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“Unfortunately, beach has been decimated and resort needs improvements”

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Mia Reef Isla Mujeres
Ranked #7 of 37 Hotels in Isla Mujeres
Reviewed 7 April 2009

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.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled on business
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1  Thank stzoomer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,525 - 1,531 of 2,221 reviews

Reviewed 3 April 2009

This hotel has a wonderful location with access to great snorkeling and SCUBA diving. We had an exciting drift dive in "The Chain" - saw lots of large Queen Angelfish, French Angelfish, baracudas, sea turtles, etc. We had the all-inclusive plan and the buffet food was good. One night we booked at the hotel's Mi Casa Su Casa restaurant for a wonderful dinner. The hotel staff provide good service, but some of them were a little slow on the execution. The rooms are small but adequate if you are just using the rooms to "crash" after a day of water sports. We had a great view of the windward side of the island right outside our window. Be prepared for the sales pitch, as this is a private time share club. If you attend this 1 1/2 - 2 hour presentation, you are rewarded with a discount on messages or golf carts. We opted for the massages, which were timed right for sore muscles after two days of physical activity.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank RNdiver05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2009

Although service could be a bit slow at times and the bed was rock hard, you quickly forget those issues when you step outside to find two quiet beaches and a pool with plenty of available chairs, tropical fish right at your feet and stunning views. The ocean-front hammocks and King's bath were great spots as well. We opted for breakfast only at the resort, which was perfect. The buffet included an assortment of beverages, made to order items, lots of fresh fruit and typical mexican breakfast dishes. Drinks at the bar were very reasonable so we didn't have a problem paying for them individually. Because it was such a short walk to town, we ate most of our other meals at the many affordable local restaurants. We found great seafood, tacos and plenty of cerveza for 15-30 pesos around every corner. A trip around the island on a golf cart (courtesy of the time share sales people) was definitely a highlight of the trip as was the zip line over the ocean just opposite the beaches of cancun.

For travelers who want the scenery and sun of Mexico with a laid back attitude and cheap pricetag, this was a great spot.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank amott325
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2009

The property is beautiful and water is all around you as it sits on the extreme north end of the island. We were all inclusive and the food was outstanding but the rooms were the worst I have ever had in Mexico. Small and clinical, no air conditioning and our toilet seat fell off. I almost cried. We finally got moved to the villas about half way into the week and they are much nicer! Spring for the extra $50.00 per night!

Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
1  Thank jayminnesota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2009

Avalon has a location that cannot be beat. It is amazing. You have water all around you and are removed from everything. However, you can get into town super-easy. The hotel is old, and the rooms are small. We stayed there the first night. We moved over to the villas for a $50/night upcharge and it was worth it. The villas have balconies and mini-kitchens. Everyone we met on the staff was very, very nice and went out of their way to make us feel welcome and solve any problems we had. Our spanish is not good. The "isla" requires a bit better spanish than Playa Del Carmen, or Cozumel. But, we never felt like we were being stupid. The food was ordinary. It was cooked well and flavorful, but pretty redundant day to day. The drinks were fine...not lite. Any issue we had - remote, safe, whatever, was fixed immediately.

We will go back....soon, I hope!

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank twilbour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2009

My husband and I stayed for a week with an all inclusive package. We food the food at the buffet to be very tasty but we did go out downtown Isla Mujeres a couple of times for dinner. Very lively and plenty to see. The rooms are indeed very small but clean. The beds are hard but it did not bother us. Unless you are a "member" you would definately get a better room. We had no problem with the service, we never waited for our food or drinks. What we really missed from this experience at Isal Mujeres is that we had no beach to walk on, and I do say no beach. You can walk far into the water and only have water up to your knees. That was a plus side for the beach. Unfortunately, it was a very windy week coming from the north but the sun was there every day. Did some snorkling at King's bath and to our suprise walking there found a guy fishing in the bath. I was not very happy and he eventually left. The pool is in a very bad location, it should have out in the sun not hidden between 2 buildings. Not very well thought through!!! The transporation between airport and hotel went well both ways. It was a great relaxing trip but we would not go back.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jean D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2009

I was terrified coming in based on some reviews, so I'll just state facts and you draw your own conclusion: (1) Great location--the beach, water and snorkeling are fantastic; particularly if you have young kids. Lots of clear, calm, shallow water; (2) rooms in tower are small and basic. Ours had been recently updated with fresh paint, better mattresses and a new A/C unit (which didn't work great and was very loud, so we didn't sleep well); (3) food is average at best; drinks were fine; (4) staff was reasonably friendly, but most didn't speak English well; (5) no hotel-wide water purification, so 3 out of 4 of my family got sick; (6) RIDICULOUSLY LOUD remodeling noise in rooms ALL DAY! In short, I'd say this place is fine if you understand that it's not The Ritz. If you are looking for a beautiful beach, have a sturdy traveler's stomach, and don't plan on spending much time in the room, this is a good pick. If you're looking for luxuries off the beach, this isn't a great pick.

  • Stayed: March 2009, travelled with family
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2  Thank RSPG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mia Reef Isla Mujeres

Address: Calle Zazil Ha s/n Int 7 | Islote Yunque, Isla Mujeres 77400, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Isla Mujeres
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#4 Spa Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#5 Luxury Hotel in Isla Mujeres
Price Range: £121 - £330 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Mia Reef Isla Mujeres 4*
Number of rooms: 156
Reservation Options:
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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

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