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Reviewed 6 September 2011

this as you can work it out our third return to this hotel and on our return to england my dear wife sharon booked our return for next year. we made the trip with our good friends steve,sue and tomtom this was their first trip to this hotel and it was their choice to where we went in 2012 and they chose this hotel so it must have made the same impression on them as it has for us.
we were at first was unsure to return this year as we found out there was a big shake up and alot of the startfriends had left and they were the main reason we were returning but found out very quickly that any reservations we had were unfounded and the star friends were fantastic and made us as welcome as the past three years
now for my review

the hotel rooms
yes the beds are hard but at the end of a hard day of sunning yourself drinking wayyyyyyyyy to much what do you need to do me a could fall asleep on a log and we all did very quickly
the food
we used the al a carte resturants seven times in our stay here and here is our ratings for each
1st japanese the food and entertainment while they cooked the food was a sight to see
2nd italian the food was excelant with all the staff making your meal a night to remember
3rd steak house. this was our daughters favorite if you love steak you will love this one
4th tropical. nice fish but they do a blinding steak in here as well
5th mexican. cannot fault the food or service in any way but not one wel will use again
buffett
it is very hard trying to keep all the guests happy and you will always find someone who will complain but we always find somthing to eat and never went hungry
entertainment
some people will find this cheesy but if you look at the hard work all the entertainment staff do with the long hours they work they do a fantastic job and deserve all the applause they get keep up the great work we love you
the beach / pool
my wife has decided that this is hers and if she had her way nobody is allowed on here till our return next year if you want a decent spot yes you do have to get up early and put your towels down but i did not mind doing it at all i got to see the sun come up have a coffee and chillax before i took a coffee upstairs for the boss as to wake here without a coffee is to want a death wish
starfriends
gave 100% every day and night and made us more than welcome and a few tears were shed on our last night and we continue to keep in touch via facebook including luigi (left) a big thanks go to Michelle Paulina josh edu paul in fact everybody you are and always be my extended family and cannot wait till our return in 2012
well no doubt i have left somthing out but if you would like to drop me a email i will ansewer any questions you may have
and finally
many thanks to steve sue and tom for making our holiday such a good one roll on 2012
also alan'alan'alan'alan where are you

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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12  Thank tegula2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2011

From: August 31 to September 03 - 2011
Very good Hotel, nice and clean the checkin was fast, because we arrived at 4 pm and they give the room before the 3 pm, all the staff in the hotel was the best, they give me my room in the middle of the propierty with jungle view, is great see the wild life in your terrace, the restaurant was very well, you will have 3 restaurant with buffet, 3 pools,1 jacuzzi, the beach is ok no rocks in the water, has the seaweed all the time but not a lot every day early in the morning the staff clean that zone, ok here the things not as good, the bathroom smell like a sewer caused by a bad shower base drain, the sand beach is OK, but have a little bit dirt with cigarretes, ballons, and other stuffs, the worst of all was a stupid person in the lobby named Alejandro, He try to charge me a towel, when were they never give me a card to used when we arrived! basicly if go with babys or kids, the hotel need to give you a card-towel by person, no matter if a baby requires your card to avoid these hassles when leaving, just to close, when I leave the hotel, I hear these person said "No matter, I will repay that towel, let them go to take the towel"
Come on buddy I don´t need that towel

Room Tip: the bathroom smell like a sewer caused by a bad shower base drain, the sand beach is OK, but have a little bit dirt with cigarretes, ballons
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank Hector C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 August 2011

We have just returned from 2 weeks with our 2 sons (aged 19 and 16). We cannot fault the stay - staff, accomodation, food, service, entertainment (daytime and evening). It all exceeded our expectations. The hotel in informal set in semi-jungle surroundings and is very open plan so if you don't like animal life and all that entails (noises at all times of day but not all day, the occasional food thieves but not irritatingly so and visitors to your balacony that sometimes make you jump but also make you laugh) this may not be the place for you. BUT WE LOVED IT and have many great photos. The staff were so helpful, friendly and good fun and do not expect tips (although they deserve them). Loads for active teenage lads to do and occasionally for their less active parents to join in with! We would definitely recommend and plan to return there again. Take Pesos not Dollars - although many deal in Dollars they all deal in Pesos and the hotel will not change Dollar travellers cheques and it is a pain to do into Playa del Carmen for the bank. Word of warning about Playa del Carmen - 5th Avenue sellers are a pain pestering for business and use many con tactics to get you into their shops. You need to be very strong and ignore which becomes quite waring and intimidating (and I'm a tough cookie!). Barter for best prices as they do try it on though. Don't try walking into Playa as it's about 40 mins along the road in searing heat with no breeze or 55 min along beach with slight breeeze but hard to walk through sand with no shade. Use taxi - only 70 Pesos.Lots of great trips out - recommend Explor (brilliant and I'm scared of heights), diving off reefs (with turtles if you are lucky like we were) and day quad bike jungle trek (take mosquito repellent and cover yourslf in it). Did whale shark day trip which was fantastic but long day in searing heat and felt that a third of it was 'fill-in' time which could have been left out and made it chaeper - it is very expensive but the actual dive with the whale sharks is spectacular. All this talk makes me wish I was still there!

Room Tip: Had jungle facing room which we loved.
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank CoconutLil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2011

We stayed at the Iberostar Quetzal (pronounced Ket-Zal!) from 31st July – 15th August and travelled with my husband and 2 daughters, aged 17 and 22. This is our second visit to Mexico, but first time staying in Playacar.


Flight
We travelled from London Gatwick with Thomas Cook and check-in was fast and easy! We paid extra and booked exit seats for extra legroom, as premium is no longer available. We thought the exit seats were well worth the money, as the standard economy seating seemed more cramped than on a Thompson plane. The meals on the plane were just ok; however, the flight attendants were very friendly and attentive.
When arriving in Cancun airport make sure that you have fully filled out BOTH sides of the immigration form to speed up queues. If you haven’t already been to Cancun airport before, it’s bedlam! Despite this, we were still able to get off the plane, go through customs, collect our suitcases and board the transfer coach in 1 hour! The transfer from Cancun airport to the hotel is roughly 45 minutes – 1 hour and we had 2 or 3 drop offs before we arrived at the Quetzal.


Check In
On arrival to the hotel, we were greeted with a cool welcome drink – much needed in the blazing hot sun! Check in was very speedy; however, we had to fill in a form that requires your passport numbers, so keep your passports to hand. After checking in and receiving our all-inclusive wristbands, towel and key cards, we were pointed in the direction of our rooms, but as the hotel is located in a jungle, it can be quite difficult to find your way around in the first few days. Here’s a link of the entire complex that may come in useful: http://www.iberostar-board.com/Tucan_Map.pdf. After finding our rooms, within 10 minutes our luggage was delivered by one of the bellboys.


The Room
We requested to stay in block 23 by email, 2 weeks prior to our departure. We were lucky enough to be granted our requests and stayed in rooms 2311 and 2312, which were located on the ground floor. Block 23 and is about a 2 minute walk to the beach and right next to the pool. It took about 3-4 minutes to walk to the lobby, so we were pleased with block 23. The rooms were comfortable and the beds were not as hard as most make out to be! The rooms were very clean and our maid, Veronica, did a brilliant job each day making towel animals and the general upkeep of the room. The bathroom was quite small, but had a large walk-in shower. The fridge was restocked every other day with bottles of water, cans of fizz, such as Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite, as well as beer. Our rooms had a large flat screen cable TV with various channels with plenty of English speaking channels – but with the beautiful weather and surroundings, there’s not much time to be watching it! The email for guest services which we used to request our rooms and birthday cake (see A La Carte bookings) is: <rrpptucque@iberostar.com.mx


Food
Before our holiday, we read various reviews that complained about the food, but we thought people were just being fussy, but if we have to be completely honest, we didn’t think the food was that great at the buffet restaurants and we are not fussy eaters at all! After 3 days, we were queuing each day to try and reserve extra a la carte’s! (Guest services is open from 10 am – 12 pm and then again from 4 pm – 8 pm).
- Breakfast – offers the usual, i.e. toast, cereals, fruit, omelettes, bacon, sausages, eggs, waffles, pancakes, doughnuts etc…

- Lunch - probably had the best selection of food; however, we mostly visited the beach snack bars for lunch. The main snack bar (also the Tropical restaurant) is located by the beach and also serves breakfast from 10 am onwards. The quieter snack bar is located next to the pool (also the Steak restaurant) and few people know about this, so is perfect if you want a quieter meal! Food included chips, burgers, hot dogs, rice, pizza, pasta, paella, grilled chicken beef and fish etc.

- Dinner – we disliked the most and found was quite repetitive, but the quesadillas are very tasty!! Mostly offered the same as lunch, but also different meats and fish at the carving stations.

A la Carte
As we stayed at the hotel for 2 weeks, we were given 5 reservations at the speciality restaurants and we managed to get bookings for each of them. The food in these restaurants were brilliant and we enjoyed all of them! The service was excellent! The Mexican, Italian and Japanese are all air-conditioned (however, the Japanese still gets hot!), whilst the Steak and Tropical were not, as they are located by the pool and beach and are also used during the day for breakfast and lunch. We booked the steak restaurant in advance as we were celebrating my daughter’s birthday. We booked the cake and the restaurant prior to our stay. The cake was 410 pesos and was for 10 people (!).


Beach/Pool
The beach was absolutely beautiful with white sands and clear blue sea!! There are plenty of sun loungers, but not so many palapas (straw huts). As most of the palapas are already reserved by 7:30 am, you can ask for portable umbrellas from the towel hut. We were able to get loungers and umbrellas on the first day at around midday.
We didn’t spend much time by the pool, but visited the adult swim up bar a few times! Whilst it is quite a noisy area, it is great for meeting people! In total, there are 4 pools.


The Entertainment
The animation team (Star Friends) work extremely hard during the day and at night to keep everyone entertained! Whilst they encourage people to get involved they do not force you to do anything. We watched the show a few times, which were ok and are set on a 2 week basis so you’ll see a different show each night.


Tips
Whilst staying at the Quetzal, we did not experience any problems regarding tips. No member of staff actually look for tips or puts you under pressure to tip them. We found that the service was good everywhere even without tips! The staff are always happy and willing to help. We left our room maid $2 every couple of days.


Trips/outings
- Playa Del Carmen
The cab fare into Playa Del Carmen in 70 pesos or $7 regardless of how many people are travelling or the time of day. We visited Playa Del Carmen once during the day and a couple of times during the evening. Whilst it is nice to see the town during the day, it is extremely hot walking around! Playa Del Carmen is perfectly safe and is a pedestrianized area. Starbucks is fully air-conditioned and has free Wi-Fi, with the code printed on your till receipt. The Wi-Fi at the hotel is pricey.

- Playacar
Come out of the Quetzal turn right and walk five minutes up the road. There is the same sort of souvenirs and items at Playacar as there is in Playa Del Carmen. There is also a Starbucks here with free Wi-Fi.

- Senor Frogs
We visited Senor Frogs twice; once for dinner and again for a drink at the bar. Senor Frogs has a very good atmosphere and the food is brilliant! The staff are very friendly and fun and the food and drink is fine to consume! It is a great evening out and well worth a visit!

- Coco Bongo
We booked with Edgar and Robin on the beach/by the pool who were great and very helpful! Edgar and Robin actually work at Coco Bongo and so it is completely safe to book with them. We went on a Thursday night as we heard that it can be very busy on a Friday and Saturday night. Even though we went on a Thursday it was still extremely busy! This was one of the highlights of our holiday and I don’t think anyone can prepare you for what you will see!! It is indescribable! However, it must be said that Coco Bongo is not for everyone – the evening mixes the show and disco together consecutively. If you enjoy chart and dance music and also legends such as Madonna, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Queen, Lady Gaga and Usher you will have an incredible evening! Prepare to be up dancing for the whole night! Coco Bongo was $65 per person and included in the price was a coach to the club (which left the hotel just after 10 pm), VIP entry before others, free drinks for the entire night and a brilliant evening to remember! You make your own way back (70 pesos) but that gives you the flexibility to leave whenever you want. We enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it!


Final Tips
* the path through the jungle is rocky – although it may sound silly durable sandals are needed! No heels!
* no air con in the lobby or main restaurant so can get quite hot
* you can sometimes hear music playing from the neighbouring hotel from around 6:30 pm from block 23.
* the departure tax is now 700 pesos per person or £40 per person – dollars ARE NOT accepted.
* at Cancun Airport they’re quite strict with the luggage allowance and will charge £15 for every kilo you are over!

Room Tip: Block 23 is nearest to the beach and pool
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
12  Thank Jancee66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 August 2011

This resort definitely met my expectations. Upon check in, we were given enough information to be able to plan most of the details of our stay. We were greeted with a drink upon arrival as well.

We enjoyed great service throughout our stay. From the bellboy to the restaurant, there was no lack of service. The maid service was great and there was always an animal made out of towels on the bed each day.

The beds are definitely hard. They don't give at all when you sit on them. I thought this was going to be an issue, but surprisingly, I slept fine on them each night. So for me and the rest of my family, there was no complaint about the bed. The room is pretty basic, but nice. It is fully tiled and has a patio area, although ours did not have a view.

As far as food, there was a large selection, and the food was okay. It wasn't great, but there are enough options to find things you like. The restaurants that require a reservation are very nice though. The Japanese restaurant was GREAT and is a must (Try the octopus!!). We also tried the Italian restaurant which was also good, but no comparison to the Japanese.

We never tried any of the entertainment at the resort, but there was a large crowd there when we walked by, so I assume it was good.

The beach is nice and the swimming area at the beach is also nice. There is free rentals of canoes and sailboats right off the beach. The pool is also nice, but not very crowded when we went. There is a separate pool bar which was lame. There were only a few people there and the water is only waist deep. The pools close at 8 pm, which is way too early. I don't understand why the bar is separate from the main pool, but this was the biggest complaint I had about the resort.

As far a drinks go, I was a little disappointed. I had stayed at a Riu hotel in Cabo before and they had great drinks. The menu here was small and none of the drinks were very good. The basic well drinks were fine though.

This was my first visit to Playa, but I had a great time at this resort and would definitely return. The few negatives were not a big deal because everything else was great. I would recommend this resort to anyone traveling as a family. Younger crowds may be a little bored here and may be better off in Cancun.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Chris6998
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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