Hotel Review: Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel
Swinging in a hammock surrounded by blossoming red hibiscus bushes. A private beach lined by trees decorated with wicker lanterns just steps from your patio door. An expertly crafted towel armadillo left by housekeeping to guard your room. If these images conjure up a vision of paradise for you, then the Presidente Intercontinental in Cozumel does deliver.
As one of the top hotels in all of Cozumel, this is the place to stay if you desire that relaxing tropical atmosphere portrayed in those vacation getaway commercials. The ones that blind you by the bright white beaches and vividly electric blue skies as you desperately try to adjust the color contrast controls on your remote attempting to protect your retinas. The Presidente Intercontinental is a high end hotel, so the price you pay for paradise may be a bit more than you usually spend, but it is definitely worth it.
The driveway itself makes you feel as if you’re entering a tropical hideaway while you roll past a hallway of trees guarding the path to the hotel entrance. Occasionally, your driver may have to give right of way to pedestrian iguanas. Keep in mind, the iguanas are on island time.
As you pull up to the entrance, you’ll discover that a majority of the hotel is open air which allows for more opportunities to enjoy tropical breezes. Honestly, it’s hard not to feel giddy just standing in the lobby as you take in all the wicker fans, decorative ferns, and tropical fish floating on flat screens behind the front desk. After checking in with the super cordial staff, you’ll follow the adorable lanterns leading you through a thatched roof hallway and directing you to your room. If you are lucky enough to have booked one of the suites (also known as Reef Rooms), which I would HIGHLY recommend, you will be navigated down what I’d like to call “the Jungle Book hallway”.
Once the door opens, feel free to gasp with delight. “Why yes, that is an outdoor shower you’re seeing!…Robes are always fun to lounge in…How cute, housekeeping leaves flowers everywhere…This feels like the most comfortable bed in all of Mexico!…Wow, my own hammock!!!” Clearly, you see what grasps my attention.
The Reef Rooms offer either a pool or ocean view. With an ocean view, we were literally a coconut throw from the beach. Every morning we opened the curtains to another gorgeous morning and were a short stroll from breakfast, the beach, and the onsite dive operator~ Scuba Du!
Here’s a rundown on the basic things you may want to know:
Location: The Presidente is about a 15 minute ride from the airport and a short cheap taxi ride from downtown Cozumel. Even though there are restaurants at the hotel, I’d still very much recommend checking out some of the local establishments downtown for dinner on occasion. We found some places with embracing atmospheres and wonderfully indulgent food. And a great deal more wallet-friendly.
Food: This is not an All-Inclusive hotel so you’ll have to work meals and drinks into your vacation finances. Since it’s one of the best hotels in Cozumel, you’ll be dealing with higher prices.
There are three locations for nourishment: the beach bar and grill that has a lunch menu, the larger open air restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with a full service bar, and their gourmet restaurant Alfredo Di Roma.
We luckily booked through our dive shop, so we had the breakfast buffet included in our stay. The breakfast buffet was the typical egg dish, fried potatoes, fruit, a trade off between pancakes and french toast, etc. There is a dessert table with these chocolate filled pastries that go well when paired with coffee. I was of the mindset that they’d taste better warmed up and followed the advice of a fellow diver to use the Mexican rolling toaster to heat it up. DO NOT DO THIS….My pastry got stuck in the back of the toaster. I was stricken with a momentary fear that I would become known as “that American girl who burnt down the majestic Presidente Intercontinental”. But one of the cooks helped me fish it out. So my reputation was no longer in danger.
By far, the best lunch I’ve enjoyed was a chipotle sauce smeared mahi-mahi sandwich (or they’ll call it the mahi-mahi torta) along with a bottle of Sol beer. You can get it at both the beach bar and the open air restaurant, but I thoroughly enjoyed the casual atmosphere watching the waves at the beach bar. Receiving complimentary chips and salsa also makes it awesome. Side Note: With the shrimp ceviche, you get A LOT of shrimp. They give you SO much shrimp in fact that you lose sight of what exactly makes it ceviche.
Room: As I mentioned before, the suites are very welcoming and comfortable. They’re what you imagine for a tropical getaway. You get plenty of towels, which are large enough to mummify yourself in. Not only do you get an outdoor shower to test your adventurist side, but you do also get an indoor shower. If you get a room with a king sized bed, it is accommodated by a small couch.
But let’s talk about the bed for a second. If you’ve stayed in Mexico before, then you are familiar with the discomfort of sleeping on the thinnest and hardest mattress you’ve ever paid for while trying to enjoy paradise. And the sheets usually leave much to be desired. But the beds at the Presidente Intercontinental are pillowy soft and perfect for sinking into after a long day of beach bumming.
The rooms are always clean and the housekeeping staff does a high quality and thorough job. You get the regular tidying up midday while you’re most likely out enjoying paradise and they swing back around in the evening for a thoughtful turn down service to lay out the robes for you. This staff definitely deserves to be tipped for the wonderful work they do keeping paradise clean. And have I mentioned the daily decorative hibiscus flowers everywhere?
Scuba Diving: Our main reason for even being there. The Presidente has an onsite dive operator, Scuba Du, that is just a few steps away from the beach bar. If you’re in a Reef Room, you have the luxury of just rolling out of bed and being at the dock within seconds ready to hit the reefs. Scuba Du’s staff is very efficient, conscientious, and fun to be around. One of the many perks is you won’t have to worry about lugging around or cleaning your gear. Scuba Du takes care of all that during your stay! All you have to do is show up and your gear is all set up on the boat ready to whisk you away to your underwater adventures.
You even have the luxury of waddling a few feet from the dive shack and into the water for some shore diving. There’s pieces of a wrecked barge and some small reefs you can check out from right in front of the hotel beach!
After having lost too much vacation time in the past on excursion tours that stop at 8 different hotels before getting you to your destination, a boat waiting for you at your hotel beach is the best amenity ever. The price you pay for the convenience pays itself off in allowing you to enjoy every moment of your vacation the way you want to instead of being trapped for hours on a bus.
Overall, this hotel was the location of one of the best vacations I’ve had to date. Everyone on the staff was very helpful, kind, and accommodating. The quality of the property puts you at ease and you can take the place of those actors you saw in the tropical vacation commercials. Can’t think of any real negatives about the Presidente Intercontinental , but I’m sure our wallets can come up with a few. But the money was well worth the great experiences we had and the gorgeous images we can now call our own memories.