While trying to book my flight to Cozumel, I found a Continental flight from COS to IAH then on to CZM. The travel dates of 11-17 June was about $100 USD cheaper than coming back a day later. As I was completing the reservation process, CheapTickets showed what it would cost to add a room. When they showed less than $100 USD per night per room (not per person) for places like El Cozumeleno, Allegro, the Grand and maybe even the Iberostar and Melia, I quickly considered places I don’t normally go to.
I quickly went through a few reviews to see if anything stood out pro or con. Paper thin walls at Allegro nixed it. Possible yucky water at the Melia threw it out. I don’t remember my thought process on the Grand and Iberostar but I ended up choosing El Cozumeleno. It was about $30 a night more than my initially planned choice, but I considered that still inexpensive and worth the chance to be my first beach hotel stay in Cozumel. A beach must have sand that slopes into the water...not ironshore like some hotels in Cozumel.
Arrival in Cozumel is on-time and since I upgraded to first class, I was near the front of the immigration line. The guy checking forms had about a third of the folks filling in missing items....some having to step out of line to do so. That just puts me closer to the front.
I am about the third person through, I have carry-on only and have to wait a minute for the customs lady to get to the red/green button/x-ray area. Soon I am outside and walk to the street to get a taxi.
As I start the check-in process at El Coz, the bellman places my bags on a luggage cart to take to the room. I don’t particularly care for that but that must be service. Teresa takes care of me and I get a bracelet. At some point she tells me that if I lose something then they won’t let me leave. That solicits my response that she would then have to feed and take care of me. I did leave on schedule.
I asked for a room on the fifth floor of the north tower. As I approach the room, I noticed that the doors are in need of painting as was mentioned in a review. It is a minor detractor but also easy to fix. It was inconsistent with the general cleanliness/good repair of the rest of the hotel and room.
ROOM: The room was plenty large and while simple in decor, fine for my needs. There was a balcony with two chairs and a small table that yes indeed, overlooks the ocean. The bathroom was large. I used the safe daily. There was no refrigerator but I could get ice at the bar in the lobby. There was also a sofa like item and coffer table inside. The low dresser was at the back side of the sofa. There may have been another piece of furniture that was a sitting desk and the TV was on something. Not really important. The room was fine.
FOOD: I eventually find out about where most meals are served. I did not take long pants and never went to the reservations restuarant...although they would have loaned me a pair of slacks. The first morning I am at the buffet place about ten minutes early. At 7:09 AM on my watch, they were still not open so I left since I had to be at the Aldora pier at 7:30 AM. I went upstairs to get my stuff and came back down to get a banana for breakfast. Later I found out that my watch was four minutes fast. Even so, they usually did not open until about 7:05 AM. Not a biggie for most folks and I knew going in that it might be a factor for me. I only ate breakfast there once being first or second in line to get eggs and gulping the food down semi-fast. It would be nice if they opened at 7:00 AM or a few minutes early. Actually I ate breakfast twice...the second time on my departure day when I was not time constrained.
Perhaps my major complaint about the place were the birds flying around the food, plates, etc. I never watched long enough to see if they grabbed any food but they could have.
SHADE: This is important to me since I burn. Around the main pool I saw nothing to offer shade. So I only went to the pool towards sunset. The smaller pool did have about five trees. The beach had two hammock areas and nine palapas at the north end of the beach. The Melia next door in start contrast has an abundance of trees and palapas. I will post pictures of the difference soon.
BEACH: About half of the shoreline is ironshore or similar. There are lots of hard fragments (shells?) in some areas that make walking barefoot slightly uncomfortable. The northernmost beach area is the cleanest but has an ironshore/wall at the waters edge.
Overall, the beach is clearly inferior to that at the Melia next door and the Allegro and Grand to the south. The water is clear than the Melia next door and from my room I could see a slight darkening of the water in front of the Melia.
SNORKELING: I went snorkeling one day and here were perhaps 10-20 difference types of fish. I don’t know if what I saw was typical for El Coz, but if people think that is good snorkeling, go on a boat snorkel trip over a reef. That will be far superior.
NOISE: Not a factor. I could hear the evening entertainment from the open corridors but do not recall it being an issue in my room.
ENTERTAINMENT: Something every evening. I was diving during the day so don’t know if they have activities then. The only negative on the evening entertainement was the less than family portion of the Michael Jackson show. It need not be 100% realistic.
SERVICE: Very good. I don’t need much except ice for my Cokes. They have lots of 20 and 50 pesos bills which I used to break down my larger notes from the ATM. That was great. Staff was friendly and no doubt would have done more for me if I had asked...I just don’t ask for much.
CONCLUSION: The El Cozumeleno is a nice facility. The staff is very good as is the service. I see why many people return. Areas for improvement are as follows, in no particular order:
1) Do more to keep the birds away from the food
2) Add more shade on the beach
3) Add shade around the main pool
4) Paint the doors/trim in the north section
5) Start breakfast on time or a few minutes early
6) Sift the sand to remove the hard fragmentsEdited: 05 July 2010, 15:56