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“Best vacation of our lives.”
Review of Cozumel Palace

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Cozumel Palace
Ranked #3 of 52 Hotels in Cozumel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 18, 2011

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!

Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
1  Thank mizmu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 14, 2011

Just got back and had an amazing time at Cozumel Palace. We went there to get married taking with us 13 people of all ages. My mom being the eldest in her 60's to the youngest being 11. All enjoyed everything from the pool, the kids club, nightly entertainment, excursions and the spa service which we enjoyed using our vacation dollars. The service was incredible and the staff stepped it up for my wedding if that's even possible since they had done so much already. The food was good. Some meals were better than others but you never went hungry. Special dinners such as the "Romantic dinner" included in our wedding package and the wedding cake also included was Amazing. Walking to town to shop was easy and safe. If you didn't want to walk the 5 minutes, a cab was easy to grab. I have been on a few cruises and a couple all of inclusives including a Breezes and Sandals resort. Hands down Cozumel palace was the best for the view of the ocean from your room and for the service. The kids were never bored either. Thank you so much to Luis, Ricardo, Daniel and to the rest of the staff for making our stay so memorable.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank Justmarried2011_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2011

This is a hard review to write, because so much was great, but in some areas really lacking. Please read the whole review in order to get what we're saying.

This is the fourth Palace we have stayed at. We've stayed at Sun, Adventura Spa and Xpu-Ha as well as Cozumel. We have loved every stay, including this one. Still, since Palace bills itself as "the Best" they've given themselves a lot ot live up to. For the most part everything was excellent. But there are a few complaints.

First the good. Checkin was easy and fast. The front desk staff was fabulous! Cold towel, drink and flower before we were in the door 2 minutes. The Bellman took our bags, tagged them and told us he would take care of getting them to the room. The staff that does the excursions was very helpful as well, though he didn't explain clearly what we could use the $1500.00 credit for, but more on that later. The true champions of perfect service was the housekeeping staff. The room was spotless everyday and was always cleaned at our convenience. We had clean towels twice a day if we wanted them. The minibar was restocked everyday. The staff was always friendly and happy to help us. The young lady wearing the sunglasses at the breakfast restaurant was always happy to see us and remembered us after a couple of days, as did some of the waiters. We ate at the Mexican, Asian and outdoor restaurant in the evenings. Food was generally excellent. Had steak a couple of times and they were big and cooked perfectly. The lobby bar staff was always friendly and made really good drinks. The spa and Avis staff were also helpful, competant and great at what they do.

The resort itself was really nice. Very small-no grounds at all, but perched over the edge of the sea. There is no beach, but there is ocean access and the snorkeling was ok, nothing spectacular. They have signs up about Fire Coral. Pay attention, it is painful if you get into it. The Fire Show is definitely worth seeing. We watched from our balcony. Overall, everything was very nice.

What about the negatives? The number one negative is the noise in your room. It is amazing to us that Palace spent tons of money renovating the place and didn't do anything about the hallway noise. When you are in your room, you don't hear anything from the ocean side, but every time, and I mean EVERY time someone walks down the hall, opens and closes their door or talks it reverberates through your room. Every single night someone came down the hall in the wee hours talking and slamming their doors. Every morning the same thing. Even if they are trying to be considerate and quiet, it doesn't matter, it is loud and echoes. If you want to sleep in, do not stay here. Palace, are you reading this? This is a real problem.

There were also some service issues that we have never experienced before at Palace. Some seemed to be the result of being understaffed. For instance, at breakfast one morning my wife got some eggs, tortillas and beans custom cooked. The eggs were clearly undercooked, but the lady doing the cooking was so overwhelmed she didn't notice. At the Asian restaurant service was very slow and again there was only one waiter working. When my entree came out it was lukewarm at best, but since it took so long, I just ate it. I had also ordered dessert, but after waiting for ages we decided he must have forgotten we ordered it, so we got up to leave. The hostess who knew we had ordered it had us sit back down and went back and got on the waiter's case. Five minutes later we got the dessert from a not to happy waiter. Numerous times during our stay little things happened like being out of water for extended periods of time. Breakfast and all restaurants. Service did seem to improve when managers were around.

Poolside service was also very hit and miss. One young lady named Sylvia was excellent. Very friendly, conversational, remembered us and hard working. Others seem distracted. We were laying by the pool one day and a waiter brought us a drink. However after finishing it, it was a good 30 minutes that went by before I went up to the bar to ask for a drink. There were two bartenders and at least four waiters standing there laughing and talking.

A brief note about the $1500.00 credit. When we checked in we had a city view room. They told us we could upgrade to an ocean view for a little over half the $1500.00. There are only about 6 city view rooms, the others are all ocean view. Occupancy was no where near 100%. We took the upgrade, but it is a true scam to operate that way. Also, the excursions you can get with the credit have really gone down in quality. We used to take included excursions (on previous visits) and they were always all inclusive days. Now many of them only get you admission to a park or beach. Not much.

One last complaint: that worthless presentation about becoming a "member." We were asked if we would like to hear it and we told them we had been through it twice and had no interest in hearing it again. The man told us they don't really get a salary, only commission for how many guests are sent through; an attempt at guilt? He also offerred us another $100.00 at the spa and $100.00 in resort credit if we did it. Since he would not take no, we said ok. We were promised 90 minutes and over 2 hours later we had to cut it short. Pressure was applied by the man, but he was gracious when he realized we weren't buying. Palace just needs to drop that program.

Please don't misunderstand, it was a really good week, just not at the same level we are used to at Palace. The hard work ethic of the staff on past visits, definitely wasn't there this time. The noise issue is unforgiveable and because of it, we won't stay at this resort again. Read the other reviews that are "very good" and "average" and you'll see some similar complaints.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank weluvtheocean1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2011

We just returned from the Palace. Our week's stay was the best vacation my Wife and I have ever taken. The snorkeling in front of the hotel was pretty good. At no time did we feel crowded in the pool, restaurants, and bars. I believe we saw maybe 4 children while we were there which was nice for us trying to spend some alone time away from the kids. The staff was beyond amazing! They became like family to us by the end of our trip. Gabrielle, a waiter in the breakfast and lunch restaurant was our favorite. Extremely nice person!! Even though it wasn't required, my Wife and I would always tip a couple of dollars after each meal, and it was special to see the extra special service we received because of it. My Wife and I enjoyed all of the restaurants, and the food was great. We were reluctant at first to spend the extra money for the Palace, but let me tell you, it is worth every penny you spend!! This place is top notch!! The daily activities and the nightly entertainment provided by the Palace was excellent!! We will definitely return to the Palace!!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank GMAN42726
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2011

Not being a fan of all-inclusives, this place defied expectations. The nightly shows were excellent (samba dancers, legit breakdancing troupe, Mexican carnival...) and not cheesy at all. The service was top notch. The location is good -- no real beach, but within a minute's walk of downtown. Facilities were very clean. Food was hit or miss -- BUT, you can arrange for a flambé dinner with Jorge, which was by far the culinary highlight. The "upgrade" wine list has some decent bottles that can be purchased with Indulgence Points. Their sangrita shot to accompany the Centinario Respado tequila is also delish. They aim to please here -- ask and you shall receive. This place is much better than the normal cookie-cutter resorts that populate this region. Would definitely recommend.

  • Stayed: February 2011
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1  Thank Savethisreceipt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2011

We couldn't be happier with the Palace. The employees became our friends last year, and were very happy to see us. "All-Inclusive" means just that - everyone is very willing and happy to see guest have a great time. The night programs are entertaining, the day-time activiites are fun, and once again, the staff is great. Also, it was fun to visit with "day-trippers" from other Palace Hotels and exchange experiences.
TIPS: Visit Dolphanaris next door, Sting Ray Park. If you want anything at all, don't be afraid to ask, especially on the dining menus (3) and be sure to try a Mayan Coffee after dinner!

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank barb3636
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2011

Excellent service in all areas including restaurants, Spa, housekeeping, pools and diving. Dining room food and service was uniformly excellent. Menus were varied and imaginative. Food quality was very high. Buffet choices were enormous. Desserts, breads and salads rate very high marks. Wines in the all-inclusive selection would probably not satisfy experts but were just fine for us. A special anniversary dinner they served for us was outstanding.

Our first pleasant surprise upon arrival was that we had $1500 of "hotel credit" which we first used for a room upgrade. This credit covered our spa services as well as two scuba trips and our photos.

Some writers have complained when the hotel switched dive shop operators. We used the new Aqua World shop and found nothing to complain about. On the day we went they had a small sign-up, but they went anyway, with only five divers. We appreciate the fact that they didn't cancel on us. Divemaster was very safety conscious and showed us a number of interesting spots. Dive boat ant rental equipment were excellent.

We don't pay too much attention to the shows and entertainment, but the hotel maintained its full schedule of shows in spite of only about 25% occupancy rate.

Staff were very friendly and approachable. We enjoyed visiting at length with some of them. When we had a minor quibble with one of the dishes served, the Sous Chef followed up with us in person, and provided us with several subsequent special treats to make up for it.

All in all, a very relaxing and enjoyable trip, our second to Cozumel but our first at the Cozumel Palace. We'd strongly recommend it to anyone.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Ward and Maryle... L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cozumel Palace

Address: Av Rafael E Melgar km 15 | Zona Hotelera Sur, Gonzalo Guerrero, Cozumel 77600, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cozumel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Cozumel
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Cozumel
#2 Luxury Hotel in Cozumel
Price Range: $294 - $659 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Cozumel Palace 4*
Number of rooms: 169
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

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