First time in Ixtapa, first time in an Emporio hotel, and it came with a few surprises. While I liked the regular (non all-inclusive tariff) and it was incredibly easy and cheaper (but not cheap, Ixtapa prices are 30% above the rest of Mexico) to eat out at the restaurants across the street and bring in provisions from the small grocery stores, some of the corporate policies really suck and they don't deliver on everything promised.
So, what did I like about the hotel. The room was clean and well maintained. I would have liked a tub and not just a shower, but it's not a problem. A/C in room working well, and unintrusive. General installations were also clean, well maintained and fully functional. The pools were clean and safe. Car park is on site and secure with enough spaces. We ate the buffet a couple of times for convenience's sake, and it was passable, although food did run out (especially the sweets, not surprising as families would walk off with two whole cakes to their table and then eat a few slices, while no staff would say a thing to stop them - be prepared to observe gluttony and waste at its worst in this hotel). Can recommend the pool snacks, above all the fish or shrimp fried tortilla wraps (pescadillas and camarondillas), really very good. And the staff are exceptional, truly pleasant and eager to please, and dare I say it, perhaps even happy to work there!
Ok, onto the bad (and odd). Firstly, corporate policy regarding room allocation. As with most Mexican hotels, rooms have either one king bed or two matrimonial or queen beds. In every other hotel I've stayed in, you specify at time of booking. That I couldn't with this hotel I thought was odd at the time, but as we were four people, I just assumed they would automatically give us a two-bed double. Big mistake. Emporio hotel policy is that you turn up and get given what they have. Which in our case was a single bed room. No chance of a change to a different room. When we asked why we were told that we hadn't paid enough to be able to choose. Ahhhh, so we are second class guests, thanks for not telling us at the time of booking. Their solution was to bring a single bed into the room. Now these rooms are pretty small to begin with, after squeezing in a single bed, you spend the whole holiday tripping over it, banging your toes against it, and generally cursing the bait and switch booking policies of the hotel chain. After all, what are you going to do after you've driven 7 hours to get to Ixtapa? Go home? Find another hotel in Easter week (when you are on a non-refundable tariff)? Good luck with that.
What else is bad? Don't get mountain view. Not because the the sea view is amazing, but because the noise from the street side is intolerable. I'm a heavy sleeper, but spent most of holiday red-eyed and grumpy from lack of sleep. Señor frogs is right across the street, bands set themselves up in the carpark outside, then Corona vans run up and down the strip all night with speakers blazing. It's cacophonous, it's relentless and it goes on 'til the early hours. Bring earplugs, you'll need them.
Sunlounger policy here also truly sucks, and leads to conflicts and bad feeling among the guests. While sun loungers are plentiful and there are plenty all round, the amount of shade available is pathetic. Buy some sunbrellas guys, what is the point of leaving 2/3 of the sunloungers in the raging sun? It just ends up looking cheap on the part of the hotel. OK, so the policy regarding shaded sunlougers is first come first served - if you get up early in the morning and put your towel on the lounger, it's yours. Fair enough. But what they don't have is any sort of control over the number of loungers reserved. I saw one family of four reserve five loungers on the beach in the shade, and another five loungers by the pool in the shade. They couldn't possibly use them all at once, but believe me, the selfishness of Mexican families is limitless, so if nobody is going to stop them, why not reserve 10 shaded sunloungers for 4 people? The hotel sure doesn't care. And if you do get up early and reserve your lounger, don't take too long in occupying it, I saw a couple of families get most upset when the loungers they reserved at 7am had been overtaken once they finally bothered to arrive around 3pm, usually with the towels and suncream stolen for good measure. Lazy, selfish vacationers beware!
Only other main gripe - despite what it says on the website, the rooms don't have wifi or any kind of internet connection. Not even close to having wifi. When questioned, they make no attempt to hide the fact that there is no wifi, and there never was. Now I don't personally miss having wifi on my vacation, what object to is being lied to. Why say there is, when there isn't? And it's not exactly difficult to put wifi in. I could pick up wifi signals from adjacent hotels hundreds of meters away, yet the only available wifi signal in the lobby barely stretched to the other side of the lobby bar. Clearly dishonesty is not something that Emporio hotels worry about when setting their corporate image
I really wanted to love this place as it had many good points, but next time I come to Ixtapa I'll go somewhere else that (1) doesn't expect 4 people to share a single bed, (2) knows how to deliver something when promised and (3) cares enough about its guests to arrange facilities such that they aren't fighting amongst themselves on busy days.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
June 7, 2012
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Thank you very much for choosing us and giving us the opportunity to learn about our services, we are taking into account their complaints, as well as your suggestions to offer you the service you deserve, we mention that the hotel is making and effort to give you comfort that deserve, getting quality products both in our rooms and in our public areas.
We hope to give us the opportunity to serve you once again for this home Emporio Ixtapa!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.