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Reviewed 8 January 2010

My family of 17 (8 children, 9 Adults) travelled to El Cid Dec 14-21. It was very important that our 5 rooms were all close together. I emailed ahead of time to the operations manager who passed my email onto Miguel (front desk manager). Both gentlemen were very gracious and helpful despite my many emails and lack of Spanish. They did everything to accommodate us. The only request they were unable to fulfill was to put one of our parties in a one bedroom because the one bedrooms were in a different building. They did however put them in a beautiful suite with huge balcony and hot tub in and out. We were in building 18 on the 5th floor. All rooms faced the ocean with a couple of lower buildings in between.

Food: Incredible. No bad experiences. Dress code was pretty relaxed, however we were there during low season, may be different during high season
-Both the Alhambra buffet in the main building open for all meals and the Hacienda buffet (open for breakfast and lunch) are very good and fresh.
-Hacienda Arrecife: One of the buffets turns into a Mexican restaurant in the evening. Very Good. You need reservations, but as far as I understood u can eat here as often as you like.
-The Marina: Blah would rather have eaten at the Alhambra Buffet (no lobster…we were told the lobster was hung over and couldn’t make it lol)

Service/Staff: Roberto, Brenda, Samuel, Manuel!!! Like nothing we had ever experienced. The staff are gracious, polite and go above and beyond. Made every effort to communicate, however we were in a country whose first language is NOT English and we did not learn Spanish – so shame on us!!

Cleanliness: Immaculate

Rooms: Clean, fresh smelling, well stocked, glass doors on toilet and shower (not good for the bashful or private), comfortable beds, ocean view, air conditioned, quiet. Mini fridges where not always stacked regularly but all you had to do was ask and you received. Free safe. No DVD player. A couple of English kids channels.

Beach: SO much has already been said about the beach, do your research so you know what to expect. It was great for us!!

Attractions: Some of our group took the bike tour into Puerto Morelos and enjoyed it. You are travelling in a 3rd world country so be visually prepared. Another group took the Collectivo from outside the hotel and transferred to the ADP in Puerto Morelos to go to Playa Del Carmen as well as Tulum. Way cheaper that a tour.

Timeshare issue: We unplugged our phone the first few mornings. On the 4th day they finally connected with us and said we had to go to the front concierge desk across from the front desk to pick up our welcome package. We just never went. One of our families did and listed to the rep speak for about 5 min and politely declined and were left alone.

Check out: Easy, no surprise charges and they provide a courtesy room for ½ for those who have later flights.

A few very minor peeves: no food available between 5-6:30 except room service which can take an hour around this time – can be difficult with small children who need to eat when they are hungry (luckily we had brought snacks). No food out of the restaurants. No quick way to get quick healthy snacks for hungry kids. We were with a group so taking shifts to go eat allowed for us to leave all our stuff by the pool and not have to pack up each time kids need to eat. Diving pool and slide was closed for 5/7 days for renovations – one of the major attractions when for our kids. Bottled water tasted disgusting. Tourists can be impatient and RUDE!

Feel free to contact me with any further questions.

  • Stayed: December 2009
    • Value
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2  Thank coldCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RichardBustamante, Operations Manager at Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 9 January 2010

Dear friends from Canada:
On behalf of all the staff of Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort I would like to thank you for your nice review and for your stay with us.
We are so glad that you and all your family had a nice and relaxed vacation in this your hotel.
It was our pleasure to assist you with your requests and it is so nice to read that you were happy with your acomodations and the service from all our staff.
Thank you again and we hope that you and your entire family could visit us again in a near future, we will assure you a perfect vacation once again.
Hasta pronto:)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2010

We arrived at El Cid mid-day Dec 19th. Check-in was quick and courteous and our room was ready. After check-in we met with a “concierge” type person that gave us a map, explained the property and answered our questions. We were offered a breakfast appointment to talk with someone from the property and take the grand tour. We were told that “this is not a time share.” (We saw that it is called a “vacation club”.) We politely declined and had no additional pressure during our one week stay to attend. The “orientation” held away from the check-in desk was beneficial because we checked in quickly and left the desk to allow others to check in. We could take as long as we needed. We (and our luggage) were then taken by golf cart to building 19. Our room was a bit “tired” but everything was clean and in good working order. The frig was empty and unplugged when we arrived but a call to the front desk soon brought the arrival of drinks.
Food: We ate at all available venues at least once. Alhambra - buffet ; much better than other AI buffets we have eaten at in the Riviera Maya. Good selection for all meals; good service for the most part. El Alcazar – Mediterranean/Thai – but seems to be more Italian/Asian; menu changes nightly; good food; great service. La Marina – Seafood; no lobster as advertised; good food; service good but not great. Hacienda Arrecife – Mexican; breakfast was ok but better at the buffet; lunch was good with different choices each day; ala carte dinner was fantastic – the best wait staff of all! We ate Mexican dinner once and a special Christmas Eve dinner there – food was great at both and the service was the best.
Adults area: a great bartender at the bar next to the hot tub; the area should be monitored because several times young children were in the hot tub playing and having a good time. This would have been acceptable but since it was advertised as an adults only, quiet, area, that is what we expected.
Beach and pool: a great beach with just few rocks. Seaweed was raked and cleaned regularly. The pool was cold – no fault of the hotel! Drink service at the pool and beach was great. We brought our own insulated cups and they were happy to keep them filled for us!
We usually stay at a much larger resort many miles south of the El Cid and decided to try a smaller resort this time. Our conclusion of the El Cid is:
We didn’t like --- the difficulty in getting bottled water. There are no snacks available at the bars (except limited pretzels at the lobby bar). Children playing in the adults only area.
We love ----the personal attention we received. (We tipped but don't think it influenced the level of service we received.) The food was better than what we have experienced at other resorts. All restaurants and the lobby are air conditioned and all are non-smoking. We look forward to vacationing again at the El Cid!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank twistedfeather
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RichardBustamante, Operations Manager at Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 9 January 2010

Dear friends from Oklahoma:
On behalf of all the staff of Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort I wish to thank you for your nice review and for your preference.
We are so glad that you and your beloved ones had a nice vacation in this your resort.
We really appreciatte your feedback it will be so useful for us and we assure you that we will discuse it with our hotel staff.
We look foward to your next visit all our attentive staff will be ready to pamper you and your family once again.
Hasta la vista amigos!

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Reviewed 7 January 2010

My husband and I, along with our children (ages 9, 6, and 4) stayed here for a week in mid December and had a wonderful time. As a previous reviewer stated, the property lives up to its pictures, including a lovely beach (which I'm told is increasingly hard to find). From the first moments of check-in, we were greeted with cold drinks on a tray. Once my kids discovered the chocolate fountain in the lobby, they decided they were in heaven and pretty much stayed convinced of that opinion for the remainder of our stay.

(Note: I second the advice to walk through the Cancun airport like you own the place and not get sucked in to time share sales -- just go right outside and find your ride!)

The service we experienced was almost uniformly excellent. I agree with the reviewers who encouraged tipping the staff -- they work so hard (bring a bunch of one dollar bills with you.) Our kids warmed up to the Kids' Club and went in and out all day. By the end of our stay, they were all so sad to be leaving the friends they made there! The nine year old (a boy) didn't do as much as the girls, as he's not so into crafts, but he did participate more than I expected, loved the water balloon fight and xBox night, and found two buddies to boogie board with him.

Two little flies in the ointment: One, if you want any privacy at all, skip the "family room." It has ZERO privacy -- you step out of the shower and you're there in the room, with no wall dividing the shower or toilet area from the rest of the room. After some wrangling among our travel agent and the hotel manager, we upgraded to a family suite -- MUCH better. Oh, and we paid $12 for a day of Internet, but got VERY inconsistent service and just had to consider it wasted money as the tech support guy didn't believe us when we reported our trouble to the front desk and asked for an extension. The other thing was that the pool was gorgeous and my son loved the waterslide and cliff jump, but those parts were closed for maintenance for six out of the seven days we were there! He was really disappointed about that (so were we), but what can you do? Good thing they had the boogie boards!

We ate at the buffet all except two nights, when we did the Mexican and seafood restaurants. The lunch buffet got a little old for me, but on the whole, the food and selection were quite good -- even for me, who can't eat wheat or gluten!

For excursions, we went snorkeling with Pelicanos, an outfit in Puerto Morelos, and went to Crococun Zoo. We definitely recommend both outings. The bike trips into Puerto Morelos to tour or buy handicrafts were also great.

The kids were already asking to go back by the time we left, and we hope to return some day. It was a lovely way to celebrate my husband's completion of graduate school!

Stayed: December 2009, travelled with family
4  Thank TXFam5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RichardBustamante, Operations Manager at Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 7 January 2010

Dear family from Texas:
On behalf of all the staff of Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort I would like to thank you for your preference and for your nice review.
We are so glad that you and your family had a nice vacation in this your resort.
Sorry for the inconveniences that caused you the maintenance of our cliff and slide it was really necesary.
Thank you for so many good comments about our staff be sure that for your next visit you will find everything just perfect:).
Hasta pronto amigos!

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Reviewed 4 January 2010

Overall, we had a great time at El Cid and will hopefully find another good deal next year to be back. My husband and I traveled with our 1 1/2 year old, so we were not interested in night life and/or excursions. The resort was the perfect size (we've stayed in other all-inclusives that were so big, there was a lot of walking to do to get to the beach and/or restaurants, etc.). Granted we were only there for 5 days, so we didn't need tons of restaurants or anything. It was definitely family-friendly and lots of kids around, so don't go if you're looking for a quiet, adult-only, romantic getaway. The restaurants were the best we've eaten at for an all inclusive (we never went to the Marina one) and were pleasantly surprised with the buffets (and how great they were for our toddler).
My only complaint is about the front desk staff. They certainly were not friendly. They didn't do anything horribly bad, just not very pleasant or accomodating. We arrive at 2:15 and our room was not ready (check-in is at 3). We could live with that, although any other place I've been has had the room ready just 45 minutes early. We checked back at 3:30 and it still wasn't ready. Finally checked back at 4:15 and it was ready. Not a huge deal, but a little surprising and when we were only there for a short time, we wanted to make the most of that time (not sitting waiting to get settled in - especially with a young child). We were in building 19 on the ground floor, which was fine with us. Not a good view of the ocean, but still fine. We were scheduled to be picked up to be taken back to the airport at 2:35 on our check out day (check out is noon). We called the day before and asked to get a late check out. They said we had to call the next day. We called first thing that morning and they said the manager wasn't there and we had to call back in 10 minutes. We called back and they said they didn't do late check outs. Huh? Then why didn't the previous people we talked to just say that. I explained that our transportation wasn't coming until 2:30 and that we had a toddler that really needed to nap at noon and if there was any way at all they could accomodate us. They said no, we could sit in the lobby. Seemed not to care at all. After breakfast, we stopped at the front desk and asked again. They said we could have a late check out if we paid $15 per hour after noon. We said sure - so it was $30 extra to check out at 2:30 (30 minutes was free apparently). So I was fine with that and it just really helped our schedule, but why all the run around??? But again, this was probably our only complaint.
Otherwise the resort was incredibly clean. The pool area was fantastic and great for kids (even toddlers). We didn't get the Platinum and didn't see the value. Also didn't get bothered by timeshare people at all. The beach was great too. Nice sand. Didn't go out into the water much, so can't comment really on the rocks that others have commented on, but the water we did wade in was very nice.
We hope to return.

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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5  Thank madisonsara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RichardBustamante, Operations Manager at Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 5 January 2010

Dear friends from Madison:
On behalf of all the staff of Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort I would like to thank you for your nice review and for selecting our hotel for your vacations.
We are so glad to hear that you, your husband and your little babe had a nice holiday in our resort.
We are already taking some actions in our front desk every day we read together all the reviews on this site because the feedback from our guest is vital for us please be sure that some changes will take place ASAP.
Thank you again and we assure you that for your next stay you will fell the improvement in our front desk.
Happy new year to you and your family:)

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Reviewed 3 January 2010

We stayed at the El Cid 12-23 to 12-31. Everything was amazing. We had a problem checking in Christmas Eve, our room wasn't ready and the room they gave us had a few problems. They quickly remedied the problem in the morning and we were off to a great vacation. The breakfast and lunch was great. Like many all inclusives the dinner was fine, lots of choices, but certainly not amazing. The marina was over-rated, I would recommended eating there at all. The room service was a bit slow, but without a schedule who cares! The place is spotless, this includes the pool, beach, rooms, common areas, they are constantly cleaning to the point that the place is always clean! The room was so comfortable, just about every building had a great view. There really is no night life at this resort which I have found to be true of many all inclusives. There are plenty of activities and it seemed like the kids' club was good, we had teenagers, but others seemed happy. The staff was constantly asking if we needed anything... they were very perky. You don't need to do the Platinum, it was definitely a hype, we were not asked or pressured to join the Platinum or listen to the time share thing. It seemed like people who went Platinum were disappointed in the extra money for something they didn't need. We had no problems getting chairs around the pool or on the beach. The spa was amazing, Dennis gave the best massage! My family did the zip line and segway tour and went snorkeling. My husband and daughter took the ruin tour. The hotel booked our excursions, they were awesome. We also took the hotel's free bike ride into Puerto Morales. This was an excellent vacation, I would definitely recommend the resort!

  • Stayed: December 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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4  Thank Weekender1065
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
RichardBustamante, Operations Manager at Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 4 January 2010

Dear friends from PA:
On behalf of all the staff of Hotel Marina El Cid Spa & Beach Resort I would like to thank you for your nice review and for your stay with us:)
We are so glad that you and your family spent a nice time in this your resort.
Thank you for your suggestions that are really important for us and help us to improve our services and facilties.
We hope to see you again in a near future on behalf of all our staff I would like to wish you a happy New Year with your beloved ones.
Hasta pronto!

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