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“Had a wonderful stay and would definitely return!”

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Mia Reef Isla Mujeres
Ranked #7 of 37 Hotels in Isla Mujeres
Bay Area, CA
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Had a wonderful stay and would definitely return!”
Reviewed 5 May 2009

I will admit it, I was wary about staying here after reading some of the reviews here. But, I was very happy with week long stay on Isla Mujere's and the Avalon Reef Club. Not knowing about any type of hotel transport service, we took a ferry and a taxi to the hotel. Upon our arrival we were prompty greeted with a cold beverage. One downside I encountered was that I called the hotel a couple of days in advance to see about upgrading from a tower room to a villa. At that time, I was told to make that request upon checking in. However, once we checked in, I was told there were no more villa's available. (Odd, since we're talking about the off season and the resort was pretty empty most of the time.) But it ended up working out for the best. I was very pleased with our room and we had a lovely ocean view. I thought the room was very comfortable and I had no problems with any of the amenties (a/c, water pressure, toilet, etc were all perfect.)

We stayed a full week and had a fantastic time. The resort is beautiful and we loved the beach. Since it was off season, we were always able to get a lounge chair and umbrella. The wait staff was very helpful and accomodating.

My bf and I opted not to do the all-inclusive package, and I'm very happy with our decision. The breakfast buffet is included in your room rate, and that was "acceptable". Not fantstic at all, but hey, it was free. The lunch and dinner buffet's did not look all that wonderful. But the restaurants in town are phenominal, and I highly recommend venturing out for your meals. We had some of the most amazing food on the island!

The only downside I have about staying on the island, is that it's a bit complicated to get to Cancun for mainland activities. We booked quite a few excursions on Cancun (Xcaret, Chichen Itza, Cozumel), and using the ferry on a daily basis was kind of a pain. (Not to mention exhausting.) I definitely think we did too much on the mainland. Also, staying on the island complicated our flight back home - due to the early departure time, the ferry's weren't running, so we had to book a 2nd hotel for our last night in Mexico.

On the whole, Isla Mujere's is beautiful. I'd definitely return to the island and would stay at the Avalon Reef again. It's an excellent bargain and is a lovely resort. Please note that my bf and I are late 20's and we're not so impressed with big, fancy resorts. We're looking for comfort and convenience, and the Avalon Reef definitely exceeded our expectations.

  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank kellis155
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Minnesota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2009

Overall, a very good value for getting away to such a beautiful and relaxing spot. It has everything you *need* but don't expect any frills. If you are coming to experience the beach, water, sun, some culture, it is a great place to stay. If you are coming to be pampered and experience luxury, Cancun is a better bet.
Service: Always friendly if not extremely efficient.
Room: Spartan but completely adequate, clean, good climate control (but A/C was a little noisy); There was construction going on which could be heard throughout the daytime hours.
Location: Ideal; close to everything on island, but set aside on its own quite end. Beach was small, but nice. Great snorkeling right off pier by hotel and in King's Bath (on hotel grounds). The rest of the island is lively with many restaurants and shops but it is laid back and relaxed. You'll find any type of food you want and almost any type of restaurant/lounge to hang out in. North Beach is fabulous - best beach on the island - and a very short walk from the hotel (5 min).
Amenities: Skip the all-inclusive option; breakfast comes with your room and it is the best meal they do buffet-style. It had a good variety and was well-done. We were disappointed whenever we ate lunch or dinner at the hotel. There are so many other restaurants to try, and all within easy walking distance, so get out and soak up the island life instead.
What we liked best: relaxing environment mixed with liveliness of the rest of the island, gorgeous weather, pristine waters.
What we liked least: be very careful about ingesting any tap water, even minute amounts (teeth brushing, showering, etc). We both got 24-hour bouts of gastro-intestinal issues. Use bottled water for *everything* and make sure to bring imodium-type meds or consider being proactive by using acidophilus prior to your trip.
Good to know: 1) Bring cash, 1s and 5s mostly - lots of places did not accept credit cards; 2) Be sure to rent a golf cart for a day - great way to explore the entire island; 3) Get lots of bottled water at the grocery store downtown - best value there for necessity items; 4) Do not go to Playa Tiburon - this was recommended to us but it was filthy and my friend got very sick after eating there; 5) Cancun makes an excellent day trip via the ferry. Its markets are fun, beaches are gorgeous and it's a nice contrast to Isla Mujeres - it will make you thankful you stayed on the island instead of the commercial, highly Americanized and overpriced city.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank BDLM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MN USA
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2009

I overheard a guy attempting to sell a time share for the Avalon say, "This is a 5-star location but the hotel isn't 5-star." And that is about right. I would go back in a minute to wake up every morning to the waves crashing onto the reef below my room. The room, itself, well there were problems. I had a toilet that didn't flush but I carry a ice cream bucket that I put my toiletries into to pack and I used it to pour water into the bowl. The toilet seat didn't fit the toilet and pinched my butt more than once while I was there. 4 days into the stay they set the water flow up and th toilet started to flush all the time. That was the solution.
The bed was hard, very hard. The air conditioning worked great but the cover would pop off in the middle of the night and crash onto the floor. The lights went out on numerous occasion. The housekeeping people were very inconsistent. I got a tiny bar of soap 3 times during my stay which was 14 days. My biggest complaint was the bedding and the towels were stained. I don't know why they didn't use bleach maybe wear and tear on the fabric or maybe there is a law against it or what, but there were stains.
Yet this place is paradise with all of that.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank cubsox13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Henderson, Nevada
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 April 2009

After reading the reviews on here, we almost chose to stay at one of the Royal Resorts in Cancun instead. The location of this place ultimately convinced us to come anyways and I am extremely happy that we did. We used the transportation service from the airport to the ferry provided by the resort for $26 pp roundtrip and it worked flawlessly. I have read reviews on here that the front desk people were unfriendly and sometimes rude, their rooms weren't ready or weren't the ones they requested, etc. so I was a little apprehensive about check-in. Upon arrival, however, the front desk person was helping someone else out when another woman came from across the room and asked if she could help me. She brought me to a table and checked me in to the room I had expected, and then proceeded to provide me with maps and information to help me make the most of our trip. Meanwhile, without any request, the bartender brought over a juice cocktail for each of us as we checked in. Everyone was more than polite and friendly. Also there were reviews that stated they weren't able to get a lock for the safe. Some rooms have digital safes while others use a lock and key, so just tell them when you are checking in that you want to use it. You have to sign a paper that says you owe them $100 if you lose the key, but then they gave it to me without any issue.
Now for one of the only negatives I had while I was there. After the walk all the way down to the end of the gorgeous villas to the room I was assigned, 2016, I tried to get in and couldn't. Left my things, went back up to get the key reprogrammed, and then back and tried it again, didn't work. Went back up there again and told them, a bellman came out with me and verified it wasn't user error and then proceeded to open up room 2017. When I tried to tell him that wasn't my room, he just nodded and went in and I soon learned that the two are connected. So I was in and within 15 minutes there were 4 guys out working on the lock on the other door but were never able to fix it while I was there for the week. Wasn't a big deal to me as I could leave from either door, I just had to come in through 2017. Not a big deal. The other couple of negatives I have to throw out is one of the toilets wasn't sealed down correctly so it would rock when you sat down or got up, the water isn't drinkable out of the faucets (though we never had a problem getting bottled water), and the water pressure isn't what you are accustomed to in America. The beds were also harder than any bed I have slept on before, but I slept like a baby each night and never woke feeling sore. We are midwesterners in our mid-twenties so maybe we are just easy going but these were hardly grounds to condemn the place over. The rest of our room was spotless, it was more than enough space for the two of us, the rear looked out over the rocks and King's Bath, and out the front door you could see the calm water and Playa Norte. I had also read gripes about the air conditioning units being too loud but ours was no more than having a fan on and it was COLD! We had to turn it up or off several times because it was freezing in the room. The maid service did a great job too.
We usually left the room by around 9:30 and didn't return until around 10 at night so the room wasn't the focus of our trip. We ate the breakfast buffet at the resort a couple times which was outstanding, however it was 160 pesos or $16 US pp, which was too expensive for our tastes when together we could eat in town for under 200 pesos. We didn't eat at the resort ever for lunch or dinner, nor did we have any drinks from their bar so we can't comment on that.
The location was spectacular. The most gorgeous views and water color I have ever seen. As people have said, you can walk out in the water for 150 yards and still only be up to your abdomen. That makes it great for just going in to cool off and have a conversation, snorkeling around, just floating on an air mattress without having to worry about being able to touch. On the beach side there were virtually no waves the entire week there, even though they are crashing on the ocean side of the island. For more exciting swimming we went into Cancun one day and found a 60-yard section of beach that was open and the waves were crashing in. It was a lot of fun for an hour but I am glad that wasn't my only option all the time. The sand in Cancun wasn't any better than IM's, and from what I experienced Playa Norte's was better. The snorkeling in King's bath, around the bridge, and around the rocks just east of the bridge is phenomenal. I have never seen so many fish up close in my life! Starfish, barracuda, gar looking fish with pointed noses, and all sorts of other fish. The beaches at the resort had nice sand but not enough to let you sink into, but they had plenty of chairs. The chairs under palapas or umbrellas were most in demand, though we were still able to find some around 11:30 one morning. We only used the pool once. It is not huge but sufficient, as a pool is a pool. They have built in chairs to lay on around the edges that we found really nice. When you get hot, just jump in and then come back up to your chair. The pool bar has really limited hours 11-4, Thursday-Sunday, or something to that affect. It was never open while we were around. The nicest sand on the whole island that we found is just across the bridge on Playa Norte. We rented a mattress on a raised wooden frame that had white sheets hanging on the sides to help block the sun from Bujo's for 150 pesos from 10-5. That was one of the highlights of our trip. We relaxed under the palm trees, had a waiter that brought beer, pina coladas, nachos, etc. right to the bed.
Everything in downtown is easily accesible on foot. However if you rent a golf cart or take a cab you can travel to Garrafon which we thought was a day well spent. It opens at 10 and starts to close about 4:15 and closes by 5, which we wished hadn't come so soon. We snorkeled here too as it has a reef but the water was rough and it made it more difficult to enjoy than just floating around as we did by the resort. You can also see Tortuganja, hold the sand and nurse sharks, etc. We thought we were going to do more day trips away from the island, but other than just 1 trip into Cancun (where most hotels have about 0-15 feet of beach with red flagged water where you can't swim because of the waves crashing on the rocks they put out there to try to keep the sand from washing away-though I did hear they are going to try to rebuild the beaches in Cancun again sometime in the next couple months) we found ourselves busy enough on the island and wishing for more time on the island. After seeing the Royal's big pool and 10 feet of no-swimming beach, and paying nearly $60 for lunch in Cancun I am more than happy I made the choice to stay at the Avalon Reef.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank rusto8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Porter, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank stzoomer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
State College, PA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RNdiver05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Madison, WI
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank amott325
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

Property: 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 Luxury Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Mujeres
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — Mia Reef Isla Mujeres 4*
Number of rooms: 156
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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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