Trip Report Feb 11 - 25

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Escrito por justbob desde ( el día jueves, 02 de marzo, 2006 a las 17:43:35 horas :

We just returned from 2 weeks at the Krystal in Ixtapa. This was our first year using passports and it speeds up everything from airline check-in to immigration. We packed our birth certificates and driver's licenses for back-up. We got in late Saturday night (about 8 pm.) The taxi stands at the airport were still open so we bought our voucher for 290 pesos (I had some left from last year). Immigration was painless (green light again). We got to the Krystal by 8:30.
The renovations in the room included all new furniture, comfortable beds (but very heavy pillows), new bathroom faucets and a glass barrier rather than a shower curtain. There was even new furniture on the balcony. I was told at the desk that all the rooms now have a safe. It's a lot easier than running down to the front desk all the time. An earlier post warned of a washcloth shortage, so we brought our own. On most days, we got no washcloth or hand towel, but had 3 bath towels. Our washcloth was a bright orange and we returned to the room one afternoon to discover that the maid had taken it! We hid our other one after that. For first timers, the Krystal would still seem like a nice hotel, but for those of us who have been coming for years, it's not what it once was. The pool situation was nuts. People were saving chairs for the next day at 9:30 the night before. That time kept getting earlier and earlier until by Thursday, people were leaving their stuff on the chairs when they went up in the afternoon for the next day. We even saw one guy coming off the elevator with a pool chair. He had taken it to his room for the night. Finally on Sunday morning, we came down to find all the pool chairs empty and all the stuff lined up on 4 long tables. There was new signage stating that any objects placed on pool chairs before 7 am would be removed. That seemed to help but when we came down at about 6:50, all chairs had objects on them. At least the chairs emptied at the end of the day. We never sit by the pool so it wasn't a problem for us. It's a unfortunate situation. If people would get over the notion that they own a spot and just use chairs when they're at the pool, there would probably always be plenty of room for everyone. If you were willing to just plop on a plastic sitting chair (versus a lounge), there was always a spot to be had. Palapas are available by reserving one a day in advance in a line starting at 4:20 pm in the lobby bar or paying $20.00 A DAY at the front desk. They will add it to your bill. Our experience was that all the people who got in line were able to reserve a palapa for the next day. Most were purchased (about 40 of them) and the rest (14-18) were available. The rental system is a disaster. Double booking is commonplace and available palapas don't get back into the book in a timely manner after people who purchased them leave. It would be nice if they went back to having all palapas available by reserving them the day before in line. Getting in line is not an all afternoon affair. People start lining up around 3:20 but people who came in at 4:20 still were able to reserve one. I got to meet new people and it's a nice view from the lobby bar. The Amara is progressing next door. So far, one of the 3 towers is up. There is construction noise from the project but it's not overwhelming but simply becomes part of all the other background noises on the beach. When all 3 towers are up, it appears that the view from a number of the rooms at the Dorado will be a narrower angle. The Krystal will also have their viewing angle decreased. In the future the better rooms will be the higher numbered ones (ending in 20 or higher). Jorge (the guy who paints with his fingers) is still there and sets up in front of the Barcelo on most days around 9:30 am and hangs out till early afternoon however the spirit moves him (he's an artist - they don't have set hours). Paintings are about 4 by 6 and cost $20 with frame. They're very unique. As always, there are plenty of good restaurants in the area. However, most will not take credit cards. ATM's are plentiful and easy to use (English instructions) so it's not an issue. Be careful at Emilio's since they add a tip to the bill. They make good pizza and good mixed drinks. The one big surprise is that most of the restaurants don't have Corona. The other common Mexican beers are readily available. I have to agree with an earlier poster that Chili Beans (used to be JJ's) is a great little restaurant. Breakfast menu is exactly the same as Mama Norma's. Dinner is different and there are some very reasonably priced entrees. If your budget needs a break for an evening or two, Chili Beans (and Rueben's) are good choices. Chili Beans has a drink called a Kaulua Colada. We were hooked after trying one of those. We printed a recipe off the internet when we got home. We often go to Z for a few meals but we didn't do that this year because there are plenty of restaurants in Ixtapa that we like and we find that the prices in Z are the same as Ixtapa. There was a beach patrol every morning picking up trash on the beach. It always seemed to be a different group. One day it was fishermen, another day it was a group called "Green Globe". That was really nice to see. The Krystal has as interesting wrinkle in their AI package. 3 restaurants in Ixtapa (Soleido, Cafe Onyx and Tamales Any) are part of the program and 3 restaurants in Z (Tamales Any, Los Barcelos sp?) and a 3rd one I forget. AI is around $50 a day per person. The Royal Holiday guys were especially annoying this year leaping from their vans at people on numerous occasions but always on weekends. They're the reason we will never eat at the Onyx. They're at the front trying to herd people in, so I wouldn't be surprised to get a sales presentation during dinner. All in all, we had a great 2 weeks despite the new problems at the Krystal. There's always a place to pull up a chair on the beach or by the pool if you're willing to be flexible on locat1on. I'd like to see an end to the $20 a day palapas. The hotel is generating a lot of ill will for a very small amount of additional income. They have the room around the pool to add a few dozen long chairs if they would be willing to buy them. I know I got a little long but I hoped to answer some of the questions I've seen appear on the board since our visit last year. We're looking forward to next year and have not given up on the Krystal but right now I'd have to say we're moving in that direction.

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