Before proceeding, I strongly suggest that the – deservedly few – 'terrible', 'poor' & even 'average' reviews for El Pez be disregarded entirely. Having stayed at El Pez for 14 nights in January 2014, my only conclusion is that the authors of these reviews must surely have stayed somewhere else!
Located on a very beautiful cove, El Pez met and exceeded our expectations as an extremely well-run, friendly, boutique hotel, offering just enough luxury to feel comfortable and looked after, without being overwhelmed. The beach immediately in front of the hotel isn’t fit for swimming as several reviewers point out, but I personally welcomed the absence of bathers, sunloungers & umbrellas marring the perfect view over the cove, the pelican colony & the open sea. The sand/beach in front of the property and along the cove was raked and cleaned, and any debris or rubbish collected daily – sometimes twice daily. Impeccable white sand on an uninterrupted stretch of beach, perfect for walking, sunbathing & swimming are – literally – just around the corner, if you care to walk about five minutes around the cove to the south.
We stayed in Room 3 – a seafront room (upstairs) – which is essentially over and above the bar & restaurant area. Don’t be put off by this – any noise from the restaurant is minimal and can barely be heard above pretty much the only sound you’ll hear during your stay at El Pez – the sea. Regardless, the restaurant & bar close at a perfectly reasonable hour, so there really is no excuse for not getting your perfect night’s sleep.
The entire property is spotless and maintained to the highest order. The bed is wide & comfortable, and the pillows conducive to a restful night’s sleep. The bathroom is light and open plan, and we had no cause for any sort of complaint in two full weeks – everything worked as it should: water temperature and pressure are perfectly adequate, the toilet flushed every time, the room was cleaned thoroughly every day & bottled water replenished. We really couldn’t have asked for better treatment, service or surroundings. Perhaps a little more storage space would have been helpful, though being there for two full weeks we probably had more than the average traveller – maybe we just need to pack lighter…
The wi-fi, which we were able to use and access in our room and throughout much of the hotel, was excellent, good signal strength pretty much constantly.
The restaurant is marvellous, without doubt the best food in Tulum. Having spent two full weeks, we ate in numerous establishments in the vicinity, on the beach & in the pueblo, and El Pez is hands-down the best. It’s not the cheapest in Tulum, but it’s by no means the most expensive either, but you definitely get value for your money. I could happily have eaten the Tulum salad every day! The menu is varied & wildly interesting, some European & Asian influences in there, but with local, fresh ingredients & flavours that render the cuisine unmistakably Mexican. I recommend having at least one meal in the El Pez restaurant – you’ll probably never want to eat anywhere else in Tulum after that!
Breakfast, which is included, is continental style – toast, jam made on the premises, fresh fruit salad, yoghurt, granola (divine, also freshly made on the premises), juice & coffee. I would say it’s the perfect start to the day, but the perfect start comes at around 6:45am, when a flask of hot coffee is delivered to your door and you can sit out on your deck or balcony watching the sunrise over the cove. The only other suggestion I could make is that breakfast could be served a little earlier, being up with the sunrise we were sometimes counting down the minutes to the start of the breakfast service at 8:00am. That said, with a day trip planned and a very early start one morning, the staff was more than happy to provide an early ‘take away’ breakfast for us, and the breakfast timing really is just a suggestion – by no means a complaint.
The Gran Palapa itself is light, inviting and beautifully airy, cooled throughout the day by the gorgeous breeze and, with a happy hour most evenings between 3:00 & 6:00pm, our daily sunset deck cocktail/apéritif was yet another of the several perfect touches to our time at El Pez.
From the moment we arrived, the staff did their utmost to make us feel welcome and, after a short while, El Pez really did begin to feel like our home. I can’t single anyone out, as everyone with whom we came into contact was absolutely capable, professional, friendly and proficient, with the high level of service consistent throughout our entire stay. Gaby, Orfe and Mateo (reception/concierge) were always on hand to provide advice, answer questions, have a chat or even just to greet us with a smile and a wave – even coming & going was a pleasurable experience at El Pez. The bar & restaurant staff are expertly trained, achieving that perfect balance of being attentive yet discreet, and they soon learned our habits, our likes and very quickly were able to anticipate our requirements. So, Antonio, Jaime, Líber, Wilbert, Angel, Armin & Joel, also each deserve recognition and commendation for their marvellous contribution to El Pez being, for us, the ONLY place in Tulum. It really was a very special time for both of us, made all the better by Mateo and his team.
I would return to and recommend El Pez without hesitation. Currently, it’s ranked Tripadvisor #5 in Tulum – it most certainly deserves to be #1.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- El Pez evokes the feeling of a private villa on the beach, with all the amenities of a small boutique hotel. Featuring six Luxury Cabanas, four Sea Front King Rooms and Two Sea View King Rooms, suitable for solo travelers, couples and families, El Pez is situated at picturesque Turtle Cove, where the Mayan fisherman and pelicans create a visually stunning seascape from the hotel balconies and around the hotel grounds. The setting is both intimate and romantic and a stunning backdrop for family gatherings & romantic getaways. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- El Pez At Turtle Cove Hotel Tulum
- Pez Ocean Palace Tulum