With permission from the poster (Spartans95).
Reservations at the restaurants are not required. Just updated via FB.
My husband and I had a great time celebrating our 15 yr. anniversary at the newly remodeled Fiesta Americana (FA) Cozumel 9/20/14 - 9/26/14. We booked our vacation knowing that the resort reopened earlier that week. From the moment we arrived at the resort we felt welcomed and at home. The staff was top notch! The FA staff is so friendly, hard working and very helpful!
This was our fourth stay on Cozumel, prior visits included two stays at El Cozumeleno and one visit at the Palace. We both commented that the staff at FA is on par with the staff friendliness we encountered at the Palace. The staff made a huge impression on us! Since FA is newly reopened, I will provide “information overload” in my review in hopes that it will help others.
Arrival/Check In: Greeted by very friendly Fiesta Americana staff and refreshing welcome drinks. Mariana introduced herself, brought us to the check in desk and said she would talk with us afterward. Upon arrival you see a beautiful open air lobby is with views of the main pool, bar, palms and ocean. We immediately saw a familiar face from El Cozumeleno, Marco. We enjoyed getting to know him during our stay. He is such a kind and helpful person! Marco handles the bags and brings you to your room when it’s ready. We arrived early, check in staff were friendly and told us they were still getting our room ready.
We then met with Mariana. She asked if we’d like to tour the Explorean on Monday, we said yes as we both wanted to see the resort. She said we could meet for breakfast and then tour the Explorean. “Timeshare” was in the back of my mind. This was confirmed when we were asked to fill out paperwork, which stated there would be a 90 minute presentation. We politely declined, no pressure was put on us and we were never bothered again. Hopefully that no pressure attitude doesn’t change!
While waiting for our room, we had lunch at the Cevicheria, which is an oceanside seafood grille. Beautiful views here and we both had great shrimp tacos with Sol cerveza. We can’t remember the chef’s name, but he made delicious food! Check in took a bit, as our room wasn’t ready until 3:30 p.m. Since the resort just reopened we anticipated things like that could occur. When we were given room keys, we were also given a weekly events schedule, which included what restaurants would be open/times, etc.
Room: We were on the 7th floor and thought the room was beautiful! There is a small elevator and stairs. We always took the stairs for exercise and it wasn’t bad at all…there were nice views on the way up/down. Our room had a stunning view of the ocean. The simplicity of the room and colors makes the ocean the focal point of the room. Our room was clean, bright, modern and simple. The walls are white, headboards and night stand are a pretty turquoise blue, and the furniture was wood. Our room had: 2 double beds (was hoping for a king), nightstand, ceiling fan with variable speeds, wall climate control, wall mounted reading lights on one side of each bed, 2 chairs with cushions and a table, tiled flooring, 2 wardrobes with hanging space (9-10 hangers) for clothes and multiple shelves (large programmable safe was in one – fitting my 9x11 inch purse, passports, etc. with room to spare), ironing board/iron, an alarm clock with an iPod docking station, cordless phone w/message capability, large Samsung flat screen TV (never turned it on), TV sat on a large table with 2 generous drawers and one open storage space, and mini-fridge with bottled water, Corona and Modelo cerveza and Pepsi products. Double curtains hung in the room, one semi-sheer and the other were black out curtains, which were very effective. Bed was firm/comfortable, sheets were perfect (not scratchy) and pillows were fine (4 on each bed and extra in a wardrobe). I thought the comforter was too thick/warm for the climate...I like things cooler at night though. We turned the a/c down to the lowest setting and our room stayed cool. There were plenty of outlets in the room for charging devices, no adapters needed. We never heard exterior noise while in our room.
Bathroom: Granite countertop with under mount sink, vanity had light up magnification mirror, full size hair dryer (kept in a bag on the open shelf), bath gel, shampoo, plenty of soap, and sewing kit. There bathroom vanity has a large open shelf storage area underneath as well as a good amount of counter space with an outlet on either side. Housekeeping kept pretty fresh flowers on the countertop that was changed approximately every other day – nice touch! Mirror wall provides separation to the bedroom area, however it is open otherwise. The mirror has a sign that says, “potable water.” I called the front desk to see if it was okay to use for brushing our teeth and was told to use the bottled water instead. Shower and toilet are private in one room.
Shower: Modern rain shower with a clear glass door and a very large open shelf in the shower for plenty of personal items. Shower walls and floor are tiled. The shower is very nice; however the shower floor is level with the regular floor and unfortunately water leaks out. We put towels down and it wasn’t a major problem. I mentioned this to Carlos (manager) for future guests as I thought it was just our room. He said it’s a resort wide issue that they’re trying to find a solution for as the designers/architects somehow missed that. Also, there’s only one towel hook in the bathroom so one of us had to use a doorknob to hang a towel on. The door hits the toilet when you open it, not an issue for us just thought I’d mention it. Towels are very thick and good quality. We always had plenty of towels and washcloths.
Balcony: We had a bench, table and chair. Balcony amenities vary as we noticed some balconies had hammocks. The balcony was very large and private on either side. There is a light on the balcony too. View of the ocean was great and we also had a view of the main pool.
Housekeeping: They did an excellent job cleaning and providing enough towels/washcloths, etc. Sometimes we tracked in some sand with us and it was always cleaned. If we ever needed anything, we included it on a note in Spanish and it was always taken care of. Our room was always clean when we came up from the pool/beach. There was also nightly turndown service, which included extra water, sometimes extra towels and if we were gone soft music was playing from the TV when we came back to the room. We tipped daily, they worked very hard!
Mini-fridge: This was stocked daily by a person different than housekeeping. We left a note in the fridge with a tip asking for, “Mas agua and cerveza por favor.” As a result, we always had plenty of water and beer. There were usually 2 very large bottles of water on top of the mini-fridge and some small water bottles in the fridge.
Beach/pool wait staff: The one and only beach/wait staff person is Aaron. I recognized him from our last visit to El Cozumeleno. He is constantly smiling! We looked forward to seeing Aaron and enjoyed talking with him daily. He recommended different drinks of the day to try. He is extremely quick at bringing drinks (also saw him get food for guests). He goes back and forth between the ocean and the pool areas waiting on people. Although we don’t mind going up to the bar for a drink, it was nice to have Aaron there to help us be lazy by bringing great drinks our way. I asked Aaron a lot of questions about the area and the resort, he was very helpful! He also helped us with our Spanish and taught us Mayan words too. Aaron is a great asset to the resort! When occupancy goes up we heard extra wait staff will be there.
Pools: There are 2 pools. A large lap pool that sits next to the ocean and a very large pool that sits directly in front of the resort. Both were nice but I found the lap pool to be consistently clean, whereas the main pool had more bugs/debris in the pool… guessing it was due to so many palms by the main pool that caused this. Filters didn’t seem to be running in the main pool, if they were this would help! There are plenty of comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas by both pools. I noticed more were stocked in a building by the beach, so I’m guessing there should always be plenty.
Beach towels: Towels were provided at the palapa by the pool. They are nice quality and thick. Towels were always available and you just give your room number when you take them. We did not have to use a card to get them, etc. Also, we were never told of any fees associated with them. Sometimes someone was at the palapa when we checked them out/returned them and sometimes the palapa was unoccupied.
Beach/Ocean Access: A road separates the ocean access and the main resort. It isn’t a busy road and there are speed bumps so vehicles stop at the cross walk. Some will let you cross and some don’t. We never waited more than 30 seconds to cross. There are long concrete steps once you cross to get to the ocean side, if you aren’t paying attention (get caught up staring at the ocean!) you could easily trip. At first glance it just looks like a cement pathway.
Beach/ocean: There isn’t a true beach at the resort, however the manmade beach it is still nice. Sand is coarse and has some sharp objects in it (shells/rocks). I wore flip flops most of the time. On a few occasions, I noticed some broken glass. I picked up what I saw so nobody would step on it. This is not everywhere, so please don’t think it’s a major issue I only mention it so people look where they are stepping if walking barefoot. There are a lot of lounge chairs and umbrellas. Some lounge chairs had thick padded cushions the others are mesh, both were comfortable. There are also several sun beds with pillows that accommodate at least 2 people. The sun beds are constructed over the ocean and have ladders next to them to enter/exit the ocean. They are very comfortable and provide an awesome view! Next to the sun beds are tables for 4 with umbrellas. We brought our own snorkel gear. Snorkeling is very good in either direction from the pier. If you swim towards the Money Bar (building to the north on the beach) you swim against the current and can drift back. The current seemed to get stronger as the day went on. We saw, barracuda, rays (one very large one), the typical colorful reef fish (parrotfish, angel fish, etc.), some coral, anemone and sand dollars. A guest told us he saw an octopus a bit south of the FA pier. Be careful exiting/entering off the wooden ladders because they are slippery and most importantly because there is coral present that will burn you if you touch it. We both got burned by the coral as we swayed just enough to accidentally brush up against it. If you get burned, see if you can get vinegar from the staff to treat it. I didn’t do that and dealt with it when I got back, wish I had treated it sooner. Also, if you use the cement steps next to the pier with the metal rail, it’s a safer bet to avoid the coral…however it is a little slippery.
Restrooms: Placed in the right areas. There is one right by the ocean next to Vina del Mar. Another restroom is just behind the main pool. They were always very clean.
Dive shop: Wasn’t up and running yet. We were told this will be contracted out when it does open. As a result, bring your own snorkel gear if you plan to snorkel.
Restaurant staff: They were all so friendly! “Welcoming” is definitely the theme at FA! The employees work so hard and want to make sure you like your meals. Everyone was always smiling! We had the pleasure of meeting Adrian, Alejandro, Ananias, Eduardo, Marcial (Captain) and Rene. They were all were great to talk with. The staff was willing to help us with our Spanish and we enjoyed many nice conversations with them all. We can’t say enough about this hard working, kind team. They made us feel at home every time we dined.
Hostesses at Vina del Mar: Arely and Frida. They are so sweet and seemed to always have a smile, they would always say, “hola,” as you walked by to the beach. One rainy day we sat at the Vina del Mar bar reading until the rain passed. Without asking, Arely brought us a basket of chips with salsa and guacamole, such a nice gesture! We also saw Frida and Arely walk guests with umbrellas back to the other areas of the property.
Restaurant Manager: At our first breakfast, Eduardo, the restaurant manager, approached us to see how we liked the food so far. He wanted to know what he could do to improve upon anything. We saw him frequently. Later in our stay, Eduardo asked us what we liked so far and what our favorite restaurant was. You could tell feedback was very important to him. We liked that management was visible and truly cared about your stay. One time we didn’t finish our green juice and Eduardo asked if we didn't like it, we told him we did, unfortunately we were just full.
Food: We thought the food was always very fresh, simple and well prepared! Hot food was always hot and cold food was always cold. FA is the type of resort where you could stay for a week and eat at the restaurants and not feel like you need to dine off site. It was nice to eat off menus for most meals instead of a buffet. There was a good variety of items to choose from. The only buffet we encountered was a few times for breakfast and even that was food was still good. We liked that our food was never greasy and that aside from breakfast, the portions were smaller. For an all-inclusive, we thought the food was very good and didn’t seem “mass produced.” Room service is also available; we used it once and received chips/guacamole in less than 30 minutes. This was on our second night, the guacamole wasn't good...all you could taste was lime (this was only bad food I had during our stay). The next day we had it at lunch and it was perfect and stayed that way the rest of our stay. I mentioned to one of the waiters that it was much better and he said they were working on things.
Breakfast: Vina del Mar is the ocean side restaurant (across the street) with the large palapa. During our stay there was a buffet on a few days and other days it was menu only ordering. The buffet had fruit, yogurt, cereal, made to order eggs, waffles, pancakes, sausages, French toast, two different type of Mexican tortilla dishes that were good (one with a green sauce and one with a red sauce) and toast. Staff would always come by with a basket of Mexican sweet rolls/breads, we declined but they looked good! Breakfast was always excellent and I am not a breakfast person, the ocean side dining was so nice! Coffee service was provided by the staff, specialty coffee drinks (like cappuccinos) were also available; I stuck with the plain coffee, which was fine (a little strong!). Coffee mate powder, real cream, sugar, sugar alternative and sugar in the raw was at each table. I had the Reef Quesadilla when ordering off the menu, which was mushroom and cheese and came with refried black beans, and a mild green salsa. I really liked this dish, it was very good! For the vegetarians: If you see “jam” on the menu in English, it is not “jam” it is really “ham.” It’s a mistake in translation. My husband loved everything he ordered off the menu. Also, try the jugo verde (green juice), it’s made with cucumber and is very good!
Lunch: There were two options that rotated being open: the Grill (burgers, etc.) and Cevicheria. The chef is so good here! We ate at the Cevicheria three times (if it was open more we definitely would have eaten there more often), having tacos (fish or shrimp) each time. The spicy sauce is really good on the tacos and even better when you ask for a little extra. There was a seafood soup that was really good there. Ceviche was available, we never tried it. The wait staff from Vina del Mar will also bring you food from the Cevicheria (we did this once). We never tried the Grill. Vina del Mar is always open for lunch, we liked that it was menu only ordering vs. a buffet. There was a good spinach salad that I tried. Soup, sandwiches, pizzas were also available (I believe I saw chicken wings on the menu too). Chips, salsa and guacamole were usually provided with lunch. We tried a green salsa that had habanero peppers in it, which was spicy/hot but good! The pico de gallo was excellent too!
Specialty restaurants: Asian, Italian and Mexican restaurants were open on a rotating basis. These are all located in the main building. Service at every restaurant was great. As usual, the staff was very friendly. Portions might be small to some; we thought they were perfect as you didn’t leave feeling stuffed! You can order as much or as little as you want. There were appetizers, salads, main entrees and desserts to pick from. Dress code wasn’t enforced while we were there; I hope that doesn’t change! When on vacation, we don’t like to get formal! It was nice to wear flip flops and a sundress while my husband wore shorts and flip flops. We were surprised that we liked the Asian restaurant the best. The food there was very flavorful. I had shrimp and vegetable sushi and a Thai shrimp salad, all of it was excellent! My husband loved his chicken curry dish. Green tea with cucumber was served with the meal and it was very good. The Italian restaurant ranked 2nd for us. I had the portabella appetizer, with a balsamic reduction and really liked that. We initially tried to dine outside at the Italian restaurant but the mosquitoes were too bad. If they weren’t bad it would be a beautiful place to dine outside. The Mexican restaurant was just okay, which was disappointing as it was the one we were looking forward to the most. At the Mexican restaurant, for a vegetarian like me (that also likes shrimp), options were limited. I had a vegetable dish that consisted of sliced stacked vegetables with a tomato based sauce. It was very good but would have been a bit more filling with some sort of protein added and/or rice. The salads that we tried were all delicious. My husband liked the soups he tried too. Again, service is top notch at all of the restaurants.
Bartenders/drinks/bars: The three bartenders we met included Angel, Franklin and Gustavo. All three were very friendly and nice to talk with. They also made great drinks! We got to know Gustavo, the evening bartender the best, probably because we were at the pool/ocean during the morning/day and would hang out at the bar in the evening for a few drinks. Gustavo is very funny and great to talk with. We enjoyed many evening conversations with Gustavo. The drinks we tried were all good. Cerveza was always cold. My favorite drink was the regular margarita on the rocks. The mango margarita, recommended by Aaron, is rimmed with a chili salt, which is very good too. If you sit at the lobby/poolside bar, the bartenders will often bring you a dish of spicy or sweet peanuts, both were very good. Bars consist of the main lobby area/pool bar, which also has a swim up side and a bar area that is beach side in Vina del Mar. At the ocean side bar they had chilled glasses.
Onsite Pastry and Coffee Shop: We never tried this, however the pastries looked good! It seemed to be open most of the day. This is adjacent to the game area with the pool table, etc.
Nightly entertainment: It’s pretty quiet here in the evening, which was fine for us. We were usually tired and would have a few drinks in the lobby bar area. Board games/cards with Gustavo (from the entertainment staff) was offered nightly. There is also a pool table, ping pong table and air hockey table. We were told there might be live music/entertainment by Vina del Mar once the busy season starts. We also heard that eventually Vina del Mar will offer late night snacks when the entertainment begins. In the meantime, if you want live music, the Money Bar is just North of the resort and has live music on a few nights. It was raining out so we took a cab to the Money Bar without asking what the fare would be, it was $8.00, even though it’s right next door! We walked back to the resort in the dark, it was a quick walk and we felt safe.
WIFI: Free and worked very well. Only had connectivity problems twice in our 7 days there and it was short lived. We used WIFI ocean side, in our room and the main resort area.
Gym: Wasn’t open. We were told it’s scheduled to open October 1. I asked if there would be a treadmill and was told yes. My husband ran along the road South of the resort with no issues.
Spa: Wasn’t open. We were told it’s scheduled to open October 1.
Gift Shop: Wasn’t open. It looked like it would be opening soon as they day we left there were a lot of boxes/bags of items in the store.
Mosquitoes: Bring some spray. They were bad at the outdoor dining area for the Italian restaurant. Mosquitoes love to bite my husband. He noticed them on our balcony too. For some reason they weren’t bad in the pool/lobby bar area.
Construction: There was some ongoing construction on the opposite side of our floor during the day. We never heard noise in our room or on the balcony. Prior to our visit, I was thinking we’d hear a lot of hammers, etc. We were pleasantly surprised at how very little we heard. One day I noticed a little construction in the lobby the pool, looked like a repair, but it was never bad. The construction employees we came across all said, “hola.”
Resort cleanliness: Staff was constantly sweeping and cleaning. The resort passed my picky cleanliness standards.
Suggestions for management: Guest bathrooms only have one towel hook. For a room with 2 double beds, 4 hooks would be nice. Other than the balcony, there isn’t a place to hang wet bathing suits. A retractable laundry line in the shower would be a great addition! Main pool needed more skimming done or filter running constantly as there was more debris (bugs/palms) in this pool. Please don’t enforce a dress code at your specialty restaurants. If you have to, please consider letting men wear nice shorts with a collared shirt and flip flops. Please have someone go through the sandy areas to pick up glass. We noticed clear and brown sharp glass pieces and picked up what we saw. Keep up the good work and thank you for the great vacation!
Would we recommend FA or return? A definite yes to both! Aside from the Palace, it’s been a while since we’ve stayed somewhere with such a kind, warm and welcoming staff. We made great friends with the staff while we were there and can’t say enough kind words about them! We were told most of the employees at the resort work 8 hour shifts. The employees we spoke with said they really like their jobs and seemed truly happy. We think that makes a big difference as when they’re happy, we’re happy to be there! Management on the other hand, definitely put in long hours; we saw them early in the morning until well after 11:00 p.m. Although, I’m sure they were tired, they still were very cordial! This resort met and exceeded our vacation criteria of wanting to just relax and snorkel. Since we had such a great time, we have already talked about bringing our two children back with us one day. We hope to return to FA soon!