We are jaded New Yorkers, so I'm a little suprised to be writing this glowing report, but my partner and I had the best vacation ever at this resort. We had never been to an all-inclusive resort before, so we weren't sure if that was for us, but we ended up just loving it.
In fact we never left Cozumel Island. We had intended to take a day trip to Tulum and the cenotes, but we had plenty to do on Cozumel for our whole stay.
The additional $1500 "bonus" credit was fantastic b/c we ended up doing things we probably wouldn't have otherwise -- in fact, it was actually hard for us to use up that much credit in 8 days. We did the dolphin swim, stingray snorkel, Chankanab Eco Park (snorkeling/ beautiful beach), we upgraded our room, had a gourmet dinner, enjoyed 4 spa massages, and even ended up ordering photographs with our "leftover" credit at the end…. [There is a professional photographer who roams around and you can request a photo pretty much anytime -- I thought this was kinda weird until we befriended a couple who showed us their great photos…. e.g you can request a photo at sunset, or informally in the pool or whatever…the photographer will just meet you and snap a shot… then at your leisure you look thru the picture files and order prints or a CD if you want. It was actually nice to have some photos that we obviously didn't take ourselves w/ our phones!]
We enjoyed all our excursions (it's good to ask when the groups will be the smallest -- i.e., not right when a cruise ship lands and a huge group shows up) (I think early morning is usually a good time). Although even when we had a fairly large group at the stingray park, once we got into the snorkel area, you can really swim off on your own.
The dolphin and stingray parks are both right next to the Palace. V. convenient and interesting. The dolphin swim was fantastic-- we were w/ a tiny group, so basically just got to swim around and play with two dolphins for an hour.
On our own we tried snorkeling at Palancar Shallows one day, but we thought our hotel had better snorkeling! We wished we had taken the Snorkel Excursion. (I think they take you out in a boat to the best snorkel spots.) Btw, I think Palancar *Reef* has great diving/snorkeling (take the boat out).
Everyone we met at our resort was so nice and friendly -- staff and guests included. (Special shout-out to Silvia, one of the wait staff. She is a doll.)
As I mentioned, the snorkeling just outside the hotel was wonderful. We actually enjoyed having a snorkel area more than a "sand beach." (Although there are several man-made "beach areas", pristinely maintained.) They give you free snorkel equipment in a little cabana by the pool, and there are outdoor showers to rinse off when you come back to the pool area from the ocean.
The staff is bringing you refreshing beverages constantly. It took me a few days to grasp the concept of "all-inclusive." You could literally have a drink in your hand all day! I don't even drink that much alcohol, but all day long people were bringing me banana smoothies, frappuccinos, soda-and-limes, etc. etc. You can order your lunch pool-side, or there is an amazing buffet as well in the beautiful main dining room.
The resort was impeccably clean, the maid service amazing, the bed and linens super comfortable.
We did upgrade to a "concierge-level" room halfway thru our week (we were trying to use up our points) -- this room was down a very quiet hall. Far from the elevator but really, really quiet at night. Both our rooms had ocean views, hammocks on the private balcony, amazing huge hot tubs in the room, and they were beautifiully furnished.
At turn-down service, they'd fill our ice bucket and leave little gourmet treats, in addition to turning down the luxurious comforter, and arranging the TV remote control and breakfast menu at the edge of the bed! Always an abundance of fresh, dry towels. Wonderful amenities. We loved the huge shower (in addition to the double-jacuzzi!).
We don't like little kids and this resort had v. few of them. The few we encountered were well-behaved.
Also the resort wasn't full of loud, drunk frat kids. We met really nice people of all ages. Lots of couples and honeymooners, it looked like.
I think the resort was less then 40% occupied when we were there, and that made it quite wonderful. We were often the only ones in the pool in the evening. I'm not sure if it were occupied at full capacity how your experience would be.. This is not a huge resort, it has a sort of intimate feel, and the staff recognizes you etc. (That said, you don't have to mingle w/ people at all if you don't want.)
Only negatives were, our room service dinner the first night was not great (the food was not good and they forgot the spoons for the soup, and the salad dressing…), and when we went to bed really early the first night, we could hear noise from the pool area. This only happened one night though. (I slept w/ earplugs.) But it's worth it to have a balcony . The view was just spectacular, and you see the sun set over the ocean ev. night.
I hate to mention that first night's room service, b/c it was obviously the exception.
After that first night, we never heard noise from the pool. It was pretty quiet in the evenings. They have free, and fun, entertainment ev. night after dinner. The Fire Show was amazing, and we also liked all the dance shows too! Adorable.
The evening entertainment/ music ends at a decent time though, so you can go to sleep (most of the rooms overlook the pool/ocean area, and the "stage" is next to one of the pools).
After that first iffy room-service meal, we ate at the restaurants and had *amazing* food. Again, this isn't a huge resort, but it has a LOT of variety for a smaller sized place. We ate Asian, Italian, Mexican (at the restaurants), buffet/grill at the outdoor area, etc., and everything was wonderful. If you want a steak though, get it through one of the restaurants, not at the informal outdoor grill-- that's not the best cut!
I loved the breakfast. It's a big buffet but there's a cook who will make you anything to order (omelets, waffles, crepes, pancakes…). My favorite was the hot oatmeal, which is like a hot soupy rice pudding with condensed milk. Tons of fresh fruit, like a giant vat of peeled kiwis (!) and pineapple…. I also enjoyed bagels and lox on several occasions-- the lox was amazing. So was the coffee!
Again, it was not crowded when we were there, so there was almost no wait to get your omelet or whatever.
I could go on and on about how nice this place is.
Oh, just by the by, there is really not a comfortable place in your room to eat a room service meal -- there are chairs but they are more like living room chairs (for lounging). We only ordered the room service the one time though.
We actually did listen to their promo (this took a couple hours), and in return got a Jeep rental for the day. Fun to drive to the east ("wild") side of Cozumel and wander around the craggy beaches. We ate at a great restaurant Playa Bonita, perched over the waves. (It was recommended by a concierge at the hotel.) A lovely afternoon.
We didn't spend too much time in town (San Miguel) but it's an easy walk from the hotel. Really the hotel is in a great location. Never needed a car. Can easily grab a cab. And it's v. close to the airport too.
I think you cld. wander around San Miguel for a while -- it can get crowded in the main part where the cruise tours land, but if you wander out a little it looks like a fun place to explore, with winding streets and lots of color and life. Not so big it feels dangerous though.
We were constantly amazed at all the little things the staff did to make our stay wonderful. For the Super Bowl, they put up huge projected screens to play the game, both in the lobby bar/lounge, and outside near the pool, and the waitresses wore adorable Packers and Steelers cheerleader costumes. They had a great grill outside set up with "Super Bowl" food.
At all times of day they have a coffee and tea service, and pastry or cookies, in the lobby.
Anytime we needed something, e.g. extra toothpaste, a quick call would bring the item to the door immediately.
We found the "tour desk" guys really helpful and nice too. Everyone was wonderful-- at the spa, the front desk, the waitstaff. One night my partner inquired about a Mayan coffee (we had seen some waiters wheeling around this cart one night by the bar, making this flaming-coffee-liqueur drink), and even though it was quite late and we were the last ones in the dining room, our waiter Rene enthusiastically rushed off to get the cart and accoutrements to make one. He put on a great show, lowering the lights in the restaurant to make the fiery spectacle more dramatic (and pausing mid-flaming-pour so I could take some pictures)!
Thanks, Cozumel Palace, for such wonderful memories!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Not too long ago, Cozumel Island was revealed to the world with all its charm. Now adventure travelers, divers and nature lovers are discovering the all-inclusive, luxurious Cozumel Palace, the stunning resort bathed by the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Experience the true meaning of luxury and fun. Enjoy the amenities and attention to detail from the moment you arrive. Our Cozumel Palace will take your breath away! Ideal for families, couples and adventure travelers who love diving and snorkeling. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Cozumel Palace Hotel Cozumel
- Palace Hotel Cozumel
- Plaza Las Glorias Cozumel
- Palace Cozumel
- Cozumel Palace Resort