Trip Report March 26-April 10 - Barcelo, Presidente and Hotel Las Palmas


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Escrito por A Couple of Canucks desde 68.148.218.239 (?) el día martes, 13 de abril, 2004 a las 02:00:07 horas :

We just returned from two weeks in Ixtapa. We note that accomodation preference is subjective. Factors influencing our vacation: no kids with us, not too picky eaters and value new experiences.

This report is the hotel report:

Week One: BARCELO


Room: Room 804. Lovely corner room with no balcony with ocean view. Large room, plenty of storage, in room safe. Bathrooms need work. Bed is very comfortable. No bugs. Air conditioning is weak on this floor. Hotel is functional and not that appealing; staff make the difference here.

Amenities: One pool (quite dirty), not enough beach or pool chairs (you need to be up at 7 to secure - we were not), constant activities (and constant public address system), children's activities, you can use timeshare pool and chairs next door.

Food: Other reports are accurate. Breakfast and lunch are above average. Buffet suppers are average. We ordered off the menu and had room service in the evening - this was above average food. Drinks were fine and plentliful - you need to get your own if you are a hard core drinker.

Clientele: Caters to family (nationals and non-nationals). Cost is prohibitive to many but a good option for those journeying here for the first time.

Staff and management: Excellent.

Recommendation: You never want for anything here. That being said, nothing (other than the hospitality) is really that outstanding.

Week Two: PRESIDENTE

Room: Room 3108. Stark white room with balcony on third floor of non-highrise. Balcony overlooking "quiet pool" with a tiny view of the ocean. Noise from ocean blocks out all evening sound if door is open. Air conditioning is really good. Nighttime disco noise thumps until three a.m. - impossible to ignore. Noise from pool during daytime makes catnaps impossible. Room felt safe and secure. There is no safe. Bed is comfortable. Some bugs in room. Hotel itself is beautiful and grounds are nice.

Amenities: Two pools with bridges and water channels joining, some activities. Pool and beach chairs claimed early and in short supply. Good locat1on between two bank machines. Security staff exceedingly vigilant while we were there.

Food: Terrible, with line-ups. We ordered room service ($2.50 U.S. per visit, after three awful meals in restaurants on-site). I got food poisoning while at this hotel (although not necessarily from this hotel, as I ate at Carlos and Charlies as well in this three day period) and had to receive medical attention in our room ($75.00 U.S.). Required three prescr1ptions (and one late night visit to a pharmacy and a day trip to get a 'controlled' pharmaceutical. We did not drink in this hotel so I cannot comment on the beverages. I can state that the room service option would provide fast, efficient and plentiful drinks for the day.

Clientele: While we were there, the clientele was almost exclusively Mexican families.

Staff and management: Less able to be welcoming than the Barcelo (as no staff member nor either of us was proficient in each other's languages), less English spoken here, very security conscious and efficent during the health scare.

Recommendation: Would not go all-inclusive here and would not be a choice high on our list in any event, again.


Week two: HOTEL LAS PALMAS

Room: Room 3. Main floor room, ocean view, exceptional air conditioning, well-appointed and elegant facilities, great bed, no bugs, open air shower, plenty of storage space, comfortable bed, really clean and luxurious (for less than the Barcelo and the Presidente). I also viewed a top floor open air room. It was, simply, breathtaking. Beautifully appointed, elegant and romantic - this is the stuff for honeymoons and memories!

Amenities: Lovely grounds on Playa Blanca - an empty beach - even during the national holiday! Pool was clean and inviting and there was never anyone in it or beside it! The pool view allows you to swim ocean side and view the pounding surf. Towels and chairs for every guest (there are only six rooms here - 12 guests). The architect is the same man who did The House that Sings, and it is visually stunning. The bar and restaurant are open aired and provide beautiful views of the ocean as well. A lovely book library, no television and no telephones insure that you have a really restful holiday. We have never had such a relaxing vacation as when we got here.

Food: You have free reign here. They will even cook what you catch or buy. We ate well for relatively cheap. The food was not elaborate (no one would claim to know fusion there). The ingredients were fresh and the preparation was very good. It was very good fare with some great attention to preparation. I would say that it is great regular food. My husband would say that it is great because it is traditional Mexican or American food with an eye for detail and excellence. The drinks were ample and well-prepared.

Clientele: Entirely American and Canadian when we were there.

Staff and management: The management has a policy of no individual tipping until the end of your stay. This is my husband's one sore point with our tab. We tipped on the hotel fee and service fee and were not advised of the difference or that most people tipped only on service. The result was a couple hundred US dollars between what we paid and what my husband thinks we should have paid.

The staff is lovely and were friendly when we butchered their language. They did not speak ours and most of our communication took place through the manager, Doug. We were not completely comfortable with this, for no reason other than our own wish to interact with those who provided services for and kindnesses to us.

The women and men who work at the hotel are exceptionally hard working and kind. We would like to reward them personally for their services.

Doug, the manager, was really good to us. We enjoyed his boisterous and involved presence at the hotel. If we had been in a privacy minded or quiet frame of mind we may have responded differently to his active participation in all matters of the hotel. Sometimes the anonymity of a big hotel is quite welcoming. This was not an issue for us here.

Recommendation: For peace and tranquility and for a sense of real luxury, the Hotel Las Palmas was the best possible choice for us. The food and drink was really good. The solitude and vistas were beyond compare. For those travelling with children or wanting not to know their neighbors on vacation, this is not the place for you. The rate was affordable and the experience was unforgettable. My only point of concern would be the potential limitations on the experience by virtue of the distancing of the Hotel from interaction with Mexican people (staff and clientele) by virtue of the tipping policies and management (perhaps advertising?) strategies.

Honeymooners may want to consider renting the entire facility - it would be ideal for a romantic beach wedding. We thought it would be great for our family reunion (if we all saved up).





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