Five-minute walk to dining, shopping, and other resorts
Wide, clean, soft sand beach
Large outdoor pool with a swim-up bar
Food and alcohol included at four restaurants and a snack shack
Rooms feature flat-screen TVs and private balconies
Some rooms have ocean views
Small 24-hour gym with modern equipment
Kids' club with video games, toys, and playground
24-hour room service (fee)
Free self-parking in a secure, gated area
Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel
Many common areas feel simple and dated
No water-sports facilities on the beach
Beach peddlers can be aggressive
Holiday Inn Resort Ixtapa is a three-and-a-half-pearl all-inclusive hotel in the heart of Ixtapa’s resort-heavy tourist district. There is a long list of amenities here, including a large, curved pool, three restaurants, and a wide, clean, soft-sand beach. The hotel also has a nice kids' club with video game systems and toys for those traveling with little ones, but unfortunately food at the buffets receives mixed reviews. The 420 rooms are bright and simple, with modern furnishings but a dated color palette. Features in all rooms include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and private balconies, many of which have ocean views. It might be worth checking rates at the nearby Pacifica Resort Ixtapa for a similarly appointed alternative with more upmarket polish.
Sprawling all-inclusive with a lively, family-friendly vibe and simple style
There's certainly nothing small about this hotel. Once home to an Inter-Continental outpost, the more humble Holiday Inn chain has taken things over, and the hotel is a mix of grand and simple styles that can sometimes look a bit dated. Still, that doesn't stop plenty of vacationers from making their way here, though some repeat guests find that services that have been cut -- there's no beach or pool service any longer, and fewer dining options. The architecture here is large-scale, so much so that many common areas -- like the massive, Mayan-inspired entrance and lobby -- feel too big with too little furniture. The style is classic Mexican with terra-cotta tile floors, stone and stucco walls, and exposed beam ceilings. The hotel’s primary social space consists of a massive outdoor pool, just steps from its wide, clean, semi-private piece of Palmar Beach. The atmosphere is lively, though family-friendly, and guests are just as likely to find both couples and adults with children at the resort.
On a wide, clean beach in Ixtapa’s popular tourist district
The resort is situated along the main beachfront road in Ixtapa’s famous tourist district. The town center -- with dozens of shops, bars, and restaurants -- is within a five-minute walk. Two 18-hole golf courses -- Ixtapa Golf Course and Servicios Golf Marina Ixtapa -- will take five minutes to reach by car. Additionally, the attractions in the small town of Zihuatanejo are less than 20 minutes away by car.
For a fee, the hotel offers transportation to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport, which is 30 minutes away. However, private shuttle service is available in the terminal and can prove less expensive, provided guests are willing to haggle. Taxi service is also affordable as rates are zone-based and government mandated. Several brand-name providers offer rental car counters in the airport terminal with inexpensive rates.
Bright rooms with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and private balconies
The decor in every room is clean, bright, and mostly modern. The furniture is dark and contemporary, though unfortunately some of it did look worn when we visited. Terra-cotta tile flooring add a bit of classic Mexican style to thing, and travertine surfaces on some of the end tables provides a touch of class. Overall, though, design choices like the drab orange tropical-pattern curtains reveal the hotel’s age, and the lack of any wall art keeps them from having much character.
Entry-level Garden- and Pool-View Rooms come in tight, one-room floor plans that feel cramped when compared to other resorts in the area. These rooms include a large TV stand and storage unit, a small dining table, and a bed that takes up most of the space. Sea View Rooms offer identical layouts, but with the addition of an ocean-view balcony. Suites provide substantially larger floor plans that include a small living area with a sofa bed and two full bathrooms. The Flagship Presidential Suite is a massive, two-story villa with an extensive list of amenities, including a stocked minibar, an additional terrace, a large soaking tub, and a wet bar. Standard amenities in every room include air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. We found the Internet service to be mostly fast and reliable during our visit. Beds in all categories are mostly well-reviewed as comfortable.
Bathrooms in every category (except the Presidential Suite) are almost identical. Fit and finish is excellent, with contemporary fixtures, wide square vessel sinks, a nice amount of counter space, and luxurious tile and marble on the floors, walls, and vanities. The standard shower/tub combos feature deep, soaking tubs.
A large outdoor pool, a wide, clean beach, and 24-hour dining via four restaurants and room service
Like most properties in Ixtapa, the resort offers many of amenities, though guests expecting the upscale service of the Inter-Continental may be a bit let down -- beach and pool-side service are not longer offered, and the number of a la carte restaurants has been decreased. The large outdoor pool is more than capable of accommodating the resort’s size. Three restaurants and 24-hour room service collectively offer all-day drinking and dining opportunities, and rates include all food and drink plus snacks. The wide, clean beach is a part of the area’s lovely Palmar Beach, and the kids' club -- with a playground, video games, and toys -- is also a nice-to-have addition. Unfortunately, there is no full-service spa on-site. Wi-Fi and parking are both free.
A large outdoor pool with a swim-up bar and central restaurant
The property features only a single outdoor pool. However, it’s more than capable of accommodating the resort’s 400-plus rooms. The organic shape of the pool and sundeck curves around the large La Isla restaurant at its center. A swim-up bar provides a full liquor menu of beer, wine, and cocktails. Rows of plastic lounge chairs line every edge of the pool with a layout that’s tight, though not especially cramped. Umbrellas also provide ample shade.
There is no dedicated kiddy pool. However, the staff offers kid-centric activities throughout the day including dance contests, pool games, and beach volleyball (with water balloons).
Like many of Ixtapa’s beachfront resorts, the Holiday Inn Resort Ixtapa’s beach is actually a portion of the larger Palmar Beach. While the sand is technically accessible to the public, the resort offers a semi-private area with lounge chairs and palapas available exclusively to guests. With a large number of both, guests will have no problem finding shaded seating. Many resorts in the area have a bad reputation for aggressive beach hawkers. Palmar Beach isn’t much different, and we found a decent amount of jewelry and tchotchke peddlers bothering guests. Drink service is not available.
Water conditions off the coast of Ixtapa depend heavily on the season. Strong winds can bring equally strong waves and rip currents. However, it’s mostly calm and swimmable even for children. Unfortunately, the hotel does not offer any water sports. Parasailing, diving trips, banana boat rides, and the like are available for a fee from local beach vendors.
Three full restaurants and a snack shack, plus 24-hour room service
The resort is serviced by three full restaurants and a snack shack. Unfortunately, only two serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which is somewhat limited compared to other hotels in the area.
La Isla Restaurant offers all meals in a casual, open-air space under a large, thatched roof. As it's situated feet from the beach, the water views are excellent. The buffets at each meal are typical of most area resorts, with Western-friendly selections and some traditional Mexican fare (chilaquiles, refried beans, and fried plantains). Frutas y Flores is the only indoor, air-conditioned dining venue. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served buffet style with selections similar to La Isla. The food at both buffets receives mixed reviews.
The hotel has one a la carte restaurant. La Terraza provides alfresco dinner service on a lovely, resort casual terrace. The reserved decor consists of resin wicker chairs, crisp white tablecloths, and oversized patio umbrellas. The menu features traditional Mediterranean and French dishes that are mostly well-reviewed. Although the property is all-inclusive, it does charge an additional fee for premium dishes like steak and lobster. Reservations are required. Caña Brava serves as the hotel's snack bar. Room service is also available 24 hours a day for a nominal fee. Unfortunately, there is no “set” room service menu, and it’s difficult to know what’s available each day.
Basic fitness center with relatively modern equipment
The fitness center feels a bit small compared to the hotel’s large scale, but it's sufficient for a complete workout. The equipment includes a dozen modern cardio- and strength-training machines plus a workout bench with free weights. A cold water cooler and a tiny, flat-screen TV are the only additional amenities.
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