A June 2000 trip
to Cancun by Coach Bear
Quote: Cancun is the city for fun under the sun. And don't forget the romance. I hope to tell you about the restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, and activities available in the city.
Hotel | "Imperial Las Perlas Cancun"
The reception desk area at the hotel was small, and the employee on duty could not find my reservations for almost 30 minutes. This was a major cause of irritation for me. I gave the man a copy of the fax I had received with my reservation guarantee and number, but he would not accept this until he was finally able to find his own copy. What a start to a vacation!! Certainly the difficulty had some impact on my perception of the hotel.
I eventually got to my room. The bed appeared to be decent, although it was somewhat small. To make my first night worse, the boards under the bed became dislodged and I fell through the bed. The bathroom had a small shower, with only a thin stream of water issuing from the nozzle. This was totally unlike the other hotels at which I have stayed in Cancun. The toilet was cracked, and leaked water. In fact, the toilet seat came off when I sat down on it. Never did the management come to see the room, nor did the maintenance repair anything during my stay.
However, there were two positives about the hotel, such as the nice (small) beach behind the hotel and the restaurant inside the hotel. The food served was delicious. The beach was nice, but had a problem with seaweed that would float to the shore every morning. At least one employee spent the majority of his day raking the seaweed from the edges and removing it from the beach.
In a pinch I would stay at the Imperial again, but not if I could find another place to stay. The negatives were just too much for my mind to overcome. I know that there are other hotels for the same price that offer a more pleasant stay.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on April 16, 2003
Imperial Las Perlas
PASEO KUKULCAN KM 2 5 ZONA
Cancun, Mexico 77500
My last stay at this hotel was during a three and one-half week visit to the area. I travelled around the city of Cancun, spent time on Isla Mujeres, time in Estado Yucatan, time in Cozumel, and returned to Cancun. The Holiday Inn Cancun (Downtown) was my hub during the trip.
From the hotel, I was able to visit the many restaurants in downtown and on the island, go to the beach, and spend my evenings at my favorite hot spots. All of this by stepping on a bus or by taking a cab. The downtown area has its own unique atmosphere. There is more of a traditional Mexican flavor to the downtown that is often lost on the island (in the Zona Hotelara).
Holiday Inn does not have direct access to the beach, but there is a shuttle from the hotel to another hotel that has beachfront property. (The beaches in Mexico are all open and free.) The shuttle leaves four times daily and returns guests back to the hotel. I did not find this to be an inconvenience, since I chose to spend my time in the downtown area.
There is a nice restaurant in the hotel, the lobby has an air of old Spain, the balconies give a pleasant view of the city, and there are ample activities in and around the area, like bars, nightclubs, restaurants, shopping, and local activities. What more can one want? Many tourists choose to stay in this hotel to keep away from the crowded beach area.
Would I return to the Holiday Inn? Yes, if I wanted to do more activities in the downtown area and less on the beach. This is the best hotel in the city that is not in the Zona Hotelara.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 11, 2003
Holiday Inn Cancun
Avenue Nader #1 S.M. 2
I found the hotel to be charming, but less so than I had anticipated. This was mainly due to ongoing renovations, though. The pool was not functional while I was staying there, thus it was inconvenient to do some of the activities which I had planned. However, there was a four-time daily shuttle from the hotel to another hotel with beachfront access. So, I was able to spend most of my days at the beach.
As always, the evenings were open for going to a variety of different locales, but I chose to spend most of my time in the downtown area. There is always a large selection of restaurants, nightclubs, and other tourist-friendly activities for one to see. As always, I was able to spread out my activities into the other areas of the peninsula and go to Chichen Itza and Isla Mujeres from the hotel.
The room that I rented was smallish, the bed was too soft, and the pool was being repaired. Otherwise, the stay at Hotel Kokai was decent. I enjoyed my breakfast at the restaurant. They had a Vera Cruz style meal that I enjoyed tremendously. If you are on a low to moderate budget, I recommend that you try the Howard Johnson Kokai.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 11, 2003
Howard Johnson Kokai Cancun
Avenida Uxmal #26
Hotel | "Continental Plaza Cancun"
Still, the resort offers an excellent location and plenty of activities. There are three pools, a beach at your door, a restaurant (Tony Roma's), two small groceries, and a nice bar. Continental Plaza is rated 5-star by most guides. There are separate parts of this complex for hotel visitors and timeshare. If you are in the hotel, the air in the upper floors has a difficult time circulating. This problem does not exist in the resort area.
I have visited the resort on two occasions and the hotel on two others. If you enjoy the beach, there is plenty of beach outside your door. If you like shopping, go across the street to Flamingo Plaza or take a bus to one of the other plazas.
Pat O'Brien's and Los Rancheros are both across the street in Famingo Plaza. Both have excellent food and plenty of entertainment. Tony Roma's is supposed to be an excellent restaurant, but I have not tried it... yet.
The discos are just down the road. You can easily take a bus to these areas.
Whatevr your interest, Continental Plaza is a wonderful place to spend your time.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 15, 2002
Continental Plaza Cancun All Inclusive
Km 11 Boulevard Kukulcan
Cancun, Mexico 77500
+52 (988) 15500
I have visited the Altamar Restaurante Español on three separate occasions. The owners are brothers, and relatives, that have immigrated from Spain. They brought their local specialties to Cancun to share in the dining market.
The reaturant is listed in the Cancun guide as a seafood restaurant. While there is seafood on the menu, I recommend any of the paellas that they make. They even have a seafood version. The flavors of this Spanish dish are distinctly different from those that many consider Mexican food. The blend of saffron mixed in the rice is quite unique to Spanish food.
The service is excellent, especially if you speak with the waiters about their experiences in Spain. There is a xylophone player who will play your requests, as well as many other songs that he knows. He has a large variety of songs to play. Ask for a romantic Mexican or Spanish song. You will certainly enjoy the experience.
This is one of my favorite places to visit when in Cancun.
Altamar Restaurante Español
Calle Tulipanes 29
That evening my senses were aflame. I noticed everything around me. The decor of the restaurant was the traditional Mexican style with wooden tables and chairs, different colored lights, and cattle horns hanging on the walls. The food on the menu ranged from steaks to seafood. The aroma of garlic and chiles surrounded the diner. A trio of Mariachi singers walked from table to table taking musical requests. I had the singers play "Peregrina" and "Besame Mucho" for my friend. I believe that provided the ultimate romantic touch for the evening. All that we lacked was our meal.
I ordered bistek ranchero; my friend wanted the camarones al diablo. We were able to watch the other diners, and I was able to spend some time listening to my friend while we awaited our food. As with the earlier part of our visit to the restaurant, all was perfection. The steak was tender and spiced the way that I enjoy it. The shrimp steamed in their sauce and were quickly devoured. The waiter gave us enough attention that we had no problems keeping our drinks filled.
The final test of a good restaurant is the price check. This time I was able to walk away from the restaurant with a price that was in the moderate range. I felt as though the evening was worth whatever price was necessary, but I was thankful that the meal had not eaten too much into my budget.
There are many Mexican restaurants in Cancun. However, to enjoy a classical experience, one that is truly authentic, the visitor to Cancun should have the experience of Restaurant Rosa Mexicano. Even the more expensive restaurants cannot provide a better experience.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 15, 2003
Restaurant Rosa Mexicano
I visited this restaurant soon after it first opened in 1997. I was greatly impressed by the handmade salt-and-pepper shakers and the stoneware serving dishes, all specially made in Mexico City. Plus, this restaurant has one of the most romantic views of the ocean and beach that I have seen in the Cancun area. A large window overlooks the beach and the ocean, giving the diner, depending upon the time of day, a chance to watch lovers stroll the beach, children playing in the sand, or watch the lights of the ocean liners (at night) as they await the return of their passengers. Personally, I believe that the most romantic time is the early evening. Usually, one only needs to ask to be seated with a window view. On the walls opposite the windows is a wonderful mural of an Italian seaside community. The mural is based upon the scene of a famous Italian city, though I have forgotten the name of the city. When I am not watching the beach or ocean or my companion, I can easily become absorbed in the mural and its details.
One of the great things about U´Mediterraneo is that the owner and the waiters all immigrated from Italy. Most have many years of experience in restaurants and on luxury ocean liners. This only supplements the authentic cuisine of a seaside Italian city. For these reasons, you will have great food and terrific service when you visit here.
Speaking of food, traditional pastas, soups, rice dishes, and seafood make this one of the most wonderful dining experiences that you will find anywhere. I know that the restaurant is located in Mexico (and I try to eat only in places that serve the local cuisine), but the food is so delicious at U´Mediterraneo that it is difficult to omit a visit from one’s dining plans. I have returned to U´Mediterraneo on two subsequent visits to Cancun, and plan to return again this summer.
Forum by the Sea
+52 (998) 883-1862
For me, the most enjoyable time to visit is during the lunch hour, as a buffet is served at a reasonable price (there is also a buffet for breakfast). These meals are inexpensive (about $5 - $7) when compared to many of the other restaurants in the other plazas (malls). The most interesting thing about eating at some of the restaurants is meeting people. One of the ladies who works as a hostess at Los Rancheros was very friendly to me. She was kind enough to go shopping with me on her day away from work. This helped me to find quality souvenirs without spending exorbitant prices.
Only once did I eat at Los Rancheros for their evening meals as these tend to be more expensive, but they are still a value. When dining in the evening at the restaurant, a live mariachi band plays for the enjoyment of the customer. The lights are dimmed also, which gives a more romantic atmosphere for couples.
Whenever dining at Los Rancheros, the food is tasty and the people are pleasant. Every visit that I make to the restaurant brings new appreciation for the food that is served, and I am able to renew acquaintances with several people that I have met over the years. Therefore I am able to say that a visit to Cancun is never complete without going to Los Rancheros.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 29, 2003
Flamingo Plaza Km. 11.5
998/885 27 58
Restaurant | "Bogart's"
As we entered the lobby, there were potted plants set on Persian carpets. We had a short wait to be seated, then were taken through three different dining areas to our table. The room which first caught my attention was one with a piano bar. A man was playing the piano, reminiscent of "Casablanca." We were seated in a room with very nice rugs, and high-backed 'wicker"-style chairs.
The maitre 'D was attentive, as were the three different waiters who appeared at different times to assist us with any needs. Sadly, my wife was not well that evening and had only a salad and a small glass of wine. I had a salad, lobster three ways, and the remainder of the wine. The food was delicious, but small in portions.
After the meal we were presented a photo that had been taken of us, for which we paid $20. Then we were presented with the bill. $128!!! I knew that the meal would be expensive, but little did I realize how much expense it would be. I think that what made the evening palatable was the fact that my wife was pleased with the extremely romantic atmosphere that we encountered at this restaurant.
If you want a romantic evening and do not care about the expense, this is your place. I recommend that you go to Christine's afterwards and take in the dancing.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 27, 2002
+52 (98) 83-1133
Over a three-year time period during which I have visited the restaurant, the selection of beers that have been offered has been slightly different each time. Bottled beers such as Dos Equis, Corona, and Negra Modelo remain the same, but the beers brewed in the microbrewery are served as the draft beers, and these change on a monthly schedule. Usually the choices from the microbrewery include a nice stout, a lager, a pilsner, and a fruity beer. When my wife and I last dined at the Santa Fe, a beer brewed with peaches added was the special of the month. Such selections give an interesting change of pace for the palate.
Each time that we went to the Santa Fe my wife and I enjoyed a different selection from the menu. We found that ordering the sampler platter of beers (which contains six selections from the microbrewery) gives the opportunity to select the beer that is most pleasant to the taste for future reference. We will return to the Santa Fe Café’ on many occasions in the future because it is such a unique experience in the Cancun area.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2003
Santa Fe Café
Forum by the Sea Plaza
I feel that the major attraction at Pat O’Brien’s is the evening meal. The menu contains a selection of steaks, seafood, and salads, with a few local dishes thrown in the mix. My wife and I ordered two pitchers of the famous Pat O’Brien’s hurricanes to start the evening, then she ordered the fresh filet of fish and I ordered the porterhouse steak. The waiter not only took the orders, but entertained the customers by carrying the drink orders on his head. It is amazing to see the waiters as they carry up to 10 drinks balanced on their heads without dropping the drinks or spilling the contents.
However, the food and the atmosphere were not the only ways that we enjoyed ourselves. A very capable rock band played covered of a wide variety of music from the rock world (oldies from the Beach Boys through modern selections by U2 and Selena). They performed from about 8pm until midnight. About once every hour the waiters all go to the stage and dance to "Cotton-Eyed Joe", then return to serving. This reminds me a little of the bar scenes from the movie Coyote Ugly.
First-time visitors to Pat O’Brien’s may be surprised by the long line of customers waiting to be seated. The line is only an indication of the quality of the food and the popularity of the entertainment that can be found at this restaurant. The line occurs from around 6 - 9pm. Afterwards it is easier to get in to enjoy this establishment.
After a wonderful evening of food and music, my wife and I returned to Pat O’Brien’s for breakfast. This time we were treated to a nice breakfast buffet for about $6 - $7. The meal consisted of international favorites such as pancakes, French toast, bacon, sausage, eggs, ham, sweet rolls, and Mexican favorites such as chorizo, refried beans, fried bananas, rice, and other dishes. It was also possible to have the chef cook a specialty omelet for this meal. Again, we left the restaurant filled and happy for the experience.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 25, 2003
There is very little problem with high waves and riptides on this beach (as there are on many other beaches) due to the location in the protected area of the island. Isla Mujeres (in the distance) serves as a natural break water that protects this beach. Visitors staying in hotels such as Krystal, Fiesta Americana, and El Presidente (among others) stream to Playa Caracol to spend long days sunbathing and playing in the sand. The refreshment stands on this beach prepare drinks that are reasonable in price and that are not watered down, as in the nightspots. The Mayafair Plaza is located directly across the street, and provides shopping, dining, and other activities for the sun-lover when they tire of the sand.
One of the additional reasons for my attraction to Playa Caracol is that I formed several great romances while strolling down the beach. Many other couples come to this beach to be married. Those couple surely must agree with me about the romance of the beach. Regardless, when you visit Cancun, make the time to visit this beach. You will never wish to leave it.
Boulevard Kukulcan Km 6
I find that the most enjoyable time to visit here is from 9:00 pm and later. Two live bands perform on most nights at 10:30 (all except Wednesdays). The music that they play ranges from Selena to U2 to Lynyrd Skynyrd. The bands that I have seen have been high quality cover bands.
The food is traditional for a pub; burgers and fries, salads, sandwiches, and chicken wings. The drinks tend to be watered down. But, the atmosphere and the music make for an exciting evening.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 13, 2002
Hard Rock Café
Boulevard Kukulcán Km.8.5
I noticed that my friends and I were the oldest people in the club. Most of the dancers ranged in age from 18 - 30. It certainly boosted our morale to be noticed by several very attractive girls, though.
The music began playing, dancers started going to the floor, and the party began. Music tended to be modern rock and disco. There were plenty of disco lights and a few lasers. The party continued until about 4:00 am.
Drinks were a bit pricey, but I believe that the price goes along with the atmosphere.
I find that this club is more elegant than the other dance clubs in town. It doesn't get the notoriety as some of the others, but the girls here were dressed better and appeared to be more socially skilled. The males were better dressed than I had noticed at La Boom and other places and tended to "hunt" singly, not in packs.
Overall, the experience is pleasant, but more attuned for those aged 18 - 30.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 13, 2002
Boulevard Kukulkan km 9
Cancun, Mexico 77500
At the entrance to the club was a group of about 50 young teenagers who were on their senior trips. They set a negative tone for the evening from the beginning, as they were obnoxious and demanding. Their chaperones were not far behind them in their rudeness. However, the four ladies and I decided to venture forth and try to see what could be made of our evening.
We danced and socialized and had a pleasant evening among ourselves. The music was loud, of course, but seemed to be a more brash sounding style than there was at the other clubs. Of course, there were many more people in La Boom.
The age group tended to be between 18 - 25. The clients were mostly 'whiny' and pampered, selfish, and did not have proper social skills. I found that the best way to find enjoyment here was to be in a group and to stay together.
Because of my preferences at my age (49), I doubt that I will return to La Boom. But the experience would probably be different for someone in their 20's or 30's.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 13, 2002
Boulevard Kukulcan Km 3.5