10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Beautiful Rooms, Overpriced
"Just got back from 5 days at Ikal Del Mar. The resort is beautiful. Rooms are private and luxurious. We camped out in our patio with plunge pool, and used the nice surround sound system and CD collection provided. Very relaxing. The pool area was beautiful, and we thought the beach area was fine. It is located in the middle of a beautiful secluded beach area. We walked the beach for miles in each direction, and it was beautiful. The food was good (the included breakfast was excellent with all kinds of options). The service was very spotty. Everyone was friendly and accomodating, but we would have to ask for ice several times when it didn't come, ask to have the pool heated more than once, re-order food in the restaurant to get it, then they would bring it to the wrong table. I guess our main problem with the resort was that it was so overpriced, especially the food and drinks. It was very nice, but not worth the price you had to pay."
- Travel date: 23rd April 2004
Idyllic, indulgent, romantic, and 100% relaxation
"Just came back from 5 nights at Ikal. It was heaven. If you are looking for action, nightlife, or opulence, Ikal is not for you. If you are looking for an extraordinarily peaceful setting, quiet, romance, understated luxury, and service that literally anticipates your every need, Ikal is the place! From the moment the driver met us at the airport, we felt exceptionally well looked-after. We were welcomed by particularly warm and welcoming staff with bottles of water and cool towels, and given a wonderful tour of the property and our villa. The tour included the timely delivery of a complimentary bottle of wine and fruit basket to our villa, right as the delightful Laurence was showing us around our villa. They think of everything at Ikal. Your villa is equipped with complimentary bug spray (all natural), fully stocked complimentary minibar, new snorkel gear, CDs & DVDs & books (and more available at the hotel's main desk), and Molten Brown toiletries. The outdoor shower is dreamy -- large and private, and cleaned daily of the leaves that fall from the surrounding jungle. Our private pool was also cleaned and filled daily, and the room was turned down beautifully at night. A few of the villas are slightly less private than the rest, depending upon location and how dense the greenery is around the villa, but most are so private, you hardly notice they are there at all as you walk along the paths. The pool and beach area are simple yet elegant and just spectacularly beautiful. The lounge chairs were just the best I've ever seen -- large, almost bed-like, and towels were plentiful. There was never a need to hold a chair for yourself first thing in the morning as the hotel is small and the chair supply is just fine. Some of the beach lounges are under shaded palapa huts, while others are directly in the sun. Service was terrific. Such friendly, easy going, considerate people, eager to make you feel relaxed and wanting for nothing. They would bring us drinks and ask to make sure there was enough rum in them. They brough us bottled water before we even thought to ask for it. They sliced open a fresh coconut and brought us the meat, just for us to try it. They introduced themslves by first name, asked us our names, and said hello whenever we saw them. When walking down the path, anyone sweeping the grounds stepped quickly aside to let you pass, with a smile and a "Buenos dias". At one point, after swimming in the ocean, I rinsed off in an outdoor shower by the beach area and when I opened my eyes, a member of the hotel's staff arrived to hand me a towel. The spa is beautiful. Simple, with separate men's and women's areas, but peaceful and really the perfect size for the place. We never saw it occupied, and were encouraged to ask about setting aside one side (either the men's or women's) for ourselves during the less busy times. We had a massage on the beach one afternoon and then went to the spa together, and had a side to ourselves for an hour's worth of soaking in the jacuzzi and steam room. From my perspective, the only drawback of the property is indeed the rocks in the water at the beach area. You can certainly dip your feet in the water and there is a narrow path between the rocks through which you can walk/swim to a less rocky area. Or, you can walk no more than 5 minutes (maybe even less) north to a soft, sandy, rock-free area to swim. We were very worried about this, especially after reading some of the reviews on this site, but it ended up being of almost no bother to us. The walk was nice, and really, not far at all. Also, the beach itself was quiet and although all beaches in Mexico are public, there were very few people around other than hotel guests. We spent every day by the beach, on a lounge chair under a palapa, dozing and reading by the water. It was delightful!! Some of the special touches we especially loved: the morning "eye opener" - fresh coffee and mini croissants left on your patio (under a cover) each morning, and this was not the official breakfast!, cold towels drenched in bottled water passed around to you throughout the day, baskets of umbrellas and straw hats in case you should need any, torches that lit up the pool/restaurant area at night, cocktails at dinner are poured at your table from the bottles themselves, poems left on the bed each night, telescopes in dining area, big trays on which breakfast or lunch were brought to your lounge chair by the beach or pool. One last note... We went to Maroma one night for dinner as we'd been considering staying there too. It was beautiful, and the service was equally welcoming and superb. The food was as good as at Ikal, but the hotel is more opulent, about twice the size, and more "done up" so to speak. It felt more like an elegant club to me. I preferred the simple elegance and privacy of Ikal, but I could see others preferring the more glamorous environment of Maroma. Both properties are beautiful -- it's a function of personal preference. This was perhaps the most relaxing and unforgettable holiday I have ever had, and the reason is entirely the wonderful Ikal del Mar (well, maybe it had a little to do with my travel companion too....)."
- Travel date: 15th April 2004
"Before you begin to read this...if money is an object-stay somewhere else. Otherwise, stay at Ikal del Mar! It is truly a hidden paradise. The road you must travel to get there (not exactly a paved road) is deciving. Once you arrive at the resort though, you leave the real world behind and enter into paradise. Everyone is very low-key but very attentive to your every whim and call and actually very prompt too. The jungle atmosphere makes the resort feel very private and quiet. The pool area is beautiful beyond words and even though you cannot swim in the ocean directly in front of the resort, the beach area is breath taking. They bring refreshing hand towels out to you periodically to cool you off and food and beverage service is available all day without even having to get out of your comfortable lounge chair. I don't know what polution or smell the other person was talking about but they must have stayed somewhere else because we never noticed either of those problems. The food is very good but extremely OVER PRICED!!! Other than that, we had absolutley no complaints. Unfortunately we were only able to stay for 3 days so we did not experience the spa, which by the way looked and smelled heavenly. If you want a quiet, relaxing vacation this is the place to go. Enjoy, I wish I was back there already."
- Travel date: 16th March 2004
We come to paradise
"Ikal del Mar is everything they say it is and some! luxury huts with your own pool. My god it was truly paridise. The food was so good at the restaurant that I did not want to go anywhere else in town. The staff was the best that I've ever encountered and i travel. Anything you want just ask if it is possible you will get it. The rooms where so nice, surround sound DVD TV with only movie channels. outdoor shower which my wife us all day loved it. The spa was so relaxing you could get anything there or on the beach. I could go on for hours and hours but i won't bore you."
- Travel date: 26th February 2004
To luxury travelers beware: Totally overrated!
"I stayed at Ikal last year. The website makes it look like an oasis. The only thing beautiful about this place is the casitas and the pool. Otherwise it is located on a non-existant beach. You CANNOT go in the water because of the pollution and ROCKS. They recommend going a couple of kilometers to the left...and all that is there is some crappy beach. They bill it as "a jungle oasis". The jungle is practically next to the high way. There is a terrible smell. Yes, I expected to do nothing, but place me in a paradise. Not where I can see apt buildings surrounding the resort and a poor excuse for a jungle. Where's the Beach? This resort is definitely lacking."
- Travel date: 16th February 2004
Perfect Honeymoon Retreat
"This hotel is a magnificent place to spend a honeymoon............the moment you arrive, you are greeted by reception in the open air lobby with bottles of water and cold towels. After a quick tour of the beautiful resort, you are greeted in your village by one of the staff members with a bowl of fruit and bottle of wine...what a treat after traveling all day! After this initial greeting, you are on your own to explore, rest, and of course, relax. The palapas are exquisite...built with the utmost care - they are also spotless. The bed and linens are to die for, and the private, heated plunge pool is very relaxing. The DVD/stereo is a nice touch as are the in-room fridges with complementary beer, water and soft drings provided throughout your stay. The two chaise lounges near the pool are a perfect place to read. The staff is extremely attentive and "at your service" - the beach is small, but this is not a problem given the number of guests at the hotel and the comfortable lounges chairs and palapas. The pool is also beautiful - as is the view from the restaurant. The only small complaint we had was getting tired of the menu after eating there for one week. This was remedied by traveling into Playa del Carmen a couple of nights for dinner - the hotel will recommend some of the better restuarants. The hotel provides a complementary driver each day into Playa for food, shopping, etc. Overall, it was the most fabulous vacation of our lives, and we've stayed at many 4-star hotels. I would recommend it to anyone considering. Yes, it's expensive, but you get what you pay for...and more!"
- Travel date: 5th February 2004
Seclusion, Luxury, Check Stress At the Door
"As exhausted working parents of two toddlers, my husband and I were looking for a place that would reaquaint us with a level of rest and relaxation our bodies and minds had not known in years. Ikal del Mar got us to that state of nirvana w/in 24 hours. This place is so stylish and romantic. Rooms are chic and restful. The outdoor plunge pools, in room stereos w/New Age and Classical Music, and the fluffy bathrobes left us wondering why on earth we'd ever need to leave our palapa. Ah yes, to experience seaside dining and fine wines, that's why. Food is phenomenal, as are the drinks. My husband and I have stayed in numerous top notch resorts around the world for both business and pleasure and this rivals the best of them without all of the snobbish pomp and circumstance. The bonus is that Playa del Carmen is a fabulous town. Avoid Cancun, as it is nothing more than Vegas on the Caribbean. If you want to bask in the sun, get a sea-front massage w/your mate, finish a trash novel while sucking down a delectable margarita -- head to Ikal del Mar. It is not cheap, but if you only take a real vacation every few years, it is worth every penny."
- Travel date: 22nd December 2003
Quiet, Stylish Paradise
"We stayed at Ikal for 4 nights as part of our honeymoon on the Mayan Riviera. It was the most amazing place in the region, no contest. If you are looking for a quiet stay with excellent food, service, and huge private cabanas, this is the place. Positives: the careful design of the resort (incredible use of the natural surroundings); cabanas are amazing and created with great detail (bed was so comfortable with down comforter and fine bed linens) & the private pools are great; the food is the best part - simply incredible! Order the Mayan Sea Bass or the Stuffed Jalapeno appetizer for certain and have at least one dinner on your terrace - incredible!; staff was very friendly and outgoing, as well; Pool is perfect for lounging with a pina colada all day long; Proximity to Playa del Carmen is a huge plus too, allowing for easy nights out or shopping. Negatives: Beach is rocky, but the great beach lounge chairs and palapa's (to get out of the sun) are perfect; the resort is almost "too quiet", but so peaceful; workout room is small, but who needs to workout on vacation?!?! As you can see, we recommend this resort to anyone looking for a quiet, relaxing time, sitting in the sun, eating the best food, prepared and delivered by a top-notch staff! Have fun!"
- Travel date: 17th November 2003
Cannot be beat; romantic & private!
"My husband and I went to Ikal back in Feb., and loved it so much we're going back this week (it's now Nov.). Yes, it's expensive, but very worth it. In this case, you get everything you pay for. The couples massage was incredible, the food is delicious, the rooms are fabulous. There's very little going on, it's not a party place; just a wonderful romantic place to relax. We rented some DVD's and brought with us, and some CD's as well. I don't think you can find a better place for the money."
- Travel date: 9th November 2003
Simply the Best
"After two very difficult years, my wife and I needed not just a vacation, we neede restoration. The Ikal Del Mar delivered!!! This is one of the finest places I have had the privelage to visit. It was so nice that I have a hard time referring to it as a resort. The staff was excellent, the accommodations were excellent, the food was excellent and the spa was excellent. It was a true experience in excellence!!! It is indeed expensive. However, this in one tab you will glad you picked up. Go, rest, renew and return."
- Travel date: 23rd October 2003
Viceroy Riviera Maya is also called
- The Tides Riviera Maya
- tides riviera maya hotel
- tides riviera maya resort