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Old 03-22-2014   #1 (permalink)
toe in water
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Northern Wisconsin
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Isla Mujeres, Privileges Aluxes, and more!

We have been vacationing for a week in the Mayan Riviera for the last 10 years. We have stayed in Tulum, Akumal, and Playa del Carmen. Playa del Carmen has been our favorite but it just got to big and busy. Spent the last 6 months seriously considering Isla Mujeres. Once we decided to try Isla the search was on for a place to stay!

Here is the link to 194 photos

http://s38.photobucket.com/user/dsch...20March%202014

We narrowed our choices down to PA, Ixchel, and Nauti Beach. Choosing Privilege Aluxes was a HOME RUN! I say this with a certain amount of experience over the years staying at several all inclusives and different condos in the region.

Lets start with the most obvious, the location. After exiting the ferry, we knew all we had to do was head three or four blocks north with our carry on luggage. This short walk was very interesting as it was quite busy and the view of the ocean and beaches on the way made us excited to get our vacation started. PA was easy to find and the entrance is actually on a side street. Upon entering we were met by Reyes with a huge smile, cool face towels, and a glass of wine/champagne. Our luggage was hauled up to our room for us and although I don't remember the gentleman's name he was very accommodating and stayed 5 minutes to show us how everything worked and got us settled in.

We were in a suite deluxe. WOW! Kitchen area, living area, private bedroom, huge bathroom and an awesome very large deck. What more could we ask for? Although we did not choose the AI package we had at our convenience a fridge full of water, beer, soda and snacks for very reasonable prices!

Back to location- The PA had the best beach on the island in regard to width, quality, # of chairs and service. The beach was spotless! Not even the annoying disgusting cigarette butts laying in the sand! The service was excellent, although we weren't wearing the blue AI bracelet, all we had to do was get the attention of a waiter and in minutes we had what ever we wanted from ice cold beverages to awesome guacamole. Prices were very reasonable (about 1/2 of what you'd pay in Florida!) From our beach all we had to do was walk a couple hundred yards north and we would be on the famed north beach. Although the water was stunningly beautiful, here the beaches were narrow and very crowded. Maybe inches between chairs! Lots of fun beach bars though!

A must do on the north end is wade/swim, snorkel near the bridge to the Avalon. The water is chest deep and amazingly clear. If you bring a piece of bread with you you will have 100's of fish following you! Two fun beach bars I remember were Fenix and Tarzan.

Back at PA - they do play the towel game to reserve chairs but there are so many available it's not a problem like it can be at other places. The pools are absolutely awesome. We actually spent a lot of time around the pools as did many others. The pools are super clean, surrounded by very comfortable, padded, lounge chairs. There is a pool bar that really gets going during the late afternoon hours. At the pool bar they always had a very convenient "food of the day" available.

We had breakfast included in the price of our room. What a great deal this was as the breakfast buffet was over whelming! Made to order omelets, fresh fruit, cereals, pancakes, french toast, sausage, bacon, ham, potatoes, juices and wonderful pastries. This alone would have been $30 for the two of us in the US! Service was excellent as I believe PA was nearly sold out this week! All it took was eye contact and a nod and your coffee cup was filled. Food and coffee were decent quality and service was excellent.

The morning of our 3rd day we were told to pack up our things we were being upgraded! We did not ask for this and even tried to turn it down until we were shown pics of the Platinum suite they wanted to move us to! OMG!!! it was a two story suite with a private pool (not tub but pool that would easily hold 6 adults!) decks were massive and on two levels. Our first night in this suite we invited 5 other couples up to the large deck overlooking the ocean to view the sun set! It was awesome!

Any time we needed supplies. beer, snacks etc all we had to do was walk a block in 3 locations! We laughed about the prices! two six packs of beer was $8!!!!

We also rented a golf cart for 5 days and really enjoyed touring the island! Fun! I have written reviews for the following bar/restaurants that you can read if you'd like on the restaurant section of Isla Mujeres TA. We loved Oscars(pizza and garlic knots and the best mango margaritas ever!)

Soggy Peso (fun fun fun bar with sunday BBQ night and yummy STRONG margaritas).

Barlitos (panninis and cocktails at a beautiful bar with an infinity type pool)

Jaxes sports bar (right across the street where we watched our be-loved badgers, Great burgers, guac, chicken nachos and buckets of ice cold beer specials)

Hildago street - about 2 blocks away. PDC 25 years ago! This street is about 6 blocks long and is nothing but bars, restaurants, and shops. Definitely something for everyone. We enjoyed walking over at about 5 pm getting a table on the street and enjoyed the happy hour specials and the great people watching.

Places we and friends we met liked in Hildago area included Rolandi's for pizza and vodka sauce shrimp pasta.

Olivias for something different - Caribbean food. I had the house special, chicken and olives but I'm not sure i liked it?

Nash's - fun bar!

Lola Valentino's - two friends had breakfast there every day! This place was also packed for lunch and dinner every day so wish we would have tried it.

Very quaint place we discovered on a side street near the ferry was Rene Renees. This should be you go to lunch place!!!! The nicest older man and his wife have 5 tables and have amazing food! Chicken rice soup with a basket of fresh bread, grilled quesadillas oozing with cheese, chicken and beans. You will also get pico, salsa and a hot green sauce and chips. Salsa/pico was the best we found on the island! The bill will make you laugh - ridiculously cheap but soooooo good!

Once again, it was great to do all of this and have the PA so near by. Every time we returned we were met with big smiles and we were always greeted - kind of like returning home!

We really enjoyed having the golf cart and went all over the island. On the east side (big ocean side) of the island we found a really neat bed and breakfast with a sign "beer so cold it will make your teeth hurt" of course we had to stop and when we walked in and saw the neat pool and unbelievable view we had to have more then one ice cold beer!

PA also has two very nice hot tubs. One is very private and sits behind the work out room and the other is adjacent to the pool. Late one afternoon we sat in this one with a buch of other people and just had a blast.

We were impressed the grounds and the security. Even tried to bring friends who were staying elsewhere up to see our room but this did not go over very well. One of the couple we hung out with did the all inclusive and they were impressed with the quality of the 3 different dining choices they had, Satay (Asian), the Buffet, and the beach bar that at night was set up for eloquent dining on the beach. Nice to have the option of all inclusive or room and breakfast only. I hope this choice never disappears! I would guess this property is no older then 10 years or so so everything is in very good shape.

We were worried about the beach being across the road but it really isn't. It's across an access road and is truly a 1 minute walk from the pools.

We returned home just 5 days ago and I wish I was still there! We will definitely make a return visit soon and often if they do not change their reasonable prices and options.

If you want service, cleanliness, choices, perfect beach, great pools, location, location, location, value, and no crowds or lines, then PA is definitely the place for you!

We loved IM and preferred it over PDC since it was so easy to get around and most areas were walking distance. Renting a golf cart is a blast compared to renting a car and trying to drive around PDC in the crazy, crazy. crazy traffic.

North beach rivals any beach Iv'e ever been to! Oh, you also get awesome sunsets!

Last edited by scar; 03-24-2014 at 10:49 PM.. Reason: adding a photo link
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Old 03-22-2014   #2 (permalink)
aņejo
 
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Thanks for the great report! Do you remember the name of the B&B?

Welcome home....sorry you have to be there
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Old 03-22-2014   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for a great report! I wanna go now, sounds like fun.
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Old 03-22-2014   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the great report! Do you remember the name of the B&B?

Welcome home....sorry you have to be there
Sharon,
The name was Villa La Bella. Awesome view with a great pool/bar/lounge area.

Villa La Bella - B&B By The Sea

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Old 03-22-2014   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by SharonD View Post
Thanks for the great report! Do you remember the name of the B&B?

Welcome home....sorry you have to be there

The name of the B&B is " Villa la Bella"....they also have the best pina colada ..served in a coconut with fresh coconut on top and a pineapple wedge.
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Old 03-23-2014   #6 (permalink)
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Awesome trip report!!!! Wyna & I are heading down to Playa next Sunday for a week & then we travel to Isla & we get a week at PA. After reading your report we can barely stand to look at the clock counting down the minutes before we leave. Are you going to post any photos? If you do we'll be counting down the seconds...lol. Thank you... Rob & Wyna
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Old 03-23-2014   #7 (permalink)
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Excellent report, I am in total agreement with your take on Isla and PA. We had to change our opinion on AI's after staying at PA everything about the hotel was excellent, the location, beach and service couldn't be beat.
We have been to Isla twice and it will be our next destination also, my wife can't wait for her next breakfast on hildago at the rooster cafe, where she gets eggs benny with a lobster tail on top. |If you should ever get a chance, top off your vacation with the sunset cruise with Induna charters, it was awsome, a 68 foot catamaran to take you around the island, and watch the sunset. Thanks for your report, it makes me look forward to our next trip.
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Old 03-23-2014   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the report....we loved staying at Privilege Aluxes too. The AI plan is great if you can get it for below $25 pp per day, which is what we got it for on Expedia.

We also aren't really AI people but loved AI at PA for that price, can't be best!

Olivia is Mediterranean food, Israeli and Greek. our favourite, along with Oscar's Grill.
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Old 03-23-2014   #9 (permalink)
toe in water
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Originally Posted by Schmoopie & J.C View Post
Awesome trip report!!!! Wyna & I are heading down to Playa next Sunday for a week & then we travel to Isla & we get a week at PA. After reading your report we can barely stand to look at the clock counting down the minutes before we leave. Are you going to post any photos? If you do we'll be counting down the seconds...lol. Thank you... Rob & Wyna
Photos of 194 pics are here:

Isa Mujeres March 2014 Photos by dscharbarth | Photobucket
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Old 03-24-2014   #10 (permalink)
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Great pics. Thanks. We just tried Isla this past February for the first time for 3 nights prior to our PDC/Puerto Morelos stay. Next year it will be a week for sure. Loved Isla !
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Old 03-24-2014   #11 (permalink)
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We found the link just after we posted to your report. thank you for the photos, they are fantastic!!!
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Old 03-24-2014   #12 (permalink)
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Im

We went to check out Isla in 2001. We've only made it back to Playa twice since then. We've been Isla Peeps ever since. Great job capturing various areas of the island.
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Old 03-25-2014   #13 (permalink)
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My husband and I are seriously considering PA for a vacation later this year. #1 THANK YOU For the report and beautiful pictures, PA looks like a great place. #2- Edited for lack of reading comprehension on my part. I went straight to the pictures then read part of your TR and was asking if maybe you had a different room category than Suite Deluxe. Now I see you were upgraded mid-trip to the platinum suite. That's the one we want but we can't seem to book it on any of the booking engines.

Last edited by MrsFresh; 03-25-2014 at 12:23 PM..
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Old 03-25-2014   #14 (permalink)
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Sharon,
The name was Villa La Bella. Awesome view with a great pool/bar/lounge area.

Villa La Bella - B&B By The Sea

Thanks, Scar and Hostamomma! Will definitely check out their web site! BtwWe, I really enjoyed your pictures!
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Old 03-29-2014   #15 (permalink)
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So enjoyed the pictures and read! We have been to Isla three times and have stayed on two occasions although not at an AI. A few years ago we stayed two weeks and met so many wonderful people! We love Isla and regret that we didn't make it there this year on our Mexician travels. There's never enough time to do everything we want to do when we are there! Guess there's always next year.
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