I wrote the draft for this review while sitting in the beautiful marble lobby yesterday (Nov 21) while waiting for my transportation to the airport to fly home. I normally wait to write my reviews until I get home but I just didn't feel like this should wait. If you are considering this resort...DO IT!! You won't regret it!! I was there from November 14-21 (2017) and I can't wait to go back!
This was my 9th trip to this area. I have stayed at the Bahia Principe (4 times) and once (each) at the Blue Bay Esmeralda, the Catalonia Yucatan, the Grand Sirens and the Barcelona Maya Beach Resort. As is evident from my list, the Bahia Principe has been my favourite...from 2003 until...now. Don't get me wrong...I still love that resort, especially the Tulum side...but this place, the Iberostar Quetzal...it is *magical*!
Yes, I will agree that the buffet food could be better, maybe with the addition of a couple of theme nights...but there was *always* something to be found to eat and even in the wee hours of the morning, I would *never* classify it as "prison food" as one review said. Breakfast was always delicious and I loved the fact that they had a panini press on the buffet so that you could build your own if you wanted to. There were a couple of omelet/egg stations and the pancakes were very good! I usually had lunch down on the beach, where you could get freshly grilled burgers, chicken, fish and a good selection of fruit and vegetables. Dinner was, I have to say, pretty repetitive, but the food was always freshly replenished and there was a good selection of Mexican and North American food, as well as a pasta station. If, however, you are looking for different food items every day, you may want to choose a different resort. If food is not necessarily your main focus, then you owe it to yourself to at least check this place out for a week. It is fantastic!
Now let me talk about the two a la carte restaurants I went to... The first was the Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda...where I had the best steak I have ever had in Mexico!! Chef Pablo Estreya did a wonderful job and Nathanael's service was impeccable!! When I asked him to pass along my compliments to the chef, he brought him to my table so that I could thank him personally! What an awesome touch! I had the ribeye at the steakhouse the next day. It was okay and Dora's service was fine but in the end, I decided to use my third reservation to return to La Hacienda! Nathanael was very busy that night but still did a good job taking care of me. Maybe next time I will try the Mediterranean and the Japanese restaurant, but I will DEFINITELY return to the Mexican restaurant!
One suggestion to the Iberostar: for single travelers, why not offer up to six a la carte dinners, since the reservations are normally for two people? Just an idea for those who tire of buffets.
My room was 2250 (top floor). Some have complained that this building is too noisy. I agree that you can hear the music from the pool, but only slightly if the patio door is closed. I absolutely loved this location. Francesca, the lady who took care of making up my room, always had some lovely towel art for me and left my fridge very well stocked! Perfecto! Her attention to detail was terrific!!
The jungle running through this resort is gorgeous! The wildlife, from the flamingos to the howler monkeys is incredible! It is SOOOOO great to just wander through there. The grounds and the beach are all very well maintained and everyone takes the time to wave with a smile and a friendly "Hola" as you walk by. Reply in kind and add "Buenas dias/tardes/noches" (for morning/afternoon/evening) and the smiles get even brighter!
Tip for travelers: When traveling outside of where you live, try to make an effort to learn at least the most basic of greetings in the language of where you are going. It really does make a difference when you take the time and make the effort!! At least, that has been my experience. My Spanish may not be all that great, but I try and I learn something new each time I travel.
Now for the Animation Team - Star Friends: I want to send a special thank you to Luis for the great aquafit classes. Bravo! Biceps and triceps of steel!! Very special thanks to Jeffe, who was both surprised and very pleased by my performance (very last minute) of Fancy by Reba McIntyre at karaoke night. He is able to get even the most reticent of wallflowers up and dancing poolside and always had a kind word and an encouraging smile. I want to send a very special thanks to Chocolate as well. It is amazing how well he remembers people. He is kind, thoughtful and a great member of your team. It is clear that he loves his job and he is terrific at it!! Muchas gracias!
And now, for the best of all!! Thank you so much to Jose (Cheppe) and Severino (Sever) who took great care of me in the lobby bar, El Paso. It was consistently the perfect way to end a fabulous day!! These two gentlemen handled even the most difficult (intoxicated) guest with grace and professionalism. It was a pleasure to watch them work. Being in the service industry myself, I know and appreciate how difficult it can be sometimes. They always had a smile and a hello for me, and the fact that they remembered my name every day after only one introduction was a testament to how invested they are in their jobs. Well done, Amigos! You both deserve a raise!! If there is some sort of staff recognition or award that is given at the Iberostar, these two both deserve it! Muchas gracias otra vez para su hospitalidad y por su amistad!!!!
I hope to be able to return to this resort soon. It is always more expensive to travel solo, so it may be a while before I can do it, but I would definitely like to come back! There are literally hundreds of places to choose from in the area, and I've been to a few, but this one may just become my "go-to" instead of the Bahia Principe. Not only was the staff outstanding, but the rooms were gorgeous and the grounds ... simply amazing! The added bonus? Not one single person (staff member) ever made me feel awkward or out of place just because I was a single female traveling alone! No matter where I go, I almost ALWAYS get the question, "How come you are traveling alone? Where is your husband?" but here...NOT ONCE...and that is saying something!! This is yet again a testament to the professionalism and courtesy of the whole crew. Well done, Iberostar Quetzal!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Privileged situation directly on the beach of Playacar, around 3 km from the town of Playa del Carmen. A watersports and diving paradise. Sub- tropical mangrove swamp. Great gastronomical variety. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Quetzal Playacar Hotel Playa Del Carmen
- Iberostar Hotel Quetzal Playacar
- Iberostar Quetzal Playa Del Carmen
- Iberostar Quetzal Playacar Riviera Maya, Mexico - Playa Del Carmen