Two Resorts Are Better Than One

Dual Iberostar properties — Iberostar Quetzal and Iberostar Tucan — complement an ideal all-inclusive experience in Mexico’s Riviera Maya By: Deanna Ting
Both properties share a sprawling pool complex. // © 2010 Iberostar Hotels & Resorts
Both properties share a sprawling pool complex. // © 2010 Iberostar Hotels & Resorts

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The Details

Iberostar Quetzal and Iberostar Tucan
Rack rates vary according to season; for the high season (December 2010 through April 2011), Iberostar Quetzal and Iberostar Tucan are priced from $254-$318 per person, per night, based on double occupancy and a three-night minimum stay.
More really is more when it comes to an all-inclusive stay at Iberostar’s twin sister properties in Playa del Carmen — Iberostar Quetzal and Iberostar Tucan. Both resorts, with 324 standard guestrooms and 26 suites each, share a prime piece of the upscale Playacar resort complex and, in doing so, they offer clients a nearly endless supply of activities, amenities and dining options to suit even the most discerning of travelers. |

These include, among other things, a total of five a la carte restaurants (Mexican, Chinese, Italian, a steakhouse and international cuisine); two buffet venues (one of which is poolside); a full-service spa; a fully equipped fitness center; a discotheque; an extensive Lucy’s kids’ club; separate adults- and kids-only pool areas; tennis courts; live entertainment; and the use of non-motorized watersports. Checking into either hotel, whether Tucan or Quetzal, entitles guests to all of the above and much more.

During my recent stay, I was booked in a room at Quetzal. The main differences between the Quetzal and Tucan hotels are in their decor; whereas Quetzal evokes the more traditional style of the Mexican colonial era with its stately columns and vibrant hues, Tucan’s design is much more Maya-inspired. Both hotels are aptly titled after wildlife, too, of which clients will find no shortage when strolling through the surrounding lush grounds. (Quetzal is the name of a vibrant and colorful, long-tailed bird native to Central America.) During my stay alone, I spotted dozens of different species of animals, from peaceful koi fish and exotic birds to turtles and even a native rodent-like creature called the tzereque. (Most clients will be relieved to know, however, that encounters with wildlife do not extend to their accommodations.)

To me, the entire resort complex seemed to seamlessly combine the verdant foliage of the rainforest with the pristine white-sand beaches and turquoise-blue waters of the newly restored Playa del Carmen coastline. At one end of the property, you might think you were in the jungle; at another, you might find yourself propped up on a beach chair, taking in the sounds of the softly crashing waves.

Sea views are accessible in some way from nearly all guestrooms at both Quetzal and Tucan; however, oceanfront rooms nearest to the beach will cost slightly more (approximately an additional $70 per night). All standard guestrooms feature a private terrace; a bath tub/shower; a sofa bed; cable television; air conditioning; a coffee maker; a fully stocked complimentary  minibar; a hair dryer; and a safe. Room service is also available daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Suite options include Junior Suites with more square footage than standard accommodations, as well as two-bedroom Presidential Suites that include a separate sitting room and a Jacuzzi.

What I appreciated most from my standard room accommodations was the space afforded to me; I never felt stifled or uncomfortable. Being able to wake up in the mornings and look out onto the gardens and the nearby beach from the privacy of my own terrace was a highlight.

When I wasn’t holed up in the comforts of my guestroom, I spent most of my time in either hotel lobby, working wirelessly on my laptop (Wi-Fi and/or wired Internet access is not available in the guestrooms) or lounging on the beach with a good read. More active guests opted to play tennis, frequent the gym, take a complimentary two-hour bike tour or participate in some of Iberostar’s popular live entertainment shows, for which there is a daily revolving schedule. I especially loved observing the afternoon children’s program during which kids’ club teachers taught the younger guests how to dance and sing in the main theater.

Children, especially, were catered to at both resorts, which were exceedingly family-friendly. Iberostar’s Lucy’s Club allows young guests to participate in such activities as drawing, reading, watching movies and enjoying their own private jungle gym area on-site. Both hotels’ spacious standard-size rooms also help to accommodate traveling families, and the variety of foods to be found at the buffet spreads — from Mexican to continental — would be sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

Having stayed at the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites in Jamaica before, I assumed that Iberostar Quetzal and Iberostar Tucan would have similarly excellent cuisine; I wasn’t disappointed. One night, our group had a veritable feast at La Gondola, which featured authentic Mexican dishes such as savory tacos al pastor. I also appreciated the healthful options available to us at the daily breakfast and lunch buffet at Tulum Restaurant. 
All in all, my stay at Iberostar Quetzal and Iberostar Tucan was rather blissful — as any vacation to the Riviera Maya should be.
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