Posted by luv2travel on January 15, 2001 at 12:07:06:
Here's part 2 as promised. The Melia is all-inclusive and therefore all food is included, but don't feel as if you cannot leave the hotel to eat, in fact I encourage it. The breakfast buffet was very good, fruit, chilaquiles, and a mix of American and mexican foods (by the way people wear their swimsuits with shorts and/or a T-shirt to breakfast) . Lunch was either a buffet or at the snack bar by the pool. The buffett was OK, and the taco's at the snack bar were ok as well, more like the tex-mex taquito. Staying on site for brunch is fine, the chips and salsa are wonderful. We even ordered a hamburger from room service one day after coming back from snorkeling, since we were starving, and it was surprisingly good. I think they do a good job for kids, who really just want a hamburger ot hot dog. But, for dinner I would without hesitation leave the property. There is usually a themed buffet, and there are 2 restaurants which require reservations. The reservation 'process' is complex and very strictly followed. Between noon and 1pm you have to wait in a very slow moving line in front of one of the 2 restaurants (Costa Azul) to make your reservations for both of the restaurants, but only for the next couple of days. They don't take reservations over the phone and only after check-in and receiving cards for each member of your party for both of the restaurants. They make it seem very exclusive, but I thought that the people who are taking the reservations are probably doing other jobs the rest of the day and they don't have people dedicated for this purpose. And you still may not get the reservation date and time that you had hoped for 40 minutes ago when you got in line. Restaurant 1: Costa Azul, great service, decent food, nothing to write home about, but my friend enjoyed the food there and it had a good atmosphere and was air-conditioned. Restaurant 2: Oyster Bar, the setting is beautiful, along a boardwalk right on the water, but the food was awful, adn mosquitos were plentiful right after sunset for about an hour then they went away. The Lobby bar is a great place to hang out at sunset and have a drink and wath the view (with some of the aforementioned Chips and Salsa).
I think the Melia is a great hotel for families with kids. Free drinks anytime is a definate + with children, and they have a fun kids pool and also a kids program. Parents I talked to really liked it for a family vacation. There is enough to keep the kids occupied and beautiful and fun for adults as well.
So, all in all I'd give the Melia Azul a B+ taking away points for the lousy food and for the distance away from everything. Although taxi's were easy, we paid 60 pesos for an air-conditioned ride into Ixtapa (the concierge told us to pay only 40 pesos for a non air-conditioned ride), and 90 pesos to Zihuat.
We ate at the Lobster House (recommended by our Vipsa rep) and the Lobster was very good, but I think you could find a better restaurant by using this board as a reference. We did also eat at a eonderful restaurant Villa de la Selva. Up on a cliff near the Contramar Las Brisas (the Westin pulled out the Contramar hotels took over this property, we heard). The restaurant hangs off of the cliffs and is stepped down with several tables on each level, so all can get a great ocean view. Especially spectacular at sunset. Try a Mango sunrise (a tequila sunrise with mango juice). Service is excellent, the wait staff learns and calls you by name, the food was very good, I tried what our waiter recommended. A really great place. The beat eats of out whole trip. We also, went on a snorkel and sailing trip to Playa Manzanillo, the snorkeling here is good, not world class by any means, but it was fun to just get in the water and swim around. All in all a very, very fun trip that we would do again.
We also went to the craft market in Zihuat. Several blocks long and cheaper than the market in Ixtapa, we heard. Most stalls have the same sort of stuff and if you don't like the price, move on, because you will find it elsewhere. There is a staff selling really beautiful water colors. Only stall I saw with these and I thought they were a real find. The people are great and friendly and all stall have stuff for "almost free". :) Definately use pesos although they would prefer you to use Am $$. You will get a better and more fair deal.
Well, Ixtapa/Zihuat is a place I will definately return to. I have been to Cancun and I can't say I that I would necessarily go back there.
Thank you to all on this board for helping my plan and inticipate my trip.