2014 Iberostar Cozumel
Iberostar Cozumel, May 3 to 13, 2014
I am aware that I speak enthusiastically in a trip report about what I really enjoy, and just kinda ignore what I don’t like. Basically, that’s how I treat life as a whole and always look for the good. Being critical is not easy for me, I’m not real well practiced at it, but I’m taking off the rose colored glasses for this and will do my best to give you a real feel for the Iberostar Cozumel. Reception.
Having been to this resort before, I am really looking forward to this return visit. First impressions are always important and the first impression is very good. Check in is quick and easy, the lobby has polished marble floors and is clean and roomy.
We are given some welcome punch drinks, Conga, is the name of the drink. At the entry, I see there is a sign welcoming me back, after ten years!
The bell hop brings up the quiet battery powered cart to deliver our luggage and us to the room. He’s quick friendly and helpful, and he carried both pieces of luggage up the stairs together. Our room is a second floor bungalow. All the rooms here are one or two story bungalows, some singles, but mostly quad units.
We prefer the second floor and are glad that we got it. The room is non smoking, as, I believe Karina at the front desk said, all rooms here are non smoking. That being said, the comfy and inviting main lobby is also the smoking lobby. If you are a non smoker, be aware of that. We could enjoy resting in the main lobby for a while, but when it was time for the after dinner cigarette, we would stroll the grounds. Rooms/buildings.
We find the room layouts to be duplexes, quads and 8-plexes.
The duplexes are all single level, while the rest are two story. We prefer the two story. It seems there is an ice machine in each building or there may be one per courtyard. We never had need for ice so we are not certain. It seems there is an ongoing maintenance program for the buildings. Some were having their thatch roofs replaced, and you could see other units that had their hammocks and deck furniture removed, apparently next in line to be re-worked. Our room
is roomy with a king sized bed and plenty of room to walk around. There is a bedside stand on each side of the bed, and a boutique table with two chairs.
There is a desktop with a mirror behind it that holds a 32” flat screen, alarm clock, coffee maker with coffee and tea and sugars, ice bucket, glasses and cups, as well as bottled water.
In the closet is a safe with a programmable code for locking. Our net books just fit into it if inserted diagonally and turning just so. A full sized laptop would not fit into it. There is a working small fridge that has beer, soda and water in it. There are about a dozen hangers, and 6 cubbies for shirts and shoes, etc…
There is adequate lighting, including reading lights and a ceiling fan. There really is only one outlet available for use, so if you are charging camera batteries, or laptops, it is a good idea to bring a surge protector and a cord with a three way end on it.
Continuing with the room, there is a smoke detector, and a motion activated AC unit, which goes down to 20 degrees centigrade, plenty cool enough for us Mainers. The window has darkening shade on it, while the patio door needs a chair pushed up against the entry side of the curtain to give complete privacy to the adjacent bathroom. The room is clean and had only a very slight smell of mustiness upon arrival, febreeze not required and never a hint of mustiness afterwards. The TV has some 30 channels, only 3 or 4 of which come in English. The king sized bed is a pillow top and comfy, 5 pillows are available. The sheets are changed every three days. We often find the bed made at dinner time with chocolates left on the pillow. The floor is marble with a stone like border.
Our room, 8311, is near the pool with the entertainment staff and their speakers. During siesta, we found our AC provided adequate white noise to block them out and provide decent rest. Wifi
is available in the rooms or anywhere on the resort for a fee. A week is $40.00, and it works very well.Our bathroom
. The bathroom is a little dated with a painted wood frame around a large mirror. The natural stone counter is rough on craftsmanship but fully functional.
The backsplash is cracked and grouted back into place. There is a shower with a frameless glass enclosure, no tub. The lower hinge on the door is not fully attached to the door, but working. There is no clothesline and one has to get inventive to string up a line for drying off clothes. There are no hooks near the sink for hanging your toiletries bag but there are places to hang them, just not so convenient. On the counter, they provide all the bar soap, shampoo, body lotion, and body soap; as well as a comb, sewing kit, shower cap, shoe shine and adequate towels and wash clothes, which are changed out daily as you leave them on the floor. Hang them up again for re-use. In the shower are two dispensers for liquid body soap and shampoo. The toilet works fine and there are two paper rollers to assure you do not run out soon. A small garbage can is provided for the toilet paper. There is a full length mirror on the back of the bathroom door. Two 110 volt electric outlets are available in the bathroom, one is used by the hairdryer.
The shower, a hand sprayer on a rod, was a bit of an issue for us. It was only a dribble. We unscrewed the shower head and there was plenty of water, but we found a flow restrictor on the floor of the shower. We put it back together without the restrictor and it worked well, but it overwhelmed the partially stopped up drain. So I took a sharp pair of scissors and reamed out the restrictor and enlarged the opening a bit and put it back in. Now we have decent pressure and are not overwhelming the partially stopped up drain. Handles are loose on the shower, but hot is very hot and cold is cold.The deck and stairs
. This is always a pet peeve of mine. I have seldom found a stairway that will meet US codes. Second floor rail is 36” high and not very solid., The stair hand rail was very wobbly, then one time when coming up the stairs, I tripped over one step. It seems they have put in a thicker wood slab and reinforced the rail a bit. The stairs curve around the building and are uneven, some would call it rustic. The stairs themselves are solid. The deck boards are solid if uneven and there are 2 deck chairs and a table, along with a hammock to use. The balusters are some 6” apart, and one is missing near the stairs.Room cleaning.
The ladies work very hard and do a great job. Each day, different towel art is done. Towels are regularly changed out, floor swept, garbage is emptied, etc…. Supplies are refilled regularly (drinks, coffee items, etc…) If you leave a note asking for extra, it is provided. Should you be sleeping during siesta and you room is not made up, they are sure to make up your bed and provide fresh towels while you are at dinner. Not a full room cleaning, but the basics. Dining
. This is an important item for us. We have never gone hungry anywhere we have stayed, but I look to be able to say more about a resort’s dining options. This resort does much more than keep us fed. Every meal at the buffet has much of the same choices each meal, but some items are rotated in and out.The fruit buffet
is always full at breakfast and dinner, with a smaller selection at lunch; pineapple, watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, orange, guava, bananas, grapes and more. There are dried prunes, raisins and apricots (I have about 4 of these each meal). Salad items
are available every meal, lettuces, cukes, carrots, tomatoes, peppers and a couple dressings. They also give you a selection of bean salads, potato, macaroni, and cole slaw. A Ceviche seemed to always be found. Cold cuts, cheeses and breads
are also available each meal. Some sandwiches are always prepared, or you can make your own. Crackers and jellies are also always available, as are a type of pizza.Chips and guacamole
are also available every meal, with peppers and onions and melted cheese. You may add from the salad bar or a favorite of mine is some kind of seasoned hamburg and cheese from the hot foods. Drinks
, coffee, fruit juices, tea and water are available for each meal. There is wine available or you may upgrade the wine for a fee. Breakfast
were off the main lobby.
Things you could always expect at breakfast include cereals, waffles, pancakes, donuts and pastries, eggs (boiled, scrambled, fried, omelets to order), sausage and bacon, mole sauce, some sort of potatoes and hash browns. For this meat lover, steak was often available, though sometimes chicken or pork. (The steak, while well seasoned, could occasionally be tough). They rotate in kielbasa from time to time, and always have a quiche. Yogurts come in several flavors with toppings. Nutella and peanut butter and other spreads are available along with butter. Syrups are maple and strawberry. Some sort of taco/burrito/nacho was also offered. Fried bananas are a favorite of mine on vacation. We found the hash browns to be not so good, while potatoes could be sometimes undercooked, and occasionally, the fried bananas were dry. Otherwise, breakfast very satisfying and filling. Lunches.
After a morning dive, this would be a welcome sight at the restaurant near the pools.(Between regular serving hours, a diver coming in late from the boat could find plenty of snacks to hold them over to the next meal, including hot portions). Once past the salads and nachos, the hot buffet would start off with kid fare such as pizza, raviolis, very good french fries, hamburgers and hot dogs. The next section would often include steak, but sometimes pork and often times chicken. There was a seafood offering and fish, and occasionally a shrimp cocktail. There was a decent selection of sweet deserts such as cakes and confections, and three choices of hard ice cream and 3 soft serve (vanilla, twist and chocolate). The hard ice creams often included coconut, chocolate and strawberry, while rotating in cheesecake, cookie, maple walnut, sherberts and others.Buffet dinners,
off the main lobby, would have a roast carving station of turkey, fish, or pork at each meal. There would be potatoes, rices, and pastas served various ways. Some sort of vegetable offering as well as Mexican specialties were all available. Three flavors of hard ice cream would be rotated in and out, often including chocolate and coconut. We found the hard ice cream here to be very good, and never added a topping to it, though they were available. The desert table was just sinful with calories and sweets. It was hard to walk past it, so many different offerings. You had to walk past them to get to the fruits.Specialty dinners
. We did not do the hard rock buffet, due to scheduling. But we did the steak house and Mexican, available from 6:30 to 10 PM. Shrimp was available at both, Laurie preferring the Mexican serving. I had steak at each, both were cooked differently, but tender and good sized. The tortilla soup at the Mexican was very tasty. Salad bar was always available along with pasta and bean salads. For hard ice cream, we walked over to the buffet after strolling the grounds. Flora
. The grounds are maintained in a neat and orderly fashion, mowed, trimmed etc…. leaves raked out, animal and bird droppings regularly cleaned. There are plenty of flower and shrubs and trees. The walkways meander a bit, but after a day or so, you start to learn the most expeditious routes. This resort is built into the jungle and many trees line the walkways.Fauna
. This is a real highlight for me. There is a flamingo pond near the front lobby, sporting some 10 flamingos and no less than 4 turtles.
Iguanas abound here, literally scattered around the resort.
There are cats all around also. They are all neutered, and marked with a clipped ear, de-wormed, fed and given water daily. They keep the rodents down and many are friendly, some will lay in your lap. You may take one home if you take a liking to it. Yes, there are too many on the island.
There is a cockatiel (Named Oogel) and a parrot (Named Pepe) in the lobby wandering freely, as well as a couple of peacock hens.
There are no less than 3 male peacocks scattered about the resort and more hens. They are just very pretty birds. You will hear them every morning, along with all the regular birds giving their morning song.The pools.
We do not use the pools much, but when we do, we find them warm enough and clean, with an occasional tile missing here and there. They are cleaned up and maintained every night and lighted so folks walking around can see them. The two adult pools have a sit down bar between them, a nice way to get a drink if you are a pool person. There is a water volleyball net set up as well as two basketball hoops. There are 2 smaller shallow pools off to the side, one is clearly a toddlers pool, while the one ringing it has loungers in it and one can sun themselves while laying in the water. Dive services.
Dressel Divers has an operation on site, a very friendly outgoing bunch. Being a new diver, I really can not give a good assessment on their abilities, but I can say this. They are very helpful and give good clear instructions on the boat and are very good at pointing out what you came to see. The camaraderie between them is fun to watch as they compare who saw what on this dive. I told Scott on my first dive that I haven’t dived for 10 months so I would follow his lead setting up my BCD and gear. He spent a little extra time on the first setup to help, after that I was all set. Cost for gear is $8.00 per item per two tank dive. I paid $24.00 for wet suit, BCD and regulator. (Personal note: I’ll be buying this gear soon enough, but I want to do some diving so I’ll know what I want when I buy it). There are weight belts and plenty of weights on the boat. The deck hand does a great job helping you in and out and taking your flippers and making sure you get them when you are on board. If your lady wants to go for the boat ride while you dive, there is no charge, so long as there is room on the boat. They do daily snorkel trips to Columbia and Palancar reef with the divers, a service we took advantage of and enjoyed very much. For the snorkelers, the dive master brings a life ring with a rope.Banos
are cleaned regularly and there is small garbage can near each one. Basically functional, and are tile walls and floors.Bars
. We are not drinkers so we can’t say much for the quality of the drinks, but we did enjoy the Tigers and the Congas(the welcome drink punch).The bar tenders are pleasant and quick to make your drink.Entertainment.
We didn’t engage with the animation crew as we have kept ourselves busy with snorkeling and diving and excursions and just walking around this living garden. But what we saw of them was that they were enthusiastic and it was fun to watch their activities. GYM, spa and Tennis.
We made no use of these services but the areas seem clean and in good working order. Beach area.
The beach was nice, for us, a sunny area and an area with palms providing a shade area also. The beach is not pure sugary sand, it has shells and seaweed and rocks. They do rake it regularly, but the heavy seas have been keeping them busy. Entry to the water is immediately rocky, it being easier to enter the water at the end of the pier where there is a ladder. We felt very free to walk the shore in either direction for as far we would like in this heat. Snorkeling.
The snorkeling is not what I remember from 10 years ago. Out front, about the only fish are under the pier. Going south and coming back with the current produced few fish. When we went out far enough to find fish, we were in boat traffic. Going north, we found few fish, but would constantly find ledges with lobster hiding under them, perhaps 20 or so from here to the Allegro, about a mile and a quarter north. Any real good snorkeling was easily accessed by boat to the reefs, and it was very good. Right out front, not so much.Final Assessments:
I find this resort to be very much to my liking, and will be back.
Highlights include very good dining and selection (Not great, but very good); the fauna (Flamingos, peacocks, cats, iguanas, turtles, parrots in the lobby, and the bats at night), the flora in a jungle setting, I always like the travelers trees and of course the various trees and shrubs, proximity to snorkeling and diving excursions. Perhaps our biggest use of the resort was just strolling around, as we found it so beautiful and interesting.
Areas in need of improvement include the bathrooms which are a little dated and there is no clothesline in the shower fro wet bathing suits. There is also little place to hang your toiletry bag. While we did not watch much TV, and often fell asleep to it, there was only one reliably English channel available. Being a builder, I am more aware of American building codes and see so many areas that do not meet American codes, but nothing that would keep me from coming back. Remember, we aren’t in Kansas anymore.
post edited by uphillklimber - 2014/05/15 18:00:30