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Reviewed 6 February 2008

My wife and I spent five nights at the resort in late January.

Most people, I think, will find this to be a very nice resort and a nice place to spend a relaxing vacation.

I think the only people who will not be happy are those that want everything when they want it how they want it. But I think people that can roll with the punches a very little bit will be quite happy.

For example, I can't believe people would complain that the road from town to the resort is unpaved. To me (and most people, I suspect), having a bit of a bumpy ride for two minutes on your way to and from the resort isn't going to affect your trip.

The positives:

- The room was beautiful. The furniture was comfortable, in good shape, and pleasing to look at. The decor was tasteful and sharp. The shower was a dream, large, with beautiful tiling and a great glass front. Two sinks, tons of counter space (my wife was in heaven).

- Many of the rooms (like ours) looked over the beach, which was very close by. We heard the waves crashing while lying in bed. It was really fantastic. We also had a balcony with chairs and a table. We watched the fire dancer show from the balcony, and it was a lot of fun. The view of the ocean was great.

- The grounds and buildings are beautiful and well-maintained.

- The beach and pool (full disclosure: I spent most of my time at the beach, since pools are too noisy and busy for my taste) are very well cared for. Every morning we saw workers raking seaweed from the beach to maintain it. There are great lounges and shade trees and canopies. One side of the beach was busy and vibrant, the other side was quiet and peaceful. And, since the resort is isolated and the beach is private, nobody bothered you trying to sell you stuff.

- The food was very good. There are three nicer restaurants and one buffet. We stuck to the buffet, mostly because we didn't want to have to make reservations 24 hours in advance. We never knew when we wanted to eat the next day, so the buffet was easier for us. We had one dinner in a restaurant, and our dishes were very tasty. The buffet is very nice as far as buffets go. There was a very nice selection and the food was good. The waiters were helpful, even though it was self-serve.

- Spa and gym. My wife had a massage under a canopy at the end of a long pier that runs well into the ocean. She said the masseusse (a young woman) did a great job, and having the massage out on the water was a great experience. There is a decent-sized gym, all windows, looking out over the water. It's very beautiful. And they have all the basic equipment you would expect.

- Great lobby. An open-space bar in the middle with wireless Internet access (free). It really enhanced the experience, providing a kind of clubhouse outside of the room, all day and into the night.

- Travel service. The resort has an in-house travel agency that offers all kind of trips, and its prices are pretty good. We took a day trip to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza (well worth it). They send you in a van with only a handful of people, a far better experience than getting on a big bus that stops at a million resorts.

- Nice staff. Virtually every staff member was pleasant and genuinely seemed to care about their jobs.

The negatives:

- While the staff is nice, they are limited in their abilities. They try, but they just don't always get the job done, especially on the little, less important things. For example, it took two calls and a personal visit to get housekeeping to bring us some pillows. Some small features advertised on the site don't exist (there is no Internet access in the rooms, just in the lobby). If you ask three staff members about something, you're likely to get three different answers. We had a running joke that we were now in El Cid Riviera Maya land where things are more laid back.

But this is where my comment about expectations come in. None of the issues the staff was lax on was important. It didn't ruin the trip that we had to track down the pillows the first day. It hardly mattered that sometimes we were misinformed. The problems were so minor, they didn't impact our enjoyment and relaxation at all. We just enjoyed all the great things about the resort.

Over all:
If you don't mind a laid back staff, this is a beautiful resort.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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17  Thank NY_Guy_Traveling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2008

This resort is a definite must..

There are some complaints.. but overalll had a fantastic stay. Was just there jan 31-feb 4, with 2 other couples, and had a great time.
We booked the platinum club service... but let me save you the trouble.. all that really means is you get a free beach bag , and a bell man takes your luggage to your room.. so save your money and dont book the platinum room/service.

The rooms were very clean.. and the staff was very quick and attentive to our needs (cleaning, etC) . The food was good, Al hambra for breakfast and lunch was the best and Alcazar for dinner :)
The activites were plentiful.. especially water aerobics.. soo fun!
The staff was AMAZING.. everything you've read is true.. they made our stay so enjoyable. Especially Edgar! They work hard and play even harder.

The pool is fantastic.. yet the pool dirnks seemed a bit watered down.. just ask for more alcohol.

Overall had a great stay.. would definitely recommend it. Try to go to playa del carmen, its a great beach and happening area with shopping, etc.

and if going to Cancun, COCO BONGO is a must!! dont miss out, the hotel gives you a great rate, and a van takes you there and back!!

Stayed: January 2008
7  Thank lv4fashion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 February 2008

My husband & I have been travelling for the last 20 years and have stayed at many all-inclusive resorts including the D.R., Cuba, Puerto Vallerta, St. Martin, St. Lucia. We just returned February 2/08 from a week at Marina El Cid in the Mayan. There was 12 in our party 2 sets of grandparents in their early 60's. Two kids & their spouses in their 30's and 3 little grandchildren ages 5, 3, 2, and 1 - 17 year old. We arrived at 12:30 at our hotel from Ontario, Canada and were a little disappointed that their was no one there to greet us. Upon check in we were told that we could not access our rooms until 3:00 p.m. Needless to say we were quite disappointed because we were all tired, having been up since 3:00 a.m. and our little grandson was not feeling well and needed a nap desperately. But the hotel would not budge, in fact we did not get into our rooms until 3:30 p.m. Check out is 12:00 noon. So, this is a good thing to keep in mind if your travelling with little ones. The two families 4 and 4 were located in a one-bedroom suite which was just beautiful and great when travelling with kids. It had a king size bed in one room with a bathroom, closet space etc and a balcony and the next room had a pull out murphy bed with a living room area, full kitchen, another bathroom, closets and another balcony. It was very spacious and clean. Their units were located in building 17 on the 3rd floor - rooms 1731 (end unit) and 1732. This building is right on the beach with a georgeous view of the ocean & the pool. The grandparents were in a luxury room on the 1st floor 1701 and 1706. We were the end unit with an adjoining room which was very noisy. We asked to be moved but they only had rooms on the 2nd floor in building 17, so we stayed there for the rest of the week. As it turned out it wasn't too bad as the little ones could come & visit & run around on the grass in front of our unit & the pool. We had the same view, but not as nice as were were on the ground floor. Building 15 & 17 are the best in my opinion, as they are right on the beach. We loved this resort because it was small & it never felt busy at the pool, restaurants, or the beach. You always had your choice of chairs etc. The proximately of the pool & the beach was wonderful at your door step so to speak.. You didn't have to walk a mile to get to a restaurant or a bar. The service was second to none. The staff at this hotel were at your becken call at all time. I found everyone friendly & nice. We ate at two a-la carte restaurantsHacienda Arrecife (Mexican) and Alcazar Gourmet. Our favourite was the gourment and the food was great. We dined there 3 times. If you go ask for Juan for your waiter - he is hilarious!! The buffet was your standard always plently of choices. We ate there for breakfast & lunch.!! The only thing I didn't like was that they were all air-conditioned and not open air. I found it quite chilly some evenings. You could eat outside at the Al Andallus Restaurant which was a buffet and we usually did for breakfast & lunch. It would have been nice to have more choices in restaurants, but I guess you can't have everything perfect. We dined at the Marina one evening thinking that we were going to get a great meal, but we were greatly disappointed. The lobster was terrible the worst I have ever had - it didn't even taste like lobster & all you got was a couple of shells with a thimble full of lobster!! If your planning to go to this resort don't bother going there because you will sorry !! The room service menu is great and available 24 hours. The lobby was air-conditioned as well, which I didn't like because it was always cold. They usually had live entertainment there from 8 - 10:00 pm, plus they put on a show in the convention centre. We went once, but its the same old stuff, so we didn't bother again. The pool area is very spacious with a huge water slide & a cliff to dive off of into a deep pool. The little kids area had a nice size wading pool with a little slide and next to it was a kids club house and outside playground equipment with lots of sand. There were planned activites for the kids all day. My grandkids just loved it and we usually hung out there in the a.m. and went to the beach for the afternoon. The beach is not large, but they keep it clean. My granddaughter (5) got stung by a jelly fish and she cried for about 1/2 hour. The staff told us to put vinegar on it to reduce the swelling & pain, but the kitchen only had balsamic vinegar, so again if you go bring some little white vinegar packages with you just in case. We walked the beach several times to Puerto Morelas (about 15 min), but the beach is full of sea weed & debris as there are no hotels along there until you get to the town, so its a must to wear running shoes or sandals. The hotel offers many tours, which we didn't bother with at all. I didn't find the time share people too intrusive. I think we got asked once if we were interested. Another thing to mention is there are still mosquoteos hanging around. You will notice them when you open your balcony door in the evening, as they head for the light. We didn't notice them too much at the beginning of the week because it was very breesy, but the last couple of days our balcony ceiling was covered with them. My little granddaughter got tons of bites in the evening while sleeping. All in all, we had a really nice vacation at El Cid and I would highly recommend it especially for families.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled with family
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8  Thank bigmarg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2008

Great place to vacation, its only 1.5 to 2 years old! We loved the food, room and the pools and beach. Drinks are everywhere, 3 -4 different bars (tiki style) open at the beach, pools and hot tub, as well as the restaurants serving drinks with meals, try the coconut tequila. Exercise room is very new, excellent equipment, and it has a pleasant ocean view throughout the room, I used it 3 times. Service is a 9.5 of 10, communication is important here. I don’t know about you but this resort has great bathrooms, all marble and well accompanied and we were in the standard room, good view of the ocean from our room. Activities are there for the interested such as volley ball or water aerobics too et.

OK the ocean has rocky (coral) area about 50 feet off shore and weeds (not thick just floating in with tides) near shore but that is the only minor negative. This upset a few people. Apparently these weeds are near shore or come ashore versus other places where the weeds are further out and don’t cause this problem.

Food is very good in 4 of 4 restaurants, our favorite was a sit down with good steaks and desserts, actually we had 2-3 favorites, one was between the pool and ocean and had all the pleasant sounds and views. The lobster dinner is a barbecue or grilled lobster @ 4 th restaurant, some people did not like it as they want broiled with drawn butter, hay its different, we liked it and we enjoyed this restaurant where the "all inclusive" can eat in only once (I didn’t name the restaurants so u try them all).
Plan to rent a car for 1 - 3 days, Enterprise, right there in the hotel. Then go to Tulum with bathing suit and a large bottle of water each. Walk around the ruins and then go for a swim in the blue and no weeds and rough at times ocean. Now that’s a great day. Then go back to the hotel eat dinner, nap and go to Cancun's Senor Frogs (not that crazy wild) but great dancing and fun.
Beach is very nice with about 6-8 private kings size "beds" canopied for napping. Pools are fun. If your 55 years like me and you go down the 40-foot water slide, put your hands out to slow the speed! WOW! I didn’t. Oh yea there is more, take a cab to town, eat in that nice ocean view restaurant, very nice, but buy in Tulum (shop around or pay extra) or at the airport good prices!

I heard from others the bus is very nice to some ruins, if you like a 1-3 hour one way bus ride. Most people that’s a lot and its a new bus and all but packed tight.

Hey, ya know, life is what you make it! From here you can make it great! Its a good start.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank John C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2008

I just got back yesterday from a family vacation at El Cid. I traveled with my husband, 2 sons (15 months and 4), and my sister. When booking, we were looking for a mid-size resort that catered to families with small children. We came across El Cid because we trying to avoid the cruise ship on land feel that a lot of the larger resorts have, we didn’t need staffers in our face trying to keep us happy or entertained 24/7. We went on vacation to relax and unwind – El Cid delivered for us.
THE ROAD
You would think based on how much this is brought up on this forum that you spent a large amount of time on this road. The road is literally 2 to 3 miles long. It’s no big deal! It’s not horrible – it’s just a bumpy road. I was shocked about how much of a non-issue it truly was based on other people’s complaints. If you’re put off by a semi bumpy road for a short distance maybe you should rethink El Cid…I may add that Mexico may not be the place for you as the roads are not maintained in the same way they are in the states.

TIME SHARE
No one bothered us about timeshare, maybe because we were platinum club. I’m not sure. I will say that I did see quite a fee other guests out on “the tour”.

PLATINUM CLUB
We thought that the platinum club was completely worth it. The staff in the PC was very attentive to us. They met every one of our needs and we utilized their services A LOT. Khristian and Victor, our butlers, were incredible! Among everything else, they came everyday at 3:00 pm and ran our Jacuzzi for us…including flowers and wine. That was a nice touch. My 4 year old loved coming back to the room at the end of the day to his soak. Happy kids make happy mom and dad.
ROOM
Our room was fabulous. We stayed in a 2 bedroom oceanfront suite on the 4th floor of building 17. My husband and I stayed at Secrets Capri 3 years ago. The room at El Cid was MUCH nicer. Like I said, we had kids with us, so we were in bed by 11:00 pm every night so we found one small problem. If you are a light sleeper you would have the same problem with this room/building because it overlooked the beach night club. My boys are sound sleepers so the music didn’t bother them, it really didn’t bother me all that much but my husband who is a very light sleeper had trouble going to sleep as the music was on until 2:00 am. We never had a problem with noise from our neighbors. Our room was cleaned daily by the sweetest and most attentive maid. Our full size fridge and mini bar were well stocked.

BEACH
We were on and off of the beach all day long. I live at the beach and love the beach more than I can put into words so this was important. This beach was beautiful. Yes there was some coral and sea grass– the 2nd largest reef in the world is located off of Puerto Morelos. Sea grass is a sign of a healthy reef so seeing some is a good sign. The sea grass that accumulated overnight was cleaned off the beach every morning and the beach remained clean all day. The sand was white and clean. We spent much time in the water – my boys loved it. I did bring beach shoes and only wore them when we went out on a kayak. The water quality was great -- I could see my feet. In the afternoon when the wind would pick up a little bit the water got a little choppy but that is expected with wind.

POOL
We spent a lot of time at the pool. It was slippery on the bottom because it’s tiled but we didn’t find it to be a huge problem. The kids pool was awesome and not slippery at all…it wasn’t tiled. They have a small waterslide in the kids pool that the kids loved. We never "reserved" chairs prior to walking over to the pool and we were always able to get a lounge chair.
FOOD
The food was really good. They had a great section. I would suggest skipping the Marina. The food was salty and not all that good. I would have rather eaten at the buffet or the Mexican restaurant one more time instead. I didn’t get the whole Alcazar experience as my baby got grumpy and I walked out even before we sat down. My husband did bring dinner from the restaurant back to the room and it was great.

STAFF
The staff was incredible. They put everything they have into ensuring we had a great experience.

As a family we were looking for a relaxing vacation, that is exactly what we got. We traveled with 2 little ones and this resort was perfect for them. I could see a teen being bored with the nightlife and some of the activities. While we visited, there were not many teens there. We went to Mexico to go on vacation and when we got there we were more than prepared to relax and unwind, I think that sometimes there are people who go on vacation and expect the resort and staff to relax them but if they aren't prepared to relax themselves they won't have a good time no matter what. If you are traveling with little kids and are looking for a midsized resort that offer parents the time to relax and enjoy their time – El Cid is the place for you! We had a fantastic time and would recommend it to friends and family. Don’t think we’ll go back as there are too many beautiful places to go…but we did LOVE our visit. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
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16  Thank klola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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