More about InterContinental Presidente Ixtapa
Ixtapa is Nice, but We Were Disappointed in the Hotel!
My wife and I stayed at the Presidente Intercontinental in Ixtapa from February 15-21, 2004. This was our first time at an all-inclusive. We usually like to stay at first-rate hotels and eat out at good restaurants. We thought we would try an all-inclusive this time, and thought that the Intercontinental chain would be a good bet. We were disappointed by our selection. First the good things: the beach is beautiful and clean and the water was warm. The weather was outstanding. We saw perhaps two clouds the entire week. Temperatures each day were about 28 C or about 88 F. While it did not cool off a lot at night, it was still pleasant to eat outdoors. The staff were very friendly and the concierge, Jorge, was outstanding. Drinks are plentiful and it was easy to get a waiter to take your order by the pool or at the beach. If you have a room in the low rise part of the hotel on the beach, you get a reserved chair and umbrella on the beach, which is quite nice. We had a nice room fronting the beach and ocean.
We also liked Ixtapa. It is laid back and friendly, with some interesting shops and restaurants and a beautiful marina. The hotel had a Mexican fiesta one evening with good Mexican food and booths with local merchants. That was a great evening of eating and bargaining for nice gifts. There also are some good silver shops nearby for those looking for gifts. Now for the disappointing things: breakfast was good, but lunch and dinner were poor by our standards. The buffet lunches were awful. We ate dinner at the reservation-only restaurants.
The Italian restaurant served food that might be served at a 3rd rate strip mall. The so-called continental, gourmet restaurant, La Terrasa, was okay, but not great. When we arrived, we were given a note that told us to go back to our rooms each night at 6pm and said that a bottle of wine would be sent to our room at 6pm so that we could enjoy the sunset. The first night, we called at 6:30 asking where the wine was. It came at 7pm. The 2nd and 3rd nights, the wine came at 7:30 and 7:45, well after sundown. The 4th and 5th nights we called at 8pm and the person answering the phones didn't even know what we were talking about. Even the front desk, which is where we were given the note said they were unaware that wine would go to the rooms. The last night we never received wine at all. While we never would have expected the wine, when it is promised in a note upon check-in, it would be nice to not only deliver on the promise, but also inform the staff so that they know what guests are talking about. While the pools are very nice, it is difficult to get chairs by the pool. People must have been out early to put their towels or shoes on chairs. Here are some tips from our experience: we ate out two evenings at restaurants suggested by the concierge. We couldn't face meals every night at the hotel. The food was not good. Both were very good. We were very taken with Villa de la Selva, which sits high on a hill overlooking the ocean. It was the former vacation home of one of the presidents of Mexico. The place is beautiful and the food was excellent. The prices were high but not really that bad for a resort. We also ate at Boccanero's at the marina, a seafood restaurant. It was very good as well, although it paled in comparison with Villa de la Selva. Another restaurant at the marina with a good reputation and a nice menu is Boccafino, which is northern Italian.
Our feelings are that we would go back to an all-inclusive, but not this one. We would definitely want to get more information on the food.
Cuisine is very important to us in our travels. One really sacrifices quality for quantity at this all-inclusive.
Beware of Reviews
We just returned from the Presadente resort in Ixtapa and I would not recomend this resort to anyone. We went for 2 weeks and had to change rooms 5 times. This resort changed ownership 4 mths ago and things have gone downhill since. The food was below average for a 4 1/2 star rating. The worst was that they opened the resort up on weekends to the locals and this made getting chairs and service terrible. You had to watch your belongings constantly or they would be gone. I have been to Mexico 7 times prior and had never had service that bad. In all we ate 70% of our meals across the road and paid for our meals rather than eat at the resort. I suggest staying away from any meat because it is very under cooked. We checked out other resorts in Ixtapa and there were better ones to choose from. We went with a group of 8 people and we all said we would never go back to this resort but would deffinatly go back to Ixtapa.
Food is awful (same pile of **** every day)...
To my dismay, the reviews for this hotel have gone from good (of course, when I booked the trip) to very bad (of course, after I got back)!! It is definately NOT a four star resort (they claim 4.5 to 5 stars in travel brochures and web sites). The buildings at the Presidente are mid-70's and in need of renovation. Our room in the tower had dirty berber carpeting rather than tile or marble floors like you'd expect. The bathroom was semi-gross with poor workmanship. The staff do their best to keep things neat and tidy, but some major renovation/deep cleaning is needed. The biggest joke was the all-inclusive meals and drinks. You are not given the information you need at the time of check-in regarding the reservations-only dinners and the hours that the restaurants and bars operate. You'd THINK that you could easily have lunch around lunch-time...wrong!!! One place doesn't open until 2pm for "lunch", so you have to go to the snack bar for pre-cooked hamburgers, hotdogs, and french fries or nachos. We had that three times. Our running joke in the morning was did we want to run and reserve some chairs at the beach at 7am or stand in line at the concierge to reserve a not-so-fantastic dinner for that evening. Don't even think of just showing up when you want for dinner because you won't get it. The other part of the morning joke was which of the two places did we want to eat a pile of *** for breakfast. Our opinion on the meal thing was that they were trying to save money by making it: 1) difficult to eat where and when you want, and 2) making the food so bad and the same every day so that you'll go across the street rather than eat at the hotel's restaurants. And, the bars (not that I drink, but I do like a soda now and then) are not open much of the time, except the poolside bar. The bar by the tower didn't open until 6pm, and I never did figure out a schedule of the third bar. And, nobody told us the secret to getting beach towels is to use the same "ticket" every day, then you don't have to stand there while the towel guy fills out your room number, name, etc. Overall, you are on your own to sink or swim at this resort and won't figure it all out until you are about ready to leave, and will be ready to leave by that time anyway! :-) I wouldn't go back to Ixtapa, but if I had to, I would stay at the Barcelo' resort a couple hotels to the east. Oh, and another joke is the three sections of palapas on the beach in front of the hotel. Only the center section of palapas were available to all hotel guests; the two outside sections were for junior suite upgraders and seemed to be 1/3 occupied while the center section was exploding. Again, we were not informed of this rule and were chased out by the guards more than once until we understood that we, even as all-inclusive guests, were low on the totem pole when it came to sitting under a palapa on the beach. And, unfortunately, the beach was one of the only nice things at the Presidente.
A GREAT TRIP, PEOPLE MUST BE REALLY HARD TO PLEASE
Well i wasn't going to write a review but after reading the last few i felt i needed to. My husband and I travel every year and have stayed at many resorts. This is our 10th trip to a different destination and not yet once have we found a spot that is flawless or perfect. At the presidente I will agree the dinners (only) are average, I have had better BUT as far as breakfast and lunch if you can't find something that is good you must be a extremely fussy person, I dont eat meat and there was even still lots of choices for me. The resort is very very clean and the staff bent over backwards to make sure you were pleased, always greeting you with a smile. As a matter of fact one day I was walking threw the lobby and and employee came up to me and said "is everything o.k., are you happy?) I haven't had that happen at too many of my stays. Even if you want to eat 24 hours a day that is possible so I am a little confused as to where some comments are coming from. We had a poolview room in the villas, our room was very clean and i do agree that the bathrooms could use some updating. The pool, grounds, and beach are awesome. The bar staff is great and they are always even down at the beach, and will get you whatever you want, you don't have to get up. I guess overall what i am trying to point out is, every resort has some positive and negatives, and I found the positives FAR out weighed the 2 negatives that I found. Ixtapa is a great spot, so safe I would not be afraid to do downtown alone, which is right accross the street. You can't beat the sunsets, weather and mountains, we had 7 days of pure sun, noteven any clouds. I say give it a chance if you go expect a 4 star resort with great service. Also dont miss out on a trip to ixtapa island, senor frogs and zihuatanejo. Its funny every year when we go away there is always someone who spends their entire vacation at the front desk compaining about EVERYTHING, I just can't figure that out, its an great experience and 1-2 weeks long, your on vacation, if you have good company and your not going to nit pick every single thing you'll have a great trip.
Would not recommend this hotel to a friend
Just got back the 24th of Feb. Had a wonderful vacation; the weather and beach were awesome. But, the Presidente Intercontinental has much to be desired. I was expecting at least 4.5 to 5 star accommodation.
The room was OK, a bit outdated though. The food was awful, both in quality and variety. And, to charge me extra if I wanted to upgrade to steak or lobster for dinner was going against my idea of an all-inclusive resort stay. It was upsetting to have to get up early in the AM to make dinner reservations for that evening; there were a group of irritable people standing around with one concierge trying to handle dinner reservations. There was one guy who had been there all week and not been able to get a Steak House reservation. Overall, had a good time on the beach but would not come back to Ixapa. I've been to Playa del Carmen on the gulf side at an all-inclusive resort, the Riu Tequila, and that blows this place totally away.
The beach was beautiful! The resort is older but kept pretty clean. The housekeeping staff is very good! I am not a picky eater, but it was the worst all-inclusive food I have had, and I have traveled a lot! We went out for dinner most of the time! Try Mama Norma and Debbie's right accross the street if you like seafood! Wonderful deserts also! I had a complaint about the reservation of chairs for people who never showed up to use them and the lack of chairs on the beach for people to use.
If you don't get up at 7am to reserve a chair on the beach, you don't get one. They reserve chairs for certain room even if nobody is there for that week and nobody else can use them! We sat on our towels on the beach most of the time. The drink selection is very limited and the bartenders don't make a good variety. If I went back I would stay in Zehuatenajo instead. It is a nice little village with a lot to do there. Ixtapa is very touristy and expensive for Mexico. Do your shopping in Zihautenajo for better prices on everything! $4.00 by taxi!
Fresh fish cooked at your table there also!
Most dissapointing !
My husband and I stayed at the Prsidente Feb 16th through Feb 23rd 2004. It was very dissapointing! Had we known we would be expected to stand in line by 8 a.m. every morning with 50 other ticked off people, just to make a dinner reservation we would not have selected this hotel. The food was terrible, they advertised 24 hr room service but we could not get coffee in the morning unless we went down 21 floors to the outside resturant and carry up to small cups (no lids) So much for sitting on the balcony (which we did not get) enjoying the view with a cup of coffee. We reserved a king size, tower room with a balcony. We found out at check-in that there were no king size in the tower and we had no balcony. The only good thing about our room was the view. We paid for an all inclusive and ended up eating out at an additional cost of $694.00 for the week. Pool side chairs and beach chairs were "marked" by 6 a.m. in the morning so most of the time we were left without a comfortable place to sit outside. Also they advertised 5 resturants. NOT! Setting up plastic tabels and chairs in the driveway of the hotel does not qualify as as resturant in my book. Again, the food was terrible. We will never go back to this hotel and I would never recommend it to anyone. We really feel we were ripped off.
Have gone to the El Presidente since 1990
I was dismayed to see some of the bad reviews that were posted in 2002, but glad that most of the reviews in 2003 were much more positive. My last trip to the El Presidente was in 2001 and we are planning one for 2004. I love the relaxing atmosphere of this resort and my 2 daughters (now young teens) still love it too. We always enjoy ourselves and are treated so warmly and well. I agree that a small tip (in U.S. dollars) will really help. Please don't tip in U.S. coins, it is very difficult for them to exchange coins for pesos. If you don't feel you can tip at least $1.00, then wait until you feel you can. I always bring several $1.00 bills and find it is greatly appreciated by airport and hotel staff.
The hotel is not what an American may consider a luxury hotel, because it is furnished in mostly traditional Mexican furniture (rustic) and the floors are tiled (in the garden view rooms). I always find them clean and enjoy the flower petals that decorate your pillow every evening.
My youngest daughter is a very picky eater, and sometimes has had trouble finding something she is willing to try. But we always can find something, even if she ends up at the snack bar for a hot dog or hamburger.
We all love the pool area. There is something for all of us. I love to just relax by the pool reading, so I tend to find a place at the far end of the pool, away from the activity end. My daughters are usually by the activity end (near the swim up bar where they can get unlimited sodas) because they enjoy the games and activities in the pool and beach area.
If you love to read and did not bring enough books with you, go to the towel area and they have a library of paperback books (mostly in English) left by guests. (I usually leave my books there for future guests to enjoy.)
If you like to swim in the ocean, please watch the flags on the beach that let you know if it is safe to swim. The waves can be very dangerous on many days. However, playing along the edge of the water is always fun. Just don't think that because others are in the water that it is safe to swim. There are other areas away from the hotel that have much calmer waters for swimming and snorkeling, so check at the desk for tours to Ixtapa Island or other beaches. (Your travel agent may get you some good deals on the side trips).
This is still my favorite place that I have ever gone for a relaxing vacation, with or without my children. It can be and excellent honeymoon or romantic get-away as well.
Nice vacation, but problems with the hotel...
My boyfriend and I experienced a lot of the same problems many of the other reviewers noted. I had never done an all-inclusive vacation before, and after this experience, I'm not so sure I ever want to try it again. The food was very average and the hotel itself was in great need of some upgrading (especially the bathrooms). We had reserved a garden room (the cheaper option) and after the first night, we had to request a room change- they had put us in a room off of the main bar area and the place was rocking until after midnight. It was so noisy- such an awful start to a vacation that was supposed to be relaxing!
When I complained at the front desk, they said that the music was "just until midnight" every night, like it was no big deal. For those of you looking to relax and go to bed early, try not to reserve a garden room!
Another problem was the concierge desk- yes, as other reviewers had mentioned, you have to get in line early in the morning to secure a dinner reservation at one of the "nicer" restaurants. It's annoying to have to spend over a half hour in line in the morning when you're on vacation. One of the most unsettling parts of the whole dinner reservation thing is that they give you one dinner at the "gourmet" restaurant, where you're supposed to get a bit more dressed up and have an elegant dinner "under the stars." My boyfriend and I were all set for our romantic dinner, until we arrived and realized that you had to share a table with another couple. So much for a romantic dinner. It was really irritating. Supposedly the concierge is supposed to tell you this, but of course we never got that message. We ended up going to Zihuatenejo 4 of the days that we were there- so much more peaceful (and you can actually swim there! The surf in Ixtapa makes it virtually impossible to swim in). Overall, the hotel and the beach were pretty (and the weather is fantastic), but I would not recommend it as a place to relax.