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El Cid Castilla Beach Marcel & Donna ~ Calgary, Alberta

August 2006

This is not a good review so - if you are looking to read something good about the El Cid Castilla it will not happen here. We found the majority of restaurant staff did not understand that a "prepared" table included napkins & cutlery & coffee cups - we usually found two out of three. Coffee was a total hit or miss affair. If you had coffee, there was no cream. If you had cream, there was no coffee. One toaster was set up to serve a 250-seat morning breakfast buffer - and that puppy was taken away for four days to service a "convention". Large signs instructed patrons that beverages and food were not to be taken out of the buffet restaurants - perhaps in support of the El Cid's rented coffee shop? The bar staff would serve you if you tipped. No tip = no service. The concierge could barely speak English. The beach was dirty. The balconies smelled of sewer until we put a wet towel over the grate. The food can be best described as fair. The elevators kept breaking down. Signs in the lobby warned against bringing beer of any sort back to your room. All in all, the best part of the El Cid was leaving. Would I go back - hell no!

On a positive note - the city and people of Mazatlan are GREAT.


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El Cid Castilla Beach Brad and Kellie

February 2006

Our family stayed at El Cids the last week of January. We had a good time. The resort is huge. We were first put into the older section at the Castelli and after a problem in our room they moved us to the El Moro section. The new room was much nicer. It had two double beds, a sitting area with a frig, sink and microwave. The shower was huge. The balcony overlooked the pool, had we been up higher the view would have been really nice.

We found the food okay. We didn't starve but I personally have had much better food at other resorts. We got sick of it by the end though. None of us experienced any stomach upsets though!

The animation staff tries hard with all age groups. Our kids were pleased with most of the games offered. The staff works all day then does the evening show. The evening entertainment wasn't too bad. I think they should offer a mini disco though for the little kids, my daughter really enjoyed it last winter so not having one here was upsetting to her.

We found the wait staff pretty good. We never had a problem getting drinks or having our table cleared. We never waited at the pool bars either. We didn't always tip but always got decent friendly service. I thought the staff were all friendly and tried hard to make guests happy.

We didn't pay alot for this vacation and we got out moneys worth. We also didn't go expecting a 5 star place so we were happy with everything.

What I didn't like the most was the weather. The mornings were cold and once 5:00 hit it cooled down quickly. Every section of the hotel was windy. This isn't the hotels fault but I wouldn't pick January to come to Mazatlan again. It felt like fall in Ontario, not like we were in a resort!


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El Cid Castilla Beach Jo-Ann ~ Canada

March 2005

My friend and I just returned from two weeks at the El Cid Castilla Resort - what an experience!

First, our Monday morning direct flight from Montreal to Mazatlan was changed a few days prior to departure to a stop-over in Toronto - most of the people on board didn't know and only learned about it when they came to the check-in counter at the Gate - this added more than two and half to three hours to our flight and a lot of angry people! The arrival in Mazatlan was OK, but when we got to the El Cid - they drop you off the street and you have to carry your luggage up two flight of stairs/ramps - none of the bellboys were waiting for our arrival and by the time they realized that the buses were there, it was already too late - the clients were in the lobby.

Second, the Hotel staff were not ready for an onslaught of people all together - instead we had to wait in line for almost an hour and when you got to the counter it was a nightmare to be understood . Then as we were making our way to our room, we were accosted by this representative who made us believe that she was from our tour operator and that I our package we were getting a free excursion and diner - we thought it was strange and soon realized that was trying to enrol us in a timeshare meeting!!! We just checked-in , didn't have time to change or unpack and it was already starting!!!! Why does the hotel allow this type of things to happen, some not to savvy travellers fell for the scam and told us about the nightmare of trying to get out of these meetings. (I was told that they are worst that in Cancun and the Riviera Maya)

Third - the hotel staff should be more fluent in English - they barely understand what you want or asking them - they would nod and not return... At departure, the cashiers do not speak a word of English!

The hotel is clean, the rooms are clean, airy, the waiters and the concierge are more that willing to help you. But, the personnel at the A La Carte restaurants couldn't care less, if your food was cold and were not attentive to the clients need like replenish to wine and water etc.. We tried the Mexican speciality restaurant and the food was awful - the Continental cuisine restaurant was a little better, but try to get a waiter to smile or even the Maitre D to be courteous was like having a teeth pulled! One night the service was great, the food was hot, but the steak was not cooked to order, another time, service was slow and the food was perfect, another time the waiter brought the wrong orders, and the second course of chicken parmigiana was stone cold - and the Maitre D started to be rude with us that we were complaining - until I shoved a piece of meat in his mouth and he apologized!

They make this big show with the speciality flambé coffees, but the coffee is not fresh and cold!

I agree with the other posting, they have this beautiful beach , but the most annoying and aggressive vendors that I have seen. You could be sleeping or reading on your chair and they would shove their stuff in your face all the time from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM!!! It got to the point, where most people lounged by the pool. The animation team try really hard to get people to participate in their activities and their nightly shows are pretty amazing.

The Old Mazatlan is to be seen but it should take you no more that a few hours and I recommend the city tour for the information and the history which is explained to you. The Copala Tour that everybody is selling you, is nothing more that a shopping excursion in the country with very little explanation of the culture or history- they take you to this village to show you how pottery was made I.e. they selling to tiles and you have a 3 minute explanation - then they take you to this bakery (?) to buy bread and pastries - then a furniture maker I.e. flea market. - (nobody was making any furniture) - then Copala - the minute you get off the bus, there are kids on donkeys trying to sell you something made out of wood or a donkey picture ! The church is beautiful but all in all it takes approximately 10 minutes to go around this town - and then you have to wait for the bus and there is as always the vendors which were selling their wares way more expensive that in town!!!

Any future client looking for a place to go in Mazatlan should definitely go to the El Cid, but not on an all-inclusive plan - the breakfasts and lunches are OK nothing else, but the dinner buffets are not really that appealing , but if you don't mind eating pasta from the pasta bar almost every night because there is no variety - it's OK - otherwise I recommend you walk on the street and you will find the most amazing little restaurants for a token of a price ($150 pesos/person shrimp dinner with wine, gratuity and show) would be a better deal.

It was a pretty eventful vacation (I will pass on some of the other things that happen) but I would recommend the El Cid with reservations about the food.


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El Cid Castilla Beach Sarah & Chris --- Ontario

December 2004

We took a trip to Mazatlan last minute due to some really good seat sales. There wasn't a lot of selection of resorts included in those sales so El Cid Castilla Beach was a quick and easy choice. It was the highest star rating (4*) among those we could choose from. It was also an All-Inclusive package.

We arrived in Mazatlan (from Winnipeg, MB) at midnight. The airport was empty and we quickly got through and loaded onto the appropriate bus. Check in at El Cid was also quick (one of the perks of being there at the wee hours of the morning).

When we awoke the next morning we were finally able to check out our surroundings. The room was spacious and clean (no musty smells like I had heard from other reviews), our balcony overlooked the pool with the ocean beyond. The colours of everything were so beautiful. The route to the rooms (in the smaller 'wings' of the hotel -not the big tower) were all open air. On one side was the wall of doors to the rooms, and the other side looked out onto the pools, the sky, etc. It was so nice to always be outdoors, even when walking to the room.

The food at the snack bar and the restaurants was quite good. We always found lots to choose from. We liked that you could eat at the a la cartes as often as you chose. Very elegant atmosphere there and a delicious menu.

There are many shops around the hotel with very reasonable prices. They were extremely comparable to the tiny shops in town. Lots of variety in the items to buy. I bought a lot of silver jewellery. If you wanted to shop outside the hotel, you only had to walk 5 min. to the right and there was a huge 'flea market' of shops.

The ocean was very clean and the sandy bottom was smooth and algae-free and rock-free due to the constant small waves. Because of the waves, snorkelling was impossible because the sand was so stirred up. I doubt there would have been much to see in front of the hotel anyhow.
There was also always chairs and loungers to be found. The only problem at the ocean -which stopped us from spending a lot of time there- was that there were literally hordes of vendors constantly trying to sell you stuff. The only way I found they wouldn't hassle me was to lie face-down on the lounger. So we lounged and played in the pool alot. At the pools there are diving rocks and waterslides to have fun on and always a volleyball game going on.

We took a trip to Deer Island (80 pesos -roughly $8US). We left our beach at 10am in an odd truck/boat contraption. It had huge tires when it drove on the beach but when it got too deep into the water it became a boat with a big loud diesel engine. Once at the Island (you can see it from our beach - maybe a 10 min. ride) you can choose to ride back to the hotel at 12, 2, or 4pm. We tried snorkelling there but it was not very good in comparison to other places we had been. The beach was very big but also dirty. There wasn't really anything there so we explored a bit and then headed back to the hotel.

There is lots to see in and around Mazatlan. The taxis (golf carts) are everywhere and are pretty reasonable prices as long as you establish a price before you get in. Trust me, they hosed us a few times. ;) Live and learn.

We explored the historical areas, local markets, saw the cliff divers (really neat, for $10 he'll jump and show you the best place to take the picture - mine turned out awesome), went to the highest restaurant (incredible views of the whole area from up there - resorts, cruise lines docked, fishing fleets, mountains in the distance etc), and saw the highest lighthouse. Lots of different monuments all over too.
We also went to the aquarium in Mazatlan. It was 60 pesos per person ($6US) and you could stay as long as you wished. There were shows every hour -entirely in Spanish. We saw a Sea Lion show that was very good, quite talented animals. We also caught their diving show where a guy dives into a tank with a nurse shark, a big sea turtle, snappers, groupers etc. All very big looking fish. He holds them and pets them and they talk about them. It's pretty neat. Even though you can't understand the narrating -all Spanish, they are all neat shows to watch. There are other shows too but we didn't stay for them. You can wander around and see their gardens, crocodile area -huge crocs in amongst dozens of turtles which they don't seem interested in (?), and aviary. Lots to see and many picture opportunities.

All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves and will return to Mazatlan someday and stay again at the El Cid Castilla Beach.


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