20 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Gorgeous sea views
"This property has hotel rooms and condo units, as was mentioned by other reviwers. We stayed in a third floor hotel room, facing the sea. The view was spectacular, especially at sunrise and at night with a full moon reflected on the water. However, climbing three flights of stairs might be a problem for some guests. The room was small but comfortable and had a very nice bathroom, with plenty of hot water in the shower. We had a small balcony overlooking the beach, that was shaded and breezy during the afternoons. We opened the sliding balcony door and a window to let the breeze blow through the unit. We didn't use the AC. There was also a small refrigerator, coffee maker and television. The bed frame was wood (not concrete like some hotels) but had a very thin mattress. I think the mattress was just worn out and should have been replaced. It had very little support. Bottled water was provided in the room. The sound of the waves (and being the third floor) muffled most noise from the street and beach. The VDM is about a 15 minute walk to central Akumal and about the same distance to the YaKul lagoon, which has wonderful snorkeling ($7.50 US fee). There is a sandy shore (man-made) in front of the hotel with loungers and cushions. But be aware that this is reef area. When you enter the water, you will encounter a rocky bottom. Though it is good for snorkeling. There is a bar/restaurant nearby named La Buena Vida. It's been there for many years and is okay for breakfast/lunch, but the food was average at best. Food prices are high compared to quality, but then again Akumal tends to be more costly than other areas of the coast, in my experience. The bar was crowded and loud at night. There are better (and quieter) restaurants in central Akumal. Overall, VDM is okay, especially if you want to be near good snorkeling and to enjoy a quieter part of Akumal."
- Travel date: 28th January 2008
It was nice . . .
"Let me start off by saying that I have become one of those picky people in my old age so take that into consideration when you read this review. My family of 4 stayed in a two bedroom, one bath condo on the ground floor. We arrived late, after 8:00PM and thankfully someone was still there to give us our keys. They told us they usually don't stay past dark. I had e-mailed them and forewarned them of our late arrival, so that is something you might consider if you are going to arrive late. The young man gave us our key and told us that they were now closed and if we had any problems we would have to wait until morning. The Bad: Well, we had a few problems. The AC did not work in the master bedroom and when we turned on the ceiling fan it almost fell out of the ceiling. It was very hot and muggy and we really could have used the AC. Also, one of the recessed ceiling lights started to smoke as soon as we turned it on and dripped some type of black gooey stuff all over. Needless to say we did not start off with a great first impression. However, we told the front desk in the morning and they promptly fixed the AC and replaced the fan. The AC and fan worked fine after that. They never fixed the ceiling light so we just didn't turn it on. Another complaint, and I know this is picky, but there were only 2 pots to cook in and they were in pretty sad shape. My daughter and I like to cook and we hit the grocery store on the way down and were planning on cooking, but it was a little difficult. There was a small microwave, a blender, a coffee maker that all worked and a toaster that didn't. We made do though. One positive thing is they supply you with a 5 gallon jug of fresh water which was very helpful. They refill it as needed. Also, and I don't know if they can really help this, but our bed in the master bedroom was damp and smelled really musty. I've stayed many places in Mexico on both coasts and I've lived near the beach and I know that dampness and mustiness comes with the territory, but this was pretty bad. I had the maid change the sheets, but they became damp and stinky too, so I think it must have been the mattress. The two beds in the other bedroom did not have this problem. The good: Perfect location right on the beach. You just put on your fins and mask and you can snorkel 20 feet away from the door. We saw turtles and all types of fish. It was only a 20 minute walk into town and maybe 10 minutes to Yakul Lagoon. The beach outside is beautiful and there are hammocks, lounge chairs, and palapas to use. The front desk will also supply you with nice, big, beach towels and they are very generous with them. There are no crowds like you see on Akumal beach. It was just perfect. The condo was very spacious and the maids did a wonderful job of cleaning. They start early though (7:00AM) and make a lot of noise in the adjoining condos. If you want to sleep in, I would suggest an upper floor as we were awaken each morning by them moving the furniture around in the condo above us. The front desk staff were friendly and they did get someone to fix everything right away. I think they knew that the AC and ceiling fan were broken because of the way they kept insisting that if I had any problems I couldn't reach anybody until morning. Overall we had a great vacation. I would highly suggest going to Hidden Worlds, Coba, and the zipline at Selvetica. The beaches at Tulum are beautiful. Try the beach restaurant at Manatee Cenotee, it was really good. It had great food and very friendly service. We ate at the beach restaurant next to the condo (La Buena Vida) and were not impressed. Very expensive compared to other beach restaurants, lousy service, and the food was mediocre. I was very suprised at this because everyone has raved about it. Maybe we hit it on a bad night. The bar seemed to be happening though. The Turtle Bay restaurant in town was excellent as well as the ice cream at Lucy's. There are also a couple of small grocery stores that sell anything you would need. Everyone we met in Akumal (tourists and locals alike) were friendly and gracious. I gave Vista Del Mar an above average because you just can't beat the price. We paid around $900.00 for 7 nights in a two-bedroom condo right on the beach which was a fantastic deal. However, I don't think I will go back to Vista Del Mar . I took a walk one morning down the beach to look at the other condos that were maybe $20.00 more per night and they just seemed so much better. I'm sure Vista Del Mar gets lots of use and it is starting to show. All the furniture and fixtures are getting shabby and a lot of things were broken or not working well. I just think there are nicer places to stay."
- Travel date: 12th January 2008
It was Great!
"My husband, 2 friends and I rented a 3 bedroom ground floor condo at Vista del Mar and it was great! We had the master bedroom with a really comfortable king size bed and jacuzzi tub in our bathroom. Kitchen was fully equiped, bottled water supplied, and snorkeling right outside the door. The only thing I would do differently in the future would be to either rent a car at the airport or get a golf cart from the rental place down the street. It's lots of time wasted walking to restaurants, dive shop, and so on. We highly recommend the guided snorkel tour of Akumal Bay - you'd never find all the stuff on your own (Spanish canons, fish, turtles) and also the Robinson Crusoe tour - your own fishing boat with crew to help you catch the fish, then they cook it for you on your own private beach - barracuda ceviche - very tasty! - then you relax on the boat ride back. It was the best vacation ever!!!"
- Travel date: 26th December 2007
Pleasant but could improve
"The condo had spectacular views and I love the location. It did not have an oven or stove which was disappointing. Mango cafe was closed each time we tried to eat there in the morning. La Buena Vida restaurant opens from 1pm-10pm and is next door to the condo so we went there often. Good food and friendly. You can rent bikes which was great because Vista del Mar is about a mile from town. The area was a very peaceful place to stay. We did check out a day early because we wanted to see Cozumel - nice beach but touristy. The staff was nice but not overly welcoming. The sheets and towels in the room had some stains and were even ripped, I would highly recommend upgrading these simple items because for this reason alone I would choose to stay somewhere else next time. The beach is rocky and shallow for a long way out which means you can just jump in and swim easily but the snorkling was great - we saw many fish and a couple of sea turtles. Overall, a pleasant trip. I would recommend staying in Tulum because it has the best beach, an easy drive or taxi trip to Akumal for diving or snorkling and Tulum has a larger city for more options at night. Best beaches were just past the ruins or near the biosphere."
- Travel date: 28th November 2007
"My wife and I stayed at the Vista del Mar hotel (not to be confused with the condos) for several days in February 2007. We had a room on the top floor. What I didn't realize was that the hotel is thin - it's only as wide as a single room. That's awesome, because it means that every room is an ocean front room, plus if you open the sliding glass door to the balcony and the back window at the same time, you can always get a cross breeze. The hotel is solidly built, with concrete walls, so we never heard a peep from any of our neighbors. The room was small but very clean and nicely furnished. If we go back to Akumal, I'll definitely plan to stay at the Vista del Mar again."
- Travel date: 10th September 2007
a wonderful week
"Just back (1st July) from a week in Akumal. We stayed in condo #1 at Vista Del Mar with our 2 kids (16&10). The condo was perfect; just steps from the beach with a couple of hammocks strung between palm trees, 2 bathrooms which saved some time as someone always needed a shower and everything we needed from comfortable beds to a well equipped kitchen. The ac was very welcome and worked well but we didn't use the unit in the 2nd bedroom as it had a mouldy smell. Sometimes the shower water took a while to warm up but it did eventually. Overall it was great. We especially liked the fantastic view of the ocean. The maid service was excellent and the place was spotlessly clean. Akumal is the ideal base for visiting Tulum ruins, many cenotes are nearby, Yal-ku lagoon was a 10 min walk from our condo and the reef is fantastic for snorkeling."
- Travel date: 2nd July 2007
"This was my second stay at Vista Del Mar. On my first stay in November 2006, I had a room with a peculiar (unpleasant) odor coming from the bathroom. Nonetheless, there were so many positive aspects to the trip and the hotel that I opted for a round two! I had some apprehensions about the area being overrun with tourists at that particular time of the year (late March), but it wasn't bad at all. On this stay at Vista Del Mar, I had a room on the first floor....step out the door and you're on your own little veranda, and then directly on the beach. It was great! You do sacrifice a bit of privacy to be right on the beach (obviously, people are walking by, and you're no longer looking down at them from a second or third floor balcony)....but all in all, it was lovely. As usual, the room was spotlessly clean. I have no idea how the houskeepers manage to remove every speck of sand, but they do. Last time around, I didn't give the room as high a rating as I might have, primarily because of the terrible odor coming from my bathroom. On this trip, there was no similar problem. The rooms are cute, clean, and have appealing amenities -- refrigerators, coffee makers, plates, cups, glasses, utensils, water coolers, and TV with a variety of movie channels in Spanish and English. Again, the only problem was a hard bed, but I had brought a foam mattress topper, which solved the problem (I also used a piece of foam on the very hard beach chairs, which provided a great deal of comfort). I have to add that I like the location of Vista Del Mar. I like having to walk just a bit to get to the area where there are lots of boutiques and restaurants....though I can understand the appeal of being located in the thick of things. I do want to say a word on beaches. The beach at Vista Del Mar is tough....not the beach itself, but getting into the water. It is extremely rocky. Once in, the water is lovely....but the rocks can be brutal. I did spend some time at the main beach on Akumal Bay (the area where naturally, all of the shops and restaurants are located). That beach is lovely.....pure sand and beautiful water. There were lots of people there whenever I went, yet it never felt overly hectic or crowded. As for activities....I did the Sunset Tour at Sian Ka'an Biosphere. It was wonderful, and the place itself is striking! I plan to try the other Sian Ka'an tour next time around. Went back to Xcaret, and did both the underground river and River Maya (sporting a life jacket, you float/swim down salt-water river "trails" that run through the park). Enjoyed both, but if you only have time for one, I highly recommend the underground river. Part of it is "underground", and goes through beautiful cave-like areas....but in several sections, you emerge into open areas. I never felt claustrophobic, and it was lovely. Each "journey" takes about 40 minutes. If you go on a Sunday, there are CROWDS, particularly for the underground river. I waited until a point in the afternoon when the crowds petered out, and most of the time, I was cruising through the waterways virtually by myself. And don't miss the show at night! Xcaret puts on a great cultural event highlighting music and dance. I also did a snorkeling tour at Hidden Worlds Cenote. The trip takes you to an above-ground cenote for swimming, and then two underground cenotes for snorkeling. The cenotes are filled with beautiful stalagtyte and stalagmyte formations, and the experience is rather mystical and magical. I will say that if you suffer from claustrophia, it might be challenging. There are certain areas in the cenotes where the formations are all around your body, including mere inches above your head, which deesn't give a whole lot of room for movement. Also be aware that the water in the cenotes is quite chilly (though everyone is supplied with a wetsuit). Finally, it is important to note that you are driven to the cenotes over rough dirt roads, standing on the back of a dilapidated flatbed that's being pulled by a tractor. I have a serious back problem, and the trip was brutal (though obviously, I survived....and if you have no physical problems, it's probably a blast). Food....I do want to mention two places that I hadn't tried on my first trip to Akumal. One is the snackbar just outside the Super Chomak grocery store. I had two fabulous meals there, and the food seemed more authentic than that served in the expensive restaurants. The other was a little gem of a place called Imelda's, just behind the TSA office. Imelda runs the place with her sister and two kids, and she puts out some great food. They also do a buffet a couple nights a week, with a performance of local dance (it turns out that her son and daughter were the performers). It's a bit pricey, but the food was terrific, and her kids put on a delightful little show! Have to also mention that the pastries at Turtle Bay cafe are delicious, and it's a pleasant place to hang out."
- Travel date: 27th May 2007
"We stayed at the hotel Vista del Mar in room 301. Nothing smelled badly (earlier review), no insects, purifyed water was always in the room. Room is small, but it didn't bother us - we didn't come to sit in the room. Snorkeling wasn't too good - but we are spoiled by Maui snorkeling. Beach is lovely, however it's hard to get to the water with all the rocks. The noise from next door restaurant didn't bother us a bit (we didn't hear any), food is pretty average there except for absolutely outstanding beef fajitas (dinner) and beef tacos (lunch). Yal-ku lagoon was a dissapointment - murky water with very little fish. Akumal was a great base for our day trips - Tulum, cenotes, jungle. One time our building ran out of water, so everyone was carrying plastic trash buskets with water from the next building shower :-). But the water was on in few hours..."
- Travel date: 16th May 2007
Vista Del Mar is Wonderful
"If you read the review preceding this, you'll find in the wacky way of the world - we stayed in Vista Del Mar condo Unit 1 the day after the previous poster left! We agree with everything they said! The unit is lovely with two bedrooms and two baths. You open the slides to the patio and the water's edge is 20 yards away. The beds were a little hard, the showers in the masterbath "spit" water and hot water was hard to come by in the afternoon. The beach was raked and gone over with a fine tooth comb every morning. Half Moon Bay entrance into the water is VERY rocky. But once you're out towards the breakers, the coral gardens including HUGE brain coral are magnificant. We saw rays, loads of fish, and of course turtles. La Buena Vida is right next door for conveninet dining, with the Mango cafe for quick breakfast. There is also a small well stocked, well priced convenience store in the building. We would recommend this property in a heartbeat. The staff was friendly, helpful and a helped make our vacation relaxing and stress free."
- Travel date: 4th April 2007
Vista del Mar is great
"We just got back last night from a 6 night stay in condo unit 1- a two bedroom, two bath unit. It was perfect for our family with two teenagers. The unit was beautiful and kept very clean. We enjoyed the beach right outside the unit, but also made the short walk to "town" to Akumal Bay for a less rocky area. We found the food in Akumal awesome. We had particularly good meals at Turtle Bay Bakery (dinner was great), Lol Ha, and la Cueva Pescador. We made day trips to Tulum to see the ruins and enjoy the beach, and to Playa del Carmen. After spending a bit of time in Playa, we were glad to be back in Akumal and away from the crowds, although picking up a few groceries at Walmart was much more economical than the Super Chomak in Akumal. We also went to Yal Ku lagoon, a short walk north of Vista del Mar for some great snorkeling. As with Tulum, it was wise to get there right when they open (around 8 am) to avoid van- and bus-loads of people being brought in. This was a beautiful paradise to spend our spring break and we would certainly recommend it to others."
- Travel date: 30th March 2007
Great little hotel beachside!
"Thanks to the reviews on TripAdvisor.com, my husband and I felt confident booking a room at Vista del Mar in Akumal, Mexico. About 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen and a world away from the rush and bustle of the tourist industry. Akumal is a quiet town right on the beach with a great lagoon, snorkling and good restaurants. Our hotel room was small but very clean with a balcony over the beach and a full view of Half Moon Bay. As some of the reviews said, the beds were hard. Really hard. I like a hard bed but these were hard to sleep in if you are a side sleeper. Other than the that, the hotel was great. We had a little fridge in the room, TV with HBO in English and a 5 gallon water cooler with purified water. The beach was clean, white sand with little palapas that you could sit under to get shade. The water definately had a rocky bottom so getting in was a bit challenging but there was a great coral garden for snorkling. Down the road is the Yal Ku lagoon with crystal clear water and tons of fish. For food, we really loved the Turtle Bay Bakery and Cafe. All the veggies were washed in purified water and an antimicrobial agent so they were safe to eat - and the food was delicious. We ate lunch there three days in a row. We also ate at La Buena Vida restaurant and had a very nice meal. For groceries, you can hit Super Chomak. We hit Playa del Carmen in the evenings for dinner and a little night life. Overall, it was a perfect blend of small town beach vacation with a bit of city night life thrown in. I would definately return to Akumal and Vista del Mar -even though the beds were hard. You can't beat the value for the price."
- Travel date: 18th March 2006
"Just spent a week at this wonderful hotel! Very clean and beautifully decorated rooms. Staff was very pleasant and helpful. Beach was never crowded with people. Steps from Half Moon Bay. Lucked into this place after first choices (WAY more expensive first choices) were booked. So glad we ended up here. Proximity to La Buena Vida, Yal Ku lagoon, and Akumal Bay made for the best vacation we have ever been on!"
- Travel date: 11th March 2006
Del Sol Beachfront Hotel is also called
- Vista del Mar Hotel
- vista del mar akumal
- vista del mar hotel akumal