This is for all you beach lovers looking for a treat...
Beach - nice white(ish) soft sand and an extremely wide expanse of beach which is surprisingly clean (except around the sun loungers where you'll find the odd cigarette butt etc.) The sea was a magnificent bright turquoise colour, clear (which is important if like me you like to see what you're about to step on!) and warm - like a swimming pool when the sea was calm but it was often rough with crashing waves. There is a bit of a drop off in the shallows which catches you out every now and then but once you get past this the floor drops away really gradually so you can wade out quite a long way. Nothing much to see in the water as there's no coral here (or rocks for that matter) but there are a few fish. However, if you turn right out of the hotel and walk about 5 mins you'll find a lovely rocky area which you can clamber along until it becomes impassable - I definitely recommend a walk down here.
Diving - I am a keen diver and so did a few dives with the dive centre in the report. They were fabulous and very professional with plenty of friendly staff. However, for divers with lots of experience you may find the sites around here a bit dull! Apparently the better sites are out a bit further around Cozumel. Still, we saw a few decent sized turtles, rays and lots of smaller fish but the reefs aren't that nig or nice. I also found their prices a bit steep compared to other places I have dived. I also did the snorkelling trip offered by the dive centre and it was really good. Take an underwater camera - you'll get some great shots.
Pool - big, blue and plenty of beds. HOWEVER, despite the signs everywhere saying you can't reserve sun loungers everyone still does it. I used to come down to the pool about 7am and half the beds would already have towels on them!! Good number of beds in the shade but sometimes it was actually a challenge to find one in the sun!
OK and if you are not only interested in the beach.....
Rooms - we stayed in Quetzal in block 22 which was great as it's close to the beach and pool. This does mean however that you are further from reception and main buffet but you could get breakfast at the poolside restaurant anyway so we weren't worried about that. Block 20 overlooks the beach (it's the only one that does), the blocks then go back from the beach towards reception, 21, 22, 23 etc. The only slight drawback of these blocks (20 to about 23) is that the entertainment theatre from the hotel next door is audible at night - it is extremely loud. However once you're in your room it's not too bad. If you are a light sleeper though and like to go to bed before midnight take some ear plugs!
Food - With Thomas Cook you can book the a la carte restaurants 5 times (for a 14 night stay). I thought the Italian restaurant was the best especially of you have a sweet tooth as the deserts were out of this world. The main buffet is also very good and the best all inclusive buffet I've ever seen at a hotel like this. Great variety and all the food was piping hot and looked well prepared etc.
Gym - tiny and too many mirrors for me so I went running instead. Go out of the main entrance of the hotel and turn right. There is a well lit road that runs parallel with the beach and links all the resort entrances along the beach. There are footpaths along each side and you'll pass tons of other crazy tourists out running so you'll feel safe. You can run all the way to Playa del Carmen if you're feeling fit!
Animals - this really made the resort stand out from any other I have stayed in. There are literally monkeys and little brown things, peacocks and iguanas etc running around. It's great and you can tell the animals are well looked after.
Weather - not too hot (mid-high 20s) and we had a couple of overcast days with rain. On the whole though the weather was lovely!
Hope this is helpful.
- 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