Anyone who's been baffled by the polar opposite reviews of the Tesoro should take what I'm about to say to heart. According to some of these writers, the Tesoro is hell on earth, a decrepit Bates Motel that's infested with all manner of vermin, with mold growing on every surface and food that would make a maggot woozy with nausea.
Please believe me when I tell you: IT'S NOT TRUE. The Tesoro is a quaint, intimate litle gem in a phenomenal location, staffed by some of the loveliest people I've ever had the goof fortune to meet. My wife and I just got home from a week there and we both wish we could have just one more day at the Tesoro, soaking up the sun, listening to the surf , being waited on hand and foot and taking in fabulous entertainment every night.
The hotel is nestled in a group of hills that's home to about six or seven resorts, all of which are more expensive than the Tesoro. The Karmina next door, for example, is $1,000 a week more. The Los Hados is also more expensive and doesn't have an elevator to the beach level. I could go on but I won't. We paid $1,400 per person, including the flight and taxes, for the week, all-inclusive.
The area is only minutes from downtown Santiago, a suburb of Manzanillo. The temperature is 30 C every day, there is little to no wind and the sun shines all the time. In fact, out of seven days, I saw very light cloud for a total of about 45 minutes. I noticed about a half dozen mosquitoes in seven days, and never encountered anything scarier than a bee the whole time.
Manzanillo, and the Tesoro in particular, is very popular with tourists from Guadalajara and Mexico City, so we got to meet a lot of Mexicans (which some reviewers seem to think is a bad thing - sigh).
Let's look at specifics:
THE ROOM: Our standard room was quite large, with tile everywhere. Some reviewers seem to think this is a bad thing. They apparently don't realize it HAS to be that way - if it wasn't, they'd have to replace everything after the rainy season. Just like the reason the building is white - it reflects the heat away so that the rooms aren't blazingly hot all the time. Some people complained about rust on fixtures. There may be a tiny bit but what do you expect? The ocean - that great oxidizer of all things great and small - is less than 50 yards away! (Which, by the way, makes for a magnificent view!)
I'll admit, the beds are hard, but that meant very little to me. Same with the fact there were only a couple of English channels on the TV. Who gives a rip? We were out of our room, except to change, from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. We were on the second floor, which meant we could keep our patio door open every night and listen to the drone of the surf. There IS a musty smell (again, you're right next to the ocean and AC is a moisture-based mechanism) but it comes from the air conditioning unit, NOT the room. Keep your AC off during the day and you won't notice it.
The bottom line is this: WHY ARE YOU IN YOUR ROOM??!! You're on vacation!!!!
THE BEACH: The Tesoro backs onto a horseshoe bay, which means it's for all intents and purposes a private beach. We rarely saw anyone other than guests using it. Yes, it's small, but who cares? I was there to soak up the sun and play in the surf, not go horseback riding. We never had a problem finding a lounger. In fact, the only downside is that the sand gets bloody hot.
Some people have complained that the ocean is "dirty" and cold. That's ludicrous. The Pacific shore is NOT the Caribbean; you shouldn't expect white sand and crystal clear, bathtub warm water. It's dark green and a little bit cool, which was great because most of the time I was overheated anyway.
THE POOL AREA: Just fine, thanks. It's not huge but it was more than enough to accommodate everyone while we were there. The swim up bar is also small but very efficient. There were a couple of days where we didn't move from the pools except to eat, and it was fantastic. To the reviewers complaining that the pool is too cold, I say pull the pacifier out of your mouth. It's freaking HOT out! I WANT my pool to be cool! Sheesh!
THE FOOD: Excellent. I got turned on to so many Mexican dishes that I'd never even heard of, and I couldn't get enough of the fruit. Loved the sausages, the pork dishes (forget the beef if you're used to Alberta quality, obviously) and the beans. And the salsa fresca! Ay caramba! I couldn't care less that there's little "normal" food on the menu, or that there aren't a dozen new selections every day. It's delicious and it fills the void. The end. Are you on vacation or on a scouting trip for the Iron Chef?
THE ENTERTAINMENT: I find it very interesting that all the crybaby reviewers neglect to mention the nightly shows. Could it be they prefer to be holed up in their rooms and pout rather than go out and have a good time? The entertainment was EXCELLENT! The Tesoro is lucky to have a group of incredibly talented people, especially Paolo, the MC and lead guy. The costumes are breathtaking, and some bits - like the acrobatics, trick ropers and a fantastic tenor - are Vegas quality.
If you're bored at Tesoro after dark, it's because you want to be. If you look at the pictures I posted, you'll see happy faces in the crowd. If they're so happy, why are some reviewers so miserable? If you WANT to have fun at the Tesoro, you WILL. I guarantee it.
THE STAFF: Utterly charming. With only a couple of exceptions, they were delightful. Fernando at the beach bar is just a blast. I commented on how the beach bar made the best mojitos at the resort and every time I saw him after that, he greeted me with a grin and shouted "Ey!! Mojito!!" A 20-peso tip was enough to elevate you from valued guest to Sinatra-esque high roller with just about everyone.
In fact, we gave our drink server at the pool a 50-peso note one day and I ended up having three beers going at once! I swear to God, she could read my mind. I'd be laying there thinking "Man, a beer would be good right now," and next thing you know she was standing there with her patented sweet smile: "Cerveza?"
J.C. from Air Transat and Miguel (or Miguelito, if you're a joking sort) are there to look after all your questions. The concierge, Susi, will take care of everything that they can't. The front door staff are excellent, making sure to fix your taxi price before you even get in the cab.
Everywhere you go in the resort, you will be greeted with sincere smiles, "Hola!" and attempts at English. For some reason, a few reviewers think it's the staff's duty to learn English because, of course, their sole reason for existence is to serve Canadians.
THE DRINKS: Have we become such an entitled, crybaby culture that we are actually able to complain about how much booze is in our free drinks? Or that the drinks are served in - horrors! - plastic cups? I won't dignify this twaddle by talking about it.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you sincerely want to have a good time, and enjoy the sun, sand and surf, the Tesoro will take care of your every need for a great low price. If, however, you want to spend a week in a fancy hotel room, being fed Moxie's-style food and breathing recycled air, surrounded by people speaking perfect English and wearing sharp-creased slacks, I suggest you shell out the extra money and stay elsewhere.
Please, God, let this end the stupid debate over this delightful little resort. Te amo, Manzanillo. Te amo, Tesoro.
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- Also Known As:
- Tesoro Manzanillo Hotel Manzanillo
- Hotel Tesoro Manzanillo
- Manzanillo Tesoro Hotel
- Tesoro Hotel Manzanillo
- Tesoro Manzanillo Resort