We were at the IB* Cozumel from 12/24-1/2, over both holidays. While the resort became more crowded over time, we still had a great stay—it never seemed full. Many of the previous posts hold true (coral on the beach, etc) so for utility sakes, I will try to compare this to previous trips to IB* PDC (Paraiso Maya and Lindo). I had a great time and highly recommend this resort. We were a group of 10 in all, with 6 rooms staggered over 2 weeks. A great time was had by most….can't please them all.
Food: For 9 days, you can only reserve 3 specialty restaurants in advance. However, you can make as many day-of reservations as are available. Here's the catch: while each of the specialty restaurants has two seatings, with two staggered reservations, each table is used only once, so they accommodate about 20 tables per evening (depending on party size, of course). This means there are very limited reservations. This seems to be the capacity that they can handle, so I think they know their limits and play to them. "American" was mediocre with slow service, Steak was very good, and Mexican was very good (but slow service). The buffet was good—comparable to PDC IB* resorts. One snag—we ordered a birthday cake. It turned out they took one of the chocolate cakes that is usually served for dinner and wrote 'Happy Birthday' on it…and charged us $30. Not what we expected.
Rooms: Each building has 4 or 8 rooms. Some have adjoining rooms. The rooms are small compared to the other IB* resorts—more like a traditional hotel or motel with respect to size. There are only 6 "cubbies" for clothes, no dressers. I cannot imagine staying there with more than 2 or 3 people for more than 4 or 5 days. The bathroom is fine. One problem is that the a/c doesn’t really condition the air, so it is a moist cool climate…paper wilts, clothes smell a bit. We had trouble with a non-smoking room that had been previously occupied by smokers. I became hoarse after 2 or 3 minutes in the room. Not sure how this happens without the hotel doing a more thorough cleaning (it was in the ventilation and even a new filter and febreeze couldn't solve the problem). It was then a struggle to keep the group together as we had to change this room to keep the surgeon general happy. The rooms were kept meticulously and the staff was very responsive. Towel art every day, well-stocked fridge. One warning—there is only one extra outlet. If you need to plug in more than one item, then you have to unplug the TV or clock….or bring a power strip????
Beach: Nice sand but as others have said, the coral precludes easy entry—the dock helps, but it seems that the resort might be able to figure a way to improve entry into the Caribbean.
Pool: One pool, where the usual early-morning towel-on-the-chair antics rule. The problem is smokers. It was SO annoying (to me and those in our party) to be surrounded by so many smokers and have to breathe their fumes. This is the first time we have encountered this. It is strange since the majority of guests come for the SCUBA and one would think these guests would be more health-conscious and respectful. There is only one pool, divided by the swim-up bar. Like other IB*'s, the water is cool, so it is refreshing, but this leads to a lack of over-crowding. Never sure if the intentionally chill the water….
The grounds are meticulously kept, as well—as nice as the PDC resorts. The staff is responsive, helpful, and courteous. The woman serving drinks at the pool worked as hard as the groundskeepers. I don’t think we ever tipped her enough. She was extremely polite. Many of the pool chairs are broken: some have broken slats and others have dysfunctional back supports. Every few minutes, you would hear a whack and then a laugh, and see someone shaking their head as they tried to get up with a minor case of whiplash. The chair backs don't stay upright. Time to invest in a new product…. The beach chairs are fine. There is wireless and it is reliable, but costs $10/day. This can be shared on multiple computers, but not simultaneously. The 'Star Friends' do a good job and are not too intrusive. A variety of activities and sports, alike.
I'll add in some comments on the Diving. Like many IB* resorts, this one has a Dressel dive shop. I'm not sure about the link between Dressel and IB*--seems incestuous (LOL). Enough good things cannot be said about this operation. Our 11 year-old son and I took the open water dive certification course (PADI). Wow, what an accomplishment for a child. It would not have been possible, if not for the superior staff there. Patient, kind, helpful, and accommodating are words that come to mind. They know their role and do it as well as humanly possible. I HIGHLY recommend this for someone with the slightest inkling. I have snorkeled for almost 3 decades and now can’t wait to plan another trip to SCUBA. Snorkeling lets you observe the fish; SCUBA lets you interact with the underwater life.
In summary, this is a different resort from the Playa IB*'s. More laid-back, smaller, less choices, but overall, a great place to come and relax. Even the tour operator reps are lower-key than PDC. We had a fantastic time and highly recommend this resort, so long as you know the resort is really a 3.5-4 * resort with respect to the property and amenities, not a 4 or 5 star, as some reviews (and Iberostar) like to suggest. But the experience IS entirely 5 star…..
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Directly on the beach, in a rocky, coral–filled cove with unspoilt waters. A paradise for diving and snorkelling. Sub-tropical mangrove forest. Bungalows in typical local style. Second-largest reef in the World. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Cozumel Hotel Cozumel
- Cozumel Iberostar
- Iberostar Cozumel Mexico