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Reviewed 26 September 2007

We visited this hotel for our honeymoon after getting engaged in Playacar at another hotel last year. We didn't think we could better our previous hotel. I read most of the reviews on here before I visited, and althought the reviews were generally great, it didn't prepare me for how amazing this hotel would be.

Check in: We were greeted at the hotel with non alcoholic cocktails. The reception staff were very friendly and organized. The check in was quick and informative. The lobby is breath taking, there is a fountain in the middle and parrots in the trees. Polished marble floors and ceiling fans.
The bell boys took care of our bags and didn't expect a tip. they seemed very gracious to recieve one.

Our room: Was very clean, with towel animals and flowers left on the bed every day. The bathroom had no bath, but I wouldn't use one anyway. There was a great walk-in shower with an abundance of clean towels. We had a great balcony with views of the sea and jungle.

Food: Amazing, I don't understand how anyone could say that there wasn't enough food?! Although at the buffets the same food (practically), was there every day, there is such a wide range of food that it's impossible to try everything on one day.. therefore you could stay for 2 weeks and eat differently every day.
You can make your reservations in the lobby for the restraunts in advance.
TIP: If you are a vegetarian then tell them when you make the reservation, they will make a note of this and when you get to the restraunt then (like me) you will be very well catered for and the food is delicious (especially the Japense).

Pools: Just brilliant, the main pool is huge with a jaccuzi in the middle. There is a seperate baby pool and seperate sports pool. There is also a seperate pool with a swim up bar. This pool was great, there were tables and stools in the water (great for hot afternoons).

The beach was great although people do reserve loungers (though they're not supposed to!) The waitresses will serve you drinks and take your orders while you are on the beach... which is heaven!
If you want to get away from the crowds. Then a short walk along the beach to the right of the hotel will bring you to a stunning quiet beach with rocks and quiet bays. Next time we go, we're going to go to this beach for the day and take a picnic.
The staff at this hotel are second to none, so friendly and they will go out of their way to help you.

Generally this hotel is just beautiful, the grounds are superb. We saw monkeys, peacocks, parrots, iguanas, turtles and flamingos.
At night, the pathways are lit with lanterns and fairy lights.
The walkways around the lobby on the quetzal side are wooden and built up above waterfalls and streams with swans! On the Tucan side there are lots of fountains around the marble walkways.

The only problem we had was on check out, and I did want to point this out just incase anyone from the hotel reads this:
We were told on check ou that we had run up over $100 of charges from chapagne, tequila, and spa tratments. We never used any of these and it would seem that someone else had been charging item to our room. When we said this wasn't us, we were made to wait for 20 mins while others were checked out first (we almost missed our airport transfer). This problem really wasn't dealt with correctly and we are still wondering if we are going to get a bill for these items! The hotel should have a better way of charging items to rooms (like swiping room cards) so that this doesn't happen.

Apart from that we couldn't fault our whole holiday. And I would also like to say that the resident band in the theatre were just fantastic. My husband and I are both professional musicians and we really enjoyed listening to the band every night. The two female singers were fantastic the trumpet player was amazing. The drummer not only a great drummer... what a voice! People tended not to listen to the band that much which is a shame. And it did annoy me the way people would walk across the dancefloor right infront of them while they were playing :-(

We are planning to go back to the Quetzal/ Tucan in a couple of years and will be taking our family too. I just cant wait. It really is paradise.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank flower3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 September 2007

My sister and I had what can only be described as a "Perfect Trip" during our recent stay at the Iberostar Quetzal. From the moment we were picked up at the airport until we were dropped off again - the staff and management of the resort went above and beyond in making our stay as wonderful as possible. My family and I make at least 2 trips a year to the Quetzal and have never had a bad experience so when I took my sister along for the first time - I was really happy that her experience was beyond her expectations. Our room was outstanding with an ocean view! Since we only stayed 5 days our restaurant reservations were limited to only 1 night however I put our names down on the waiting list each day - for any available reservation and we were able to get reservations every night. All our meals were outstanding regardless of which restaurant as was the buffet for breakfast. The Star Friends are the main reason that we return each year and they were better than ever! The animation team during the day and the dancers at night are so full of energy and fun that you can't help but have a good time when you are around them. I encourage every guest to participate and get to know each of the Star Friends because to us they make the difference between an OK vacation and a wonderful vacation. The shows at night were very entertaining and it is so nice that the children are included early in the show during the mini disco. The Quetzal has something to offer every age group whether it is the daily sporting activities or just being left along to read a good book in the shade. We especially enjoy the jungle and animals and no matter how many times we have visited - we always see something new. The entire staff - from housekeeping to waiters to bartenders are courteous and cheerful. My husband and I will be returning in October along with some of our friends from Virginia - we actually met them on our first visit to the Quetzal several years ago. We can't wait to get there and we know that the staff and management of the Quetzal will do everything to make our stay a memorable trip. CKJ from Texas

Stayed: August 2007
4  Thank CKJTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2007

First, if you're reading reviews of Playa Del Carmen hotels to decide which one to stay at, let me preface this by stating my opinion about vacations: They are what you make of them. True, some experiences are so bad, most anyone would say they had a negative experience. On the other hand, I always read reviews before I book a trip, and having been to the Iberostar Tucan two years ago, I knew ahead of time what to expect, and how much validity the negative reviews held.
When I judge a hotel by reviews I look at the volume of good ones versus the number of bad ones. Things that may spoil the trip for one person, may have little or no effect for another. Having said that, here's our most recent experience.
In Playa Del Carmen, Iberostar has two twin hotels, the Tucan, and the Quetzal. 2 years ago we stayed at the Tucan and had a wonderful time, in fact, the best vacation we'd ever had. Why? Because the staff was friendly and always responsive, the scenery exceptional, and we enjoyed the food and local attractions such as Xacaret, an incredible huge ecological park where you can swim in a cave, snorkel in safe clear water coves, see dozens of exhibits, including a chance to swim with dolphins, and a great show at night.
The two hotels, the Tucan and Quetzal share restaurants, and a really cool jungle that has monkeys, peacocks, small furry (harmless) rodents called Zereques, swans, flamingoes, iguanas, toucans, turtles, wild chickens, and other wild birds. If you stay at one hotel you have full run of the amenities in the other hotel including the buffets and gourment ala carte restaurants. The buffets have waterfalls on each side of the entries, and pretty coi fish swimming in moats around the restaurants.
Our biggest worry was that this trip would not live up to our memory of the first trip - IT SURPASSED IT!
I said at the beginning your vacation is what you make of it. Here are some of the complaints I have read in the negative reviews which are true, but here was our response.
1) Beds are hard - they are, but all you have to do is ask for a mattress pad. We did, and the bed was extremely comforable. I bought the same kind of pad for a bed in my house back home.
2) Pillows are like bricks - they are, but we brought some pillows of our own from home. Feather pillows will compress to 1/2 inch or less and once you take them out of your suitcases you can fluff them back to normal.
3) Some rooms are near noise, like the music from the shows at night, or the shows in the hotel next door, or some people have hear the ice machine used at night. True, but we always sleep with a "sound machine" back home for "white noise" and it fits in one of our carry on bags so we take it on all of our trips. Between the mattress pad, our own pillows, and the sound machine, the environment at night was very close to our normal sleep situation back home. No problem with the bedding or sleeping at night due to noise.
4) Non-smokers put in a smoking room - It's definitely a possibility there. We were, and they said there were no other rooms available - but they also told us if we smelled anything they'd come spray the room. We are both very sensitive to the smell of smoke and you know what? - We couldn't smell any trace of smokers inhabiting this room before us.
5) Small ant like insects in the room. I made the mistake of pouring the rest of a can of orange soda into the sink and did not properly rinse out the sink or the can. A few hours later we discovered a bunch of insects in the sink. All it took to get rid of them was to rinse them down the sink, then I poured some mouthwash into the sink and round it, and they did not return - problem solved! No biggie.
6) I've read complaints about the food in the buffet being boring, and various complaints about the Ala Carte restaurants. Here's how I feel about that. First of all, I booked this trip directly through the Funjet website and when it was offered 4 weeks ago, the price for each us of flying from St. Louis, MO, USA was about $500 each for air/hotel, all meals, and drinks for 4 nights. In my opinion that is a pretty good deal - I sure couldn't match that in the United States anywhere. Personally, we enjoyed all of the food. I only expected to be able to book 1 of their gourmet restaurants since we were just there for 4 nights. However, perhaps due to the recent hurricane (which did not hurt this area at all), and the fact that we were there during what is considered the "rainy season", the hotels were not crowded. When I went to make my reservations for Bonsai, the Japanese restaurant, they invited me to make more reservations. I made two more reservations at the Steak House, and the Mexican Restaurant. We had eaten at the Italian restaurant the last time we were there. Actually, if I had wanted I could have booked reservations at another ala cart restaurant for our last night there, but we decided to go to the buffet instead on our last night. The food - I'm an early riser, so I was happy to see the Marimba grill (which they turn into the Steak House at night) had some basic goodies available at 6:30 am. They had bacon, eggs, sausages, some wonderful fresh baked sweet rolls, coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, just to name a few things. The regular buffet which had a very comprehensive offering, opened at 7:00 am and we thought the food there was very good. I had one of the chefs make me a "made to order" omlette. Our last night we ate at the buffet and they had a live Mariachi band, a huge ice sculputre, and special coffee with liquor available, and a roving magician. How cool is that?
The first night there we ate at Bonsai, which is the Japanese restaurant where you sit at the table/grill and watch the chef prepare your food. You are offered a plate of sushi if you like, and initially chopsticks. If you need a fork, they'll bring that to you. You can choose chicken, steak, shrimp, octopus, grilled veggies, and either white or fried rice. You can have any or all of the above and as much of it as you like. We sat with a couple from NY that we had met at the pool (Cindy and Ron), and had a wonderful meal with great new friends. The next night we ate at the Steak House - it was open air, and the only "adjustment" we had to make was to move from the edge of the room where rain was hitting us, to a table closer to the inside - they were happy to move us, and no problem with the new table. My wife ordered steak, I ordered grilled shrimp, we both thought they were excellent. The best steak I had while on our trip was at the Mexican restaurant. I ordered beef tenderloins which were prepared with onions, greens peppers and bacon. The waiter, Salomon, had two gravy boats filled with tequilla, which he lit, and then poured a 2 foot stream of flaming tequila back and forth, (nice little show), before pouring it over my steak. It was INCREDIBLE! The presentation of the appetizers and desserts was spectacular, and one of the appetizers was coconut fried shrimp - yum!! During the meal Salamon was kind enough to take a picture of us, and then later brought out two somberors to put on us for another picture - no charge! We are not rich, but I felt he went above and beyond the call of duty and left him a $10 tip. Speaking of which, like others, we left $2 a day for Gloria, our maid and she kept us well supplied in towels and water.
Another complaint we've heard about is that the mini-bar refrigerator doesn't cool the contents very well. This is true - if it's a problem you can always put your bottles/cans in the ice bucket with ice. Again, this didn't take away from our experience.
Gloria left a different towel sculpture and chocolates on our bed each day. One day when she was running late we had decided to take a short afternoon nap. She called and asked if we wanted her to come back later to clean the room, and when we said, no, she asked if we needed any more towels or water? I said yes, and 5 minutes later she was there with a huge stack of towels and 4 bottles of water. I gave her $2, and left her a $10 tip the last day were were there. I also periodically tipped the bar tenders and waitresses a buck here and there.
We only ended up going to one evening show, the theme of which were Broadway Shows. The female lead singer was exceptional, one of the male singers, not so much, but hey, we still enjoyed the singing, dancing, and costumes. Tip: Don't sit on the upper level near the bar - you'll hear loud talking and the blender throughout the show.
I was really worried when two days after I booked this trip Hurricane Wilma headed for the Yuccatan area, but like I said, it didn't cause any visible damage. I think it did deter others from booking now, and there's always the possibility of rain. Our first day was completely sunny, the next day a little rain - on that day we took our umbrellas and walked to the small shopping plaza that is just 5 minutes away. It rained a little another day, and twice in the evenings, but there was still sunshine throughout the day. Usually on vacations I plan every minute of it with places to see, things to do. This time I promised my wife I would relax and just "decompress" - that's exactly what I did. I woke up before my wife, so each day I would grab my camera and walk through the jungle taking photo's of all of the animals and birds. Then I'd head for the grill to get some coffee and a sweet roll.
After the wife woke we had breakfast together at the buffet. Then we loafed around the pool and sipped margaritas and had an ice cream cone. We lucked out on the room location. The first trip we were in Tucan and near the buffet. This time we were right next to the sports pool, which is near the big pool, the beach, and the open air grills. People have complained about early risers staking out chaise lounges and the covered cushioned platforms and that can be true - however, due to the smaller population, you could get to the pool as late at 10:00 am and still find plenty of available chaise lounges.
We enjoyed the activity people who work during the day staging various activities and contests, and then at night they perform in the shows. Two days we borrowed some "noodles" after they did the morning water aerobics class, and used them to effortlessly float in the pool.
The only other thing we did on this trip was take a $5 cab over to 5th Avenue to shop. We bought some t-shirts really cheap, and a few souvenirs (we collect refrigerator magnets where ever we go). Some of the shop owners are semi-aggressive, imploring you to view their shops, but they don't follow you like some have done in Cancun. They try one pitch as you pass by - my favorite was, "Come on, give me a chance to rip you off".
In summary, we had a fantastic time on our trip to Playa Del Carmen, staying at the Iberstar Quetzal. We consider it our little "paradise" and will definitely come back to it again.
Were things perfect? No, they never will be. But there is so much we love about this resort, their staff, and the sheer beauty of the grounds, that we roll with it.
A few final observations: For familys - the beach is topless. I went down one morning and laid on a chaise lounge under a thatch umbrella and at first I was all by myself. An hour later, there were at least 5 women near me who were topless. I'm 59, and as my 49 year old wife says, "you're never too old to look" - so I enjoyed the view! If you have small kids and are going to the beach, just be prepared. You're best chance to see monkeys is to walk down the roadway/path on the farthest left side of Quetzal. Going from the lobby of the hotel, about halfway to the beach you'll see a group of trees on your right and left. One morning I stood underneath and took pictures of at least 8 monkeys jumping from one tree across the road to another.
Money - we didn't need pesos the entire trip. What you do want to bring are single bills for tipping. Also, make sure when you shop and you're from the US, that if you only have a large bill, you will get your change in US currency. If you don't you may end up with Pesos and some of the stores do not offer a very favorable exchange rate and you'll lose money on the transaction. You'll find better prices in the 5th Avenue area, then the little shopping plaza near the hotel. T-shirts are 25% cheaper for one example.
Age of guests: On this trip, the majority of people at the hotels seem to be in the 20 to 30 age range. There were just a few in the 60 and older age range from what we could tell. We were in the 40 to 60 age range, and didn't see as many folks our ages as we did the younger ones. Again, I'm not complaining - the '"eye candy" for this middle-aged healthy American male (you can look but don't touch) was at times spectacular.
Finally, we've done all inclusive and non-inclusive. If you're find the right place, you simply cannot beat an all inclusive plan. Meals, drinks, and even room service at no extra charge? To us it makes the trip extremely affordable. The only other money we spent while we were there was on a few t-shirts, magnets, and tips. Feel free to contact me with any questions, particularly if you've never traveled to this area.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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17  Thank smcsmc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 September 2007

Just arrived back in the UK from another outstanding holiday in the iberostar quetzal.

when first arriving in the hotel grounds you couldnt see much damage from hurricane dean that had past just a week before our arrvial, the only real damage was a blown down wall on the far side of the hotel which the hotel staff built back up again by the time we left our 2 week stay here.

WEATHER: was brill, had a morning of rain, if you like a bit of breeze head for the sun beds on the beach the is to die for.

ROOMS: clean, bright, petals, chocolates and animals made out of towels are a nice feature by the maids, probably could be done with the rooms updating. bathroom: clean towels everyday, spotlessly clean.

ENTERTAINMENT: went to most of the shows on a night time in the show bar, most of them were very entertaining but there was the odd one that was very interesting but the star friends done their best everyday to entertain everyone at the two hotels, whether it was playing games around the poolside to dancing on the stage at 10 o'clock at night and everyone of them you will never see without a smile on their faces. well done!!

FOOD: the buffee restaurantthe food was faultless everything tasted beautiful, my favourite speciality restaurant by far had to be the japanese, food cooked right infront of you, the entertainment from the your very own chef was class, n the taste of the food was out of this world.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled with friends
    • Value
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2  Thank emwahh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 September 2007

Have just returned from the Quetzal and what a relaxing time we had! In our group of five (4x adults 1x child (1yr)) we were looked after by the staff as if we were a family member.
The staff can't do enough for you to keep you happy and for your stay to be relaxing.
The food was great, so much choice in the buffet restaurant and great service from Jose. The other restaurants are just as good with lots of choice and again great food.
The rooms are big and are kept clean, we didn't always get new towels each day but a call to the reception and we had clean towels in minutes.
The beach was clean and always had beds available, the same around the pool. I have not seen a bigger pool and on top of that you had a kids pool, adults swim up bar, and the games pool.
The grounds of the hotel are nice with the 'jungle' just being a great touch, always something to look at or something singing or the monkeys in the trees.
There's plenty of things to keep you entertained, pool games, sports, etc, but equally the staff leave you in peace if you aren't interested.
I could go on but this is a great hotel and well worth a look at if you want a relaxing holiday.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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11  Thank 19Sacha73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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