Mexico has been on our bucket list for some time. It started a few years ago when a couple of delicious Mexican restaurants opened up in our home city of Auckland, and we have been keen to visit ever since. While we were in the States we had a brain wave that we totally needed a beach holiday before heading into the Canadian winter, and Mexico is just so close and cheap to get to from the US! So we decided to head to Cozumel, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres – all on the Yucatan Peninsula (and just off the coast) and easily accessible from the cheap entry/exit point of Cancun.
In Cozumel we decided to stay at an all-inclusive resort – our first time doing this! We don’t usually stay in big resorts, preferring to support small businesses at inns or guesthouses. But we saw the architectural renderings of Fiesta Americana Cozumel’s brand new renovations on Expedia and thought we’d give it a go (and they were offering 50% off at the time).
There were a few hiccups along the way, as the resort was still undergoing renovations when we booked and they had posted their opening date as August 1st. But on August 1st, they changed their opening date to September 15th – the very day we were due to arrive. Cue emails to Fiesta Americana management and Expedia wondering if the hotel would actually be open then (or if the opening date would get pushed out again) but we were assured that no, the hotel would be fully open and operational from September 15th. Phew!
So we arrived in Cozumel on a tiny 18-seater plane from Cancun (we decided to splurge and fly there rather than take the bus and ferry), and headed to Fiesta Americana. It’s about a 15 minute drive from the main town of San Miguel, far enough away that you feel relaxed and on a beach holiday, but close enough that you can easily get there if you so desire.
Our first impressions of Fiesta Americana Cozumel were great – the new design of the hotel is outstanding, it’s exactly to our taste and it’s well finished. The furnishings and light fixtures are all very modern and stylish. Seeing as we had only seen the renderings of the hotel on Expedia (there were no photos as the hotel wasn’t finished, I guess), we were impressed with how similar the drawings were to reality. We loved the hammocks and funky chairs on the balcony of our room.
The staff were all extremely friendly and helpful which was great. They even put up with our atrocious Spanish and taught us a few phrases!
There are five different restaurants at Fiesta Americana Cozumel – usually they are all open for dinner and some of them are also open for lunch. However because when we were staying there weren’t many guests (the first day we think there were only about 20 people staying!) only one restaurant was open each night. That was fine for us as we got to alternate where we ate. There’s Italian (fancy), Mexican (casual), Asian (fancy), seafood (casual), grill (burgers etc.; casual), and a bigger casual restaurant with both Italian and Mexican food. We found the food to mostly be very good – especially the ceviche and beef short ribs at the Mexican restaurant, the steak at the Italian restaurant, and the curries at the Asian restaurant.
The great thing about all-inclusive resorts is that, wait for it, they’re all-inclusive! Usually when we go on holiday we have to watch how much we spend, especially on drinks, so this time it was great to be able to order what we wanted when we felt like it. Mojitos, come at me! It also meant we could order three courses for dinner and generally eat and drink like kings. Great for the wallet but not so great for the waistline!
Our favourite things at Fiesta Americana Cozumel were the day beds overhanging the ocean. They had comfy mattresses and pillows (although white may not have been the best colour choice as you could see dirty footprints on them by the end of our stay!) and you could jump off them into the beautiful water below. The snorkelling is great right off the shore in front of the hotel, and they also have a pier where dive boats can pick you up and drop you off. There are also kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and Hobie cats if you feel like extra activity, and the management have activities planned all day like pool volleyball, salsa dancing, aqua aerobics, etc. So there is heaps to do!
The only negative aspect of our stay was that management didn’t honour the $40 daily resort credit offered on Expedia – one of the reasons we chose to stay there. Unfortunately the spa wasn’t open when we were there, and so we didn’t get to check that out and use the credit. The website said that the credit could be used on premium food and room upgrades as well, but we were not offered any of these (even after we asked). This left a bit of a sour taste in our mouths, and put a dampener on an otherwise lovely stay.
However overall, we did enjoy our stay at Fiesta Americana Cozumel. The renovations are great, the food was generally very good, and the staff were friendly and helpful (many of them even remembered our names!). But we don’t know if we would rush back to an all-inclusive resort, because although the all-you-can-eat-and-drink nature of them is appealing we prefer smaller accommodation options.
So there you have it! Our first experience of an all-inclusive resort. Fiesta Americana Cozumel, we give you four out of five stars.