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“Felt like home!”
Review of Villa Aldora

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Villa Aldora
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Felt like home!”
Reviewed August 29, 2008

My husband and I made our first trip to Mexico, and to Cozumel, in May 2008. We chose to stay at Villa Aldora because of its small size and its association with Aldora Divers.

We were really glad we chose Villa Aldora. The rooms are spotlessly clean, spacious and include a kitchen. The villa itself, though simple, is bright and airy, and right on the sea. The managers, Greg and Melissa, are very warm and friendly. They took us to the grocery store to stock up on essentials after showing us around the hotel and our room, and Greg was full of restaurant recommendations. The setup of the villa, the comfort of the rooms, Greg and Melissa's hospitality and the friendliness of other guests really made Villa Aldora feel more like home than any other hotel/B&B we've stayed at.

Though Villa Aldora is not right in the centre of town, it makes a nice walk (to work off all that food and beer!) and taxis are cheap and easy to come by. The benefit of its location is being right on the sea, which means the Aldora Divers boat comes right to the villa to pick up divers in the morning and drop them off in the evening (unless they're on the bigger boat, in which case Greg drives them to the pier in the morning). In fact, there's good snorkelling right around the villa and the reef right below the hotel even has its own resident octopus!

Villa Aldora has 12 bedrooms so it feels warm and personal, and most of the guests are extremely friendly. The villa has internet phones so that calls to the US are free and calls to the UK are very cheap. The downside is that the phones can be down, but given few hotels use this technology and pass the benefit onto their guests we weren't complaining. Greg and Melissa organize evening drinks once a week in the shaded palapa hut looking out onto the sea. It's beautiful to watch the sun go down as you meet each other guests and swap stories and experiences. Best of all, we paid no more than $100 a night for all this (in May).

I feel home sick for Villa Aldora writing this review, and definitely want to return soon. In the meantime, give it a try - you won't be disappointed!

  • Liked — Small size, helpful management, location on the sea, convenience of diving
  • Disliked — Nothing, it was perfect!
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Pokkstar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level 5 Contributor
80 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 292 helpful votes
Reviewed June 29, 2008

In April/May 2008 we stayed at Villa Aldora and went diving with Aldora Divers. The Villa Aldora is a small, well-run, well-maintained, secure, and very clean “apartment” hotel offering a selection of apartment sizes or rooms and a good deal of personal attention from the managers. It is a delightful place to stay on Cozumel. It is located north of town in a quiet location. The town center is a short and inexpensive cab ride away or a doable--although somewhat long--walk. The Villa is right on the water. Just open your curtains, and there is the ocean a few feet away. The Villa has a welcoming sand-filled terrace on the water--there is no beach per se--with a large shady area where one can relax after a day of diving. The terrace allows easy access to the water for shore dives or snorkeling. There is also a salt water pool.

All of the apartments and rooms have some type of food-preparation arrangement--ranging from full kitchens in the apartments to rooms with just basic equipment--so that eating all/some of your meals in is an option once you make the trip to the new and large supermarket in town. The Villa also offers free high-speed internet connections (using cable), free telephone calls to the US, as well as state-side TV programs. There were no electricity outages while we were there; no breaks in the availability of hot water; and an unfailing AC. The operation is supervised by managers from the US who live on site and are attentive to their guests’ every need and comfort. Our one suggestion to management for improvement is that some furniture in some of the apartments/rooms warrant an updating to a more upscale, modern, and comfortable level.

For divers, the great advantage in staying at the Villa Aldora is the connection with Aldora Divers. Their boat will pick you up for your dives at the Villa’s dock and drop you back there when you dive day is done. Aldora Divers is a top-notch dive operation offering personal attention to your dive preferences as well as excellent, experienced, and personable dive-masters. On most days, only their small dive boats are used. These are limited to a maximum of six divers--and usually there were fewer than six divers. On one day we two were alone with the dive-master. The management also aims at grouping together divers with similar skill levels and interests—which is helped by the small boat size. The Aldora Divers boats are very high-powered and very fast. As a result, their divers are usually the first divers on the chosen dive sites--the cattle boats are left far behind and usually you will be well through your dive before they arrive. Your BC and reg will be kept on board the boat if you are scheduled for future dives. .

Without a doubt, for our next dive trip to Cozumel, we will be staying at the Villa Aldora and diving with Aldora Divers. For a dive vacation, the combination is among the best the island has to offer...

  • Liked — Value and personal attention by the managers.
  • Disliked — Some of the furniture was eldery and not all that comfortable.
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank OneFairCall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, OR
Level 6 Contributor
158 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
Reviewed March 13, 2008

For my husband's scuba diving trip we were looking for a place convenient for him to dive, a place to snorkel from our hotel.
Aldora fit these requirements very well.

In the end, he is not sure if he would have wanted to dive with another group- or at least maybe stay further south to avoid the longer boat ride. A tiny bit closer to town would have been better - it was a bit much in the hot sun, so we usually took taxis.

But, I was happy with Aldora a place to hang out while he was diving. The palapa there provided great shade. There is a great view from the property- you can watch the cruise boats move in and out- but not too close that they block your view. There were more than enough chairs in or out of shade, all very comfortable.

Getting in and out of the water is usually difficult for me, but the stair case- even though slightly slippery- was still very easy for me, and snorkeling is great right from there.

The pool is nice- though chilly- so only during the hot sunny days would you want to use it.

We had the San Juan room for 7 days. We found it just a tiny bit small for us for that time- we had snorkel gear, etc that just did not have a great space except for under the bed. The small kitchen was just enough to have cereal and snacks for breakfast/ lunch.

The bathroom and shower was very nice.

Glen and Kay were very nice, they gave us rides to the dive shop when needed, and to the grocery store at the beginning of the trip.

Mosquitoes do come by just after sunset - both at the Villa and in town, so prepare for that.

Overall, if you want a place that is quiet, but a few fellow divers to hang out with, convenient snorkeling, and a great dive shop, it will work well for you.

  • Liked — So close to the water, great view
  • Disliked — Room slightly small for us
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank TravelDreams
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2008

My wife and I had never been to Cozumel, but as scuba divers we couldn't pass up on one of the premier dive locations in the world. We stayed at the Villa Aldora, which is associated with Aldora Divers. Going to a new place is always a little stressfull, but Greg and Kay (the Villa Aldora managers) were very helpful before we arrived by answering all of our questions.

But once we got to the Villa, the real pleasure and fun began! Greg met our taxi out front and welcomed us. He and Tomas helped with our bags and Greg personally showed us to our rooms. Once in place he drove us to the local grocery store to pick up food. Along the way he showed us the town. San Miguel is a wonderful town, low on crime, and very charming. Greg made us feel like natives the first day!

The Villa is located right on the water.....I mean RIGHT on the water. We had the Cameron Suite and were literally 20 steps from the most beautiful turquoise blue water possible. The Palapa (palm leaf covered patio) area was a great place to meet other divers. Kay and Greg joined us each night and shared their island experience and happily gave advice on how to best enjoy Cozumel.

We have been visiting the Carribean for a long time. I have a personal love for Key West. But Cozumel and our newly found friends Greg and Kay have stolen my heart. As I said in the title, "words cannot describe" how great Cozumel and Villa Aldora are. If you're a diver, you gotta do it.

  • Liked — The location and the management
  • Disliked — NOTHING!
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank WillB_AZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tennessee
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2008

I can't imagine that anyone else in Cozumel could offer a better diving experience. Aldora's divemasters were knowledgeable, skilled, and just an all-around blast to be with. I dove with a different dive master each day, and all but one were incredibly friendly, funny, and full of great stories. Our dives were excellent... the divemasters made careful consideration of our comfort and safety at each site before getting us all in the water. They assemble, disassemble, haul and maintain all your gear for you except your wetsuit/mask/other personal items. They take all the work out of the diving and cut it down to plain fun and enjoyment... which is great except when you have to dive the hard way again afterwards. :) Our dive locations were great, and as other reviewers have mentioned, the features of the steel 120 tanks and the dive computers allowed us to have really long dives. It takes a lot of the worry out of sticking so meticulously to your dive plan - the computer is constantly calculating how much longer you can stay down so you can vary from a set depth without worry about how long you can stay there. Even if you don't stay at the Villa Aldora, I would still definitely recommend diving with Aldora. That being said, you should still stay at the Villa! You literally walk maybe 50 feet from your door to where the boat picks you up. It's small, friendly, and close-knit. The rooms are nothing really fancy but they're nice-looking and well-maintained. The mattresses and pillows were comfortable and the sheets were softer than in most hotels. The air-conditioning was GREAT. We stayed for the first night at a much more expensive hotel because our room at the Villa was booked for that night, and the air-conditioning there was terrible. It was like a lukewarm sauna inside... so humid that the linens on the bed felt damp. YUCK. The humidity of Cozumel is mostly to blame for that, but the Villa air-conditioning had a special dehumidifying setting. The room was nice and dry and cool. The patio was really nice. There's no actual sandy beach, just a concrete slab built over the rocky shoreline, but they have sand on the patio area for effect... it's still very nice. There's a stairway down to the water if you want to get in. They also have a pool, but it is saltwater. Overall the service at the Villa is more like crashing on a friend's couch than staying at a fancy hotel - no room service, no concierge, no bag boys... but the owners will gladly give you a ride to the grocery, give you tips about local dining, shopping, and recreation. It's a very "no frills" experience, which is exactly what I would expect from a dive hotel. All the same the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful, and will probably provide you with everything you need from them unless you want to be waited on hand and foot.

A few other pluses and minuses:
-Plus: BIG plus... free calls to the US from the phone in your room. Free!
-Plus: Every room has at least a mini-fridge, microwave, and a few dishes... some have full kitchens.
-Minus: Be prepared to explain to every taxi driver you ride with where the Villa is... when I stayed not a single one knew where it was. We had to stop and ask for directions from someone else the first time we went. It's also a bit strange because you have to enter the Villa through the parking lot of something else.
-Minus: Small minus, but I wouldn't consider the Villa to be within walking distance of the main area of town. You could certainly walk, but in the Mexican heat it's not such a pleasant prospect.

  • Liked — Conveniencefor diving
  • Disliked — Explaining to taxi drivers where to take us home every day
  • Stayed August 2006
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank carlyyy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CONNECTICUT
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 16, 2008

Cozumel .. Jan. 2008
Story…. Norm Friday
U/W Pics ….. Roeland Papen
Tony Amenta and I stayed at Villa Aldora in Cozumel from 1/12 to 1/19. Roeland Papen joined us from 1/12 to 1/15. Typhoid Tony was sick with a cold the entire week and had to console himself with sitting on the waterfront, enjoying the bikinis and self medicating with Dos Equis and Jose Cuervo!! I dove with Roeland for three days and with another group on the fourth day.
We chose Villa Aldora for two reasons.
First, the villa is a small waterfront “hotel” with only 9 suites that is reserved for people who are diving with Aldora Divers. We felt this would be more relaxing than a large resort and give us an opportunity to enjoy fellow divers in a small group. This proved to be an excellent choice!
Our suite consisted of an enormous room with a king bed and two queen beds, a dining area, a full kitchen, full bathroom, and large dresser and open closet area for $105 a night. (This does not include food or diving.) We were about 20 steps down a hallway to the waterfront “palapa” area with concrete floor ..tables, ..chairs….lounges, the sand covered open area with lounges, the infinity salt water pool, and two sets of steps down to crystal clear water.
Greg and Kay manage the Villa and really made the vacation something special. Before we got there they answered all our questions promptly via e-mail and set up any requests we made. Upon arrival and settling in baggage they took us to the dive shop to drop off our equipment and check in with our “c” cards.
The second reason we chose Villa Aldora was because we decided that Aldora Divers would be the best choice for charters according to all the reviews we read. Memo is in charge and every service is expeditious, flawless, and backed by a truly exuberant and warm personality. B.C.’s, regulators and any other gear you choose are put into a large mesh bag with your name on it.
When you reach the boat, or it picks you up at the Villa, all your gear is already set up on your first tank (steel 120’s!!!) Between dives they set your gear up on a full tank. All dives seem to be a minimum of sixty minutes!!!
After check in at the dive shop, which is about five minutes away from the Villa in downtown San Miguel, Kay took us to the large grocery/department store and left us off to do our shopping. Food, Deli, beer, wine, liquor…..and anything you forgot to bring…..under one roof!!! The only “drawback” was that we had to split a whole $5 to have a taxi haul everything back to the Villa!!! All Taxi’s ran $3—$5 depending on # of people and distance. My $20 ride at the end of the vacation is another story for later!!! Wish their taxi union would take over our cities here in the U.S>
The next day Roeland, myself, and two other divers were “cabbed” to the pier in town (5 mins.) at Aldora’s expense to get on the “large” boat with 4 other divers.
Aldora limits group size to 6-8 divers….no cattle boats. They also furnish everone with steel 120’s (with adaptors if needed) and a computer( if needed). Our first dive was to 120’ multi level drift up to about 30 with a mandatory 3-5 min safety stop. No matter the depth we never had a dive less than 60 mins.despite having some “newbies” with us. When a newbie got to 1000 lbs the divemaster would have them pair up with him/her to breathe off their seven foot octopus. The only unfortunate part of this is that the dive master is not free to spot critters for the rest of the group!! After our first dive each day we were taken to a lovely beach area with a restaurant, bathrooms, (watersleds, lounges, and parasailing at a price) where we stayed for an hour to an hour and a half. Food ranged from $6-15. Then we re-boarded our boat and did a second dive in the 60’ range. The reefs are very healthy with a lot of life. Nothing really exciting the first day except for the 4’ turtle that tried to play “chicken” with me. It won, but I got some great video footage!!!
Aldora delivered us back to the dock at our hotel by about 2:00 and, after rinsing cameras and setting up batteries to charge, we joined Typhoid Tony for self medications and socializing with other resident divers. Just about all the other divers staying there were from Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota etc. Good group, but definitely had a different sense of humor. I am sure they are saying the same about us!!!
Aldora delivered us back to the dock at our hotel by about 2:00 and, after rinsing cameras and setting up batteries to charge, we joined Typhoid Tony for self medications and socializing with other resident divers. Just about all the other divers staying there were from Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota etc. Good group, but definitely had a different sense of humor. I am sure they are saying the same about us!!!
Day 2 and we hit the jackpot!!! We had David as a dive master and he was awesome at locating critters and great shots for us photo/video nuts even though he had a newbie in tow. We were in a smaller, but fast, boat and had to hand up our gear before climbing an easy to use side ladder to get back on the boat. I am including Roeland’s shots on the next page.
In addition to those shots I got great footage of the Splendid Toadfish (indigenous only to Cozumel), an action shot moving slowly 5 feet under an overhang through a wall of bright yellow grunts to a very large green moray, who obligingly posed upright 4 feet for me. (Tight space that required very slow movements to extract myself from with nervous Morayus Giganticus watching my every move!!) And then I turned around to see another diver motioning to me and there was about a 4 foot turtle that was feeding on coral with three humungous French Angels swarming all around it looking for tidbits. All this is in current requiring me to find a place to hold on with one overstressed finger while steadying camera for stable footage!!!
Day three was a repeat of day one with the exception of seeing a spotted eagle ray slowly “winging” away from us when we entered the water on our first dive. Everything else was the “usual”, beautiful reefs, critters, etc.
Roeland had to catch a ferry back to Playa del Carmen at four so we saw him off over a few cervesas, replenished food and liquid stock at supermarket, and returned to the Villa.
That night Greg and Kay furnished the guests with a gourmet buffet of appetizers , beers and wines. Great group of people, great food, liquid refreshment on a patio watching the sunset!!! Of course, as the liquid refreshments dwindled the tales got taller!!! I think I got up to the part of videoing the prehistoric 50 foot Morayus Giganticus which swallowed my camera requiring me to prop its mouth open with my tank while I swam down its gullet and retrieved the camera!!
On day four whatever gods that I had offended the night before decided it was time for revenge. During the first dive my neck, which had been bothering me all week, ached during the entire dive. After the dive and getting back on the dive boat I had a sudden epiphany that I could not turn my head in either direction without pain equivalent to when I ruptured a disc in my back. All the way back to the beach for lunch I sat bracing my head with both hands trying to minimize the boat’s action. All I could think of was: “Where the hell is Linsley when I need her!!!!”
Somehow I got off the boat, had lunch with one hand propping up my head, and opted to take a $20 taxi ride back to the Villa rather than face bouncing around in the boat. The taxi driver quickly got the concept of my problems and did his best to avoid bumps, potholes and slow down almost to a standstill for speed bumps despite the constant horn blowing of other drivers!
Long story/short….Typhoid Tony went into town and got me some Valium (over the counter in Mexico). That and the Tequila didn’t help one bit. The next day Greg and Kay took me to their doctor ( (very cheap$60 visit) and I got three prescriptions which performed miracles and alternate realities.
The last night Typhoid Tony and I took Greg and Kay out for dinner to one of their favorite restaurants downtown. Wow!!! After that I will never think of “Mexican” food in the same way again. This was a very nice, modest restaurant, but the food was gourmet local fare!!!!
Greg and Kay are more than happy to direct guests to the best restaurants in town. As I said before, these people are what made this trip quite a few levels above the ordinary!! They are an absolutely lovely, fun couple that really go out of their way to accommodate the needs of their guests.
And the service of the Aldora Divers certainly equaled all the great reviews we had read on Trip Advisor and Undercurrent. Go to their website, www.aldora.com ,to check out the many, many things that I didn’t have time to include here!!

  • Liked — Managers, Greg and Kay, location, and intimacy of a 9 suite resort
  • Disliked — Sharing it with two dive buddies instead of my wife!
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank scuba7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2008

Villa Aldora is the perfect place for those looking for a small, quiet, dive friendly, cozy environment where you can truly relax and enjoy. The couple who manage the Villa, Kay & Greg, are the absolute best!

We have always been attracted to small resorts and Villa Aldora is a gem! No, there is no room service, bar or restaurant here, but that just adds to the charm. The Villa has about 9 rooms, each varying in size. Some have full kitchens but at a minimum, they have a refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, and few other necessary kitchen items. The rooms are cleaned daily and on the day you arrive, Kay or Greg will take you to the grocery store to stock up for your stay.

We always enjoy the short walk into town in the evening and after dinner at on of the great restaurants, we normally take a cab back to the Villa and it's only about $3.00.

As for diving, Aldora Divers is associated with the Villa and talk about first class, they are far better than any other operation that we have used in Cozumel! They pick you up at the Villa's dock (unless of course the weather/waves aren't cooperating) and you dive in small groups, usually 6 or less, steel tanks and YOUR bottom time. Not at all like the "60 feet for 40 minute" type operations that have a dozen or more divers on board! They also do their best to group you together with divers who have similar skill levels, etc.

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — Not a thing!
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Diver56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villa Aldora

Property: Villa Aldora
Address: Cozumel, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Cozumel
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 44 Specialty Lodging in Cozumel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 9
Also Known As:
Villa Aldora Hotel Cozumel
Aldora Hotel Cozumel

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