In general, our family tries to steer clear of large resorts, preferring the more intimate environment of a boutique hotel. We do, however, make exceptions. In the case of our stay at the Club Intrawest in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, our journey there began at a charity event in Vancouver. Feeling tipsy from the wine, my husband and I started bidding on many auctions items, including a 5 nights stay at the Intrawest. It looked pretty, was a great deal, was in a country we love, and most importantly the proceeds from the auction were going to charity very close to our hearts. ¿Por qué no? we figured.
Although Club Intrawest Zihuatanejo is technically a timeshare property, non-members can still rent the vacation units when they are not being used by owners. The location of the resort could not be better, right on the lovely sands of Playa La Ropa. The property, like most others on this beach, is built into the cliffside, making for gorgeous views from many of the suites. Although our one bedroom unit (with sofa bed for the kids) had only a sliver of a view and was a little dark, it was still very nicely appointed and spacious. The resort has a wide range of other accommodation options suitable for families, including multi-bedroom suites and beach villas with gorgeous views. While there can be a lot of stairs to climb to get to your room, most families prefer a suite below reception and close to the restaurants, pools, and beach. Despite all the stairs, and no elevator, we noticed many families on multi-generational vacations at this resort (one can optionally call for a ride in a golf cart).
In a nutshell, here are our thoughts on the property.
What we liked:
- The property is very pretty with stunning views of the ocean and beach.
- The hotel is well maintained with nice gardens.
- The staff is well trained, always stopping to say Ola! or Buenos Dias!.
- The beach front spa is very inexpensive (170 pesos or $12 USD for a pedicure ! ).
- The adult pool is so close to the children’s pool that my husband and I could actually sit in it and still keep a good eye on our kids.
- Guests have free use of the laundry machines which can be very helpful with kids.
What we were neutral about:
- The food at the resort is just average. It is fine for a few meals but there are many better choices along the beach and in town.
- The hotel has many stairs and no elevator. Some days I appreciated the stair climb workout. Other days, not so much.
- For a small fee, the resort offers a daily cultural activity (mezcal tasting, cooking class etc.) and exercise activity (zumba, aqua dance etc). Although they seemed a little contrived, I think that on a rainy day these options are probably most appreciated by guests. I might be a little jaded about my experience with the organized activities since I was the only one who showed up to the aqua dance class and had to perform a 50 minute solo routine for a bunch of poolside cocktail drinkers (although they were very supportive of my flailing efforts).
What we didn’t like:
- I really hate drinking a nice vacation cocktail out of a disposable plastic cup. I get the glass breakage thing, but how about reusable acrylic or something?
- I noticed on TripAdvisor that a number of reviewers complained about aggressive vendors on the beach. I can only guess that these reviews were from people who have not traveled to many developing countries. Personally, I found the vendors on the beach to be very polite, and easily accepting of a polite No Gracias.
- I think this resort could be a good choice for large groups or families looking for an easy one week Mexican vacation without a lot of stress and without breaking the bank. While La Ropa beach is quite laid back, there are still enough activities to keep people entertained (sailing trips, jet skis, parasailing etc.). The quaint town of Zihuatanejo is also only a 15 minute walk or short cab ride away.
more information about the Intrawest Resort Zihuatanejo
price range: $$$
hotel class: 4 star
reviews: 80% of family reviewers rate as ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ on Tripadvisor
for availability: see the Club Intrawest Zihuatanejo website
room tip: The rooms below reception and near the pool and beach are the most requested by families (less stairs to climb – less often). There are a few rooms that are located right beside the main stairway down to the beach. I think those are the least desirable since people can look right onto your patio.
disclaimer: We were not offered any compensation to stay at the Intrawest Resort Zihuatanejo. All opinions about the hotel are entirely my own. As always on my website, I encourage you to read current reviews and room tips from other family travelers on Tripadvisor before booking.