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“A low key jewel”
Review of Hotel Irma

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Hotel Irma
Ranked #14 of 79 Hotels in Zihuatanejo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 6, 2007

I am embarassed to admit my laziness here. We have been blessed enough to travel to Zihuatanejo every fall for the last 3 years and this is my first review contribution.

First, let me start with how we even got there. I had won a pair of airline tickets around May 2004 on Frontier Airlines. My boyfriend and I decided we needed 6 months to save the money for a vacation...where does Frontier fly that would go the farthest and be the most comfortable in November. Alaska? (um, no) Cancun? (I don't really care for the "touristy" spots) Zihuatanejo (Zhija who??). After a few weeks of research...Zihua just sounded like home to us.

We booked our hotel through Travelocity and ended up at the Hotel Irma and we were hooked. Our view off of our own personal balcony was incredible! You could see the whole bay. The rooms were very comfortable, the maid service impeccable, complete with the little towel / flower animals on your bed everyday. I always make sure and pick up little gifts to take with me and leave a gift with a tip (make sure to leave a note "for maid" or they won't take it). It doesn't cost much and really means alot to the girls.

The swimming pools at the Irma are wonderful. One of them is basically built into the side of the cliff, so if you prop up on the side of the pool, the view of the bay is unbeatable.

The waiters/bartenders at the restaurant are super nice (say hi to Sal if you see him....one of the highlights of our stay and we look for him everytime we go). We did eat at the restaurant a few times - but really tried to try different places throughout the town. Nothing at all against the Irma restaurant...just wanted to try it all! I actually would trot down and get a couple glasses of OJ to enjoy on our balcony in the mornings as we watched the town come to life.

The Irma is at the top of a cliff - 84 steps down to the beach. Take your time...you are on vacation after all. The town has done a phenominal job of installing a boardwalk that runs all the way into town. What a lovely way to begin the day, strolling along listening to the surf, watching the joggers and the pelicans.

There is a large open air restaurant right on the beach - Del Sol Bistro I believe (I will double check and correct if I am wrong)...an awesome place for breakfast. It is not the cheapest...but it is really good and a wonderful place to sit to watch cruise ships come in and just the activities on the beach. On down the beach is a "must visit"....M&J Ritchies. Marta is wonderfully energetic and friendly. They have excellent prices and some of the spiciest salsa you will find if you ask. The beer is ice cold and the margaritas perfectly slushy. It is very hard to leave once you settle in. Marta is such a treat to talk to.

On into town - Don Memo's is an awesome find. His restaurant is a great mix of Italian and Mexican and some of his own creativity thrown in. His tiny little daughter is such a treat. I saw a lady bring her a tiny doll and the girl was so excited you would have think it had been made out of gold. Such a pleasure to watch...and the food - hands down the best food at the best price in town. Don is alot of fun to talk to and very animated. Further into town, by the banks is a large open air restaurant. The most noticable thing about it are the big screen tvs at one end. Their Enchilada Suiza's are to die for. Last but not least - the Gelatto (ice cream) shop by the basketball courts. A wonderful treat in the evening before you walk back to the hotel. Another fun thing to do is order Pizza at the Pizza Loco (??) and have it delivered to the hotel. Gives you time to get back and shower and get comfortable and then enjoy some pizza on your balcony.

Must do's... Take the water taxi at the pier over to Las Gatas beach. when you get to the Las Gatas dock - Start walking....go past all of the signs and restaurants until you are about 3/4 the way down the beach - until you get to Otillia's. It is worth bypassing all of th "your tables waiting just for you senior' to go to Otillia's. The head barman there - Franco, is one of our favorite people in Zihua. His signature phrase is "Why Not" as in when you order a Rum Punch (the best on the beach) you get a big smile and a "Why Not!" or "Peach Keen". He calls my husband "Lady Killer" and me "Foxy Lady". It is funny and he rushes to keep you wanting for nothing. Ask him for a cigar if that interests you - his family works a plantation and he has handrolled cigars that he will sell.. Franco has always been very genuinely friendly and has remembered us from year to year. He is one of the only bartenders that will bring out a mixed bucket of drinks (waters, cerveza's, yoli (Mexican version of sprite) with big chunks of ice. Most bars bring you drink one at a time as you order them....sometimes not coming back for an hour! Franco does not charge you for sitting in the chairs either - most want $3 a person. We visit him several times on each trip and spend most of the day there. He also buys fresh fish from the locals and will make you some of the best nachos, shrimp tacos or grilled red snapper with all the trimmings. When we are done, we take the water taxi back to the dock, grab a gelatto and wander back to the hotel. One of our return trips, Franco had a really bad headache, so I gave him my bottle of Motrin. He was so grateful and thought it worked so well, he gave me his shirt to thank me. Now I wear it as my coverup so everyone knows we are heading to Otillias.

We also like to take the water taxi at least once to Ixtapa Island. It runs about $10 per person and is 1 hour each way. The Island is worth seeing once...but the service will make you miss Franco. There are technically 2 major sides to Ixtapa Island - 1 side is fairly rough, but has nice coral and fish for snorkeling. The other side is calm and sandy. Back in Zihua, La Ropa, while the most beautiful beach in Zihua, we felt was the most "touristy" of the beaches. La Perle...the most popular restaurant on the beach, I felt severely lacked in service. We were sitting in their lounges for 3 hours (at $3 per person) and our waiter only came back twice to see if we needed more to drink. Franco....we will not stray again ;-)

You can take a cab or the bus into Ixtapa if you would rather, it is cheaper and you can see some of the town. But, like I said, we are not into the "touristy stuff" and do not care about missing TGIFridays, Senor Frogs, Banana Republic etc. We thoroughly enjoy the ocean trip and the extra cost is worth it.

We love the laid back atmosphere of Zihuatanejo......... the local fishermen, stores and restaurants. We went back for our Honeymoon in 2005, and again just because we missed it in 2006. If you want to slow down and enjoy a nice relaxing vacation, just look to Zihua.

24  Thank travelnut68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 15, 2007

Hotel Irma, Where to begin...
We stayed there March 3rd-10th. What a fabulous Stay. Quiet, peaceful. And the Staff AMAZING!! Two inparticular. Marnayta (sp?) and Luis. The people take Very Good care of you. Always there to put a smile on your face. And Very Helpful. Irma is clean, cozy and comfortable. No problem with R&R. The view of the bay is breathtaking. ( And Very Affordable if you are worried about that)

I Will be back very soon.

Walks along the beach

Within walking distance or short cab of the market, restuarants and all other sites.

On a Scale much different than the real fancy schmancy places.
(I have no time for them)

Irma-5 Star rating from me for sure.
Take a chance and stay. You'll love it!

I didn't want to leave! and almost didn't!

Check out Rick's Place in town. Stop in and give a Huge hello to Memo, Marta, Hernan, and Carlos. (and Rick also) Great People! (And don't forget about Cloud 9, A Big Hello to Diana, my new sister!)

adiós , Dona from Minnesota

Stayed: March 2007
10  Thank DonnaCB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2007

Loved the place, and we have have traveled a lot. View is great, pools were warm because of the sun, help was friendly, rooms are spotless, and everything we had in the restaurant was great. We ate most breakfasts there and usually went into town for evening meal. Favorites: Il Mare, which is just a bit up the hill - $22 best shrimp I have ever had. Pollo Loco in the center of down town. Chicken dinner $3.80. Big difference in price, but both were great experiences.
We could have used a coffee maker - the restaurant doesn't open til 7:30 and we are early risers.
Liked Playa La Ropa (calmer, clearer water) better than Playa Madera and both better than Ixtapa. We took a cab there and were ready to leave in 15 minutes. Ixtapa is very touristy while Zihua is real Mexican.
Take seriously the comments about the many steps at Irma!! Also, probalby not a good place for kids since it is so far to the beach. (Down a lot of steps to Madera and about 15 minute walk to LaRopa...with steep hill on way back.) Irma is a very restfulplace! Views are terrific. We loved Las Gatas and went there twice. Water is much clearer. Chairs for the day, snorkeling gear, lunch and snack was about $30.00 total.
Last minute, inexpensive vacation...and one of the best ever. We will be back. We might want to be on LaRopa Beach next time, but would not hesitate to take a good deal on Hotel Irma.

Stayed: March 2007
8  Thank trabelpro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2007

When we were looking for an inexpensive trip south for January, we immediately booked the Irma (air/hotel) through Belair Travel/Sunquest since the reviews at Tripadvisor spoke so highly of the quaint, friendly, Mexican style of this hotel and everyone seemed to rave about the ocean front rooms.

We absolutely loved this trip and will be back to Zihua and Irma; however; think it important to share some of the good and the bad.

Firstly, we booked our trip through Belair Travel/Sunquest in Toronto. We had read in many of the reviews that when you book at Irma it seemed relatively easy to switch to a better room. We must say this was absolutely NOT our experience. Sunquest only booked inside rooms (keep in mind that almost all the rooms at Irma are oceanfront are there are actually very few inside rooms). As part of the CDN contingent we arrived around 1:00 pm. Our agent advised that our room was a standard room but requested an oceanfront, balconly and king size bed (my boyfriend is 6'4") and based upon the reviews we thought if we didn't get a great room, we could likely switch. Needless to say the front desk people were NOT helpful, they absolutely refused to let us check in one minute before 3 pm. Our first room was what seemed like the basement across from the laundry on the inside and absolutely no view, double bed, etc. We spent probably 2 hours arguing, negotiating with the front desk who were completely unwaiving...they refused to move us, said they had no other available rooms even if we would pay extra. After a couple of hours and finally tracking down the manager, they finally gave us a room one floor up, two double beds and at least a partial side view of the ocean. We decided that we didn't want to argue the whole week away trying to get a better room but were EXTREMELY disappointed in the room that we ended up with and disappointed that we couldn't take advantage of one of the reasons that attracted us to this hotel but the oceanfront views, etc. In addition, as it got closer to the weekend it seemed that some of the local Mexicans started to book in...they as well were booked in the inside/side rooms so it got very busy with some partying/louder music, children. Because of the location of the room, we could not leave our door open to hear the ocean and also because people were consistently walking by we couldn't even leave our curtains open. With the ocean front rooms you could easily leave your door open to hear the ocean, would not have to worry about keeping your curtains closed and would have had a wonderful view of the Zihua bay.

Now for all the good. The hotel otherwise was just as people had described it..very quaint, Mexican style, outstanding view of the bay, nice pools. Although it's not at beach level, the view is absolutely stunning and one of the key advantages of staying at this hotel. The beach below, Madera yes was not the best in the area but a great place to walk into town via Fisherman's Walk. La Ropa, very nice beach was only a short walk away, short walk into town, etc.

Area attractions: make sure to get around to see the various beaches; Madera great for walking, La Ropa...short walk away, nice for spending the day/walking, Playa Pescador (Ixtapa)...short bus ride away (very easy to get around by bus) and only a $5 taxi ride away, Playa Linda (to catch the water taxi to Ixtapa Island for great snorkelling, check out the birds/alligators. The location of the hotel was great for walking to town, catching the water taxi to Las Gatas (great snorkelling, just relaxing), breakfast, dinner, etc. We would go into town in the evening for dinner, then stop at the town square, get some ice cream and watch the local basketball/volleyball team or local musicians. There are a ton of activities in close proximity to town and the hotel and really don't cost alot. The Mexicana Commerciale (Mexican Walmart) was even only a $2 cab ride away. Go there if you want to stock up on water, snacks, cooler, etc.

Eating Out: this was one of the best parts of the trip. You are very close to many, many restaurants and the local restaurants are excellent. The best place we thought was Casa Vieja (just down the street...no oceanfront view) but without a doubt the best food. Second best we thought was Daniels..closer to town on the beach...very romantic..on the beach...food was excellent. We thought these restaurants had 5 star meals at 2 star prices ($8 - $15). Be sure to go to Casa Cafe (owned by husband/wife from Seattle)...on the way to town...great coffee/lattes/cap/breakfast and very friendly. It is well know so can be busy but well worth it. We also heard great things about El Faro...up on top of the cliff overlooking Ixtapa beach. The view was spectacular and thought the best but the food wasn't close to the other restaurants...regardless, well worth the price just for the view. We also did a few other restaurants..one on the corner close to the hotel, very quaint, very good, plain food...nice quiet atmosphere...others up the hill on the way to La Ropa...lots of restaurants with great views but we didn't think the food was the quality of Daniels or La Vieja.

Overall, we had an absolutely wonderful time and didn't want to leave. The only word of caution is if you are CDN, expect to receive the substandard rooms as part of the Sunquest package and don't anticipate being able to change. I suspect what has happened is with the great reviews this hotel is getting, it's getting much more popular and very difficult to book. It seemed when we were there, all the oceanfront rooms were taken, so don't have high hopes about changing once you're there.

Any Zihua, absolutely loved it and will be back!

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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18  Thank Toronto730
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2007

We stayed at the Hotel Irma last April. The hotel is right on the hill overlooking Ziuah Bay.
The rooms were clean and roomy. Room service was prompt and congenial.
The hotel is a steep but short walk to town, and on a few occassions we took the $2. taxi to the hotel.
I would stay there again. The town itself is wonderful, full of life, and not yet anyway, too full of tourists (until the cruise ship stops by)

Stayed: April 2006
5  Thank loladeflores
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2007

I selected this hotel because I wanted the view I had heard raved about and I wanted a more "Mexican" vacation than Ixtapa resorts offered. I would return to this hotel anytime.
The Room: The maids were great and left us towel sculptures each morning with fresh flowers. Water pressure in the shower isn't so great in the morning when everyone is showering, but a refreshing afternoon shower had plenty of pressure. They suggest you use bottled water, not drink from the tap and they provide a bottle the first day. The beds are, as expected, "Mexican firm". The inroom safe was handy, but it is $100US if you lose the key (we didn't). We actually didn't even notice there was a tv until the third day or so. The A/C was excellent - just a titch too cold for me, but I'm not an A/C person. The best part is being able to sit on the little balcony and look out over the bay and watch the action of the fishing boats and the beautiful sunsets and sunrises.
The Hotel itself: You really have to be able to deal with stairs, since they are everywhere, but hey, it works off all the food and beer right? The food was good and the service was friendly - the pace can best be described as "relaxed". You can get styrofoam buckets of ice at the bar. The front desk staff was wonderful and, except for Mon morning, could exchange US cash for pesos. The pools are small, but clean. Most of the time, you can use the Villa Mexicana's beach club, but while we were there they were too full and didn't have room for Hotel Irma's people too. It is a short and enjoyable walk to town. The gate for the stairs is locked at about 8:30pm, so you have to go around and up a steep hill to get "home". It is about a two dollar ride to Playa La Ropa - or you can walk, but honestly it is worth the two dollars in the heat of the day to cab it.
The town: There are plenty of great to excellent places to get a snack or meal along the beach and in town. Usually, I dread seeing cruise ships in the bay - but they don't stay long and aren't there everyday so you don't get bothered by the cruise crowds very much at all.
All in all a very enjoyable and relaxing vacation.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank PacificNWAuntiem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2007

I enjoyed my stay here very much. Zihua is a wonderful city, smaller and more attractive than Puerto Vallarta. The hotel has a fine location above the beach (be prepared for an uphill climb). The city is walking distance and the beach is protected from the powerful waves common to the area. The nearby Restaurant Viajes is one of the finest in Mexico with low prices and a sophisticated, international menu.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank aostevenson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Irma

Address: Adelita s/n, Playa la Madera, Zihuatanejo 40880, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Pacific Coast > Guerrero > Zihuatanejo
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Zihuatanejo
#8 On the Beach Hotel in Zihuatanejo
#9 Family Hotel in Zihuatanejo
#18 Romantic Hotel in Zihuatanejo
Price Range: $60 - $161 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Irma 3*
Number of rooms: 67
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Irma Hotel Zihuatanejo
Hotel Irma Zihuatanejo
Irma Hotel Mexico

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