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Reviewed 25 July 2011

This was our second time to the Iberostar Quetzal/Tucan complex, fourth to the area..
We had a lovely vacation at the Iberostar:
check in was quick (even on a Sunday) easy and we were greeted with chilled juice..
Our room was just what we requested, near the pool, king bed and no smoking, perfect
(we had requested this by e-mail a couple of weeks before departure)
We also had booked our specialty restaurants via e-mail...this worked out well also (really liked this feature)
check out was as easy, no problems

the room was cleaned well, air worked well
we found the pool to be pristine clean (quite warm as it is summer) but crystal clear
the ocean (more to our liking) ....plenty of palapas and they also give out many umbrellas...the towel game lives on of course.....the beach was very nice, bit of a step down when entering but beautiful...first few days there was no sea weed but there was a few days with a fair amount washing in...the staff was working hard to clear the beach. I don't know if this is annual, a storm out at sea or just the currents...but the ocean is fickled and by the end of the week the seaweed seemed to have found someplace else to go...
There was a hatching of beautiful yellow butterflies that just seem to never end...

we loved the restaurant near the beach and ate many breakfasts and lunches there, very easy, very comfortable
the buffets were good (truthfully maybe a little cut back from 4 years ago) but still quite good and always found something yummy
now let me say this about the a la carte restaurants, I have been disappointed and typically don't expect much, I would rather go down town but.....
the Japanese was very very good, the cook was very entertaining and the food was delicious and they gave you plenty
the steak house was quite good as well, the service was quite professional and the steak was good...
night entertainment was quite good some nights, the magician was very good, a couple of the nights it was only fair....the up side to the night entertainment is that they had live music most nights before, during and after the shows, I loved this...there was some dancing as well...we did not visit the disco so can not comment on this...
we spent a large amount of our time at the resort only going downtown a couple of times and out for a day trip x1.....
Iberostar, I think, takes pride in their establishment and it shows....
It is an older resort but the location, pride of ownership and dedication of the hard working staff make Iberostar a great choice....

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Jean A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2011

So first off a little about us.. We are yearly visitors to the Cozumel area and this is my 3rd visit to the Playa Del Carmen area. We love Cozumel but just did not find a good last minute deal so we started looking in the Playacar area especially since they re-did the beach area and I had heard it was pretty nice. We did love the beach at this resort but we still found ourselves craving for Cozumel waters which are a lot more clearer than the Playa del Carmen side of things... but more than that we are beach people and we got an excellent deal via apple vacations and decided to jump on it. Also when in Cozumel we prefer eating at our favorite loncheria's and taco joints so we are not real AI folks. The deal was so good it was only $100 more for this all inclusive compared to other non all inclusive hotels so we thought lets go for it..for an extra $100 it was an excellent deal and if we saw this come up again we might pounce on it.
First off the grounds of the hotel are lovely- 4-5* and they kept our room nice... great ac, decent water pressure and hot water, fresh stocked fridge etc, our bed was hard too- we slept on it the first night and next day asked for an egg crate mattress pad and it was much better. great beach service on the beach but we still got our own no problem on that. The beach was nice and we preferred to get our own beach umbrella to be closer to the water- which to us felt nicer and with more breeze than the palapa area. The beach did get crowded with guests but I'm still mesmerized by that blue water so I was fine (again we are beach people and I was happy to be on vacation). We didn't go to any of the shows it was not really our thing. We enjoyed the people who worked at the resort very much...everyone was helpful and fun to be around (5* on the customer service) My only BUT in our vacation was the food... I know what to expect for AI's but I'm still not really sold on them because I don't think the food is that great and it does get old at 1.5 days. I think if you can sign up for as much of the specialty restaurants as possible that would be a good idea... I know they limit they amount but you can also sign up if any one cancels there reservations. Also know we don't eat fancy when we have gone to Coz but I love going to taco places where we get fresh yummy taco's for under a dollar each and they are great...so I don't eat really fancy anyways and I kept telling myself I'll just make tacos and I'll be fine... but I found the food lacking. We both enjoyed the breakfast buffet- I would say no problems with this- we loved the fresh fruit juices and fruits available everyday, we loved having omelettes made from scratch and surprisingly we liked the coffee too. Lunch was a different story -I really didn't like much of the lunch buffet but I do love guacamole and chips and sometimes would just go with that option. I also made fish tacos out of the white fish they had daily and just put this between one of the quesadillas added a bit of pico and it was okay- nothing I was craving for more but okay. One day on the beach for lunch they serve a paella and it was really good and flavorful but if you see it in the lunch buffet just know you may be eating left over paella. We had bites of pizza, ravioli and not so great. I do have a good tip- if you want to know what the hand made pasta will taste like in the ala carte italian restaurant taste it here it seemed to be the same and sorry but its gross- it tasted like the pasta was made from flour tortilla dough- something is off but they aren't so good..(also a not to skip the italian food place -or order something other than pasta there). My husband did fine at lunch because he was happy with a fresh grilled burger everyday and they were really pretty good. The dinner buffet the first night was fun because they really do have a huge selection of food and like many other reviews before me you should be able to find something you'll like- just don't expect much... I ended up making my own taco's again... We did eat a little late 8-8'30 just so it would cool down and did find some of the interesting dishes of the night to be lacking at that time ... one day it looked like they had baked a large grouper and would have loved a piece of this but it was really picked over at that time.... another day it looked like they had some type of roast but it looked overcooked and dry. I had some decent ceviche there with shrimp and white fish- not too bad but I wish it was a little cooler and had some chicken Mole and wished it was a little warmer- it made me a little nervous not to finish the whole chkn thigh but the sauce on it was really delicious. They have tons of deserts but I'm not really a desert person- the ice cream was okay a little too sweet for me... I did enjoy the lime and coconut candy/desert- just a few bites-its kind of interesting to me I don't know why- just something I don't see that much around our hispanic neighborhoods. We ate at the Japanese restaurant and it was ok to good- yes like beni hanna's but not quite as fresh in my book but if I went back would still book here. We enjoyed the show and had great service. The italian food restaurant was not that good I sent my pasta back - it was gross to me and the waiter recommended I try the lamb chops which were cooked perfectly. Not the greatest sauce of veggies that went with it but I love me some lamb chops... My husband got the pork medallians or something like that and they came out luke warm and it was just so so. The thing that was okay was the appetizer buffet... which had a few nice cheeses on it.. I had a nice slice of brie and a nice slice of goat cheese so I was happy with that - could of used more of a green salad too but it wasn't really set up like that... the other items on this were just mediocre. I would skip this restaurant if we went back.. We did enjoy being in AC for both of these restaurants and really did choose the italian over the steak place because of this. The pool was fun to jump into after the ocean but still pretty warm so we preferred cooling off in the ocean... The pool is very large and we didn't feel too crowded - there was always a place to hang out. Never made it to the pool bar - it does look kind of gross to me too. The beach is wavy but nothing you can really body surf but we still liked cooling off in the water... on busy days the jet ski's go crazy and we weren't crazy about this since we enjoy just hearing the ocean waves on the shore. One of the other reasons for coming over to the Playa side was my husband never saw Tulum so we rented a car from the hotel (which I normally don't do since its pricier than getting one in town but didn't want to mess with the logistics of doing that so it was worth the higher price IMO) good service and off we go to Tulum- We loved seeing it and then I wanted to explore some of the beach clubs of Tulum. I had heard south Tulum had better beaches and we went to check out the beach in front of the OM resort and it was just okay and we didn't even stay which I thought we may stay at 2 locations (it was pretty but so was the beach at the Tucan and at the Tucan we have beach service for free... next we went to North Tulum area and found a great beach at El Paraiso - its a beach club and its on a gorgeous stretch of beach- we went swimming (no rocks in July) and took some photos and had a beer for an hour. I had really thought maybe Tulum would be my next favorite spot but I think I'll stick to Cozumel beaches from here on out. Back to the hotel for more ocean time. We did like the beer on tap at the hotel - we think Dos Equis (xx) but we didn't really care for their mixed drinks from the beach bar- even when adding a double I think they may water down...They use syrups for their mixed drinks so it may have been just too sugary or not that fresh fruit that I like ..they did use fresh banana's in their banana daquari's or dirty monkeys which were okay for one. We like just having a beer and a shot of tequila or mezcal every once in a while. The mojito's and capriahana's where not bad either. The lobby bar was nice and we enjoyed the classical guitar player too and seemed to have better drinks up there as well. All in all it was a nice get away and if the deal came around again at The Tucan i wouldn't hesitate staying there again- but maybe budget for a few nights in PDC for dinner.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Jujubeetravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2011

SUMMARY OF THE QUETZAL / TUCAN

After reading many reviews on tripadvisor I settled on the Quetzal / Tucan in Playacar for our two week family holiday in Mexico, booking with Thomas Cook. (They are essentially the same hotel sharing pools and a la carte facilities but with their own lobbies, bars and buffets which can be shared amongst guests). Not sure why the Tucan seems to get a higher rating on tripadvisor than the Quetzal since there didn't appear to be any difference in reality. One explanation could be the slightly different mix of people staying in each. Some operators like Thomas Cook use the Quetzal side in the main for example, others use the Tucan side.

On the whole this place is fantastic and I found the reviews on trip advisor very accurate. It does have its faults, but so do most of the hotels in Mexico, but my view is that within the price bracket you'll find this is the best overall. Sure you can pay five grand for the Riu Palaces and it's probably more plush, but hey this place is so much more fun. Don't come here if you want marble pillars and swish bedrooms, but if you want a fun place which fits with the surroundings and makes you feel you are in an exotic location this is for you. The whole hotel is set in a series of thatched open areas linked by covered walkways crossing over waterfalls and jungle. The place is full of exotic animals, monkeys, peacocks, possums, gaint tortoises and flamingos. Within the complex is a series of air conditioned a la cartes which include Mexican, Italian, Steakhouse, Japanese and Tropical. My main complaint would be that with the exception of the rooms and the a la cartes nothing is air coned to any viable extent. The buffets were really hot and so was the entertainment area. Overall the food was quite good, but I would agree with some of the comments in trip advisor about it being inconsistent.

CHECK IN
No waiting, we were dealt with quickly and efficiently. I requested a jungle view room which was duly granted, however when we entered the room there was only one king bed for the three of us. We reported this back and it was immediately changed.

ROOM
The room was clean and functional with everything you needed like a flat TV, fridge and a really good double shower (no bath). Air Con seemed to work well. Rooms are very rustic, no wallpaper here, pretty much concrete and stone was the order of the day. All painted in colours in keeping with the surrounding this added to the jungle feel. Beds were quite hard but no worse than I’ve had in Spain for example, didn't need toppers and the only thing which interrupted our sleep was the cries from the monkeys at 6:35am when the sun came up! We were on the ground floor so we had a balcony which all the animals came right up to. Peacocks slept on our balcony, possums walked past and the monkeys were hanging in the trees above. (If you want monkeys on your balcony then go for a top floor room which also has a thatched roof). We followed tripadvisor advice and left the maid 100 pesos with a list of the drinks we wanted in the fridge, sure enough when we returned it was fully stocked and then everyday with our preferences.

FOOD
The buffets in the Quetzal and Tucan were exactly the same. The food did vary but was generally quite good. I guess food is a difficult one, they have to cater for many nationalities including a lot of Mexicans. The tacos were good but a word of caution - if it says something is hot like the sauce or chilies they MEAN IT! Some nights they had giant prawns in shells, other nights the options were more modest. There was always someone cooking pasta and also someone carving and serving meat and fish. Deserts ranged from Mexican specialties like lime skins stuffed with coconut to those tasteless cakes and jellies to get in all inclusives. Would like to have seen some paella of the quality they prepared on the beach which was excellent. Breakfast was better with many choices, omelettes, bacon and eggs, pastries, cereals, pancakes and smoothies were the order of the day.

The pool restaurant severed similar choices running a bit later in the day. It was cooler to eat down there and they did have cooked stuff too including the omelettes. During the day they also served lunches (hot and cold) plus they did tea and cakes and snacks. Just outside was a barbecue area which did really good burgers and also hot dogs, nachos etc..Also the famous ice-cream stand was near here and I would agree coconut is the best, closely followed by Raspberry Cheesecake. The stand was open from 12 - 5 and they changed the range of flavours pretty much every hour so you had to be quick to get what you wanted.

We got six a la carte reservations under the Thomas Cook deal. The a la cartes were variable, our first visit to the steakhouse was good with the tenderloins all being cooked to perfection and the bloomin onion hot and crisp. The second visit was a disaster. The steaks came burnt to a cinder and when we sent them back they came back raw. If this happens to you I would advise you go to guest services and report it stating that you feel it was a wasted reservation. They will gladly offer you another reservation provided your complaint is genuine (please don't abuse). The Mexican is good if you know what to order, problem is the menu leads you to order tacos which are essentially the same as you get in the buffet. Steer clear of that and go for the tequila flamed kebab, steak or shrimp dishes. The Italian was OK, starters were good and my Red Snapper was OK, but they messed up my wife's pasta twice. The Japanese was excellent, agree more of a show than real Japanese cuisine but the food was actually good too. Start with sushi, then crispy vegetables following by fried rice with either shrimp, steak, chicken or octopus (or all four if you like). Agree banana fritters are the best. Didn't try the tropical but it always seemed available which I think said it all!

DRINKS
Strongest drinks were in the lobby bars and they also had international brands such as J Walker Whisky, Gordons Gin etc..recommend zombie cocktails. Bar pool had the weakest drinks, recommend going to the adult pool or the bar inside the pool restaurants. All bars also offered range of wines including carva, plus coffees like Cappuccino or Espresso. Staff would make up pretty much any drink as part of the all inclusive.

POOL & BEACH
Pools were clean and water warm. I think you have to appreciate that this hotel is set in a jungle so if there is a storm overnight then there will be some leaves and debris in the water the next morning. Staff do their best to keep under control. Never had any trouble getting a bed but agree lots of people reserving early in the morning. Staff would remove towels if abusers were highlighted or they discovered them. Beach was beautiful and water crystal clear and also warm. If you took in some bread within a few minutes there were hundreds of fish around you and they would eat out of your hand. If you want some peace and quite then come out of the hotel onto the beach and take a right. If you walk along the beach about a mile you are literally on your own. There are sandy coves and palm trees handing onto the beach like paradise.

ENTERTAINMENT
Shows ranged from the bazaar (Mexican dancers playing football) to the ridiculous. (Mr Iberostar 2011). Drink plenty of tequila before attempting to enjoy and take a fan cause it’s boiling in there!

PLAYACAR
Playacar is the place to be since it is a gated community containing a large number of high end villas, hotels and golf courses. Being gated it is secure and suitable to walk around. Is also has a purpose built ‘village’ with shops and the essentials like a chemist, starbucks and cash machines. Again all very tastefully done with thatched roofs. Beware of cheaper hotels which whilst they sit on the beach simply back onto the main road between the airport and Playacar. This makes it difficult to walk anywhere.

PLAYA DEL CARMEN
30 minute walk through the villas, worth a look at the scale of some of them and the high end cars, but next time you’ll take a taxi for 70 pesos. Main street is 5th Avenue and is closed to traffic. There is a mixture of high end jewelers and local street traders who can be pushy. There are lots of good bars and places to eat, plus some good coffee shops. Ah Cocoa is good and offers coffee, chocolate drinks and pretty much everything chocolate you might want. Also free wi-fi.

CANCUN AND TRIPS
Went to Cancun, don’t bother pretty much concrete and plastic, the benidorm of Mexico. Town did not feel as welcoming as Playa del Carmen and everything seemed more expensive. We did not go on any trips, but notable are those to the ruins and also to the waterparks / activity parks. Check prices because they can be expensive, a better option might be to take a bus from Playa del Carmen or a taxi for the shorter runs and pay on entry. Be aware they are not all open on Sundays.

COMMUNICATION
Only wi-fi is in the hotel lobby and is quite pricy, nearest free wi-fi is Starbucks in Playacar (10 mins walk). If you buy a coffee you get the password which was latte34 when we visited. The connection is good and we Skyped home for about an hour without any problems. One thing we noticed is the logon and password also worked anywhere else where the same internet provider was used so we were able to use it to logon at McDonald’s in Cancun for example. Phoning home was expensive and don’t forget to turn your data roaming off!

SUMMARY
Really good value, Mexican people so friendly and helpful they literally wait on you hand and foot. An incredible experience with the jungle and animals, brilliant location and hotel.
One final point, Thomas Cook. I know some people say different but overall I thought they were good. Best price online, rep good, flights bang on time and legroom comparable to scheduled. The likes of BA and Virgin were hundreds more and offer little more than a couple of free drinks to economy passengers. Only worth going with them if you pay for club class or greater.

Room Tip: Ask for jungle view, top floor for monkeys, ground floor for peacocks!
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
17  Thank SteveFussy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2011

We've had another great holiday at the Tucan. It's our fourth visit to the Tucan, reason being we go to other destinations in the Caribbean and Europe, but no other Hotel compares to the service we get there.

The Hotel as described in other reviews, is unique with the wildlife,the service and food quality is always of a high standard with plenty of choice.Any other request would always be met.Upon checking in we only accidentally mentioned we were returning guests and immediately given a top floor kingsize room.

If you are hesitating to book, don't, couples, families with small children, all are catered for here.The Mexican people we've met around the Hotel and in Playacar make us always want to return. It's a safe, beautiful part of the Caribbean to visit with a gorgeous beachfront location.

Thank you Hotel Tucan especially Henry and Carlos, we hope to see you again.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Mexicoloversjb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2011

We did this trip as a bit of a last minute getaway, and for the price, I think it's a pretty solid choice of place to stay near Playa del Carmen.

The lobby is open air and very pretty. The front desk staff was friendly and efficient. We arrived around five o'clock, and they told us our room would be ready in about ten minutes. A little confused why it took so long to get the room ready but no big deal. We walked around the jungle area (which was my favorite part of this resort), had a drink at the lobby bar, and went up to our room afterward.

The rooms are pretty basic, nothing fancy. Yes, the bed is hard. We like a firm bed, but this bed is hard. The refrigerator was restocked every second day they said. We only got two beers on the first day then never again. There is a "daybed" beside the door that is nice. The rooms have a shower only, no tub, and once I figured out I was turning the faucet the wrong way every freaking time I had no problem with hot water. Overall, it was a decent place to sleep and shower and that was really the only reason we were in the room anyway.

The food was really quite good. The buffet did get a bit repetitive but everything was prepared well, and there wasn't one night that I didn't comment "hey, this is good." Suckling pig, y'all. I don't eat pork, but I gave in to the husband and tried it and it was delicious. We had one reservation at the Mexican restaurant, and while the food was excellent I found the set up a little weird. Appetizers and desserts are on a buffet line. You are served your entree table side. I was kind of expecting a full service experience, but eh.

We jumped in the pool once, and it was warm like bath water which in my opinion is excellent. Most days we went to the beach, which was busy, but the water is gorgeous. We were able to find a palapa for me to hide under (I'm ridiculously pale) with no issues.

The service was always quick and friendly with one glaring discrepancy--the beach service. Example one: I go up to get a drink from the Coke machine (it's self-serve). Two employees are talking loudly and laughing in front of it. I asked them in English, excuse me. They don't move. I ask in Spanish. They don't move. So I just reach between the two of them. One rolls her eyes and moves. Example two: My husband saw these same people standing on the beach talking to each other, not serving guests or clearing away plates. They were supposed to be offering to bring things to guests, but people were just getting up to get their own when they were standing around talking. Example three: When a girl did come by to pick up cups and plates, she said to me, "Give those to me" in a rather rude tone. She was acting all exasperated and ignored a whole row of people, then got to another seemingly random couple and turned sweet as punch--"Can I get you something from the bar?" Maybe I would have liked something from the bar. Celia, I think her name was. Anyway that irritated me.

Another thing that irritated me was having to pay for internet, but we just walked to the Starbucks in Playacar and used theirs.

So in short--food was good, beach was excellent, staff was excellent (with the exception of the beach staff). Oh, and the location was awesome--a few minutes to Playacar Plaza, and a (rather long) walk into Playa del Carmen where you can get on an ADO and go anywhere. For the price I'd definitely return, particularly if I had kids.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank applebrownbetty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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