I read a few reviews on this location, how their beds are hard, when its true. I paid (with tax) like 75US, I will say, not bad @ all for the price.I was there for only one night. Clean room,AC work FINE,.,one bad thing, all of the channels were in spanish =)
At first glance this hotel is very inviting with a lovely pool and common area gardens. Just don't go into the rooms. We checked in without a reservation and did not look at the room before paying. The first thing that we noticed was the overwhelming smell of cleaning solution and mildew and the second was the lack of natural light. It was like a cave. Be sure to see the pictures below. They describe everything perfectly. The towels were old and thin enough to spit through. Floors were stained and ugly. Bathroom: Let's just say that we checked out the following day without using the shower. This hotel sort of reminded me of some of the places I stayed at in South America many years ago when a standard question was whether they had hot water 24/7..
If you are looking for luxury or a resort-type experience, this is not it. Overall it is extremely clean, and safe, and really good people work there. So if, like me, you just want something fairly inexpensive, but clean, its absolutely fine.
Basic but fairly nice is how I would summarise the place. Basico pero bueno.
None of the rooms have an actual ocean view, However, the open-air corridors / shared balconies by which you gain access to the rooms have magnificent, panoramic views over the ocean and the city, and have lots of comfortable seating so you can sit in the shade and enjoy all the light and fresh air and stunning views. A lovely little breeze is sometimes to be had, since you're up quite high. The views from the rooms are non-existent, but I didn't care, because the balcony views are so great.
Hot water for showers - you have to run the sink AND the shower AT THE SAME TIME for several minutes. Just be patient. Its no big deal. You're in Mexico, don't worry about it.
The place is not actually on the beach, but is (literally) a two minute walk down the street 30 yards and another 20 yards down a little alley / pathway which gets swept every day. This puts you on the Playa Madera, which is nice.
The hotel is secure – there are people at the front desk at all times and they are very watchful and know exactly who is coming and going. After 11:00 pm there is a night watchman who locks the place up and opens the steel gate when you show up in a taxi during the wee hours.
The safe/lockbox arrangements are slightly funky, but I had no problems. They put your stuff in a locked bag within a locked safe. Individual lockboxes are not available.
The air conditioning is supplied by a unit in the rooms. Mine seemed pretty new and got the job done.
The telly just has Mexican TV, which has many channels. A lot of what they show is American shows and films, some overdubbed, some with Spanish subtitles. It's fine – view this as an opportunity to improve your Spanish language skills. If you want US channels or on-demand movies, they don't have any of that. But hey, one goes to Mexico to be in Mexico, not to be at home in the US in front of the telly.
Bedroom furniture is simple, spartan and utilitarian. Again, just what you need and no more.
They have a lovely open-air dinner restaurant with stunning panoramic views. The prices are reasonable, the food is great and the service is excellent.
My only complaint is that the beds are hard. I am used to a pretty hard bed but theirs are harder than I was comfortable with. Pillows weren't great either. I brought this up with them at checkout and they were aware of the problem and expressed their intention to do something about it. Maybe if I ever go back to Zihua (a fine place) I will first check to see if this problem has been rectified. The hard beds didn't spoil my overall experience in this hotel, because there were so many other strong positives, but they certainly didn't enhance it.
The people are terrific. All the office staff speak good English. The maids don't. But are friendly and quite happy to converse in Spanish.
I strongly prefer not to help line the pockets of the corporate owners of big resorts and hotel chains. I believe in supporting the families of good, hard-working people by patronising this type of small, independent establishment. There's a feel-good factor operating, because the employees keep the place very clean and are welcoming and pleasant.
I would have no hesitation in going back to the Zihua Caracol, as soon as they invest in some more comfortable mattresses.
Lastly, there are many good restaurants in Zihua, but one of the absolute very best and most reasonably priced is a stone's throw from the Zihua Caracol – just 50 yards up the hill and round the corner to the right on the road named Escénica La Ropa is the amazing Sunset Grill. The food is simply excellent, the prices insanely moderate (I mean really gourmet main courses for like $10-15), and the people delightful. 5 stars. Very highly recommended.
We arrived in Zihua after a horrible overnight bus ride at about 6:30 in the morning; needless to say we were exhausted. We were not surprised that the room we had reserved at the partner hotel across the street (Casa Sun and Moon) was not yet available, but the friendly staff gave us access to a place to change clothes and leave our bags while we went to see the beach. We were also offered access to the public areas of the hotel, including some hammocks and sofas where we were able to take a brief nap.
At around 10am, a member of the staff told us that our room had not yet been vacated, but there were a couple other rooms available in both the Casa Sun and Moon and across the street at the ZihuaCaracol if we wanted to take a look and get settled into a room to rest. One of the offers was a room with similar amenities for no extra charge at the ZihuaCaracol, with an outdoor balcony/kitchenette, which we accepted. It was perfectly comfortable and clean with air conditioning (Zihua is hot and humid), though it could have used a little maintenance.
The first night and morning we did not have hot water. But following bathing that first morning we mentioned it at the front desk and by that evening we had hot water. There was also an incident that first night where apparently a false alarm was reported to local police, and some security guys (not totally sure if they were police or military) came around with flashlights knocking on all the doors at 5am to confirm that everyone was all right, though it was still a bit of a startling experience to have armed security knock on your door at 5am. We were told that the following nights there would be an extra security guard on-staff at the hotel, which we confirmed.
Despite these two experiences, for the value (we payed a bit under $100USD per night) I have no complaints about the establishment or the staff. I speak Spanish (which surely helps) but they were friendly and resolved both of the issues mentioned above in an appropriate and timely manner.
Amenities: Rooms have air conditioning and a small refrigerator. There is a nice swimming pool that gets a lot of use, especially by families. I can't comment on the breakfast (we never ate at the hotel, and had a kitchenette to save some money), but the coffee was good. And they have what looks to be a good bar and grill, but it is only open during high tourist season (Nov-April), so I can't comment on that either.
Location: The location is really good. It is on Playa Madera right in the middle between the city center and Playa La Ropa. It is a relatively short but hilly walk to Playa La Ropa (easily the nicest beach in Zihua Bay) and also a short walk into the city center. In the same general area there are a number of restaurants...try the seafood posole at Casa Vieja. There is access to Playa Madera during the day through the companion hotel across the street (Casa Sun and Moon), or a block away there is a public access to the beach at all hours.
The Hotel Zihua Caracol is an older, clean, comfortable middle of the range hotel with lots of character and charm. For the price the location cannot be beat. It is steps away from Playa La Madera and 10 minutes walking time to downtown. Along the way are many restaurants and shops. A short 15 minute walk will bring you to Playa Ropa anda further 10 minutes will take you to Playa Los Gatas. This hotel used to be called the "Casa Rosa" and the exterior has received a new coat of paint. The rooms are very plain but very clean. Depending on how many guests, you may have to leave the hot water running for a time before you get any satisfaction. Be patient, the hot water is there! We stayed in a suite and were very pleased. We had a fridge in our room and outside on the patio was the kitchen area consisting of a sink, coffee pot, toaster, blender and one propane burner. Seldom did we eat any meals other than breakfast in our room as there are so many restaurants within a short walk. Our favorites were Salvadors and Los Brisaros. There is a very large pool that was kept very clean at all times, and the pool at Casa Sun & Moon is available for use as well with a view to the ocean. The front desk will gladly hail taxis and provide advice on tours and other sightseeing tips for guests. Overall, the best thing for me about the Zihua Caracol was its location - one street back from Playa La Madera. You can walk to downtown Zihua in less than 10 minutes where there is a Mexican market with all the sounds and smells you would expect. Overall, a good value for the money and great location.