A bit far from downtown, but pretty nice
This hotel is rather on the expensive side and I wouldn't have stayed here hadn't it been because my hubby found a good promotion with plane tickets and breakfast included. I have to admit that I thought it was closer to downtown so that's why we picked it among other options. The truth is that it's located on the Northern Hotel Zone, quite close to the Marina and the Cruise ship terminal. I would have liked to be farther south, but I did enjoy the stay here in spite of the location.
Before the trip I read several reviews about this hotel since it was my first time staying there, and I was a bit nervous because I read awful things about it: old rooms with mouldy bathrooms, rude staff, bad food, rocky beach where finding a lounger to sunbathe was beyond impossible...... I was really not looking forward to going through any of this, but I must say that I did not experience ANY of these inconveniences during my stay. I don't know if this was due to the fact that it's low season, that we stayed there from Monday to Thursday so we skipped the weekend days which are busier, that the weather was still a bit cool so there weren't as many people as there would be in the summer or autumn... but our experience was rather pleasant in all aspects. Check-in and check-out were VERY fast and efficient, no one ever approached us trying to lure us into the time share presentation everybody dreads, staff was kind.
Let's talk about the external stuff first, and then I will talk about the specifics of our room on the next tip.
Unique Quality: Location: very close to the harbor where the cruise ships arrive, very close to a Soriana supermarket which is open until midnight, Walmart and Sam's Club nearby as well. A 5-10 minute drive from the airport, and located next to a small shopping mall called Peninsula where you can find some restaurants (El Porton, Chili's, Starbucks) and banks. It has a bus stop just a few steps away from the entrance.
The hotel is rather old, true, but at least the area where we stayed was well maintained. Since we paid a low price we got a room close to the lobby/reception and thus far away from the pool/beach area (and of course no ocean view whatsoever), but the property isn't as huge as I had read so it didn't take you too long to walk there. When we arrived the bell boy gave us a tour on a sort of golf cart around the property, so we would know where everything was located. This was very convenient, but again, the property isn't THAT huge so everything was within easy reach.
They also have a "new" building with rooms with ocean view which of course is more expensive. The time share units they have are little villas with full kitchen, which we thought look very simple and old as well (but we didn't see what they look like inside). The decoration is Mexican style but it's true that it's rather simple and the fountains aren't working, which makes the property look less pretty.
The main pool is very nice and faces 2 bars and the beach as well. We never sunbathed in this area but it was usually crowded nearly all day long. The pool was overall clean and the water temperature nice. They had another smaller pool on the back of the property, next to their Japanese restaurant, which was very peaceful as it was far away from the beach area and surrounded by some buildings. And there's the jacuzzi area on the other extreme of the property which was also peaceful and pretty neat.
More details about the beach, restaurant & other amenities in my next tip.