suits you. I got a silver bracelet I was first told was $155 for $39. I am sure there are some people who walk in there and give them whatever they ask, but I like to barter and they know how to do it. If you pay in pesos watch the exchange rate they try to give you. It should be the American dollar amount times 12 or 13. Not times 14 or 15.

Everybody there probably speaks way more English than you speak Spanish, so don't let them get away with any lost in translation bs. All the vendors also have U.S. money, so you can pay with U.S. cash if you want.

Driving is not for the feint of heart and Doug will advise you against it. However, I actually had fun driving around. I am good at paying attention to things, so that won me the driver's seat. Just get the hang of it first by observing how things work, realize that scooters, cars and bikes will all jut out into the street trying to get where they need to go, but will stop and wait for traffic to break and don't be afraid to be a little aggressive yourself. If you drive like a pansy they will run all over you.

Well, that's all I can think of. It's probably too much info, but these were some of the things that stuck out in my mind. I wish you better weather than we had, but even more fun.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
cozumelmx, Owner at Villas Diamond K, responded to this review, July 10, 2010
Thanks for the GREAT review. Not unusual for us! Every point you brought is perfect and yes the dehumidifyers do make a little noise BUT I think we are the only rental property on the island that doesn't smell of mildew. See you next vacation hopefully for a full month. Doug and Terry Knipe
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14 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Texas
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2010

I have read papajohns review and it just about says it all, so please read that review for the details about Diamond K. My husband and I were in Cozumel for 10 days with a group of 12 other people to do mission projects which involved building equipment for handicapped children, storage cabinets, a large table with benches for a family and many other projects.

Doug and Terry worked with us to accomodate 4 couples at Diamond K and when we lost our building to do construction in, they allowed us to use one of their garages. We had a mountain of projects going on and the support that we were given was incredible.

The units at Diamond K are truly a travelers dream and just when we thought things could not get better, Doug surprised us with cell phones to use while we were there. These were invaluable to us as our group often needed to be in contact. We were also able to keep in touch with our families back in the states because each unit has access to a vonage line, so free calls to the US. Each unit has a connection for internet and we were having difficulty with our port so Doug fixed us up with a wireless router so we would have internet access.

One of our ladies was doing a lot of cooking for our group and Doug and Terry made sure that she had whatever she needed to cook for such a large group. The maid came on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and made all of our units fresh and clean.

We did not rent a car and found that we seldom had to take a taxi. A taxi to the main road and the big supermarkets is 20 pesos and the return trip is 25 pesos. There are several good restaurants within walking distance and the location is great for those who want to be back from the tourist areas of Cozumel, but close enough to enjoy those features.

My husband and I have now stayed in three of the units and they are all great. The sleep number beds are so comfortable and as others have said - Doug and Terry make us feel like family.

Thanks Diamond K for a great 10 days.

Byron and Ilene from Texas

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Atlantic Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2010

Like the only other reviewer of this property, I'm almost afraid to give it the stellar review it deserves for fear that I won't be able to get back in when I want to return!!! I see I'm limited to 200 characters for this review (not enough) so I will suggest you read the details of the review by papajohns for the specifics - I agree with everything they say!!!

I've been to Cozumel a number of times, always staying in boutique hotels or all-inclusives. This time I wanted to do things my way - have breakfast & lunch (pre & post dive) on my own terms and then eat dinner out at one of the fabulous reasonably priced restaurants on the island.

Doug and Terry feel like family members after my 10 days on their property - from picking me up at the airport, to helping when my rental car was towed (long story), to dragging my much-too-heavy luggage up and down the stairs to the condo - I feel like I now have a new branch on the family tree... and that's a good thing.

I couldn't have asked more from the condo - I was on the 2nd floor with a king bed, full living room and kitchen and had more towels than I ever could have used at my disposal. Sheets were changed on Mondays & Fridays and the maid was SUPER... the condo smelled wonderful after she left, even though I didn't really feel that I made a mess worth cleaning up after!! She would sweep, mop, scrub all around and even washed and dried dishes I didn't get to in the morning before leaving for diving.

Doug has asked me what could be improved upon and I can only think of 2 very teeny sticky points...
1) I hated the toilet paper roll holder - there was no spring in it & I fought with it to stay attached to the wall every day.
2) I would have liked more counter space in the bathroom - a small vanity or even a shelf - that wasn't impeded by a door (like the shelves UNDER the sink) - I like to leave a number of items out and couldn't do that with the limited space.

I will be back, you can guarantee on that!!!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ontario
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2009

My husband and I consider ourselves very fortunate to have found such a wonderful and reasonably priced place to stay in Cozumel this trip. On our last visit to Cozumel we had brought our sons and stayed at a condo on the south side of the island. This trip we wanted to be closer to town and wanted to economize without giving up too many luxuries (otherwise it wouldn't be a vacation). Villas Diamond K came highly recommended and we leapt at the opportunity. The self-contained apartment had everything we wanted, and more, leaving us with enough money to dive a lot and rent a car we definitely didn't need when all was said and done. I will try to give you an objective review of the apartments, but be forewarned, we have already booked to return.

For the record, we always stay in self-catering units when we travel, and can give you a fairly good description despite being prejudicial. It will be long, but you shouldn't have too many questions about the property or amenities at the end of it.

There are 8 self contained units, really apartments. They are not studios and are quite spacious especially when you consider they are less costly than a hotel room. Our little place was smaller than the rest, but it was the efficiency unit and gave us just what we needed. Doug gave us a tour of the other 7 and we were duly impressed with the space/cost. Everything is decorated in very calm, pleasing and relaxing neutral colours.

Pros
Kitchen was well stocked with cooking utensils, pots, pans, salt/pepper/oil, microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker, blender, regular oven/stovetop, fridge, table, chairs or counter with stools and lots of cupboard space. They had even gotten us a couple boxes of juice that were cooling in the fridge to rehydrate us after our cross country jaunt that day of arrival! There is also a water cooler that never had the opportunity to run out.

Bedrooms-The beds are all sleep number beds, pillows and sheets were of high quality and soft. 2 nighttables and a dresser complemented the huge closets with built in storage. There is a key code safe located in the closet. As we left Doug had said he was thinking of installing TVs in the bedrooms, don't know if he has gotten around to it. There is an alarm clock.....

Living areas-Ours was small and part of the kitchen, but there was a huge VIZIO flat screen TV with satellite and cable. There was a DVD machine and internet connection. The bigger units we toured had actual living rooms with all of the same amenities that were located in our unit. Local and free long distance phone lines ensure there is absolutely no reason you cannot continually stay in touch with those you love to let them know how much fun you're having and they are not! There was also the required comfortable couches and chairs for watching the big old TV in the larger units, and after a day of 4 dives, vegging was something we did do.

Bathrooms-All the bathrooms I remember seeing were shower only but they were good sized showers and all were nicely tiled. One, and we will post pictures later, was an artistic endeavour itself and I can only imagine the planning it took to install the tile in such an intricate pattern. Water pressure was great and so was the supply of hotwater. Smart man has installed hot water on demand and we always had hot water. As well, Terry made sure we had lots of clean towels/washcloths available and there were 2 beachtowels supplied.

Miscellaneous-
There was a good supply of toilet paper, paper towel, dishsoap, deodorizer spray and laundry soap, tea towels and dishclothes.

Linens were provided, and during our 9 day stay the very efficient maid came 2 times and changed the beds and cleaned top to bottom. I didn't think we needed it but my goodness, you did notice a difference when she left.

There is a huge swimming pool which we only got to enjoy once during our busy stay. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and there is an outdoor fridge to cool you beer/beverages by the pool so you don't have to walk too far when empty. There are 2 units that are close to the pool. The other units are adjacent to Doug's property and all face onto a beautiful courtyard which have terraces and a lovely sitting area for sunning. Everything is very close together on a block, so if you stayed in one of the bigger units, it is a 2 min walk out your door and around the corner to access the pool and mulitple loungers. Much faster than a big AI hotel if I remember correctly.

Dehumidifiers are located in the closets of all apartments. It's set up so everything is self-draining. This makes a huge difference for sleeping, drying wetsuits and just ridding everything of that damp feeling/musty smell you get in tropical countries.

Air conditioners were located in the bedroom and main living area. Quite frankly, we only kept the one on in the main area and used the bdrm one at night. There are fans located in both the bedroom and kitchen for added circulation.

Location-This complex is located on a main street however, we never noticed the noise in the apartment and were never awakened. The whitenoise from the air con and dehumidifier eliminated outdoor noise completely. However, you do get to see all of the celebratory parades as they will pass your place since it is a main drag. We really liked this feature.
We rented a car but really, we didn't need it. We did use it to go visit the rest of the island and that is where the best beaches are, but not so much for swimming. We had an apartment last time with a beach but did not use it as there are so many other things to do and we are in the ocean diving most days anyway. Parking was easy along a quiet side street right under our apartment.

Doug and Terry are dolls and one of the best features of the apartment. They offered to pick us up and drop us off at the airport/ferry if required. You are allowed to do that for family, and they certainly do make you feel like that, but better. They try not to bug you!

It was a super easy walk into town and there are sidewalks but they are not North American level sidewalks (some are higher, require some weaving and are uneven). It might have been a 6 block walk to the 2 main grocery stores. Prices are super reasonable and there is lots of fresh produce, fish/meat and everything else you could want. The Mega even has a small coffee shop where we were able to get a very good capuccino sprinkled with cinnamon and accompanied with small pain au chocolate and croissants (heaven). If you wanted to walk into town to eat or drink, the taxi ride is cheap enough for the return trip if walking isn't so much an option. We are going to use cabs for our next trip. There is a coffee/pastry shop right across the street but it is way too pricey unless you are desperate and have no energy to walk into town.

There is a sports complex a couple of blocks toward town which has a track, and an outdoor weight facility. I was lazy this trip and didn't do anything but walk, but next time.....maybe

As well, at the end of the street into town there is a central park where there is an area for children to play, there may even have been one at the sports complex that I might have missed.

Security-both complexes are secured by beautiful gates and padlocks. No one but the tennants, gardner and maid can access the property. I never saw anyone wandering about that didn't belong there.

Bugs-None in the apartment, not even a spider. Caulking is quite an effective means to keep those pesky bugs at bay. Mosquitoes do come out at dusk/dawn and there is no way to avoid them. Bring lots of bug spray for even walking about town. This is something that is island wide. Good news, they itch for awhile and then not so much.

Cons
I am listing these here because I realize I may be an easier traveller than others.
Main street location/dehumidifier/airconditioner....there is a noise factor from having these operating, but you would get this in a hotel as well. I am a light sleeper and did not find them to be an issue, but I do recognize that other people might.

You may have to grab a cab to get to a good beach.

No laundry facilities. We took ours out to be done. The cost was 10 US for a full bag of clothing which I won't list. There are lots of little places available to do it for you.

Don't think this is a good environment for people that are physically challenged. Most apartments are accessed by stairs and I don't think the bathrooms were wide enough to accomodate a wheelchair, although, I'm sure Doug would figure out a way to help you if you really wanted to stay with him. He's a "McGyver" type personality for sure.

I am sitting here now trying to think of bad things to say and coming up short. These apartments are definitely not for you if you need an all inclusive environment and need to have every whim catered to. Doug and Terry are very accomodating, they will not crowd you, but are always available if you need something. They live right on site but are really cool about giving you the right amount of space. We loved it here and are heading back at the end of March for 2 wks this time. If anyone should have any questions, please feel free to ask, although I might find myself facing "no vacancy" once the secret is out.

Will post pictures later, just wanted to get the review done while I had the time.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villas Diamond K

Address: Ave 11 & 55 bis, Cozumel, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cozumel
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 31 Specialty Lodging in Cozumel
Number of rooms: 8

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