Stunning 15,000-square-foot spa offers huge selection of treatments
Spacious and modern gym with cardio machines, yoga, and boxing
Room service available (fee)
Free valet parking in a secure, staffed area
Free Wi-Fi in common areas
Small, lackluster beach, particularly for large upscale hotel
Paid in-room Wi-Fi is spotty
Per-stay limits on a la carte dining
Dated tennis courts are in dire need of resurfacing
Located in Ixtapa’s main tourist district, the four-pearl Azul Ixtapa Grand Spa & Convention Center is the area's most high-end all-inclusive resorts. Along with three beautiful zero-entry pools, an adult-only terrace, and three of the more upscale a la carte restaurants in Ixtapa, the resort ticks most of the boxes for a beachfront getaway. However, the property’s tiny, rocky beach could be a deal-breaker for some, and it's a bit of a hike from the center of Ixtapa. Every category of room is spacious, sophisticated, and modern, with must-have amenities like hot tubs, mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, and ocean-view balconies with panoramic views. For a more affordable, kid-friendly alternative, check rates at the adjacent Azul Ixtapa Beach Resort & Convention Center.
One of Ixtapa's nicest all-inclusives, with plenty of modern upscale style
With nearly every imaginable amenity, the Azul Ixtapa Beach Resort & Convention Center is among Ixtapa’s nicest and most tricked-out all-inclusive resorts. The hotel’s architecture is typical of similar contemporary resorts, with many common areas embodying a go-big-or-go-home aesthetic that sometimes verges on over-the-top. That being said, the decor is sophisticated and elegant, with high-end finishes and tasteful tropical touches throughout, like the large, carved mural outside the main entrance. The hotel’s social hub is a sprawling outdoor space that includes two main pools, an adult-only pool deck, and multiple outdoor bars. Overall, the atmosphere is lively, yet serene, even when the hotel is at capacity. Though it lacks any dedicated children's areas -- there's no kiddy pool -- the property is accommodating to families and kid-friendly without feeling “kid-centric.” Travelers are just as likely to find honeymooning couples as vacationing families.
In the tourist district and on a small, lackluster beach outside of town
Azul Ixtapa Beach Resort & Convention Center is located along Boulevard Playa Linda in Ixtapa’s popular beachfront tourist district. While the road is well-trafficked, the hotel’s location off the main strip helps to maintain a quieter atmosphere with minimal road noise. Playa Quieta beach, along with numerous other restaurants, bars, shopping, and resorts are all five minutes from the hotel by car. Ixtapa town is a bit farther and requires a 10-minute drive to reach.
Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport is a 30-minute drive away via a modern, well-maintained highway. As with many nearby resorts, Azul Ixtapa Beach Resort & Convention Center does not provide guests with dedicated airport shuttle service. However, private shuttle transport can easily be arranged from the airport and is often the best option for larger groups as rates are priced on a per-vehicle basis. Official taxi service is another inexpensive option as rates are zone-based and affordable relative to many Mexican tourist districts.
Spacious, sharp rooms with hot tubs and private ocean-view balconies -- fees for Wi-Fi
Rooms at Azul Ixtapa Beach Resort & Convention Center are divided into four categories -- Luxury Suites, Master Suites, Presidential Suites, and Honeymoon Suites. Decor in all rooms has the sophisticated vibe of an upscale home done in an abundance of warm tones, with beige tile floors, marble countertops, dark wooden furniture, and subtle pops of tropical color throughout.
The lengthy list of standard amenities in all rooms -- including a mini-fridge, a 37-inch flat-screen TV, a coffeemaker, and a private ocean-view balcony -- is as expected for a four-pearl resort. Unfortunately, free Wi-Fi is only provided in the common areas. For an additional fee, in-room internet service is available, however, the per-day rate gets expensive quickly and service can be spotty. It’s also worth noting that the minibar outlined on the hotel’s website and literature is actually an empty mini-fridge in lower-category rooms, a disappointment for an all-inclusive resort.
With an almost 700-square-foot floor plan (65 square meters), the hotel’s Luxury Suites are among the largest entry-level guest rooms in Ixtapa. Upgraded Master Suites provide 1,356 square feet of space (126 square meters) that allows for a separate sleeping area with a single king bed. Oddly, much of the additional floor space is empty and feels wasted. The hotel’s Presidential and Honeymoon Suites offer more than 2,000 square feet (186 square meters) of living space and include a full kitchen, a stocked minibar, a steam bath, and separate living, dining, and sleeping areas.
Bathrooms in all room categories are as sharp as the sleeping quarters, with high-end fixtures and materials throughout. Generous use of glass, tile, and marble on the floors, walls, and countertops lends a sophisticated look and feel that’s well above the area’s many cookie cutter bathrooms. The open layout seamlessly blends the bedroom area with the bathroom, separated only by a large, marble hot tub at its center. Basic hair dryers and Molton Brown's Green Park soaps and shower products are also provided.
Two large pools, an adult-only pool deck, and three high-end restaurants, but a disappointing beach
As a large all-inclusive resort, Azul Ixtapa Beach Resort & Convention Center offers almost every imaginable amenity that vacationing Mexican travelers might expect. Two large pools, an adult-only pool and hot tub area, and several high-end a la carte restaurants top the list, but the tiny, disappointing beach could be a deal-breaker for some.
Zero entry pools, with a lively atmosphere and adult-only section
The two main zero-entry pools are clean and spacious, even for a large, 300-room property. Each offers a distinctly different atmosphere. Located nearest the ocean, the Lower Pool is lively, boisterous, and the most kid-friendly of the property’s three pools. At capacity, however, the surrounding pool deck becomes cramped with little room to maneuver. An adjacent two-story waterfall overlooks the entire space with a small, grotto-style swim-up bar below. The Upper Pool is decidedly more relaxed and low-key with ample space between lounge chairs. Adjacent to the main pool deck is a third zero-entry pool and hot tub area that’s only for adults. Guests seeking shaded lounge space at any of the three pools will find plenty of umbrellas as well.
The nearby La Isla snack shack (with burgers, pizza, and other basic snacks) and two additional bars service the entire pool deck, each with a full liquor menu of beer, wine, and tropical cocktails. Poolside drink service is also available, and we found the staff to be prompt and attentive.
Multi-ethnic a la carte options plus buffet dining
The resort is serviced by a total of four full restaurants -- three a la carte and one buffet-style. While unlimited buffet dining is included in the hotel’s standard all-inclusive package, per-stay limits apply to dining at the three a la carte restaurants.
Aqua Buffet is the hotel’s primary restaurant and the only one on the property that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The decor is bright, vibrant, and IKEA-esque, with bold furniture and pops of tropical color throughout. The menu offers a large, rotating selection of expected Western favorites (pancakes, bacon, cereal, and an omelet station for breakfast; hamburgers, pasta, grilled chicken, and steak for lunch and dinner) and local Mexican dishes, such as tacos, refried beans, chilaquiles, and fried plantains.
The three on-site a la carte restaurants -- Flor de Agave, Bambu & Sakura, and Olivo & Vid -- are arguably the best and most upscale of their kind in Ixtapa. Each is adorned in a crisp, modern theme inspired by Mexican, Japanese, and rustic Italian food and design respectively. Unfortunately, each of these specialty restaurants is small and guests must make their reservations well in advance or risk being out of luck (especially on weekends).
The resort food overall is widely reviewed as high quality, with a diverse selection. A bar in each restaurant also offers a decent drink menu of beer, wine, and liquor.
The hotel’s small sand beach provides lovely views of the Pacific Ocean and several small islands off the coast. Unfortunately, the beach’s rocky topography and shallow “depth” (there’s less than 50 feet from the end of the property to the waterline) make it almost unusable. Likewise, the length of the beach is rather short, with half of its distance almost completely eroded. The two dozen lounge chairs and handful of umbrellas are also hardly sufficient for such a large hotel. Not surprisingly, even at capacity, the sand is often devoid of guests.
The condition of the water depends largely on the time of year. During our visit, we found it to be murky and full of bark and other debris. Unfortunately, the resort does not offer any of the water-sport activities -- such as kayaking, snorkeling, catamarans -- typically found at other Ixtapa resorts.
Mexican beaches are notorious for relentless hawkers, however, Azul Ixtapa Beach Resort & Convention Center is noticeably different. Thanks to the beach’s semi-private geography and the fact that few guests bother to use the space, guests aren’t likely to see the typical parade of jewelry and tchotchke peddlers. For an alternative, the hotel staff and many locals recommend nearby Playa Quieta, which offers excellent swimming and far more room to spread out.
Constructed in 2013, the 15,000-square-foot (1,394-square-meter) ITSI Spa is the largest and most modern of its kind in Ixtapa. The design is modern Zen, with sleek furniture, tile and hardwood floors, and a bold, blue hydrotherapy room that serves as the centerpiece. The adjacent salon provides the typical menu of beauty services while 18 private rooms offer Swedish, deep tissue, and specialty massage treatments for singles and couples. A large sauna, steam room, and hot tubs round out the list of services.
Spacious, modern fitness center one of the best in the area
The hotel’s fitness center is a 5,400-square-foot (502-square-meter) workout area that’s larger, more modern, and unlike any other in the area. The sleek, open space is adorned with hardwood floors, vibrant, organically-shaped pillars, and Spanish-language inspirational quotes and phrases on the walls. The vibe is boldly reminiscent of a theme park or an upscale arcade. An extensive selection of free weights plus cardio and strength-training equipment is available, as well as a boxing area and a dedicated yoga studio. The hotel also provides a number of free specialty classes including pilates, Zumba, Tae Bo, and step aerobics. Tennis courts are available but they could use a bit of love and upgrades.
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