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Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Denver, CO
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39 posts
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Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

Ok, I admit I'm a resort snob and in general an ulra-picky person. Even though I work in the travel industry its been a few years since I've been to Coz, due to a previous bad experience, but now a relative's wedding is forcing me back. In short I stayed at The Reef Club, which to me is a dump. I hated it there and therfore have a bad opinion of the island in general.

Who is going: my husband and I. He may just be pickier than me. We don't dive but do enjoy snorkeling. My husband likes nice pools I like nice sandy beaches. We are food picky!

What we are looking for: someplace nice, prefer an AI. Even though I have found good food in town, my husband doesn't like the haggling and the people chasing you down. So going to town isn't part of our plan. We want a place w/ lots to do on-site. Good food is a must, as is a nice pool and beach. We don't like crowds and prefer a true secluded resort environment. An adults only AI would work if there is one. Being food picky we prefer resorts w/ multiple ala-carte restaurants on site.

Places we like, an idea of what our tastes are: Mortons Steakhouse, Good Seafood, Maggiano's, Palace resorts (Xpu-Ha for kids, Aventura Spa for adults). Embassy suites Lakeview Chicago, Marriot Casa Magna and JW Cancun. Aventura Spa is probably my favorite resort so far. Really good food, 7 different restuarants most ala-carte, great rooms, lots to do... yoga, pilates, scuba at Xpu-Ha and tours.

Places we don't like: Reef Club!, Melia Ixtapa, bad buffets, bad service/attitudes.

So advice please!!! We would rather spend $$ and have a vacation to remember than penny pinch and be disappointed. OH FYI the wedding is the first week of March and the couple booked rooms at The Villablanca which just doesn't seem like our taste.

Thanks guys!!

Rockwood, Michigan
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696 posts
13 reviews
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1. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

Don't go. Stay at home and ask to watch the video. Sounds like where ever you go it's going to have to perfect. Well I am sure you have learned by now life isn't perfect and neither is Mexico for that matter. If you go to the wedding and stay in the nicest hotel in Cozumel and say the maid forgot to put a wash cloth a certain way isn't going to ruin your trip? I mean really... And always remember this. You get what you pay for if you would have done you research before you went on your last trip you would have seen the Reef Club is one of the cheapest AI's on the island. If you insist on going maybe try the Occidental Grand it is suppose to be the best AI on the island. I hope your trip works out well for you but with your additude I feel you are doomed for another bad trip.

Denver, CO
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39 posts
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2. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

Maybe we will try the Grand I have heard good things. And just BTW- I listed quite a few places we were happy with. We had booked a mystery 4star package when we ended up at Reef Club. It was our first "vacation" as a couple and was just thoroughly disappointing. It was quite awful in so many ways. I still have scars on my back from the inection I got from the bug bites from the infestation in our room. That is just a sample of what we experienced (we also had food poisoning, watched a man drop trou, whip it out and pee in the pool in front of everyone).

Yes we are picky, but generally do not have attitude problems. We are very generous people, we always tip well and are very friendly. I just want a vacation to be, well, a vacation.

I've backpacked Europe and done the hostel thing, I also like camping and enjoy my fair share of townie-bars. Which is cool, I just want to get what I pay for if that makes sense.

I don't want to pay for and expect a 4 star and get a Motel 6 room. If I pay $50 or less for a room I know what to expect. If I'm paying $250pp/pn I expect a bit more.

Ottawa, Canada
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6,523 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

Sorry to say but I agree with the first answer to your post. I stayed at the Reef Club just after it opened, I thought it was very good, but when I sent friends a year later the opinion was that it was very different than when I was there. The only place that might meet your needs is the Occidental Grande ( I stayed next door at the Iberostar) but even they don't meet your requirements. No AI will, there is no way they can provide that much service in different menues and American food variety for the AI crowd. Also there is poor snorkelling anywhere along the sandy beach. To me the only possable choice is the Presidente, a 5 star if I remember right, BUT not AI and you will be forced to go to town often to satisfy your food needs. The snorkelling is best in the area between the Presidente and the Fiesta Americanna, another AI that I doubt could meet your needs. Sorry but sounds like I won't bump into you there, because I like the food in town, and the people that make Cozumel what it is, a nice friendly and safe place to holiday.

Denver, CO
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39 posts
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4. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

Ok, I admit our first trip to Cozumel was a uniquely bad one. I really wish it wasn't, because since then I have been back to other parts of MX 5 times, I've been to the Maya Riviera twice since October. Most of our experiences have been good. Our main complaints when things don't work out are bad or dirty accomodations and bad service (which we had at Reef Club and the Melia in Ixtapa).

I'm not sure if an AI is for sure the best thing for us. Perhaps we should look for a nicer resort w/o the food option. We did enjoy the other side of the island and found a small, friendly, off-the-beaten path restaurant where the food was quite good. We just don't like being chased down by aggressive sales people.

For the most part we go to MX to escape, get away from it all. For relaxation and peace, which can make going to town a little bit stressful.

I suppose another option we may have is to stay at a resort on the mainland and ferry over.

I was just hoping that we could find a place on Cozumel. I know that there will be a Cozumel Palace opening soon, just not in time for us.

Also, after our plane broke-down (again same bad trip) we ended up spending an extra night in Coz at the Cozumeleno, which we did like. We would stay there again but were hoping for something w/ a few more options.

Ottawa, Canada
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6,523 posts
5 reviews
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5. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

May I suggest you check out the Iberostar at Playacar. The Iberostar Toucan / Quetznal (spelling may not be right). We were put up there 1 night on our way to Cozumel when the flight from home to Cancun was too late for transfer over to Coz. The food was very good even though it was 1:00 AM when we arrived ( food available until 3:00 AM) The rooms and facilities were excellent, much nicer than the Iberostar in Cozumel where I have stayed the last 2 years. We were only there about 10 hours but it was a very nice resort, close enough to Playa Del Carmen to allow reasonable travel time to get there & back etc. I am a diver so I go to Coz regularily now, trip 7 will be in mid Feb. For me Cozumel is the right place but I know that it is not for everyone. I have been to several resorts over the years and am easily made happy, as long as the food is good, the room clean, and I like a hard bed. Just add water to dive & snorkel and I can survive almost anywhere. That doesn't mean I don't like really good food or a 5 star resort, it just means I can make the best of it. My wife is not quite that easy to please but she thinks any time away from Canadian winter is time well spent. I basically only work to raise the money needed for another holiday, cheap accomodation = more money for diving.

Regina Canada
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111 posts
30 reviews
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6. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

As a travel industry person, arrange for yourself a FAM trip for three days. Hunt arround. I'm sure you won't like anything but it will be cheap.

If you were a real diver you might appreciate the island for what it is , not what you want it to be.

Personally, I like the primitave nature of the place and and local food. REAL LOCAL FOOD with the locals not the AI or cruise ship crowd.

Stay at a 5 star AI in Cancun and head to Coz for the wedding.

Just don't miss the ferry or you will be stranded.

Ron

Regina Canada
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111 posts
30 reviews
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7. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

Opps. I forgat one thing.

I do stay at the Villablanca. Three dive shops near by and great snorkeling/scuba accross the street. This place has been full since November and I could not stay there this time round. Stayed at a friends place.

The food next door is geared to Canadians and Americans as it's run by a Canadian. Food is comparable to Applebees.

Head next door to Troy's Pelagic Ventures and get a Discover Scuba. You might change your mind about diving.

If all else fails....Iberostar

Ron

Cozumel, Mexico
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600 posts
112 reviews
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8. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

Cozumel does not really have any five star hotels. It is striving for that, but it has always been difficult as it is an island and part of the problem is a limited labor pool and limited access to supplies and materiels to provide a 5 star experience. For example, to get the necessary food ingredients for a gourmet restaurant, it requires importing it or shipping special from Cancun. There is just not the access to things to provide a consistant quality product to guests on a daily basis. The Presidente and maybe the Occidental are probably doing the best in this regards, but do not compare to what you can get over on the mainland.

I do not normally discourage people from coming to the island, but if you are only going to be staying at the resort and not go into town, you mihgt be better to look at more luxurious options on the mainland. There is Moon Palace which is supposed to be very good. There is the Barcelo chain as well. Take a look at this and see if they meet your expectations. Hope you have a good vacation experience wherever you decide to stay.

tom@hotelflamingo.com

Cozumel, Mexico
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1,911 posts
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9. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

I disagree with Tom, there is one, 5 star hotel on the island, and that's the Intercontinental Presidente, you get what you pay for, and you pay alot to stay there, and then some more for each drink and meal. The only 2 other choices based on your comments, are AI, the Iberostar and the Occidental Grand. I also diagree with other posters suggesting you won't have a good time, and not to come. I know what you mean, and unfortunately, this is bandido country, and ripping-off the gringos is an accepted sport, and some even turn it into an art form. If you're picky, and you have every right to be, the 3 hotels I mentioned above are your only choices.

Rockford, Il
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19 posts
1 review
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10. Re: Picky people giving Coz one last chance: AI advise?

Good lord....do what Ron suggests. Stay on the mainland and take the ferry which is a nice ride. Coz is for divers who don't complain much so what we say is real nice is not going to cut it for you.....sorry