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Iberostar Quetzal Playacar
Ranked #44 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 11 April 2011


Upon checking we were instantly amazed at the beauty of the grounds.  Everywhere we turned was nature and wildlife.  The grounds are covered by Monkeys, peacocks, flamingos and many other critters

This all- inclusive is simply beautiful and the staff is so very friendly and helpful.  They try hard to provide events throughout the day to keep people entertained.  From salsa dance lessons and scuba lessons to a singing and dancing show they try.  

Now the nightly signing and dancing shows are not broadway, they are bearable.

The are however, several things which will prevent me from ever returning.

The food is simply awful. Breakfast is good as is most of items in their mexocan restaurany and that's about it.  The dinner buffet was less than poor.  The rest of the meals, boring, tasteless, overcooked and simply subpar

The drinks.  Well it IS all inclusive, so I guess they can't pour a stong drink right?  Let's just say they are weak!!

The beds. Ever sleep on. Rock? I have never been in a hotel with such horribly uncomfortable beds.  Another night and I woulda have had to find another hotel.

The pool chairs.  First off, you cannot find one after about 9am  While their are signs saying no reserving of the chairs, almost every chair is saved by a towel, a hat, shoe whatever.  Once you do score a chair you find they are the cheapest chairs you have ever seen. They are constantly falling apart and people are getting jerked back because the chairs ant stay locked into place. It becomes so frustrating it's almost unbearable.

In a nutshell:
Resort Appearance: 5 stars
Service: 5 Stars
Room Comfort: 2 Stars
Food: 1 Star
Entertainment: 3 Stars

Overall: 2 Stars.   I simply can't give a place more Stars with poor food, an uncomfortable bed and beach chairs that I can't relax in.

  • Stayed: April 2011
    • Value
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6  Thank Jimx2indc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 April 2011

Some background: My husband and I have stayed at the Iberostar Lindo, Secrets Capri, Excellence Cancun, all in Mexico, and Couples Swept Away in Jamaica, all without our kids. We've taken our kids to Walt Disney World in Florida, and Beaches Sandy Bay in Negril, Jamaica, and now here... Iberostar Quetzal. We stayed at the quetzal from Dec 13-20 with our kiddos, ages 9,7 and 2. My review will be based on this experience.

Our first priority in planning our trip (other than safety of our kids, of course) was the beach. We are beach people and did NOT want to go to mexico only to stay at a rocky, mossy beach. Now, I'm not blaming the hotel when these conditions exist, only saying that this is not what we want. I had read that the beach at the Quetzal/Tucan was phenomenal, and it WAS! No rocks, a lot of small shells, but completely walkable with bare feet. Our kids thought the sand and beach was the best part of the trip. We even spent two day from 9am-4pm at the beach without leaving! The beach at the resort is HUGE, there is a lot of area from the edge of the resort to the edge of the water. This was fantastic, as we were there at a very busy season (Christmas) and the resort was at 100% capacity. The palapas were always full by 7am... at least by towels. But we wanted to be closer to the water anyway, so the fact that the resort checks out umbrellas was perfect for us. We had booked two connecting rooms since there are 5 of us, so we got to check out 2 umbrellas for the beach. Plenty of shade, plenty of room. We had to fight for chairs though. The towel game is in full force. We went without chairs on a couple of days, laying out towels and having our daughter sleep on a towel in the sand, only to look around to hundreds of empty chairs with towelson them for hours and hours. We finally got sick of it and took chairs, leaving towels on the sand. I waited for someone to say something about this, and no one ever did. Sadly, I think people stake out their chairs, then go eat, go back to bed, whatever. This is soooo frustrating, especially when you have a two year old that you are trying to keep happy and keep out of the sun as much as possible.

Rooms: No complaints. We had two rooms that connected. I emailed the resort the week before and they said they would try to accomodate this request. They did! The rooms were perfect.

Food: always a selection that the kids liked, and we coudln't complain about. We made reservations at some of the ala cartes, and the Japanese was our favorite.... but not the kids! They liked the show, but ended up eating pasta at the buffet after we left the restaurant! We enjoyed room service a lot, because of our napping 2 year old. The Mexican tacos were AWESOME! and the kids enjoyed the pizza and chicken nuggets. The rooms were always cleaned when we were gone to the beach, and cleaned very well. The kids loved the towel animals.

Pool: COLD! We dipped our toes in and that's it! I saw a couple of kids swimming in the pool once, but they looked blue! We spent all of our time at the beach anyway, so the pool temp didn't matter to us.

Favorites: Some of the best things about staying here.... the animals! my kids (and myself) loved to see all of the monkeys, peacocks, pelicans, birds and other wildlife throught the resort. There truly is a jungle in between the restaurants and the beach, and if you choose to walk the winding path through it you will hear and see some beautiful animals!

Also, self-serve ice cream and drinks on the beach! my boys couldn't get over the fact that they could walk up whenever they wanted and get ice cream. A little boy's dream!

We walked into Playa on our second day there because a cold front hit and the water was frrrrrrreezing! It would have been a great walk if we didn't have the kiddos.... ended up carrying our 2 year old and pushing our 7 year old in the umbrella stroller! We took a cab back.... much smarter!

Please ask me any questions you want... I am sure there are thousands of details I forgot to mention! All in all, this was a pretty perfect vacation for our family. wouldn't change a thing!

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
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7  Thank Tara S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2011

Most Iberostar Resorts are the highest priced resorts in any given area. I am writing this review because I rely on this reviews when I chose a resort. This one is not worth it. First, our room which was located by the lobb,y 2029, has small ants in the bathroom. So gross. When we informed the staff they stated that the cleaning staff would scrub the bathroom from top to bottom. They were still there, especially at night. The bathrooms are pretty contemporary but the rooms are hacienda in style and small. The beds are extremely hard. My husband and I usually stay in more contemporary and upscale resorts, so we were disappointed.
The pool area and beach were PACKED. We had to fight for chairs, which is very annoying and unnecessary on vacation. There were tons of children and drunk spring breakers. I was hoping for more adults and a more respectable environment for such an "upscale" resort. The drinks were great and you didn't wait in line long.
Reserve your "specialty" restaurant ASAP because they fill up fast. They don't tell you that you can only visit the "specialty" restaurants depending on your number of days you stay. (3 days - 1 restaurant, 4-5 days -2 restaurants, 6-7 - 3 restaurants). Steak house was the best !! The buffet located by the lobby was good, especially breakfast. The Lobby at night was nice. My husband and I read our books and had numerous drinks and enjoyed the light piano or light singing. The lobby at night is great for couples and adults......great conversation, calm and relaxing.....comfortable couches.
Really loved the free roaming animals through out the resort and beautiful landscape. Peacocks, Flamingos and Iguanas.
Be aware that internet is about $14/day and only available in the Lobby which wasn't too much of a problem for us since we liked the lobby at night, but pricey, especially since it is per day.
My husband and I expected more for the price. Not horrible but not great. We usually enjoy resorts with more adults and less children. I hope this helps couples like my husband and I.
P.S. We found out when we got there that two resorts are are actually combined to make this one Iberostar Qutezal and Iberostar Tulum (each on one side of the pool) Too crowded for me and that says a lot since we are from Chicago, IL

Room Tip: not 2029
  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank travelingismylife085
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2011

We stayed at this resort for a week and we wish it could have been longer. We loved the room, food, entertainment, location, staff, pools and beaches. Everyone was so nice to us and went out of their way to make our stay the best experience possible. We would return anytime! One very different aspect was the jungle around the resort and the animals. There were monkeys, peacocks, flamingos, swans and many other creatures roaming the grounds. One of the people we went with had a planter below her room with a mother peacock nesting on her eggs. I don't usually like buffets but this one had everything you could imagine. The fresh fruits and vegetables were wonderful. the drinks were weak but you could ask for a double, this seems to be the case at most all inclusive resorts. We took a bike tour into town and many long walks on the beach. Everywhere near by and in town felt safe, it was clean and beautiful. I would return here anytime I get a chance!

Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
1  Thank nvachon1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 March 2011

We stayed at the Iberostar Quetzal from March 14-17 with our two kids ages 7 and 10 and another family with kids 6 mos and 3. A wonderful, safe and accommodating experience, with only a few quibbles.

The best parts:
- Staff. They really go all out to help with whatever they can - mattress foam, water to take with you on excursions, etc. Very helpful, very friendly and upbeat. Star Friends are not at all pushy; they seem to be able to get people dancing in the pool and on the beach without prodding anyone. Also they coordinated a kids' canoe race in the pool.
- The main pool. HUGE and clean. You can't see the whole thing from one spot, and so there can be a canoe race going on in one part and free swim in the rest. Chairs or palapas were terrific.
- The beach. Lots of chairs and palapas, framed by an ocean of the most amazing turquoise, blue and green.
- Snorkeling. 15-minute trip by boat to a sheltered inlet a bit south. Really safe for first time snorkelers like my kids. Water is 5-10 feet deep.
- The grounds. Two dozen acres of jungle filled with wildlife and trails lit throughout at night. Kids loved hunting for monkeys and agoudes (giant squirrels without tails). Peacocks everywhere. Also the hotel's walkways with blue and green pillars are beautiful.
- Food. I actually thought the food was quite good at the buffet. Yes, it's largely the same fare every day. But it's fresh and safe; the variety of fruit, meat, bread and desserts was pretty impressive. And one of the days we were there they served a massive seafood paella on the beach that you could smell everywhere. (See specialty restaurants below for other detail).
- Spa. The little girls with us had beautiful braids done quickly and not expensively. My daughter had nine braids across the top of her head (with flower beads) for about $25.

The not-best parts:
- The ride there from the Cancun airport. Yes, it's included, but do not assume as I did that it's a direct transfer. The hotel shares Lomas Travel services with other resorts that are closer to the airport. So they will wait to fill up a bus to Playa del Carmen, then drop everyone else off first because Quetzal and Tucan (same resort) are on the far side of PDC. Our trip to Iberostar took 90 minutes. If you want to save the time, try booking a private direct transfer.
- Towels. When you check in you get white plastic cards that you exchange for pool towels. When you're done with the towels, you turn them in for your cards. Lose a towel or a card? $10 USD.
- Cocktails at the pool. Kids lovedlovedloved bellying up to the bar by themselves to get virgin pina coladas and the like. But cocktails with alcohol were supersweet and didn't offer much of a buzz.
- Specialty restaurants. Call before you get there to make reservations. At arrival, the only time we could get reservations was at 9 p.m., not good for the kids. Later, a spot opened at 6:30 at the Italian restaurant. It was only so-so; I preferred the buffet, believe it or not.

Overall though, I would absolutely recommend this resort for families. It was just delightful.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank LaurieGreatFalls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2011

My wife and I were at the Iberostar Quetzal from March 3-10 and we had a very enjoyable week. It was our second time at the resort - the first time was at the Tucan when we booked with Apple Vacation and this time we stayed at the Quetzal because we booked through Fun Jet. A list of the things we really liked included:
the beautiful grounds
the cleanliness of the resort
the friendly helpful staff
the rooms were nice - water and the mini bars were refilled daily. plenty of bottled water
the pool water temperature was very nice - no big shock factor when you jumped in
you could get beach umbrellas for the day to use in the open area on their beautiful massive beach area
you could use flotation toys, rings, and chairs in the pool
the fruity drinks were good, if you wanted stronger drinks all you had to do was ask
we got a good exchange rate dollars for pesos at the resort 11.1pesos per dollar compared to 10.6pesos per dollar at the exchange booths at the airport
the hamburgers and deep fried potato wedges at the beach for lunch were very good
the swim up bar in the grotto area kept little kids away from that area - always nice
the Chinese, steak and mediterranean restaurants were very good
we could book all our reservations at one time rather than one a day
a lot of chairs around the pool and at the beach
a different show every night - we were usually in bed by 9:30 pm
you could get home made omelets for breakfast every day at any restaurant

The only couple of things we felt they could improve on were:
If you wanted pancakes or French toast at breakfast you had to eat at the restaurants by the lobby
the scrambled eggs at the beach buffet restaurants were cold, they needed a more intense heat lamp to keep them hot
there was a limited variety of items at the beach buffets for lunch

Like I said in the beginning, this was our second stay at this resort. We came back because it is a beautiful resort, with good service, nice emenities, a massive beach area, friendly guests from around the world, we got a very good price, and it was just the right size for us. We will back again. We originally were scheduled for another resort - the Fiesta Americana Condesa in Cancun (wonderful reviews). By checking FunJet.com daily, there was a big drop in price on a Tuesday morning and the deal for the Iberostar Quetzal was too good not to take.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank montazuma007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2011

A little about me, I am in my mid thirties traveling with my spouse and another couple of the same age range along with my 57 year old mother. I have travelled the world from Asia, Europe and central America, stayed in a multitude of hotels from 3 to 5 star and ultra luxury hotels. This is my third visit to the Riviera Maya area and my 7th trip to Mexico. I have stayed at Riu, Bahia Principe, Barcelo, Palladium properties and a recent stay at the Sunset Princess Hotel in 2010. I always try to budget an all inclusive getaway per year keeping in mind my max is 1200$ per person.

I would also like to remind reviewers that hotel ratings vary from country to country, from vacation providers and such. For example the European rating system only takes into account amenities offered on the resort whether there’s a mini bar, pool, spa etc determines the start level nothing else. Vacation providers use a similar rating system, taking in to account customer experience and profitability (they appear to favor hotels that give them a kick back). Furthermore big hotel chains such as Riu’s, Iberostar’s and Bahia Principe’s etc. offer different 5 star options at different price points remember the higher price points such as the Grand Hotels (Iberostar) Palace (Riu) etc. will give you newer hotel with more elaborate amenities and options.

Our research included all the big chains, Princess which were all in the same price range. We also took into account the location to Playa and narrowed it down to Iberostar Tucan/Quetzal, Riu Yucatan, Riu Tequila, Barcelo Maya, and The Gran Sunset Princess. We wanted to try something new so the Princess was out of the question. Upon reading reviews both the Riu Tequila and Iberostar scored high and after hearing that the Riu Tequila was not on the beach we went for the Iberostar and didn’t regret our choice one bit.

Location 5/5: 30 min. safe jaunt to town, 5 min. by taxi. One of the last resorts on the strip. Keep in mind that your likely to be the last one off the bus if your taking the hotel transfer from the airport provided by the vacation operator. In hind sight I would have paid and booked a private transfer. (There’s nothing the hotel can do about this)

Beach 5/5: much better than the Bahia properties and the Grand Princess. Fine white sand lots of loungers to choose from some days were more difficult to find such as after a day of rain when the hotel was at capacity. Lots of palapas at the beach unlike the riu’s that don’t offer any. Beach umbrellas were available should you want to pull your lounger to a more quiet location or closer to the beautiful turquoise waters (I wish all resorts would offer this). All other properties on the beach did not allow patrons to pull loungers closer to the water. Ocean AMAZING blue, turquoise, aqua green need I say more. We had two red flag days which would stir up the sand, on calm days the water was clear. Not much to offer for snorkeling.

Grounds 5/5: As others have mentioned there’s a jungle filled with wildlife in the middle of the resort . Note: Rooms located closure to the mid hotel area will be awaken by wildlife specifically those pesky peacocks who moan and screech in the early morning.Which makes for a great walk to the beach or to the buffet. Beautiful lush mature vegetation which you don’t find at newer hotels in the area.

Pools 3/5: There’s 4 pools on the resort one rectangular one on the Quetzal side which is used for sports activities such as water polo, basket ball etc. The main pool is huge and offers some lounger’s in the shade, sun and 4-5 big beds under a hut good luck getting a hold of one they are reserved in the early morning and impossible to get. Loungers are sometimes hard to get during busy times of the day it wasn’t a prob for us as we are beach people. The main pool is quite deep which has some advantages (keeps drunks and kids out) however may be too deep for some. Some complained about the pool temperature in other reviews however we found it comfortable. There’s is no swim up bar at the main pool again it has some advantages but can be annoying as the adult pool which is small is full of drunkards and has the only bar on that side of the pool. There is also a small kids pool on the Tucan side close to the main pool and kids club. Unfortunately all pools are showing their age and could use and update, tiles and all. Compared to other hotels the pools just didn’t cut it.

Bars: 4/5: The annoying thing was top shelf alcohol is not available at the beach or pool. Nor was it provided when you order your drinks from the waiters. Every time I ordered a Gin/Tonic with Beefeater or Tangeray or Gibson they would come back with the local Gin which would be fine if the local gin was drinkable but it wasn’t it tasted like bubble gum. So if you want top shelf order it at the bar. I find this a little sneaky. But not a deal breaker as many hotels have this type of policy. Other wise drinks were readily available service was great and they had tones of options as all other allinclusives drinks are week order doubles. In room mini bar was fill ed every day unlike advertised which is a plus, we did tip everyday.

Rooms 4/5: Showing there age, beds are hard we ordered the available mattress pad which resolved that problem. No bathtubs, shower only, and one sink. No flat screen though I hear some rooms were being changed. Overall no big deal it was impeccably clean and provided the amenities as advertised. High Def TV with ample english choices and on demand pay per view channels available. Could use an update isn’t as nice as the newer hotels but met my needs.

Entertainment 5/5: Star friends are everywhere not overbearing but help make the experience more enjoyable when you want to take advantage of the activities. Great staff good experience. Nightly shows are better than the average with live music every night. Patrons at the hotel was a good mix of European and North American which made for a good range of people which I find entertaining in itself. The disco was always happening unlike other resorts I have been too. Overall entertainment above par than others.

Food 4/5: Standard run of the mill resort hotel food with better choices than some never left hungry however sometimes a little underwhelmed

Spa 4/5: though I didn’t try any of their services two in our party did. They both had a exfoliation rub and a chocolate wrap for about 130$ per person which lasted a little under two hours. They were both very satisfied with their purchase thought the price was just about the same as at home which I find expensive for Mexico.

Service 6/5: The strong point of this hotel Exceptional attentive staff from all points. Buffet service was excellent. Maid service excellent. Beach/Pool service excellent. Theater and Lobby bar service excellent. Service with a smile at all times. Waiters always talked and joked with patrons. A++ a lot of the newer hotels can learn from this hotel

Overall I would highly recommend this hotel, though it does show it’s age location, service and experience blows other competitors out of the park. The hotel would be an exceptional 5 star hotel should they update the main lobbies, restaurants, rooms and pools however that would mean it would not be offered at this price point so I am fine the way it is. I will be a return customer some day.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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3  Thank CanSunSeeker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Iberostar Quetzal Playacar

Address: Av Xaman-Ha. Lote hotelero No. 2, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#15 Green Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#24 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#31 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#33 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: £139 - £380 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Iberostar Quetzal Playacar 3.5*
Number of rooms: 350
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Privileged situation directly on the beach of Playacar, around 3 km from the town of Playa del Carmen. A watersports and diving paradise. Sub- tropical mangrove swamp. Great gastronomical variety. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Iberostar Quetzal Playacar Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Iberostar Hotel Quetzal Playacar
Iberostar Quetzal Playa Del Carmen
Iberostar Quetzal Playacar Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen

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