I had seen mostly mediocre reviews (and one really sour one) before arriving. My experience in Ixtapa was one of the best holidays I've had in the last few years. Here's why...
This hotel isn't right on the beach, but that's accessible a number of ways (Ixtapa is more of a commercial loop than a town) and you're not paying a fortune for a view of the ocean.
While many "all-inclusive" resorts and hotels tend to start with splendid service and then taper off halfway to three fourths of the way through your stay, the service and staff at the Holiday Inn remained excellent until we said our final "adios" on our last Sunday. The food bar isn't quite as huge as the 4-5 star joints, but the food was excellent and actually did change from night to night. I'd rather have a little variety in my selection than stare at the same "ice swan" carving night after night while the canteloupe gets stale.
I've travelled through four continents and this is one of the few foreign hotels I've stayed at where the water pressure and temperature are good and the water stays inside the shower stall. Did I mention free internet with the all-inclusive package?
Worth the money in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo:
1) Fishing - we left early, spent an hour waiting in the gulf then bagged two, six foot sailfish one after the other. It took me about 15 minute to land mine, then my daughter took 10 minutes to land hers. A local restaurant prepared it for us (see below). Cost: about $120/person not including taxi.
2) Swedish massage - $35.00 for one hour. Wow! (At the hotel)
3) Parasailing - $25.00 for a 10 minute ride - just remember to get your butt way back in the sling before takeoff or you'll feel like you're sliding out of the harness 300 feet up.
They launch and recover you on dry land so I did this in my street clothes. During the ride my hands were free to take some nice photos.
Now the beach: About a 10 minute walk from the Holiday. Our tour guide "arranged" for us to use the palapas (umbrella w/ table) at an associated, beach hotel but I was uncomfortable as soon as I saw hotel security eject two families (who were guests at that hotel) for lack of palapas reservation. I was much happier just paying about $20 for a palapa at the public beach. In Ixtapa there are vendors on the beach but they don't pester you to death every second like they did in Manzanillo two years ago.
If you want to go out to eat (instead of the hotel) try the 'El Arborito' restaurant in the middle of the 'fleamarket and mall' area between the Holiday Inn and the beach area. Their cook prepared our sailfish three different ways, it was incredible and the tab for four people came to less than $50, including the tip! This is the kind of place Rick Steves would find if he wrote about Ixtapa.
If you're bumming around and want a "brunch" try the chips and guac at that restaurant, with a corona beer (with a piece of lime of course) and top it off with their fried banana. Superb!
Taxis are fairly cheap, averaging about $5 for a 15 minute ride to the marina and fishing in Zihuatanejo (which is the real town).
Any downers here? Not really, although their check-in is around 3pm, so if your flight gets there in the morning you may be walking around the pool and bar area for awhile.
Oh, also, if you've never had a trophy fish mounted, be prepared for major sticker shock! I was going to mount mine but the best offer I could get was "only" $500.00 - down! (out of $1100-1200) and that doesn't include shipping. Needless to say, neither my daughter or I opted to mount our trophies.
But those are little things...
I would recommend this hotel and town to anyone thinking about Mexico.
One more thing: All of the key people (concierge, headwaiter, maitre 'd, etc.) at the hotel do speak pretty good English so communication was never a problem with us, even though I'm the most "fluent" one in Spanish - about 10 tourist phrases, total.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Holiday Inn Ixtapa Hotel is a modern building with high quality facilities and services for the leisure visitor or businessmen. 'Executive Rooms' . Air conditioned rooms, hallways and meeting rooms. Room service, restaurant, garden side cafeteria area, a combination of swim-up / dry pool bar, free-form precious large swimming pool with kid s area. The Holiday Inn Hotel can accommodate meetings up to 350 people theatre set-up and 200 for banquet. Convention registration room. Inside parking facilities for up to 110 vehicles. Not a beachfront property, we are located two blocks from El Palmar Beach. European, American, MAP and FAP plans available. Convenient rates and packages for groups, seminars, small conventions and all type of events. Natural ambiance surrounded by lush mountain and green gardens. Also, ecological and protection of species areas. We are 20 minutes driving to and from the airport. Ixtapa is the modern concept with all types of comfort and Zihuatanejo is the typical nice town with beautiful bays and beaches. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Ixtapa
- Ixtapa Holiday Inn