I have been coming to Isla on and off for over a decade and have seen this little island grow yet maintain it's sleepy charm. I first stayed at Privilege Aluxes in 2010 and had such a wonderful time that I decided to return there for my last trip to the island - the location of the hotel and the service are a combination that's really hard to beat on Isla. The hotel offers the ability to book inclusive and non-inclusive (both include complimentary breakfast and towel service). My review is based on the non-inclusive booking.
The hotel has a private beach on a very nice part of the island, north side where the water is more calm during the day. You have the option of sitting under shaded umbrellas and beds (tip - if you want to do this, you need to get your stuff outside by 8AM, the shade is highly coveted) or take a towel to the beach. The hotel has a beach bar, but if you are up for some walking - you can literally take a stroll to the other end of the island (well the north side) and have a cocktail at some of the other beach bars (some with huge swings for seats) while taking in the beautiful scenery and local flavor). To do this - walk out to the beach and once your feet are on the sand, turn right and keep on walking, follow the curve of the water! The hotel pools are also very relaxing and offer plenty of shade - if you can't find any at the beach, or just want to take a dip in cool water. The swim-up bar is small, but the bartenders have large personalities that make the pool scene lively for those who are in the water. Tip - the hotel offers standard size beach towels but most of the towels are gone by 4PM (during peak season) so be sure to get your towels before then!
The room and the grounds are very clean and well taken care of. I would say that the rooms are fairly standard for Mexican beach areas - well at least the hotels I typically book (marble like floors and bathrooms, modern fixtures, very clean design). If you are able to - request an "inside room" (rooms that face the pool/ocean). Rooms that are on the street side can be loud (fortunately I always travel with earplugs). If the "inside rooms" are not available - request a room away from the stairwell and elevator (the noise from both will travel into your room). Unfortunately, on this trip, I booked the very last available room (but I was happy to at least get a room there) - so we were street side near the stairs/elevator. It was a wee noisy at night, but overall this in no way diminished our stay or our impression of the hotel.
Food - Sabor is highly rated but I have never eaten there (people only say good things about it). The only food I have ever eaten at the hotel is from the breakfast buffet. The buffet offers a wide variety of fresh fruit, cereals and cooked options (waffles pancakes, eggs and local concoctions). Considering that breakfast is like a "bonus" for us non-inclusive guests, no complaints from me. We were able to have the perfect amount of whatever we were craving for the morning to get the day started and that's all that matters, as with everything at the hotel - service here always comes with a smile too. If you crave a hardy breakfast - there are several options available in town within walking distance and I am sure the amenable front desk will point you in the right direction (I love Cafe Hidalgo for Crepes, Cazuela's M&J for a full menu breakfast, or Bistro Francais for good coffee and classic french breakfast items).
Overall, we had a great time! Very relaxing! The hotel staff is very accomodating and really go out of their way to make your stay special. If you are looking for a typical Cancun experince then this is not for you!! You will not find people dancing on bars and passing out drunk in the streets. The island is absolutely beautiful and everyone should venture out to get a taste of local life. This is the main reason why we did not choose the all inclusive package - there are plenty of great restaurants that are within walking distance (along the beach and in town center). The proximity of the hotel to city center is great, allowing guests to enjoy some of the local life - shopping, music, dining - without needing a car. If you want to rent a golf cart to explore the island and get to some of the more adventurous activities (like checking out the small Mayan ruins or going to Garrafon) - the hotel can rent you one at the front desk, it's a great way to get around and see the whole of this beautiful island.
Side note - the hotel is next to a cemetery. We think the cemetery is pretty cool and walk through it whenever we visit the island. If you never walk to the back of the hotel (and don't have a room overlooking the cemetery) - you may not even know it's there. If you are the type of person who gets creeped out by something like this, I wouldn't let it stop you from staying here. I would at least call the hotel and see if they can guarantee a request for a room away from the cemetery - I am sure they will be as accommodating as possible. And, if they cannot accommodate, I am sure TripAdvisor can help you find another hotel that is not next to a cemetery.
Booking Tip - I typically book on Orbitz (because I like to use their discount codes), but I found the best rates on Booking.com. You don't have to pay for the RSV in advance on Booking.com, but I was sketchy about whether the RSV went through (especially since everywhere else showed the hotel as full), so I contacted the hotel directly via e-mail and received confirmation that the room was booked - yay!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Privilege Aluxes: Truly a privileged experience ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Privilege Aluxes Isla Mujeres
- Privilege Aluxes Hotel Isla Mujeres