Having first seen the Avalon Reef Club on a visit to Isla Mujeres in 1966, and then spending the day on the beach there in 2004, I was looking forward to spending a week at the facility from March 28-April 4, 2009. I tried to keep my expectations rather low since the hotel is over 40 years old and is only rated 3-3.5 stars, and it is a good thing that I did.
Let me start with the "good". The staff was exceptional-very friendly and helpful, and the food was better than I had anticipated-I found the food quite good and with enough variation to keep me happy for a week (we were on the all-inclusive plan). The exception was the specialty restaurant which was "so-so" and didn't have a couple of items on the menu.
One other great thing was the villa. We originally booked the tower but as soon as we saw the room we switched over to a villa ($350 extra for a week). The difference was "night and day". I probably wouldn't have stayed the full week in the tower since the room was claustrophobic and somewhat depressing; however, the villa, with the great view of the waves crashing on the rocks just a few feet from our balcony, was as good as it gets!
Unfortunately, the good aspects were over-shadowed by several problems, two of which were major problems, and will prevent me from going back for another visit. The main problem is that the water isn't potable-something I had never seen in a major resort (well, hadn't seen in a 4-5 star resort). If you accidentally brush your teeth using the water from the faucet you are liable to get sick. To make matters worse, they were very stingy giving out bottled water-even though we were on the all-inclusive plan.
The second major problem is the condition of the beach. One of the reasons we decided to go to the ARC was to enjoy one of the greatest beaches in the world; however, after hurricane Wilma about 80% of the original beaches were destroyed. If you have never seen the pre-Wilma beach this might not be a problem for you, but for us it was a major issue. Also, every morning the remaining beaches are covered with piles of sea weed which the hotel workers rake up to bury in a hole they dig on the beach. It's almost impossible to believe what they have to do every day just to make the beaches somewhat presentable.
There are other secondary problems mainly due to the age of the facility-we had to call maintenance a number of times for the toilet, ac, and a door knob-but that wasn't a major issue for us; and one timeshare sales person wouldn't take "no" for an answer until we got a bit hostile.
I'm glad we went to the ARC but we won't be going back--I suppose I am spoiled from having stayed at the 4-5 start resorts with great beaches, drinkable water, gigantic buffets, and refrigerators in the rooms which are filled with water, beer, cokes and snacks. If the ARC can resolve the issues mentioned above then I would give it a second chance, but I don't see that happening any time soon.
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- Also Known As:
- Avalon Reef Club Isla Mujeres Hotel Isla Mujeres
- Avalon Reef Isla Mujeres
- Avalon Club Reef
- Isla Mujeres Avalon Reef