I stayed at EL Cid La Ceiba for two weeks at the end of Oct. The hotel is old. I
believe that the staff do as good a job as they can given the age of the property.
I traded these weeks through RCI (listed gold crown, but wasn't) and was to have a two bedroom, well that wasn't exactly true. What we got was three small single rooms, each with a bath (shower/tub combo). One room had a very small kitchen area (two burners, microwave, small refrig and sink, no little oven), dining room table with 6 chairs, small couch (seats 2), one easy chair, a murphy bed (couldn't believe it), TV, very small balcony with two chairs. Room two was a standard king room at a Super 8 motel, bed, dresser, TV, small closet, small table with two chairs, a small balcony with two chairs. Room three was identical to room two, but
with two queen beds. Now we all know about lock-outs, but not in this configuration.
What you had were three small rooms, connected by an enclosed hallway that faced the
street with no curtains, and was not air conditioned. This meant you had to keep the
doors to the rooms closed (it was very warm and humid), which meant you always had to
carry a key with you. Example: wake up in king bdrm 2, grab key, go to small kitchen
bdrm 1, use key to get in, make coffee, come back to bdrm 2 use key to get back into the
room. Incovenient, but not impossible to deal with, my wife only had to go down to the
desk once in her PJ's to get another key, because she forot to pick up her key before
leaving bdrm 2 to go and make coffee in bedrm 1, got locked out and I was not there. We
were in rooms 1531, 1532, 1533 and 1631,1632,1633 (will explain later), and 1531 means
room 31 on the fifth floor, whatever.
This located us in the tower at the southern end of the property.
Balconies are very small, two person max. We had three balconies, they didn't connect, so
we couldn't set outside with friends as the balcony only seated 2. The views from the
balconies would have been alright, except there are huge docks right in front of our
rooms which were constantly filled with cruise ships, most mornings between 4am and 9am,
four cruise ships would cruise in and park right out in front of my 3 semi-useless
balconies. The truck ferry also loads/unloads about 200 yards from our balconies. The
hotel has real wood fired pizza ovens also located directly below the balconies. So
let's run thru a day: wake up, do the room and key shuffle, bring back coffee, set out on
the balcony with my wife, listen to all the cruise ship loud speaker announcements, watch
the thousands and thousands of people disembark, watch all the excursion boats pull up,
load and unload cruise passengers (this lasts all day), listen to the diesel engines of
the truck ferry every four hours as it loads and unloads for an hour and cruise ship horns blowing from 3-7pm every day except Sunday (no cruise ships on Sunday). Almost forgot about the bar for the cruisers with the DJ and music that was blaring 150 feet from the balcony 6 days a week from 12 - 6pm, at least it wasn't at night. When the days aren't to hot or humid, it's nice to have the door open to the balcony. After day 5 I got to where all the noise from 10000+ people coming and going didn't bother me much, so I'd open the balcony door and enjoy the air, until they cranked up that damn wood burning pizza oven. The first time that I noticed this was on day 2 and at about 2pm, I had the balcony door open and had gone down to the bar for a drink. Came back to the room at 3pm and walked into a room with a heavy smoke smell from the pizza oven. That smell lasted for days, but I found out close balcony doors by 1:30pm, leave shut until at least 7pm, by that time the wood is just coals and no longer stinks. Close balcony doors when you go to sleep because that damn ferry would park outside and you could hear it's diesel engines, even with the balcony door shut and the ac running and sometimes it would park there overnight, so forget listening to the water hitting the sea wall (no beach at El Cid).
As I said there's no beach at the hotel, but there is a nice large area to set out along
the sea wall. There are stairs down into the water so you can go snorkeling right in
front of the hotel, but be very careful, it's slippery and saw several people take hard
falls. According to our friends (Rickki and John) who are die hard snorklers, this had
some of the best close in snorkling on the island. They have a snorkel shop and for
$12/day, you get mask, fins and snorkel (life vest $4 extra). My wife who doesn't like
the water much, but really enjoyed snorkeling at El Cid.
The hotel allows cruise ship passengers for a small fee to come and use the facilities.
This did not seem to be a large problem as there isn't very much at the El Cid. The pool
has a 36'x36' usable swim area, about the size of a Holiday Inn pool, I say usable as
thats where the water is at least 3' - 6' deep. There is one restaurant/bar (I don't
count that damn pizza oven, though the hotel does). There is free wireless internet in
the lobby and there is no internet in the rooms, although I found I could get a weak
signal from my semi-useless balcony. So when cruise passengers did use the facilities,
it would get a little crowded around the pool and the internet would almost crawl to a
stop, but they were all generally gone by 4pm.
The ground are very small at the El Cid, but what there was, was clean and they tried to
keep it looking nice.
The restaurant makes a decent omelet for breakfast(no buffet), but really wasn't
impressed when I ate dinner there, either with food taste or price. My wife likes
strawberry daiquari's, she said it was absolutely the worst she had ever had, basically
tasted just like syrup, no real fruit was included.
Back to the rooms. We originally were in 1531, 1532 and 1533. All three a/c's broke.
These are antique units that are about 5' x 3' hanging from the ceiling above the beds.
They are loud, and almost drown out the noise of the ferry outside. Management was
pretty good about getting them fixed within 3 to 6 hours. Room 1533 didn't have hot
water, just warm when we arrived, they fixed it 4 days later (yes, they were notified about the
issue). All rooms had a bit of a musty smell, they perfume it pretty heavily before you
check in, but by day 2 that smell had worn off and you had the musty smell the rest of the
time. We thought we had a non-smoking room, but ashtrays were in all the rooms. My wife
would not put our clothes in the dressers, they smelled pretty bad. When we got home,
she washed even the clothes that we didn't wear, because they smelled to her. Even
though the a/c's worked most of the time and the rooms were cool, they would not reduce
the humidity in the room, sheets felt cool and damp when you got into bed. Our freinds
Rickki and John had their bathroom sink fall out of the countertop, but they said no
problem, the snorkling is great. After the third a/c broke we switched rooms to
1631,1632 and 1633. We only had to get one a/c repaired there, but the water line in the
hallway broke and flooded the hallway, luckily it didn't get in the rooms. Water was
dripping from the ceiling on my wife while she was taking a bath on our 2nd day in the rm
1632, I asked her just to use another bathroom as I was tired of complaining about the
rooms. I never did tell the hotel that the water was dripping from above in the room, so
if they read this, fix it. Also you will need to have replace some light bulbs in the
rooms. They just don't use bright enough bulbs and the rooms are very dark at night.
Our friends had a 1 bdrm. It was just about the size of 2 of our rooms. The taxes for
their room was $78, the taxes on our rooms were $290. Beware of the taxes.
As with all resorts, you will get asked to attend a time share presentation. They were
not pushy and offered some nice benefits for attending (reduced excursion fees and two
days free car rental). This was for a 90 minute presentation at the new El Cid hotel
near Playa Del Carmen. Be aware that we met in the lobby at 8:15am and returned to the
hotel at just before 6:00pm. The ferry rides are 40 minutes each way and the new El Cid
hotel was closer to Cancun than Playa Del Carmen so the driving time was another 40
minutes each way. I would like to meet the people who only end up spending 90 minutes at
a presentation. If you have only 7 days, you will give one entire day away for this
We really enjoyed our trip to Cozumel, the island is great. El Cid La Ceiba is an okay
hotel for someone really wanting to snorkel and dive. Charters pick you up right at the
hotel dock and the snorkling is pretty good right there, but if you're wanting to rest and relax with a little luxury on the side, this hotel is not for you.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.