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“Head South !”
Review of Zamas

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Ranked #17 of 102 Hotels in Tulum
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 21, 2006

Got Back from Zamas on the 9th, Choose to go to Tulum due to the beautiful beaches and cabanas. Zamas isn't bad but I would definately recommend staying at any hotel south of Zamas. There is an elevated road that runs directly behind the small beach front cabanas that is fairly busy through out the day with vehicles.

We would actually leave the Zamas beach during the day and hang out at the beaches to the south because they were much more beautiful and a lot bigger! Zamas makes a vast majority of their $ from the restaurant and heavily promotes their nightly music which is fun to listen to under the stars. The downside with a restaurant this size on a small beach is during the day you are trying to relax; you always feel like you are being watched by the many people eating at the restaurant.
They are in the process of resurfacing the road to the south. Leading down to the Sian Ka Biosphere so it is in great condition and very easy driving!!

Bottom line, stay at a hotel to the south you will find it will be much more relaxing and the paradise you are envisioning!

  • Stayed: February 2006
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6  Thank midnightsailor27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 16, 2006

We stayed at Zamas in the last week of January 2006. I am a 26 year old Australian and my girlfriend in 27. We were escaping the winter of the East Coast of the US, and looking for some place where we could kick back, eat great food and be self-indulgently romantic. In many ways, Tulum deliverd; Zamas, on the other hand, did not.

First, for those concerned about Wilma, it should be noted that Zamas is open for business again, but that it was one of the places hit hardest by the hurricane. As a result, the staff are still very busy resurrecting the place and this means that the service is probably a bit more stretched than usual.

The other reviews are right about the service. There is no hotel desk. This is a restaurant that opened a hotel, not the other way around. As a result, it is a little awkward raising your concerns with the hotel management because they are usually in the middle of running the restaurant.

Here's the deal: there's great food in and around Tulum; but Zamas doesn't have it. Now, we are pretty judgmental when it comes to food. We were certainly looking for superb regional cuisine, and wanted incredibly fresh produce. If food is not important to you, Zamas is fine (the cocktails are lovely) and the food is good. That said, for the gourmets, the food is better at Mezzanine and Posada Margherita. There are also some great places in the town of Tulum.

The rooms are fine, but I would note that they are built for fine weather. The fact is, it rains in Tulum. It rains, even in the dry season. When it rains, the rooms become pretty unpleasant. They are cold (tile floors) and mosquitos get in. In heavy rains, the roof leaks and water comes in under the doors and through the cracks between the windows.

The showers are salt water and there is not much hot water. Most days, we had to shower a few hours apart to ensure that we both got hot water.

The music they play at night is really pretty awful. Think the movie (or the book), The Beach. It's lots of Europeans and Americans playing drums feaverishly and dancing like they just violated their inner child. I would agree with the other reviewer that you do NOT want a beach cabana room as you will here music until 9pm (my experience was that it went no later).

Other night life:
Unfortunately, there is not much other nightlife around. There are some awful American yokel bars in Tulum proper. Mezzanine has a cool lounge bar and apparently has a dance party on Friday nights. That said, we struggled to find anywhere to go after dinner.

The other reviews are right about the beach too. It's rocky as hell. I'm an Australian. I know beaches. Trust me, this is not a swimming beach. It's just too damn rocky. You will seriously cut your feet up or bang your head given a bad wave.
The El Paraiso Beach Club is a $3 cab away and it's lovely. Still, if you want to stay somewhere with a beautiful beach right there, this is not your place. Mezzanine has a nice beach in front and I'm sure that there are other places.

If it rains, take the bus to Playa Del Carmen. That place is better suited to all weather fun.

Good luck!

  • Stayed: January 2006
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6  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 11, 2006

We stayed in the ocean view suite (cabana no. 17) at Zamas for 1 week. We had just spent 5 nights in Mawimbi in Holbox in a cabana directly on the beach for $80 (USD) per night so were disappointed when we were shown to our $145 per night room which was across the road from the beach! Yes we still had an ocean view but it was regularly punctuated by trucks and other heavy vehicles.

The rooms:
The room itself was very good. 1 king size bed, 1 double bed and a sofa that could be used as a single bed. A large balcony with 2 hammocks a table and 2 chairs. It was set back from the road about 15 meters and there was a stick fence between the grounds and road but the traffic was still very audible. However, it was still private. There were about 6 rooms in our section (i.e across the road from the beach). Interested to see what other room types were available we found some cabanas on the beach side but with no beach view - they were fully fenced in. The best cabanas appeared to be the beach front ones (about 5 of them from memory), however as other guests used the deck chairs and sun loungers on the beach directly in front of your cabanas you lack privacy. Also you have the noisy road right behind you and the restuarant, which has live music every night, right beside you.

The beach:
Conviently located to all the Zamas rooms but rocky and small with the road right behind it. Best to walk about 100 metres to you right and you will find a lovely long stretch of beach. Or jump in a cab up to the ruins end of the Hotel zone and there is an even bigger and nicer stretch of beach from the ruins up to the Mezzanine hotel where it gets rocky again.

The resturant:
The food was always nice, except for the chicken tacos which had tiny pieces (I'm talking 0.5cm cubed) of dried chicken in them. We tried a few different fish and seafood dishes and all were excellent. The service was attentive if cold - see my comments on service below. We tried a few different places for dinner. The paella at the Luna bar next door was excellent and the fish platter at Piedra Escondida 2 doors down was lovely, if over-priced, and service at both was much more friendly than at Zamas. The Thai at Mezzanine was also pretty decent. The entertainment seemed to be the main draw-card for patrons as I certainly think the food was no better than any of the other places we ate along the hotel zone.

The best thing about staying at Zamas was Santos and his mate who run the Mexi-Divers booth just opposite the entrance to the Zamas restuarant. They are both extremely helpful and friendly and can give you information & prices on pretty much any tour you would want to do from Tulum. All of the tours, except the Sian Ka'an Biosphere are run by the guys directly. We did the Sian Ka'an Biosphere tour which was an enjoyable day out but a bit over-priced at $68 per person for a boat trip, cheap lunch and a float down the lagoon canals! Santos was our guide on our cenote snorkelling tour and pointed out some things we wouldn't have seen without him, like a turtle in the reeds, but I think you can probably snorkel in 1 cenote yourself and still be just as happy.

This is the area that really lets Zamas down. I continually got the feeling from Zamas staff that they didn't really want to be there and weren't that interested in whether you were happy with your experience and keen to make you feel a valued customer. For example, when we were arrived we were shown to our room, which wasn't yet made up, and left there. We were not told any of the following:
- Restuarant opening times, specifically breakfast hours
- That the fans in the room didn't work as they had only just been installed(had to go over at 10.30pm, after 10 minutes of trying every switch in the room to try and get them to work, on the first night and ask).
- That they had beach towels that you could borrow if you requested at reception.
These were all basic but important things that I would expect any accomodation establishment to inform you of when you arrive.
Staff in the restuarant were 'flat', for want of a better word. Certainly not friendly and we especially noticed this when we went to Piedra Escondida down the road where we were asked where we were from, where we were staying, and given a few recommendations of dishes from the menu - all with a smile.

Overall I think Zamas is ok but looking at the other beaches and eating in some of other restuarants in the area, I think you can do better in Tulum. Questions I would ask before booking anywhere:
- How close is it to the road & what kind of road noise barriers do they have (i.e. trees)
- Is it on the beach
- How big,wide,long is the beach
- How close is it to the restuarant/other communal areas

I will try somewhere else if I go back to Tulum but if you really want a rustic, Mexican experience in a area that hasn't been completly over-run with tourists head to Isla Holbox!

  • Stayed: February 2006
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8  Thank safarijones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Portland, OR
Reviewed February 11, 2006

At 26, I don't consider myself to be an old fuddy-duddy. I chose Zamas because it's website represented it as a chic, eco-friendly location to laze around in the sun and sleep. Reviews I read praised the restaurant and it seemed the perfect spot to unwind from a very busy fourth quarter. It delivered - somewhat. The rooms are clean, the beach nice, the food fairly good though overpriced. The restaurant's brightly colored tables and chairs are picture perfect.

Unfortunately, the website fails to note the restaurant hosts live music. Every night. Until 10 or 11pm. No problem, except it's electrically amplified and given an additional boost being right near the water. Thus my one week to sleep soundly listening to the waves turned into a week of lying in the dark, praying for the music to stop and then wishing I had the energy to get out of bed when the sun came streaming through the white curtains at 6am. I'm thankful I didn't splurge for a beach-side cabana, given their direct proximity to the restaurant. At least in the garden cabanas we were across the street and spared the full effect. Additionally Zamas appears to be a popular spot for wedding parties, and the "front desk" was not receptive to a query at 11:30pm as to whether the screaming/giggling frat party "wedding reception" going on next door could perchance be asked to quiet down.

So, Zamas is great if you're used to the rhythmic bass line of your neighbor's stereo and can sleep through anything. If I hadn't been more exhuasted on my return than I was leaving the office I probably would have loved the place. If you're looking for a quiet retreat off the road, though, take a pass.

  • Stayed: February 2006
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7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2006

We ended our 2-week drive through the Yucatan at Zamas, staying there 4 days. It was so relaxing listening to the sound of the ocean waves and the warm breeze. The colors give out pastel hues all around. The restaurant was fabulous. The wait staff really friendly and accomodating. The nightly entertainment was varied and fun. It is surrounded by things to do, if you're so inclined. We settled for quiet walks on the beach, lying on the sand, taking long naps, enjoying good food and good entertainment. We highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: February 2006
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2  Thank David.Karen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2006

I stayed at Zamas 3 times now, and still think it's a great spot. The beach cabana's are really the best: I also stayed in the garden cabana and in the ocean view de casa, the garden ones are nice but you miss the view, which is sort of the point of staying at Zamas, and the top floor of the house is really nice, and very suitible for families, but not on the beach, and if you prefer the "beachlife" I would definitely recommend a beach cabana (the smaller ones are also very funky). However: with all the new restaurants opening nearby, serving really great food (check out Posada Margharita: Italian like in Italy!), or Mezzanine (a Thai chef), Zamas'restaurant Que Fresco, which always had a very good reputation, is getting a bit "old". Still that great setting, and quite nice pizza's and fresh fish, but some of the things on the menu were not so fresh or badly cooked. They do have the International Chef series( a great idea), while we were there a chef from Chicago came down for a few days and added 3 extra dishes to the menu. About the live music: almost every night they have one of 3 bands playing. One of them is alright, the other two were a reason for us to eat somewhere else. In general: they might give their kitchen a "boost", but still a great place! If you go to Tulum: go snorkeling in a cenote (like Gran Cenote): very beautiful!

Stayed: January 2006
3  Thank Juul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2005

My boyfriend and I spent four nights at Zamas and had a very good experience. We stayed in a Garden Cabana and were pleased with its location and view. (You can see the sea from the front porch). On the porch there are two hammocks and a table and chair. Inside there were two full sized beds with mosquito nets (bring bug spray!) and a private bath. Our water pressure was quite adequate and warm. The rooms were cleaned daily and the decor is charming.

The staff at the restaurant/front desk were all friendly and helpful, especially Elmer! He made reservations for us to snorkle and tour the biosphere. The beach was beautiful and while we were there we just followed the other swimmers to where there was rock free swimming and had a very relaxing time floating on the waves. Other beaches which are bigger and a good get away from your hotel are Paraiso and Zazikhil/Don Armandos closer to the ruins. Zamas is in a really good location because it is at the end of the paved road. I don't think I would have liked to stay beyond the paved road because it is so bumpy and I'm not sure the taxis go down it. (We didn't rent a car). It is fun to explore the other resorts' restaurants on foot at night with a flashlight or take a cab to town or toward the ruin.

Our only complaint is that about half the people at the restaurant had kids and we'd prefer a kid free environment. It had a family camp feel to it. For the most part,they were not noticable when in our room. Also, the sulfur in the mud sometimes smells but you'll find that everywhere.

  • Stayed: December 2005
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2  Thank Frescana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Zamas

Address: Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 5 | Zona Hotelera, Tulum 77780, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Tulum
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Family Hotel in Tulum
#14 On the Beach Hotel in Tulum
#28 Romantic Hotel in Tulum
Price Range: $117 - $399 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Zamas 3*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
ZAMAS is a boutique beach hotel situated on a strip of the Caribbean coast in Tulum. Inviting accommodations reflect a locally-inspired, organic architecture. Thatch roofs, stucco walls in beach-worn hues, and vibrant decor exude tropical warmth. Since it opened in December 1993 ZAMAS, with its hip beachfront style, has enjoyed an eclectic and international clientele of honeymooners, fashion professionals, artists, families, techies, and everyone in between. It is a quintessential hangout, mixing colorful urban roots with laid back local vibes and jungle ambience. Come experience the Tulum we know- delightfully laid back and naturally beautiful. Welcome to ZAMAS. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Zamas Hotel Tulum
Zamas Tulum

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