My husband and I just returned from a really nice, relaxing trip to Cozumel. I want to preface this review by saying that #1 I've NEVER been to an all-inclusive resort before, #2 I had never been to Mexico before and #3 I'm not a super picky person. We knew that staying at El Coz was going to be an affordable vacation and I had read dozens of reviews before-hand, so I knew what to expect.
We stayed in room 1311 which had a breathtaking view of both the "fun pool" and the sea. Honestly, the view and the balcony were so good, it might have been the most memorable part of the trip. In past reviews, I had read that you needed a room 4th floor or higher. This is only really true if you're staying closer to the ends of the South Tower. Room 1311 is smack in the middle, by the elevators. Perfect view.
BIG! Much bigger than I expected and very, very clean. A/C was cold and quiet. The shower was big enough for two. The bathroom had a separate vanity and there was a nice, but small, wall safe. Flat screen TV with about 100 channels, most of them in Spanish. There was one channel, AXN (I think) that played your typical night-time dramas in English. The king-sized bed was covered with a very thick egg-crate (which we didn't have to request and it made the bed quite comfortable.) The pillows were HORRIBLE. Bring your own! We could hear the pool/bar area until about 10pm and could occasionally hear noises in the hall. Never heard our next door neighbors though. Tile floors and the housekeepers replenished our water daily. (We tipped VERY well ($5 a day) and we're oftentimes gifted with little towel animals, toilet paper flowers and extra towels.) The balcony was awesome.
We spent the majority of our time in the pool with the "swim up bar". I say that in quotes because it was really more of a walk up bar as the water gets really shallow by the bar area. We really didn't like this and felt that it could have been designed way better. That being said, the service around the bar is AMAZING, so we never really felt like we needed to go to the bar anyway. Again, we tipped about $1 a drink and got lots of attention. The pools aren't really connected and it's actually kind of difficult to get from one to another. It didn't really matter though, they were all wet and fun. The "activities" pool was deeper and another place we spent most of our time. I had a great time doing the water aerobics and the pool trivia games were pretty fun. The covered pool was pretty quiet. The "quiet side" pools were nice, especially right after doing some snorkeling or swimming in the sea. There are several showers. There's also a bar right by the quiet pool. (We had the quiet pool to ourselves most times we used it.)
The hot tubs:
One word: Ick. There are two of them. Apparently they get cleaned every two days. Neither was ever more than "warm". They were both pretty gross, but hot tubs aren't really my thing so I'm probably judging harshly.
AMAZING! The water is crystal clear and the snorkeling right off the shore is really fantastic. You can rent equipment from the dive shop up until about 6pm daily. You need to leave your ID and they only loan it out for about an hour, but they didn't seem to mind that we brought it back late. For the first few days we were there, they had some inflated water toys, hours of entertainment.
Eh? The beach is fairly nonexistent these days. Apparently they had a bad storm that took all their sand. They have sand bags all over to hold the remaining sand in place. Not great for laying out except on the man-made area with the chairs and the little huts. (BTW the chairs are NOT comfortable there, the blue ones by the pool are much better.) You need water shoes to get to the water, it's pretty rocky. The pictures on the website are old. That being said, the resort just next door has a really nice beach area. The water over there is not as awesome though, lots of reeds and really murky. I guess you give some to get some.
The resort itself:
Everyone, I repeat every staff person is helpful and friendly and awesome. The bellhops are the best. Don't ask the front desk for recommendations, ask the bellhops. The whole place is really clean and pretty. Be careful though if it rains, it gets really SLICK! Everything is tile. The elevators stopped working because of the rain one day we were there and the stairs get covered with water. I cannot say this enough, it's REALLY SLIPPERY! My husband used the gym treadmill once, pretty standard. No A/C in the gym. We only saw one "show" while we were there. We saw the band play...pretty entertaining. Every other night they played movies, some in spanish, some english. We would really have liked it if the resort had had more nightly entertainment. :-( But, we were in Cozumel...so we just went out a lot. The interior bar is in the lobby and isn't great for sitting and socializing. They didn't really have a nice bar-bar for drinking, it's all by the pool or in the lobby. The discotheque/karaoke has been CLOSED. They need to take it off the website. There is minigolf on site, but we never played. It looked fun though. The biggest complaint I had about the resort was that they had NO ATM on site. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me. They actually suggested we take a cab to the resort next door to use theirs. Cabs cost exactly $8 or $80 pesos into town. We typically gave $1 tip, never had a bad cab experience.
Seamless. Our room wasn't ready when we arrived, so we took the opportunity to explore the resort. Our bags were brought up for us and we were offered a welcome drink. Check out was easy...make sure you DO NOT LOSE the keys (real room keys), the towel cards or the safety deposit box key. They are sticklers. We had to make a call to the US from our room, it was $5 a minute...ugh, but they had a credit card reader.
Ok, so this is the one place where we were pretty disappointed. The food ranged from "just ok to really terrible." The breakfast was probably the best meal, with the omelette being the best choice. We got the to the point by the end of the week we were only eating in La Veranda for breakfast/lunch and avoiding the buffet all together. The birds are pretty bad, but not a total turnoff. Really the food was the turn off. I'm not a super picky eater, but even I had trouble with it. I will give them credit though, neither one of us ever got "sick" from eating their food. We think the issue was freshness. There was a distinct difference in the made to order food and the stuff that was obviously several days old and reheated. The hamburgers are HILARIOUS. We called them "meat pancakes". The eggs were runny. More than at least 3 times the "bread area" or the "fruit area" would be over-run by ants. We ended up eating at several restaurants in town towards the middle and end of our trip. (BTW guys need long pants for La Veranda for dinner. We never got to eat dinner in their bc my hubby forgot his pants!) We also heard that there was a change in management in the last year and that may have had something to do with the poor quality of the food. Also, it's really hard to complain because the service was so awesome. The one day we did complain, Arturo the dinner buffet manager, came over and brought us ice cream. It was a nice gesture.
I'll do separate reviews for the restaurants we ate at in town, but just a quick mention: both Abuelo Gerardo & Fogo de Brasil were AWESOME.
I'll review the excursions separately, but just to note we took the Fury Snorkel tour. It was pretty fantastic...we booked from the hotel lobby and the boat picked us up from the pier on the El Coz beach and then brought us right back. Probably the best part of the trip was having the boat practically to ourselves!!
Overall, El Coz was a great place. It lost significant "points" because of the food, the pillows and the lack of ATM. The only real deterrent for going back would be the food. But, the location is awesome, the snorkeling and clear blue water are amazing and the pools are great. I also cannot say enough about the staff and the service. Feel free to ask me any more questions and I'll try to remember to link this to the other reviews I do (restaurants, excursions and in-town.)
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- Also Known As:
- El Cozumeleno Beach Hotel Cozumel
- El Cozumeleno Beach Cozumel
- El Cozumeleno Cozumel