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Cala de Mar Resort & Spa Ixtapa
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Reviewed July 30, 2012

People looked at me funny when I told them my husband and I were going to Mexico. We have no problem whatsoever. Yes, the hotel can arrange transportation to and from, but it's cheaper to catch a cab at the airport. We loved the hotel, expecially the views. We had a low cost room but still had our own private patio and plunge pool. Terrific views of the ocean are everywhere, including from the bathroom. Service was fabulous. There really is no beach, but there are two different pools, both very nice and very clean.

Only down side is my husband did not have a good experience in the spa. I used the steam, sauna and whirpool for free and had a great experience. The men's spa simply is not nearly as nice as the women's side, and the attendant was off the day my husband used the spa, which made his experience much less enjoyable than mine.

Room Tip: We had a great room, even though we did not pay for an upgrade.
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank quintina1999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2012

This is where you wished you had taken your honeymoon!

First of all it is at an Ideal location built into the cliffs, yet it is easy to get to from the Ixthapa airport. At no time did we feel unsafe, as the resort picks you up directly and provides transportation. Do not let people get in your mind that you cant go here because Mexico is crime infested and dangerous. Our safety was a priority and we left the property on two different occasions and had two fun and relaxing experiences...tooling around on bikes on our own and a chartered fishing trip the resort arranged that was fantastic.


Next, there are absolutely stunning views from all areas of the property, including your very own private pool overlooking the ocean.

The outstanding service is second to none. We have stayed at high end (Ritz Carlton type) properties, as well as other resorts found on luxury links and none even hold a candle to this one. The staff at Capella meets each morning to discuss and share the personal preferences of each of their guests, so you are pampered and treated like royalty. And all employees are incredibly friendly, eager to sit and chat with you and are genuinely happy and proud (rightfully so) to be working there! We spent equal time with wait staff, folks cleaning the grounds, the head Chef and the Manager of the resort, all super people with the same goal: making sure we loved Capella!

We booked this property through luxury links and discovered later the resort is extending their deal through LL. We visited the week of July 9, 2012, which apparently is "rainy season" so rates are better. I encourage you to book now and go now. "Rainy season" by the way, simply means it might rain for ten minutes in the late afternoon or perhaps at night while you sleep. We had zero bad weather and would tell everyone to go during this time. Also, the resort was only 25% full...can't beat having an entire infinity pool overlooking the Pacific and the wait staff all to ourselves!!!

I see this property eventually being booked to absolute maximum capacity based on service, food, rooms and other perks like the spa, wellness center with yoga classes, workout room, etc. The only reason it's not sold out is because travelers have reservations about going to Mexico..or perhaps people don't know about it yet. Either way, Capella will make it on your top list if you take the chance and book now.

Room Tip: Book during rainy season/off season for best rates...it hardly even rained and it was late afternoon and evening anyways...just like Florida weather.
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank MerBearTampa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2012

My wife and I just returned from a three night stay at Capella Ixtapa (July 18-21), after staying two nights at another nearby all inclusive resort (Hotel Azul Ixtapa). Most of the other reviews are entirely accurate. The service at the hotel is excellent (9 of 10 or better), the rooms are outstanding (10 of 10), and the food is good to very good (8 to 9 of 10).

The overview/conclusion: Very nice, very relaxing resort for couples. (Please, don't bring your kids unless you have to, and then please make sure they're at least 12 or older). If you want to party, this is not your place. If you need a few days of peace and quiet with your significant other, this is the place to do it. I'll try to review the major things below in more detail and hope it helps you.

For the logistical things, there is a resort fee of 10% of the room rate which is paid at checkout, now standard really. Also, everything you buy at the resort (food, drinks, massages) is subject to an automatic 15% "service charge" which serves as a mandatory tip. Because the service is never sub-par, and my wife and I tip very well anyway, this didn't bother us at all. Every bill also itemizes the tip amount and also leaves a spot for additional tip. We did every time, not because we felt compelled to, but because the service we received warranted it.

We stayed in a Deluxe Ocean Front Junior Suite. The only difference I could tell between the "Deluxe" suite and the others is that the plunge pool on your terrace deck is an infinity-edge/no-edge pool, and the pool is about 50% bigger. I think the terrace deck in the deluxe rooms is larger than the others, as well. The terrace in these rooms also has a chair and ottoman, a table, and a large couch that is as wide as a double bed, easily big enough for two people to lay on comfortably for a little siesta. All furniture has nice cushions, multiple pillows and the outside couch/bed has clean towels covering the cushions. All are very comfortable. Further, due to the direction the resort faces (nearly due south) and the design of the hotel, if you stay in a room where the plunge pool is on the left (from view in room, facing the ocean) the outside couch is in the shade virtually all afternoon and evening, keeping it cool enough with a light breeze to help facilitate that little nap and makes it very comfortable. There is a roof covering a portion of the terrace deck, just enough to provide shade when you want it.

Inside the room is a king size bed with a good, high quality mattress, nice linens and comfortable pillows. (We have stayed at other resorts in Mexico, even higher end ones, that didn't quite shape up on the mattress and bed quality. Capella does it right.) The bed isn't super soft, but it's not uncomfortable by any means. We had three nights of great sleep. The room also has a mini-refrigerator, stocked with regular and diet soda and bottled water, free of charge. There is enough room to put a few extra beers and a small bottle of wine (full size wine bottle would be tough to fit in there) if you wanted to. There is also a flat screen television and two comfy chairs. If you're from the US, there are probably a dozen or so channels in English and another half-dozen in Spanish. They have HBO, a couple news channels, another movie channel of some kind, the Golf Channel and one or two ESPN channels. The British Open was on while we were there, and I did get a chance to watch some each morning... an added bonus.

For coffee drinkers (or coffee lovers, more accurately...) In the evenings, someone will come by to offer turn-down service. The only critical part of that, in my opinion, is a French press coffee maker is hiding underneath the TV in a drawer, along with coffee and sugar. (If you want milk or cream you'll need to call and have it brought to you or just go ask for it at the breakfast restaurant.) The coffee is very good, but it is ground for a filter instead of coarse grounds for a French press. If you don't know how to make coffee with a French press (I didn't), either read up quickly after you read this review or - if you bring a computer with you (we did), you can utilize the wireless internet (great connection, always fast) and read how do do it there. There is a very large bottle of water you can use to make coffee, as well. It's worth doing, in my opinion. Even though the grinds in the little package of coffee aren't correct, it still works just fine and they didn't make it into the coffee cup.

Food and restaurants. You will probably get a phone call from someone at Capella shortly before you depart for Capella to ask if anything can be arranged for you. We asked that the menus from the restaurants be emailed to us. If you want to figure out what you'll probably need to expect in the budget for food, this is a good idea. We didn't ask for the wine or drink menus.

As the other reviews state, the food is not inexpensive. Having said that, this is a nice resort and the food is not the quality you would find at an all-inclusive type resort, even a nicer one. Every meal is cooked to order and we didn't have anything that we didn't enjoy. Some things are better than others. As a general rule, including the tip, (not including alcoholic drinks) breakfast will run about $50 USD, lunch will be $60-70, and dinner - depending on the restaurant you choose - will be $75 to $150, not including drinks. You can eat dinner at one of several places. The lesser expensive of the dinner restaurants serves tapas and sushi at about $15 per dish/roll. The nicer restaurant serves a variety of items, including steak and several kinds of fish. We tried both dinner restaurants and enjoyed each one. They do have theme nights (which ranged from $40-$65 per person) and we did the taco night one... a little pricey for tacos ($80 for two people), but it was all-you-can-eat and the flavor in the tacos was excellent. I thought it was well worth it.

How much is a beer? $6 USD. Several types of beers are available, including Corona of course. Wine... relatively few selections by the glass, but enough to cover the basics. The Mexican cabernet/merlot blend was pretty decent and I think it was between $10-$15 per glass, but I don't recall. If wine is a very big deal, they do have probably 30-40 wines by the bottle, and probably eight to ten of which are $75 or less. From Napa, I recall they have a Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc for about $125 and a Jordan Chardonnay for $150.

For lunch, a word of advice. If you want a cheeseburger, order yours well done. We live in Texas where red meat is nearly hard to exclude from a meal and have grown accustomed to having it cooked the way it should be. Not so in Ixtapa, Mexico. Ask for it to be cooked well done or at a very bare minimum, medium well. I ordered one for lunch one day, cooked 'medium,' but it was actually quite under cooked in the center, to the extent that I actually sent it back and had them cook it longer (which is not even a once-a-year event for me in any restaurant).

For security situation issues... We went to Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo before arriving at Capella (during the day, while staying at another resort). The towns are not nearly as large as Cancun or Playa del Carmen, but they are sufficiently developed that walking around in the daytime (at least in the tourist areas, near the beach/coast and a few other very developed parts) is plenty comfortable. Many other tourists from the US, South America and Europe do the same. Of course, this all depends on your comfort level. The taxis are all white, numbered, and professionally dressed. We took several cabs while in the area, including to town and to the airport (during the daytime) and never felt uncomfortable in any way.

This resort is more expensive than most of the others, as you know. I can tell you, when you get there, you will absolutely know why.

Room Tip: The "Deluxe" rooms have infinity-edge pools instead of regular pools, and they're bigger. If you want the best deluxe suite closest to the main infinity pool and breakfast/lunch restaurant, request suite #30.
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank wjsutton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2012

It was by far the most simply beautiful property we have stayed at. The views are to die for no matter where you are on the property ocean is all you see. The rooms are very simple with fantastic views from your private pool, shower and bed. The service is what sets Capella apart. No matter if it's in the lounge, pool, restaurant or just walking around the staff just goes out of their way every time. We enjoyed the food in all restaurants great variety. Margaritas were the best. We had to couples massages which were very good. Would return to Capella in a heart beat.

Room Tip: The higher the floor the better the view.
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank tavern
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2012

I got this on a Groupon deal and stayed there 6 nights, 7 days in June. My wife and I wanted to go to somewhere that had a beach and with Trip Advisor's reviews it was a no-brainer that we would have to try this place out. We were a bit hesitant about the security situation in Mexico but have to say that we left the hotel on 3 days ranging from noon til dark and never once did we find ourselves in a scary situation. The Mexican government knows that they make a large portion of revenue off of tourism and they do their best to keep those areas as safe as possible.

As far as the total experience I would say it was a 4.5 out of 5. The staff from arrival to departure ensured that they took care of everything. For example, I went to the front desk on the first day to ask where the ice machine was, they kindly gave me ice but told me in the future just pick-up the phone and they would have some to my room in less than 5 minutes. If you want to be pampered this is the place for you! They have a refrigerator in your room that is stocked daily with an assortment of drinks that are at no cost. Also, daily at around 5pm, they would deliver handmade chips, pico de gallo, guacamole & 2 bottled beers in a bucket with salt & lime to your room. This was also no charge and was wonderful to have to hold you over until dinner. I don't want to spoil all of the surprises, but they do give you more free things to off-set your expenses a little bit.

The cons, well the part that I believe they could approve on. We stayed in room 55 and if you look at the ceiling, you can see it was repaired and painted over but the paint doesn't match so you have a big "X" on the ceiling, something small, but you wouldn't expect from a 5 star resort. Also, if you are expecting to hang out on the beach, its not really possible. The hotel is built on the side of a mountain and therefore the beach attached to the hotel is tiny and has rocks at the end of the stairs that make navigating onto it difficult. I would suggestion that the hotel cleans these large rocks out and cut some of the brush to make it easier and safer to walk onto the beach. The last thing would be to put phones down next to the pools. The hotel has 2 pools and one of them always has atleast someone at it so service is provided quickly, however the other pool which is referred to as the "salt water pool", but isn't salt water anymore, is on the other side of the resort and is a very quiet pool. Once they know your there they will offer you service, however if a phone was there, it would make it easier to notify them that you need service instead of walking to the other side of the resort to find someone. The last thing that I would like to see improved is the way they heat the small infinity pool inside your room. You have to call the lobby and maintenance somehow turns the heater on which takes about 45 minutes to heat. If their was an easier way for this process as well as the "heat" wasn't very warm and didn't last very long. But, the pool was awesome to have in your own room!

Some advice for others. Pay for your own transportation to and from the resort to the airport. The hotel will provide this service at $90 round-trip, however if you pay for it yourself it is only 640 pesos (about $52) round-trip. If you can pay for excursions away from the resort you will pay about half of what the resort is asking. However, the resort will warranty their services and has transportation included in the price. So if you aren't very good in Spanish and are unsure about how to go about getting these excursions, just pay the extra price and go with the resorts picks for a hassle-free vacation.

Don't hesitate... Ixtapa, Mexico is safe and is Mexico's best kept secret. United Airlines also offers non-stop service from Houston which makes it nice. This hotel is amazing & the service is by far the best I have ever experienced. Mainly couples go here, but I saw just a couple kids which makes it nice with no crying babies. The views can't be beat!

Room Tip: The 5th floor is on the same floor as the lobby, which makes it as easy as staying on the first floor like in most other hotels. The hotel is only 6 stories tall, so the 5th floor is perfect.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank davis31b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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