Attracted by the open-air lobby right off the main square and the low prices, I'd been wanting to stay at the Hotel Mary Carmen for about 20 years. This trip, because our usual hotel wasn't going to have an open room for a few days, I got my wish. First, I suggest that anyone planning to check into this hotel should get their pesos before they walk in. Payment is cash in advance, and their exchange rate for American dollars is bad. So be prepared to pay in pesos. In pesos, it's a good value.
The good: The rooms are sort of cute with their decorative niches and touches--like someone put some care into it. The shower got hot, and the water pressure was good. The bathroom was ok. The courtyard, with its resident squad of turtles, is pleasant and relaxing. It's fairly quiet. We saw no bugs in the room, except for a mosquito and a few little ants. The people running the hotel seemed nice. And the location is fantastic--half a block off the main square. It was really nice to be so close to all of the downtown restaurants. The free Wi-Fi mostly worked. We had the first room off the lobby, so I felt like our room was extra-secure--a nice bit of reassurance, since we were packing dive gear, a laptop, etc. The mattresses looked fairly new (I don't usually look, but the bottom sheets weren't fitted, and they got dislodged during the night).
The bad: The sheets were really, really worn, to the point where I could see the pattern of the mattress through the center portion where years of sleeping bodies have worn the fabric sheer. The pillows, too, should probably be replaced. The floors were kept really clean, but things higher up were less so. There was mold growing high above the shower stall, and the rocker switch by the bathroom sink was black with other people's finger grime. As of our January 2012 stay, most surfaces could use a fresh coat of paint--especially the doors.
The neutral: People often complain about hard beds in Cozumel. I found the Hotel Mary Carmen's to be pretty soft, though not in that "pillow of luxury" kind of way. They're basic mattresses on cement slabs, much like much of the Yucatan. There was a small television (plenty of channels) and a safe (which we couldn't get to work). The air conditioning worked well, and there was a ceiling fan. Being close to the lobby meant the room stayed brighter later into the night, as the windows face the courtyard (and front desk, in our case). Light-sensitive sleepers or those who want more privacy might want to keep that in mind. There was only one outlet that was triple-prong (by the tv)--a consideration when recharging electronics. Spanish is the main language spoken here, so it's helpful to be able to speak at least a little. They speak a little English, but not much.
Overall, I'm glad to have given this hotel a try. I'd like it a lot if they bought new sheets!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.