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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cancun, Mexico / Intercontinental Presidente Cancun Resort

February 2015, Weekday-Weekend, 4-nights, Club ocean view with 2 queen beds #612

morning view from guestroom balcony

Arrival experience and status perks

We had reserved a king guestroom with points for this stay. About 10 days before our arrival, I contacted the resort via email to ask if it was possible to upgrade to a club level room. I was told that if we paid $70 plus tax per night to upgrade to a club lagoon view room, we would receive a complimentary upgrade to a club ocean view guestroom because of my Platinum elite status. A king club ocean view guestroom was not available, so we had the choice of a guestroom with two queen beds, unless we wanted a suite, which does not have a balcony. We opted for the queen room with the balcony. 

I often share hints about being observant, knowing the options, and not being afraid to ask, and yet I sometimes forget to follow my own advice! After we agreed to pay the $70 per day, I looked at the guestroom pricing for the dates of our stay. The price difference between a king guestroom and a club lagoon view guestroom was between $50 and $64. The cost for the club guestroom we received (2 queen beds club ocean view) was $71 more than a standard guestroom. After I saw these rates, I felt like I was paying for the entire upgrade. My bad for not checking the room rate differences before I contacted the hotel, and for not contacting them sooner. I spent so much time perusing the queen balcony and suite guestroom descriptions and photos while trying to decide which room type we wanted, that I forgot to check the cost differences. We were still glad that we opted to pay for the club room, and having the balcony was worth it!

screen shot with guestroom pricing
The Presidente website says that there is a separate check-in area for club guests. The club check-in desk is in the lobby right by the front door; however, the bellman did not escort us to the desk when we arrived, and I did not notice where the desk was located until later. When we stayed in a club floor room at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, and The Ritz Carlton, Sarasota, we were escorted to the club room check-in area. Since the bellman found our name on his list of arriving guests, I had assumed he was taking us to the correct check-in location.

The front desk agent and concierge provided professional service. After the front desk agent greeted us and started the check-in process, the concierge walked over to greet us. He provided additional information and a welcome letter for the club lounge. We received a Platinum IHG welcome letter with the choice of a snack or 600 bonus points. I took the points, and they posted to my account before we checked out. We also were allowed late checkout until 2:00 p.m.

IHG welcome letter
The concierge stepped away, and the front desk agent completed our check-in. She said that our room was not ready yet, and she provided towel key cards. She did not say she would notify us when our room was ready, so I asked if we should check back in an hour, or what we should do. She told us to check back in an hour. I asked if the club lounge was open to see if we could wait in there. She said we could sit in the room, although there were no food or beverages available in the afternoon.

We walked around the outside of the property and then sat by the beach for a while before we returned to the lobby. When we returned, I noticed the concierge desk by the door that I had not seen when the bellman had greeted us. I did not see anyone at the desk, so I returned to the front desk to see if our room was ready. It was, so the agent provided keys and called a bellman who met us at the guestroom with our luggage. We got to the guestroom before the bellman, so we had a few moments to look around. When the bellman arrived, he brought our luggage inside; however, he did not provide any information or offer to get ice before he turned to depart. We had noticed a locked mini-bar in the guestroom, and we had not been given a key, so we asked the bellman about this. He asked if we had given a credit card to the front desk, and we said yes. The bellman returned to the front desk to get the key for us. We appreciated this, although it would have been nice if he had also provided some guestroom and property information.

Guestroom #612

Even though we prefer a single bed to two queen beds, we were happy we had decided to upgrade to the club floor balcony guestroom. This guestroom was spacious, comfortable, and clean. The entire guestroom floor and balcony was tile.

The bathroom area near the entrance was fabulous. The spacious open area contained a long vanity and a soaking tub. The minibar was located under the vanity.

Bath amenities on the vanity included many extras: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, soap, mouthwash, lip balm, cotton swabs, cotton balls, nail file kit, sewing kit, sunburn aloe gel, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a shower cap. A couple of plush towels and washcloths were provided. Two silky-soft excellent quality bathrobes were hanging in the room; one near the tub, and one in the closet.

The hanging closet between the vanity area and toilet contained an iron, ironing board, distilled water, hangers, and two pair of slippers. The toilet was in a separate area behind a frosted door next to the closet.

Shelves were located at the foot of the soaking tub next to the shower. A safe large enough to hold a laptop and a scale were on the shelves. The large tile shower contained two deluxe shower heads. There was a nice tile shelf with enough room for toiletries and two hooks in the shower.

The ocean is visible from the vanity. There is a sliding louvered door, which could be shut part way for privacy.

The only thing we did not like about this guestroom is that is has a connecting room door, and we could hear the guests next door through the door. Fortunately, the door is near the entrance and bathroom, so we mostly heard the guests next door when we were both in the bathroom area at the same time. We did not hear much when we were in bed or when on the balcony.

The bedroom area contained two beds, a nightstand, a couch, and desk and chair. A flatscreen TV was mounted on the wall at the foot of the beds. There was a long storage area underneath the TV. The flat top of this was large enough to serve as a place to open our small suitcase since there was not a luggage rack or luggage bench in the guestroom.

A nespresso machine and supplies were on the edge of the desk along with two bottles of water, coffee mugs, glasses, and an ice bucket.

Two glass doors opened out to the spacious balcony, which contained two lounge chairs and a small table. We had an excellent view of the ocean, and a partial view of the lagoon. One thing we missed on the balcony was a drying rack or hooks.

This guestroom was spacious and comfortable. Housekeeping service was excellent.

The complimentary Internet did not come in well in the guestroom or any location in the resort. The option to purchase higher speed Internet access was available, although I did not view the details since I did not need to have Interet access during our stay.

More photos of the resort and this guestroom can be found in the album on my Facebook page.

Food & Beverages

We had lunch at two locations in the resort: the beach restaurant and the Deck Bar. We had wood-fired pepperoni pizza at the restaurant between the adult pool and beach. I believe this is the new Mediterranean restaurant. The wood-fired grill is in this restaurant so we expected the pizza menu when we sat down. After we had been seated, we discovered that pizza was not on the menu. We could have ordered pizza from the pool; however, we wanted to eat at a table. We asked our server about this, and he let us order pizza even though it was not on the menu he originally provided. He provided excellent service!

We had fish tacos and a cheeseburger at the Deck Bar. The service was a bit slow in the bar since the bartender was the only one working when we arrived. We did not mind, and other employees stopped to assist the bartender for some of the time during our visit.

Both food items tasted fresh and flavorful. The wrapping/shell on the tacos was not what I expected, although the flavor was good.

Before our stay, I had read posts from others saying that the food at the resort is expensive. We did not purchase breakfast or dinner at the resort, and I did not notice those prices. We thought the cost for the food that we had during the day was reasonable. The pizza cost 150 pesos (tax included)--less than $10 before tip. The burger was 160 pesos and the fish tacos were 85 pesos--a little over $15 for both before tip.

Pool & Beach

The towel concierge hut is located near the main pool. The Presidente logo towels (towel blankets, I believe they are called) were large and plush, although there did not seem to be enough of them. We were given smaller towels if we did not request the large ones, and one time the concierge had to go get them for us.

We have been to three different resorts in the hotel zone, and we have walked quite a bit on the beach from all three locations. We think the beach at the Presidente is the best of any of the properties we have visited or walked by. In fact, we chose this resort because when we walked to the beach here in 2011, we thought the same thing.

There were plenty of lounge chairs on the soft, white sand. Shade was provided in many areas by palm trees and thatched umbrellas with a small attached table. The swimming area is calm. Do not expect to dive in because it is shallow for quite a ways out.

After we upgraded our room type, I learned that the BaliBeds on the beach do not come with the club rooms. The BaliBeds are for guests in the Signature and Presidential Suites. If the beds are not being used, they can be rented for no charge, with guest purchases in the resort of at least 1,500 pesos. If we had not opted to pay for the club level upgrade, we would have gladly rented a bed for the day and made the required purchases. I do not have a picture of the beds, although you can see them on the Presidente Facebook page.

adult pool
There were plenty of lounge chairs with an umbrella or a thatched roof around the two pools. We enjoyed the beach and the quiet adult pool during our stay.

The whirlpool tubs next to the main pool are pretty nice, although we wished the water had been heated.

adult pool loungers on right, main pool to the left

looking toward the beach from adult pool area

Beverage and food service on the beach and around the pool was abundant. I posted a photo of the pool and beach menu in my Facebook album.

Club lounge

The club lounge was open for breakfast and in the evening. The service was great and the food was delicious.

Breakfast items included things like breads and pastries, cereals, a couple of different hot items each day, made to order eggs, cheeses, yogurt, fresh fruit, and small sandwiches. Only cold cereals were set out, although hot oatmeal could be ordered. I tried the oatmeal one morning, and it was similar to the flavor I'd had at the Cancun Holiday Inn; it was very sweet. The egg chef was excellent. She prepared eggs any way they were requested, and they were always cooked perfectly.

The lounge was not open for lunch. Since we are early risers, we returned to the lounge two days just before it closed at 10:30 a.m. to have a small sandwich.

Our welcome letter said that items must be consumed in the lounge; however, we were allowed to take beverages like coffee, water, and soda with us when we left. We observed other guests taking food from the club. We also observed a couple of club guests receive beverages at the pool for no charge; soda and water. We did not inquire about receiving beverages at the pool.

Food and beverages in the evening were very good. Food items included things like small salads, snacks, a couple of different hot dishes, and desserts. All of the food had excellent flavor, and it was good quality.

I was disappointed that champagne was not included in the club. When I mentioned this to Chief Concierge Adolfo, he sent a bottle with chocolate covered strawberries to our room for our anniversary (35 years!).

view from club lounge

It would have been great if some of the fabulous breakfast cheeses and fruits had also been available in the evening. I thought about asking if we could request a cheese and fruit plate since requests like this had been fulfilled at the Ritz Carlton, Sarasota; however, I did not ask about this.

Overall and IHG misc.

This is a very nice resort. Other than our bell experiences when we arrived, the service was excellent. The resort was clean and well maintained. There is a shopping center and grocery store within walking distance of the hotel.

It would be nice if IHG points could be redeemed for on-site amenities, like Hilton and Marriott offer. For example, Hilton points can be redeemed for a better room, like a suite or executive floor room, and Marriott points can be redeemed for a better room or a Marriott gift card, which can be used for on property purchases, like hotel dining.

Let me know if you have any questions!