I spend months before booking a trip reading here on Trip Advisor and elsewhere about the location and hotel. As a result, I have always had a vacation I expected and enjoyed, and any travel companions did as well.
This review is written to be fair to the hotel, as due to weather related missed connections in Canada, Air Canada Vacations offered this Ixtapa area and Fontan hotel as a last minute equivalent alternative, so any expectations we had were from the Air Canada Vacations website showing it as a three roundel (star) all inclusive property and it falsely listed the hotel amenities that were to be provided. The Air Canada rep at the hotel could only speak French when I had a question other than the standard info he was giving. My bad for not speaking French. This is a 1.5 or 2 star budget hotel that should not be offered as an all inclusive resort from a Canadian travel agent.
The Good Things:
Just across the street is a good selection of restaurants and a market to wander through, or just in front of the lobby you can catch a local bus for 9 pesos and go to nearby Zihua, which we often did.
Wonderful staff! Without them this place would be like a concrete institution. Maid left some of the most creative towel art we have seen and the room was always well done. The front desk staff are also friendly and helpful. Bartenders are overworked and showed favoritism to repeat guests, to be expected, but very personable. Wait staff in the buffet were all outstanding and deserved all tips.
Mature grounds were small but well kept. Lots of birds to view.
Shower and Room A/C.
Great water pressure with lots of hot water. No leaks on the floor as it had an 8” curb. Air conditioning worked very well. Great view from 6th floor.
Food. It’s o.k.
We ate out a fair bit. We did have two great meals from the evening buffet, good lunches off the menu at poolside place, and the one a la carte was pretty good. Buffet always lacked fresh fruit. Only had watermelon and one other fruit choice. Biggest complaint was the ever present noise while eating like you hear in a high school cafeteria but with many small children also added to the din. Small kids were serving themselves from the buffet, and that was not appreciated.
The Not So Good Things:
It’s obvious that no money for property maintenance has been allotted in quite some time. This place needs a total re-do. Fresh paint isn’t cutting it. Lipstick on a pig. There is cracked cement, moldy grout, moldy ceilings, stained boxsprings and mattresses, broken closet doors, missing light bulbs, furniture is in various states of neglect. You will not find anything but plastic tables and chairs anywhere except the one a la carte restaurant. Many chairs are broken or about to break, we saw two chairs collapse with people in them. Most of the plastic beach loungers were broken and one leg broke on mine when I sat down. I just sat crooked that day, as there were no more. The lobby does have what used to be built in white leather sofas, but now stained and ripped, it does not make a good first impression.
Basic square pool area is not very inviting, old surfaces and missing tiles that is no surprise for this type of hotel. The atmosphere around the pool was not relaxing at all. Loud. No chair side tables available at the pool or beach, very busy at all times especially Thursday- Monday. Usually it was not very clean due to the large amount of swimmers. No view of the ocean or beach from the pool deck as they have large white tents for shade blocking the spot where a nice view would be possible.
We requested a change after the first night due to the sour smell on the third floor. We have stayed in many hotels in warm climates and expect a little mustiness, but this was lingering. It also had an added view of the cafeteria. “King” bed was very small. My husband is only 5’ 11” and his feet hung off the end of the bed. Sheets were so thin we could see the plastic mattress pad right through it. We ended up in a room with two double beds and a nice view from 6th floor in the other building. Elevators worked very well.
This was a disappointment. Ringed with high rise resorts and crowded. It is o.k to walk, about 4km. if you want to dodge vendors. Too rough to swim or snorkel, the black flag never changed, although we did see other colours in front of other resorts. A total of just 14 shade palapas were available for the entire hotel. They were huddled close together in one small area by the massage hut. Again, most beach chairs were broken or about to break. Sand was not always cleaned of cups and butts from the day before. The only other area with shade was a row of tents that would hold maybe 20 -24 people side by side.
Advertised as having 5 bars. Only one bar at any time is open. It is either the pool during the day, or lobby at night. When a show is on in the cafeteria they open that bar and have table service. No where quiet and relaxing. A sports bar is advertised by Air Canada, and would be a good place, but it is not included by the hotel so you may as well cross the street for better options. There is often a line at the bar so they have a sign of a two drink limit. Standing in line at the pool bar was extra frustrating as the area was invaded by wasps attracted to the sticky sweet drinks. Anywhere dirty cups lay, you would encounter wasps, but the nest must have been at the bar area.
There are many repeat guests to this hotel who I assume paid a lot less than we did and know what to expect. In closing, I would like to show the Air Canada description from their website (my comments- added) so hotel management will realize why expectations are not being met.
Meal plan type: All-inclusive
• Breakfast daily (buffet)-yes
• Lunch daily (buffet, à la carte)-yes by the pool
• Dinner daily (buffet, à la carte)- only one a la carte per week for dinner included
• Snacks- only an hour before lunch, burgers at poolside.
• All rooms have television- yes
• All rooms have telephone- yes
• All rooms have television (cable/satellite) – not sure
• All rooms have air conditioning- yes
• All rooms have refrigerator – no rooms have this as we were told by two staff.
• All rooms have non-smoking-not by the smell
• All rooms have safe (in room)- no rooms have this! Safe is at lobby desk only.
• All rooms have fireplace (working)- no rooms have this – unless they mean the hole in the wall with a light bulb in it.
• 2 buffets- only one buffet with two sides when it was busy
• À la carte restaurant- only once per week and only open 3 days a week to book.
• Lobby bar- evening only
• Sport bar – not included
• Cafe del Mar- never open
• Miramar – pool bar
• Real Palapa- table service during buffet or show
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- Also Known As:
- Resort Fontan Ixtapa
- Fontan Ixtapa Beach Resort