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“5-star location, 3-star property, can't wait to come back”

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Mia Reef Isla Mujeres
Ranked #6 of 37 Hotels in Isla Mujeres
Reviewed January 25, 2013

We stayed here for a week and were overall delighted with our stay. The hotel tower is set up where every room has a view of the Caribbean from the room and the hall serving the rooms is all windows and overlooks the magnificent lagoon and the town beyond, and in the far distance Cancun itself.

What you think of this property depends on what you are expecting. It is on a private island with 24-hour security at the end of the access bridge. The adjacent lagoon where the beach is located is stunning. We spoke with several people who have traveled the Caribbean extensively and they all said the water here was second to none. The water in the entire lagoon is 1-4 feet deep, with the average depth for most of it being about 2.5 feet, ideal for small children. There are a few deeper spots, nothing over 5-6 feet. The waves of the Caribbean constantly crash over one end, sending a constant stream of new water flowing through the lagoon. There is a decent current as a result, but nothing that's going to sweep you away.

Where the waves meet the lagoon is the best snorkeling, as hundreds of fish congregate there. It was amazing. One word of warning though~this is an ocean, and as such there are real critters here. I saw a large stingray late in the day once when I was the only one in the lagoon, and there are sea urchins as well. I saw a couple of black spiky vicious looking ones hiding in the rocks. I also saw several small rays that are almost impossible to see because they blend in with the sand. All of this said, the lagoon teemed with people every day, so it is as safe as an ocean environment can be I guess. You know it's a good location when boatloads of snorkel tours get dropped off here every day to check it out. Just use common sense when you are swimming and be aware of your surroundings. I also purchased a Fujifilm Finepix XP50 underwater camera for the trip($130 on sale) which turned out to be a great purchase. The snorkeling is awesome and it's great to have pics and video of it. I also brought my own snorkel gear from home which turned out to be a stroke of genious. Get to the beach early(before 10am at least) if you want a good chair and the option of some shade. Also be sure to take a dip in King's Pool, by the villas on the NE(Caribbean) side of the island. Bring your snorkel mask.

Now, back to the hotel. As I said, what you get out of it is what you are expecting. If you expect 5-star luxury, you will be disappointed. If you want a clean, comfortable place to rest your head after a day of surf, sand and sightseeing, you will be delighted. Our room, on the 7th of the 8 floors, was nothing special,but everything we needed. Two twin beds and a desk chair. Didn't turn on the TV so can't say anything about that. There was good water pressure in the shower and plenty of hot water. The view out the window of the sea was spectacular, as was the view coming out of the room. The a/c unit was a little loud, but so was the endless crashing surf outside. No biggie.

I don't understand people like the previous poster, people who come to a remote paradise like this and then whine about the TV or lack of wifi in their room. WHO CARES???? Who in their right mind would come to a place like this and not want to get away from it all, not bawl because they aren't connected?? It's ridiculous. The hotel has free wifi in the lobby, and the seats were usually filled with people on their various devices. What they apparently didn't know was that the bar area also has free wifi, in a far better setting. Why anyone would sit in the lobby when they could be outside enjoying the views and weather is beyond me. Even more baffling is why someone would be glued to an electronic device when they have paradise at their doorstep. Try going off the grid for a few days, people. It won't kill you. Seriously.

The hotel also has a large pool, with over half of it only a foot or so deep for children, but it is also cold, so probably only decent on a hot day. There used to be a swim-up bar but it is closed probably because nobody really uses the pool.

The food in the restaurant was surprisingly good. We ate here several times, including most mornings. They have a buffet that includes yogurt, fruit, breads, juices, coffee, milk, sausage and potatoes among other things. There is also yummy french toast and made to order eggs. Contrary to a previous review, this buffet is NOT included in your hotel price, so I guess they stole quite a bit of money from the hotel. It is $160 pesos for adults and half that for kids. We did go to town for brunch a couple times and found some good places, but for about the same price, so for the money you may as well stay in house and do the buffet. The previous poster also said something about the hotel not having fish, but we had fish tacos a couple times(delicious) and there were other fish items on the menu as well. Not sure what their deal was. Maybe they felt too guilty for stealing breakfast to notice the menu! The pizza here is also fabulous. Contrary to what the previous poster said, we also charged room service to our room.

Our one complaint is that they nickel and dime you for a few items. They give you one free bottle of water, after that you are on your own. They also charge you 20 pesos for every additional coffee kit in your room after the first one, and they didn't replenish our shampoo. The gift shop in the lobby was no help. Everything there was extremely expensive($25US for a cheap kids snorkel set, $3 for a bottle of water, $18 for sunscreen). To solve these problems we went to the local supermarket and bought gallons of water for less than a liter at the hotel. We also bought sunscreen, shampoo and some coffee and filters for the room. There are numerous convenience stores on the island, but go to the actual supermarket, near the town square, for the best price and selection.

Also, when you check in they will place a hold of $1,000 pesos on your credit card(only about a hundred bucks), but it allows you to order food and drink anywhere on the property without a wallet. They also give you credit card sized towel cards which you have to turn in every time you get a beach towel, and cost you $10US if you lose. It's free to check out a key apparatus for your room safe, but there is a $100US fee if you lose it.

As far as the hotel staff goes, everyone was a delight!!! Everyone spoke good to very good English, and they were just so pleasant and fun to deal with. The best part: there were no roving vendors trying to sell you things. There are several options on the property as far as excursions go. There is a scuba/snorkel outfit on-site, and a tour/excursion booth that also rents the golf carts outside. I recommend renting a golf cart for at least one day and exploring the length of the island. Otherwise, taxis are readily available. The best thing to do going into town though is to walk. It's only 4 or so blocks to the main part of town, a bit further to the ferry dock area. We walked to town all the time. After dark there were no safety or security issues. There were always people out and about. There are several great restaurants to choose from, and Hidalgo St. is the main shopping street and is pedestrian only. While everyone took dollars, with anything other than shopping, where you can haggle for prices, it is easiest and best to use pesos as much as possible. You get shafted on the exchange rate in restaurants if you use dollars. There are several banks and ATMs on the island, as well as at least one money exchange agency where you can also get dollars back for your pesos at the end of your stay. Also, for being in such a remote place, don't expect a lot of cheap prices on food and drink. We found most prices to be around $3US for a beer, $5-6 for a blended drink, and entrees were $10-25US at most restaurants. Breakfast prices were 80 to 130 pesos per item. I'm sure there are exceptions if you look around. One place is Jax's bar and grill, which has 5 Coronas in a bucket of ice for 80 pesos.

A word of warning: when you are at a restaurant it is common to be approached by various roving singers and 3-man guitar groups. They may appear to be part of the restaurant, but they are not, and they want tips. One particular group had the nerve to walk up and play a song for us without being asked and then demanded 70 pesos. I told them we didn't ask them to play and they should have told us the cost before hand. They left without arguing. The best tactic, unless you want to pay to be serenaded, is to tell them no thanks as soon as they approach you.

So I know this got quite long, and there is so much more I could say, but the bottom line is if you want luxury don't stay here. If you want an ideal location on the island this place is for you. would stay here again without reservation.

Room Tip: As with most locations, the higher the room the better the view.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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23  Thank Morgman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 24, 2013

I went here for Thanksgiving with my family. They had all purchased a groupon and stayed in the suites. I was traveling alone so i opted for a basic room. Their rooms were so much nicer, I wish I had paid the extra money. Definitely stay in the suites, not the tower. The beds are very hard but you can request an egg crate which helps. The property itself was amazing. There was some of the best snorkeling I have ever experienced right outside of the hotel. This was also very kid safe as well. The breakfast buffet was great too!

Room Tip: Do not stay in the tower, get the suites.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Denise G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2013

My friend and I booked the place still after reading a handful of horrible reviews. The reviews were pretty on par. Yes the location is great, and if you love to snorkel or perhaps have kids that want to snorkel, I don't think you will find a better location. It's very unfortunate that the hotel and their staff are a bit behind the times, though to me this seemed true to almost the entire island. What restaurant doesnt serve fish on an island? This was true at the hotel and many other restaurants around the island - we were a bit surprised.

Back to the hotel... we got a budget deal last minute through Orbitz for about $60/night and requested a room with 2 beds on the reservation (their budget rooms have either 2 twins or 1 queen). We arrived around 2 or 3pm and the bring us to a room with 1 queen so we go back to the desk and they say the 2 twin room is not ready yet. So we head to the beach and get some lunch thinking they will move our things to the new room. We get back around 6pm and they did not move anything - saying that we needed to be in the room to allow them in. The gentleman that comes to take us to our new room doesn't even help us with our bags.

The new room has 2 twin beds and a smaller tv than the first. Also on orbitz it said that rooms had DVD players - neither room had a DVD player. They did have a coffee maker in each room and blow dryer. No fridge. 1 bottle of water complimentary.

Oh - both rooms had this standing AC fan. SOOOO LOUD. OMG. And you dont want to stop it because then it would get muggy and warm. We had to keep the AC on all night. These standing units make an insane amount of noise! If you are a light sleeper - stay away!

All of the advertisements around the hotel and online said "24 Hour Room Service." One night around 10pm we got hungry and decided to take advantage of this. No menu in the room, AND THE PHONE DIDN'T WORK! We had to walk downstairs to the lobby to order our room service. He showed us a menu and said all of the phones have been out after some power surge storm. Lovely. We ordered, paid cash (they cannot charge room service to the room), and the food arrived back in our room 20 mins later. Food was ok - just a cheeseburger and a club sandwich.

My biggest complaint: No internet in the rooms!!! Only in the main lobby and every time you walked through the lobby there were about 5 people sitting around on their mobiles or computer. We were very lucky though and they happen to place us in the room closest to the front desk so I was able to pick up a little signal to get work done. No signal in the first room for sure.

The breakfast buffet was nice, I will give them that. Though I'm not sure if it was entirely included in our budget room - we still enjoyed the breakfast buffet and no one asked us what room we were in. :)

The bar area was nice. They had an activities guy doing all sorts of things all day long - ping pong, poker, massage lessons, "stretching," etc.

We also did 2 dives with the dive shop on the property. Pretty nice staff. The wetsuits and fins were old. Seems like they were pretty hard to accomodate everyone - we were a group of all advanced+ divers and everyone seemed bored on our MUSA dive.

In conclusion - go for the beach, don't expect wifi or great service, breakfast buffet is good value, and I hope you're not a light sleeper with the loud noise of the AC all night.

I do hear that their Villa units are a little nicer with kitchenette.

Room Tip: We were in a 2-twin room #3015 and since it was so close to the front desk we were able to pick up w...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank floridastylee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2013

The rooms might be nice, however, when I come to Isla I want piece and tranquility not the look of Dallas Texas. The island is happily full of one to two story colorful buildings, not totally modern hotels. I do hope that this hotel will not be replicated by others. I understand that many people come there for a business meeting, but please, go to a big city and leave this beautiful island to the vacationers!

Room Tip: Pleases do not choose this hotel. If you want a big modern place to vacation go to and island in th...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank nancy614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2013

The avalon is a super place to stay, and one of the best locations on the island. stay in the bungalows, they are a little removed from the main hotel building and quite comfortable. beach has great sand. water is very shallow yet quite nice. hotel staff is friendly. walk into town center is 10 minutes or less, yet avalon also feels isolated when desired. will definitely return.

Room Tip: stay in the bungalows.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Steven G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2013

This was my first non all inclusive vacation. I'm not sure I will ever go all inclusive again! Our room was in the tower on the seventh floor. The room itself is very basic and rather small, we didn't care as its just a place to sleep. The stand alone air conditioner kept the room very comfortable. We bought a foam cooler from the oxxo store and went to the grocery store to buy water, juice, beer, and wine to keep our "refrigerator" stocked. We had also brought a collapsible cooler for while we were on the beach. We never actually ate or bought a single drink from the hotel as we ate all meals in town. The Internet worked great in the lobby for free which was a bonus. We went to the Fenix for lunch and everyday after that I could get their wifi while laying on beach in front of the Avalon. The only people we really interacted with at the hotel was the front desk and they were very polite and helpful. The location as most reviews state really is the best! The water is breathtaking and can walk out a good distance with it never being higher than your waist.
I am hoping to return soon with children as I know it would be a perfect place to take them.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank pyrenese331
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2013

We have been going to the Avalon on Isla Mujeres since 2004 and love it. It is true it has declined in services and ammenities since then, but on our recent trip (12/5-12/13) we noticed some serious improvements. The rooms are stark but you have everything you need. Its very clean and well kept. The location is second to none on Isla. Make sure you get a villa or studio room away from the main hotel tower. Seriously huge difference. This hotel is literally surrounded by water. On one side the waves crash endlessly, on the other smooth and gentle, perfect for floating all day long. There is also a small, protected area right off the hotel beach where the snorkeling is fantastic. The food is ok, nothing to write home about. Breakfast is very good but way too expensive! Drinks are fairly priced and the bartenders and waiters are efficient. (Love that they have a waiter on the beach.) We usually eat in town where the food is excellent and there's lots of variety. The housekeeping staff is super friendly and accomodating. The staff on the whole is excellent but may be in need of some additional training. We had key card issues the entire trip...not fun. It seemed like it was no big deal to the front desk, like we should be grateful that we had to have an escort to our room every time we wanted to get in it. Lets just say they should have moved us sooner. Also, no phones??? Coffee only once??? C'mon man!!! But we loved our room and our stay was still great. We do realize this is Mexico and we may need to chill out a bit. So overall 4 stars. Would definitely return!

Room Tip: Second floor villa on the King's bath side
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KRISTEN H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mia Reef Isla Mujeres

Address: Calle Zazil Ha s/n Int 7 | Islote Yunque, Isla Mujeres 77400, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Isla Mujeres
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#4 Luxury Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Mujeres
Price Range: $165 - $518 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Mia Reef Isla Mujeres 4*
Number of rooms: 156
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Also Known As:
Avalon Reef Club Isla Mujeres Hotel Isla Mujeres
Avalon Reef Isla Mujeres
Avalon Club Reef
Isla Mujeres Avalon Reef

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