I have never written a true trip report before, but after our recent 14th visit to the El Coz I really feel I need to let everyone know how gracious and attentive their staff really is and to comment on their service.
Sunday, Oct 9: Left STL @ 6am bound to our connecting flight in DFW on AA. Flights were on time and uneventful, except that we were given Immigration cards printed in Spanish to fill out. Not being fluent in Spanish we thought this would be impossible to complete, but it turned out we knew more than we thought and the cards were filled out correctly. (English versions were handed out at Cozumel Airport along with the Customs forms).
Once at the hotel, we were graciously greeted with hugs by our friend Jose and check-in (into our usual room) was a breeze with the always smiling Nancy. Once in our room we were surprised with a “Welcome Back” plate with fruit and sweets on it as well as a complimentary refrigerator. We also couldn’t believe how many of the staff came up to us within the first hours we got there to welcome us back – and they even remembered our names.
On the Beach by 1:30pm but found it odd there were hardly any other guests on the premise nor was there a buffet set up for lunch.
Found out there was only 15% occupancy so we practically had the entire resort to ourselves and all meals (breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner) would be served by ordering off the menu. At first we thought this would be a problem, but we found we liked it better than a buffet. The food was always fresh and hot, didn’t have to stand in line, and even if what you wanted wasn’t on the menu, the kitchen staff made every effort to get it for you. Then to top it off, they were always asking if we wanted more.
Monday, Oct 10: Had a late morning breakfast and was amazed that there were still several palapas with lounge chairs/pads available at the north end of the property. (On our prior visits, if your chair was not saved in the wee hours of the morning, you would be out of luck).There were no more than 8 of us enjoying the solitude in perfect weather conditions.
Had dinner in the El Cocal Restaurant, but had trouble with the mosquitoes. We always go prepared with repellant spray, but there have been times when even that won’t keep them off of me (but I have this problem at home too). It was movie night so the projector was set up in the outdoor bar and we watched “UP” with 3 other couples. Popcorn was prepared and the staff kept our drinks coming.
Tuesday, Oct 11: Almost a repeat of Monday – took a walk up the beach, read, ate, drank and just relaxed on the beach.
Ate a delicious dinner in the La Veranda (formal dining area) and then changed into more “mosquito proof clothing” to listen to the live band in the El Cocal. There wasn’t a very large attendance (maybe 50 people), but it was still enjoyable. The staff (entertainment and waiters) were even getting involved by asking some of the guys/gals to dance with them.
Wednesday, Oct 12: Decided to take a trip downtown to shop and get a late lunch at LaVeranda. Found out that not only did the El Coz have a low occupancy; the entire island was experiencing the lack of tourists. There wasn’t even a cruise ship docked at the Pier, so the merchants were really pushing us to come into their stores. After shopping we were ready for lunch – but found out the LaVeranda is no longer in business so we went to our old standby Plaza Leeza on the town square.
Had a light dinner in the El Cocal and watched another movie “Alice in Wonderland”, but then the inclement weather came! We were under cover so watched the movie in its entirety.
Thursday, Oct 13: Very cloudy and breezy, but still sat out on the beach and relaxed.
Due to the continued bad weather all meals were then served in the LaVeranda for the rest of our stay, but the outdoor bar was still open for those of us who wanted to enjoy the open air.
Friday, Oct 14: Repeat of Thursday - another move night “Rio”
Saturday, Oct 15: Weather got worse, tried to sit out on beach but had to resort to the outside bar area. (We were determined not to be cooped up inside).
Casino Night - didn’t take part, but watched those who did. The staff did their best to keep everyone entertained.
Sunday, Oct 16: Ate our last breakfast before leaving for home for home. It was quite amusing since our waiter knew we were trying to learn more of their language, so he insisted we order in Spanish. I guess we did OK since we actually got what we ordered.
Although some of you reading this would consider this trip boring and uneventful, but after coming back home we think we will consider this trip as our most memorable one. Why? My husband and I had the chance to really get to know the “wonderful” staff that we have made friends with over our past visits. Due to the low occupancy, we were able to talk to some of the staff on a more personal level and not just as someone waiting on us. We got to know about their families, what it was like for them growing up and what their likes and dislikes were.
One staff member in particular told us about having a brother and sister living in the US and how he is trying to learn English, so we had fun exchanging Spanish/English lessons. He also told us about a book that would explain the local Mayan history/philosophy – sure enough found it on Amazon and I’m already half way through it.
We want to acknowledge (doorman) Jose and (front desk) Nancy for their smiling faces everyday in the lobby area; Fernando and Luis Angel for their personal attention during our meals and after dinner drinks; Jose the piano man who always played our requests, Jose and Naomi for their delivery of drinks on the beach (even if there were only a few of us out there); Constantino (security) who walked with us out on the pier one night to show us a swarm of barracuda and all the numerous bartenders and other wait staff whom we have not personally named.
Even though we thoroughly enjoyed the personal service on this trip, we do hope the tourist trade picks up. Hotels like the El Coz cannot run a business without guests. Regardless of what we see on TV about the violence in Mexico, this is not the case in Cozumel. In fact, we feel safer there than we would in many US cities.
Already counting the days to our next trip!
Linda & Steve