Walking distance to the ferry and downtown's restaurants and nightlife
Spotless rooms with AC, coffeemakers, and flat-screen TVs with cable
Big suites have kitchens and balconies
Two small oceanside pools
Upbeat open-air restaurant with a la carte menus
Small pool bar in the East Tower
Guests can charge services to rooms at some local businesses
Free beach towels, toys, and floats
Free Wi-Fi throughout
No free breakfast
No balconies in Standard Rooms
Ixchel Beach Hotel is located right on the soft sands of Playa Norte (North Beach), on the northern tip of Isla Mujeres. It's a good mid-range pick for couples and families who want to spend their time on one of the island's most popular beaches or exploring the nearby downtown shops, restaurants, and nightlife. The 100 rooms and suites are clean, comfortable, and a little basic due to sparse decor, though the apartment-sized suites with kitchens and balconies are a bargain for self-catering facilities. An outdoor, nautically themed restaurant and bar, two pools, drink service on the beach, and a small gym are also on-site. This ferry port is within walking distance. The nearby Na Balam Beach Hotel -- without Wi-Fi or TVs in rooms -- is a good alternative for folks who want to disconnect while on the island.
Average beach hotel with a relaxed vibe; popular with families and couples
Ixchel Beach Hotel is fairly unassuming from the road, and the lobby’s beige tile flooring, generic artwork, and old-looking couch cushions don't create much of an impression. However, a painting of the beach behind the front desk and atrium at the end of the lobby with a palm tree and other tropical plants hint at the oceanfront setting. Although generally quiet, sometimes it’s possible to hear faint thumps of music playing at the beach.
The hotel itself is split into two towers -- the East Tower and West Tower -- that are mirror images of each other. Each has their own front desk, though it’s worth requesting or booking a room in the remodeled West Tower, as the older East Tower has less natural light and an overall more dated look. This is a laid-back, largely average spot that attracts a near even mix of couples and families, plus some groups of friends.
On North Beach, within walking distance of the ferry port and downtown
This is a beachfront property on Playa Norte (North Beach), about a 10-minute walk from the Ultramar ferry port and even closer to the tourist bustle of the island. The downtown concentration of tour desks, souvenir and craft shops, bars, and restaurants begins just a two-minute walk from the hotel. Taxis can be hailed from the street a half-block away and there are several golf cart rental companies within a seven-minute walk. It takes around 30 minutes to reach the southernmost tip of the island by car, while the IceBar and Turtle Farm are about a 20-minute drive. To reach Isla Mujeres from the Cancun International Airport, travelers must take a cab from the airport to the Ultramar Ferry (also known as Gran Puerto, Isla Ferry, or Puerto Jerez). From there, guests can purchase tickets for the ferry that runs to Isla Mujeres (a 20-minute journey) throughout the day.
Contemporary (if basic) rooms and condo-style suites with balconies and kitchens
Ixchel Beach Resort’s 100 rooms are spotless, outfitted with little color and wood-laminate furniture that makes them feel a bit basic. The design varies a bit by room, and some have lovely decor accents such as colorful woven tapestries, seashells and starfish, and pieces of artwork. Standard Rooms are comfortable and cover basic conveniences like small mini-fridges, coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs with cable, jugs of purified water, and bathrooms with hairdryers and showers. Extra perks include magnifying mirrors and DVD players, though they lack tubs and balconies.
The hotel’s One- and Two-Bedroom Suites are actually condos, giving them all slightly varying decor and spacious apartment-style layouts with kitchens. Expect large junior-sized fridges, electric stovetops with four burners, toasters, wet bars, coffee machines, full-sized microwaves, and cabinets stocked with dishes, pots, and pans. Living rooms are contemporary with L-shaped couches, larger flat-screen TVs, and dining tables for up to six. Terraces stretch from the living rooms to the bedrooms and are furnished with plastic wicker tables and chairs. Expect tiled floors, walk-in showers with contemporary showerheads, and basic sets of generic toiletries.
Beautiful beach with artificial reef and professional third-party vendors
Playa Norte is one of the island's most popular and beautiful beaches. The area behind Ixchel Beach Resort is spotless, lively, and full of soft, white sand. While all beaches in Mexico are public, there's a private area just for guests set up with stretched plastic sun loungers and umbrellas. A few feet out from shore, the hotel installed an artificial reef to help with erosion which also helps keep the waters calm. Drink service is provided by the hotel bar and can be charged to the room. There are a decent amount of third-party vendors that share the sands, giving guests options like a smoothie bar, massages, watersports, and snacks.
Open-air restaurant, two pools popular with families, and sunbeds on the beach
Ixchel’s most popular feature is its beach, leaving the beachfront pool areas at either tower a bit empty save a few splashing kids. Free-to-use sun loungers and umbrellas line the beach, and drink service is available. The pools are practically identical, with blue plastic loungers, concrete deck perimeters, and rows of loungers resting on shallow, ankle-deep platforms built into the pools. The only difference is that the pool at the West Tower has a slightly larger deck with enough space for additional sun loungers, instead of the plastic table and chairs at the East Tower.
In the West Tower, guests can dine at the open-air Kalak Restaurant. This nautical-themed spot has an a la carte menu featuring Mexican dishes like ceviche and tacos for lunch and a rotating international dinner menu. Breakfast is not free, but it includes an a la carte selection of American and Mexican dishes. Ropes and hammocks hanging from the ceiling keep it casual, while the light dance music infuses a little energy. There’s also a full bar offering international booze and liquor. Over at the East Tower, the Kalak Bar serves imported liquor and frozen drinks from an Island Oasis machine, and is a much smaller, simpler operation. The hotel has also worked out deals at a handful of local businesses where guests can charge items directly to their room.
Guests also have access to a small, air-conditioned gym in the West Tower, equipped with an all-in-one machine, weight bench, and three cardio machines -- all in varying levels of datedness.
Freebies include Wi-Fi, beach towels, and a selection of grab-and-go beach toys and floats off reception.
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