This is Part 1 of our Trip Report of Cozumel.
Park 2 will include food, and other budget Cozumel tips.
For Peter's 30th birthday, we decided to go to Cozumel for a long weekend. Leaving early from the Atlanta airport, we naturally had to visit the Zimbabwe display between Concourse T and Concourse A.
On to Mexico we went (via American Airlines miles and Miami, FL).
We used a free night that we get annually from having the Chase IHG card as well as 100,000 points (50,000 points each night) for a 3 night stay. In all our searches prior to going to Cozumel, we really did not find a lot of reviews about the Intercontinental Presidente Cozumel. Sure- Tripadvisor has a lot of great reviews, but there were no blog posts that we could find with Intercontinental Cozumel Reviews. In fact, this hotel was ranked as #3 hotel in Cozumel at the time of writing. As such, we hope anyone who is making plans to go there finds this useful!
We rented a car from the airport for $4 for the long weekend. Yes. You're reading that right. $4. We had read that cars are quite cheap in Mexico due to an overcharging scam in insurance, however, we politely declined the insurance that was offered to us as we have Collision Damage Waiver insurance coverage through the Sapphire Reserve card that we used to pay for the car.
Check in was very easy. Complimentary valet parking and self parking is offered.
When we had initially searched for availability at the hotel with points, it was not showing any availability for a 3 night stay. However, we checked and booked each night individually and this worked out just fine. There was no problem linking our reservations so we did not have to check out and re-check in each subsequent day.
We were upgraded from a standard, one bedroom room to a one bedroom tower suite. One of the major perks of the IHG Credit Card is that it comes with Platinum Elite status- normally earned by staying 40 nights at IHG properties annually. As a result of this card, we have been upgraded numerous times despite not paying for a superior room. Tower rooms at the Intercontinental Presidente Cozumel have recently been renovated and are 860 square feet. They all face the ocean.
One downside that we found is that the fridge in the room did not work. We called the front desk to ask them about this and they advised that the fridges "don't actually keep things cold, they just store things". Lost in translation??
The Hotel Grounds
This hotel is kept in immaculate shape. Every night we saw an employee raking the beaches, staff are everywhere and so friendly and polite greeting you- and pleasantly doing so, not seeming like they have just been told to say "Hola" to all the guests.
One thing we absolutely loved about this hotel was how quiet it was. When we were looking into destinations to go to for this long weekend, we were worried about potentially running into the early Spring Break crowd. There were no issues with getting a cabana/beach loungers unlike other hotels in Cozumel that people told us about.
Highly recommend bringing snorkeling gear- there is a small shipwreck on the left side of the beach. Swim about 150 feet out in the direction of the roped area. We saw hundreds of fish here of all sorts of colours and varieties. We found it odd that no one told us about this great spot. Unlike some other hotels that we have stayed at in the Caribbean, snorkel gear was not available complimentary but was available to rent- so bring your own!!
Food and Drink
The hotel has a number of restaurants
1.- Caribeño restaurant, open from 7am to 11pm and serves international food. This is where breakfast is served. The breakfast buffet is $27 per person (We opted instead for panaderias for fresh, local pastries in the morning). Happy Hour at this restaurant is between 6 and 7pm and they offer 2 for 1 deals on select drinks.
Caribeño also was where Peter enjoyed a G&T and watched Tottenham on Saturday!
2.- Trattoria Alfredo, open from 6pm to 11pm and serve italian food, reservation required. Because you came all the way to Mexico for Italian food. Fine dining. Needless to say, we didn't eat here.
3.- Faro Blanco, open from 6pm to 11pm and serve International food and sea food. Reservation required. We walked past this restaurant numerous times- they have an extensive wine selection.
4. Le Cap restaurant, open from 11am to 11pm and serves mainly seafood dishes. They have a happy hour between 5 and 6pm. Same as the above- 2 for 1 deals on drinks. We had a great Aguacate (avocado) margarita here.
Overall, this hotel was fantastic, especially when you consider that the annual fee for the IHG card is $49 and the nightly rate here is over $300 for a standard room. Suites often go for over $400.
The staff are fantastic and quickly responded to any calls we had. The bar staff in particular were very accommodating and worked with us when we told them we were learning Spanish and wanted to try and order in Spanish as best as we could. (Dos margaritas por favor!)