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Reviewed 7 January 2004

Just returned from the Quetzal after staying the week of Dec 27th thru Jan. 3rd. There were 20 of us in our family that travelled together and I have to say that our accomodations were great. I had requested ahead of time that we be assigned to the same bungalow and as close to the pool and beach as possible and my request was fulfilled. We stayed in building #22 which was a perfect location for us - we are big time beachers so being close to the lobby was not a priority.

The reviews on Quetzal our mixed and mine are as well. The positives of the resort include the service, accomodations, activities for the kids, the Star Friends and all other staff members. The negatives include the beach - although it's a beautiful beach, it is not maintained well - it is littered with cigarette butts and there are vendors that walk up and down the beach all day trying to sell their goods. Depending on the trade winds, the fumes from the motor boats and jet skiis can become quite strong when you're on the beach. The ocean water, however, was warm and very refreshing. Pool water was colder than the ocean. Alcohol choices are limited - no top shelf alcohol available and the wine is low quality as well. The food in the buffet and the specialty restaurants is average and repetitive. My family has stayed at the Iberostar Bavaro in the Dominican Republic and we were expecting the Quetzal to be along the same quality which was a bit disappointing.

Despite the negatives, we had an awesome vacation. We had a blast on New Year's Eve - plenty to do that night for young and old alike. Lots of day excursions to pick from - Tulum was awesome; an absolutely breathtaking view and it's worth going with a guide to hear the history of the Mayans and their culture. Xel-Ha was a beautiful place but horribly crowded. We were there in the early afternoon and had to wait hours to get snorkel equipment - they had no masks to give us. Bring your own equipment and save yourself the hassel - snorkeling in the caves in and the park itself was wonderful but don't expect to see a lot of tropical fish - we did see a school of yellow fin tuna that was it. There was also jet skiis, ATV riding with snorkeling in cenotes, horseback riding in Cancun on the beach and parasailing to fill our days. 5th Avenue is a stop you have to make but make sure you go to the mall - it's easy to loose your way and end up on the side streets where the quality of merchandise is less and the prices seem to be a bit higher.

Suggestions if you're going to Playa del Carmen - go to the ruins - Tulum is only 40 minutes away and worth the trip. 5th Avenue is great for shopping and picking up those souvenirs you'll be searching for, get comfortable with your vacation representative and the staff at the reception desk - they are full of relative information. Xel-Ha and Xcaret are filled with activities but expect to spend a full day at either one in order to make it worth your money and time. Relax and enjoy yourself!

All in all, we had a wonderful vacation and are already making plans for next year. We won't return to Quetzal because there are far too many other places to visit in the world.

2  Thank Global14855
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2004

My husband and I just returned from our vacation to the Iberostar Quetzal (12/18 to 12/23). We were delighted with the hotel but it was the staff that truly made our vacation wonderful. This was our third trip to Mexico. We ve always found the people wonderful, but the staff at the Quetzal was over the top. We are planning another trip for the fall and intend to take our two teenage children with us. We will definitely stay at one of the Iberostar properties, likely the Quetzal. Yes, the pools were cold, but the ocean was wonderful. The trade off of going to Mexico in December is colder water, fewer people.I only have two negative things to say about the resort. One, they really roll the sidewalks up after the show. It would have been nice to enjoy some social time after the wonderful entertainment (not Vegas quality, but very good nonetheless). The Disco was a little  young for us (we re in our 40 s). We would have preferred a little more eclectic mix of music. Two, a coffee maker in our room would have been an inexpensive addition for the hotel but would have provided a little extra  perk for those of us who enjoy a leisurely morning. Overall, I thought the hotel was wonderful.

Thank Traveler11305
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2003

Just returned from a week at the Quetzal, December 20-27. We are an "older" family with 3 young adult offspring -- all of whom loved the beach, the sun, and the atmosphere. The setting is quite spectacular, and they have integrated the natural jungle into the landscape of the hotel --- including all the wildlife. Saw monkeys, peacocks, and many other species. Gorgeous pool, and magnificent beach. We were always able to get beach chairs, but the place wasn't entirely full. On the day we left it seemed to be getting much more crowded, and it was harder to find a spot -- especially at the pool. Enjoyed the free sailing on catamarans and kayaks. Some of us also went snorkeling. Had one visit to the Mayan ruins in Tulum, but other than that we pretty much stayed at the resort -- aside from some strolls into the nearby town of Playa del Carmen , about 3 km away. The most positive attributes are the following: 1 - the staff are friendly, available, helpful, and always smiling. This included everyone from bartenders, to waiters, to maids, to front desk staff. Any request was dealt with promptly and effectively. 2. The place is kept immaculately clean. The grounds are continuously being cleaned, floors scrubbed, etc. 3. It's very nice not to have to carry a wallet around, and still be able to get a drink on the beach, an ice cream, a snack, etc. 4. The facilities and beach were lovely. The water in the ocean was actually warmer than the water in the pool, however. A lot of people were complaining that the pool was too cold. The rooms were very nice, although it would be nicer to have a clock radio. Beds are indeed very hard (as we were warned), but we didn't mind. Minibars are kept stocked with bottled water. On the negative side, my biggest complaint was the food. While there was lots of variety at the buffet restaurant, I found the quality to range from poor to mediocre (but I am personally very fussy about food quality and restaurants). Even the specialty restaurants were mediocre, in my opinion. I think this is one of the inherent hazards of "all-inclusive" resorts, where you have prepaid all of your food and they are feeding the masses. The shows in the evening were pretty amateur, but this was not a big deal for me as I had low expectations and even less interest. I was happy to return to my room and read a book. The rooms are quite nice, each with a balcony. There is no dresser, just a few shelves in the closet, so it would have been nicer to have a little more storage space. Also, there were very tiny ants on the counter top all the time --so we ended up unpacking our bags at home in the laundry room and washing absolutely everything. Also, the towels in the bathrooms are all fairly thin and could use replacing.
The best advice I received (from this website) before leaving was to bring about fifty $1 bills to use for tips. While tipping isn't required, it's probably a good idea to leave 1 or 2 dollars for the maid each day, and to look after waiters or bartenders if they have been particularly attentive. These tips are much appreciated. My complaints are minor in the context of the overall vacation, which we found very relaxing. It was our intention to have a "do-nothing" vacation during which we could finish a few good books, get lots of sun, enjoy being together as a family, and not have to worry about what to do and where to eat. In that sense, our goals were met and we liked it a lot.

6  Thank ALG48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 December 2003

My sister and I spent a week last year at this resort. Having never stayed here before, we were a bit nervous. It turned out to be an awesome experience. The staff was extremely friendly and also quite patient with us. We are planning a return trip in January to this resort. We only hope we have half as much fun as the first time.

2  Thank Mobile34826
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 December 2003

The Iberostar Quetzal/Tucan came highly recommended and it did not disappoint. The most impressive aspect of the hotel is the jungle atmosphere. Service was good, food was average to good depending on place and time of day. As advertised, the beds were hard at first, but I didn't notice after the first night. Beach was great, pool area was nice. My only complaint - old, out of shape men in speedos on the beach.

2  Thank Roving802651
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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