Image of Holiday Village White Sands Hotel

Holiday Village White Sands Hotel

2 of 2 hotels in Cozumel

3 out of 5 from 19 reviews
3 stars
Carretera Sur Cozumel Km 16.5 | El Cedral, San Francisco Palancar, Cozumel 77666, Mexico

19 Reviews

Traveller Rating

  • Excellent
    1
  • Very Good
    7
  • Good
    6
  • Average
    5
  • Poor
    0

Review Overview

  • Cleanliness
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Service
  • Location
9 years 8 months ago
We have just returned from our two week holiday and have to say we had a fantastic, very enjoyable time! This is definitely a family-focused hotel, and suited us fine as a family travelling with two kids (aged 4 and 10). Cleanliness and maintenance was spot on, all the pools were clean, the communal areas too, and especially our room, which was cleaned spotlessly daily without fail. The staff work incredibly hard and the whole hotel looked immaculate with well-kept gardens. Our room, whilst basic, had everything we needed, including effective air-conditioning (essential!) and other non-essential, but useful things like an iron, hair dryer, coffee maker and a safety deposit box (this is free to use). We were on the second floor and so had the benefit of very high thatched ceilings, which did make the room feel a lot bigger. The only gripe I would say is that both my children (aged 4 and 10) had to share one single bed. Whilst not a huge problem, it would have been if my kids had been slightly older (or larger!).

The food was I have to say, pleasantly surprising. There was plenty of choice (themed daily) and there were certainly no incidents of dodgy hygiene practices. None of our party were ill or had any ill-effects during the entire stay. We have stayed at over a dozen different resorts at various Caribbean locations, and have usually been ill. There is plenty of choice, grilled meats, fish and salads, and fresh fruit available. There is plenty for the kids too, and I can definitely recommend the omelette station for breakfast. Also, for those who do like spice (this is after all, Mexico) the salsa sauces are great, and they never taste the same.

Location is good, only 20 mins from the main and only town, there is no public transport on the island so taxis are always used. The beach front is nice, good facilities for watersports. We are a very active family, so it was great to try out the sailing, snorkelling, kayaks, tennis, wind surfing, etc., which was all included. We paid extra for parasailing ($50 pp) which I can definitely recommend!

Staff were friendly, attentive and extremely hard-working. Both the hotel staff and the First Choice staff work very long hours and were always helpful when needed. Kids Club staff were great with the kids, and I can definitely recommend the swimming lessons - our 4 year old had private lessons for a week and went from non-swimmer to 10 his metre badge.

All facilities are now open, the final relaxation pool opened a week into our holiday - this made a big difference as the pools felt less crowded and there are more sun-loungers available now. The High Ropes are good fun and cost extra, but are worth a go, there are times when families can do it together.

Entertainment was probably not the strongest point of the holiday, but I won't comment too much as we didn't make much effort to watch the evening entertainment as we preferred to make use of the adult only bar when our kids were in the evening kids clubs. There is the kids disco followed by Bingo every night, which did, to be honest, feel repetitive and a bit too much like a Pontins holiday. Having said that, the entertainment team try their very best and have a great rapport with the kids.

All in all we had a great family holiday and would return to the hotel again. It is a very family-friendly place, so enjoy!!!
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Travel operator: First Choice

Recommended
9 years 9 months ago
We went to the HVWS first week of July and had a great holiday. Four star luxury with cordon bleu food - probably not, but then again I didn't really expect this from a FC holiday village.
ACCOMMODATION
We stayed in one of the family rooms. Clean and fresh when we arrived and kept that way by the maid for the duration of our stay. Bed linen was spotlessly clean, mattresses new, some fixtures and fittings beginning to look a little tired but certainly pleasant enough. No fridge, but replenished with bottles of water each day. A brand new X-Box was installed about an hour or so after asking for it with no deposit required. Took a bit longer to get a hammock for outside one of the rooms - but they have a problem with guests nicking them! Given the choice would probably have gone for the Royal Deluxe room for the same upgrade price, but since our children are 18 and 16 this was not an option.
FOOD
Breakfast is the standard buffet affair that you'll get in a million hotels world wide - had better had worse. Lunch is serve semi al fresco, but was perfectly OK. Food was always hot and replenished frequently - we took lunch at various times from12.30 to 2.30 and although the earlier times were more crowded there was always plenty to go round. Not too much of a problem with flies (you try serving food in an area open to the outside without flies getting in), cutlery was wrapped on the tables. Seemed to be plenty that would suit children - burgers, chicken, hot dogs, breaded fish, chips, wedges (fresh veg!) - so not really sure what those with starving children were expecting - maybe things have got better. The evening buffet was fine as well, reasonable selection - nothing more or less that I would have expected from an AI place in this price range. Drinks were as expected - low alcohol Corona ice cold on tap - ideal for drinking in the heat and humidity rather than for getting off your face (as some guests seemed inclined on doing).
FACILITIES
Activity pool still closed while we were there, but looked ready to fill by the time we left. Relaxation pool in need of some attention but serviceable - due to be refurbished next. Impossible to get a sun lounger unless you were up early enough to hog a spot for the day (irrespective of whether you were there to use it!) Kids splash pool looks excellent and was getting good use by the younger children. High wires almost ready to go, just looks like some landscaping is required. Small gym with good quality equipment and tennis courts look good (if you can stand the heat). Kids clubs were well attended and all children seemed to be having a good time. Hotel beach area is quite modest, but very pleasant - mainly because for some reason people preferred to sit around the pool moaning. Possible to wander along a more secluded spot that leads along to the Occidental Grand. Quite a few fish can be seen swimming around if you go snorkelling off the beach. Water activities available from the guys on the pier, some of which are free e.g. kayaks, Hobie Cats.
ENTERTAINMENT
Bit like Butlin's - as has been mentioned numerous times before! This is not necessarily a bad thing if you like that sort of entertainment (plenty of people seemed to - or were pretending well) but not everyone's idea of fun - and not really for me.
STAFF
Had no problems with the rep.s or hotel staff who were always very hard working and friendly towards us (probably because we didn't moan much!).
TRIPS
My wife and boys did the Royal Dolphin Swim and found it a great experience. I appreciate that not everyone agrees with the idea of dolphins being held in captivity, but the outfit at Chankanaab is very professional, the dolphins have a large lagoon to swim in and appear to be well looked after.
We also did the day trip to Chichen Itza which includes the opportunity to take a dip in a cenote. Excellent guide and thoroughly enjoyable day out. Very enlightening (and humbling) to see how some modern day Mayans have a very meagre life style as you pass their dwellings along the road side. Let's hope that at least some of our tourist $ goes towards improving conditions for them.
The 3 reef snorkelling trip was a bit disappointing. Have snorkelled other reefs around the world and seen a lot more. Unfortunately hurricane Wilma did a considerable amount of damage to the parts of the reef just off shore (basically most of it is dead) so you don
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Travel operator: First Choice

Recommended
9 years 9 months ago
Travelled 28th june returned 13th july. Would agree its not a 4star but is more than a 3star. if that makes sense. Rooms didn't look like they had been refurbised but was always kept clean on a daily basis withclean towels and linen , but they were comfortable for there purpose which is to clean oneself get dressed in and sleep at night. Each room had a hammock which was a nice touch, take plenty of repelent you will need it.This has been my umpteenth time to the caribbean and to be fair the food was almost the same as any other resort i have stayed at they is enough variety to cater for all.The hotel complex is furthest away from airport and town approx 20-25 mins drive by taxi $20 each way but woth the fair just for a change of scenery.Hotel staff are friendly but as anywhere else if you are not a tipper dont be expected to be served before those who do, so generally americans do get served first. The evening entertainment wasn't my cup of tea but good family entertainment.The main pool is now complete looks good hi wire is also operational and working , this place needs to loose the stigma that is attached to it now.
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Travel operator: first choice

Dazza
9 years 9 months ago
Just got in today and felt the urge to put pen to paper and voice my comments on what was really a great holiday. The hotel itself is still not ready to offer the 4* it claims, with the relaxation pool still closed and lack of beach towels, but as mentioned in an earlier post, the rooms although a little dated are very clean and the maids very attentive. The food was acceptable and for the most well cooked and varied, kids loved the lunch buffet and the fresh omelettes at breakfast.

The entertainment is seriously on the poor side and shaky at best, the stage being under a wooden roof with cheap plastic chairs and limited tables but then again the kids enjoyed it and they really bonded with the hard working in2action team (thanks for looking after my little girl on the high ropes matey) Most nights were spent in the adults only Airconditioned Sports bar with the barman there performing miracles with the Havana-light cocktails. We tried to steer clear of the dreaded mosquitos but being so close to the scrub land you will be eaten to death, so please bring the strongest repelents you can find.

Trips.
The kids loved the dolphin experience at Chankannab and we also did the 3 reef snorkle trip, which although didnt produce the abundance of fish we expected topped up the tans perfectly. We did see a reef shark and a few barracuda but it certainly lacks the shoals youd be expecting to find. Be aware of the jelly fish, being alergic I recieved a nasty scar across my midrift from them.
We certainly found the best way to see the island was by car and directly across the road from the main entrance Mario is poised to offer triffic deals on jeeps and minibuses. The roads are very quiet, simple to navigate and you get the opportunity to stop at layby stall holders where you will find the best deals for mexican handicrafts. For lunch a great place to stop is the taverna at Playa Bonita, you cant miss it and the red snapper if fantastic and really cheap. The waves are a little heavier so the kids can spend hours wave jumpin while you sample some of the best cocktails on the island.
If your looking for a great night out "Carlos and Charlies" in the main town is fantastic for all ages. We had a really great time and had way too much tequlia and I wanna personally say thanx to "Kiwi" (what a great guy, one of the funniest most magical guys on Cozumel.)Thanx fella...

Although the hotel didn't really meet our expectations we really had a great holiday, and most of the responsibility lies with the people we met there, big hello to Al, Lynda, Jimmy, Petra, Digby, Nina, Tim and Serena (the alabamas) and all of you that turned it around for us.
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Travel operator: First Choice

Big Al
9 years 9 months ago
To start with please see Dazza from Lutons earlier review we totally agree, we are Alan & Lynda and our time spent with Dazza, Sharon, Lucas and Zoe, you guys really made our holiday, also a big hello to Tim and Serana and Kylie, Serena your high fives were a highlight of our holiday!

Now more about the hotel, we left their on 3rd August and the workmen had just about finished rendering and tiling the relaxation pool floor and walls, it would seem that all they have to do is apply the paint now but I would guess it could still be a couple of weeks from being ready as the workmen are working in sweltering heat and I dont envy them.

Because this pool is closed most people stay around the activity pool which is next to the beach and their is a hut where you collect your clean beach towels. Clean beach towels can be hard to come by and on occassion we have had to wait upto half a day for clean ones to arrive from the laundry. If you want peace and quiet then you may be better sunbathing on the beach as the activity pool has loud music and boisterous activities organised by the reps during the daytime.

The beach is beatiful and the sea is shallow and calm enough for children, theres lots of sea life to see if you like to snorkel and if you walk to the next jetty along the beach the water is really clear, lookout for the stingrays and the rather large fish that likes to hang out under the jetty, we were told that its a six foot barracuda so my son Nathan (12) and I checked it out, unbelievably we saw a fish of that size swim out from under the jetty, I cant confirm it was a barracuda but it certainly was big!

Back at the hotel the childrens splash pool is great for the kids with a large slide and water features, there is a down side though, the large slide has a very loud fog horn that sounds every 15 minutes or so followed by a large release of sprayed water that the kids love. This is great but not at 9am in the morning! Trust me if your room is situated within a 100 metres of this you will not sleep beyond 9am and certainley wont be able to relax in your hammock on your balcony during the day.

Our kids enjoyed the evening entertainment which finishes around 1130pm and again the noise is quite a problem if you want an early night and your room is closeby. As I said earlier kids loved but a shiver went down my spine upon hearing Black Lace's Agadoo and Superman! Dont get me wrong its Ok if you like that sort of thing but personally thats not and never has been for me. Oh I nearly forgot to mention the game of get a white sock, get a bra and get a pair of knickers off someone in the audience remeniscent of Butlins circa 1974!(for American readers Butlins was a low budget holiday camp in Britian popular throughout the 1960s and 70s) Hmmmm let me see did I really pay
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Travel operator: First Choice

Scotland
9 years 9 months ago
We went as a family to Mexico as our first longhaul holiday and we were absolutley delighted. As a teenager it was the first time i can honestly say i wasn't bored for a minute of the holiday. The location was so safe my parents let me and my brother wander around the complex with the people we met, without having to worry.


The staff were absolutley lovely, even though we were teenagers, often seen as a pain, they were always friendly and helpful. There was loads to do during the day, with all the pools, the beach and the many water sports and for the days you wanted a change there was loads of excursions, which you could book with your first choice rep at the hotel.



The food was lovley, i don't have any idea what people are complaining about. My parents are always saying how fussy me and my brother are regards eating, and there was still always loads of choice. Infact, the buffet was just as good as the specialise resaraunts.


Although admittedly, the entertainment at night was not the best, that was only a problem if you allowed it. There was loads of lovley people in the resort, and virtually everyone made new friends and spent the night chatting, the adults in the bars and the children at the beach and pool areas. The kids club was very good, especially for children younger than myself ; there were chocolate parties and movie nights etcetc and the staff were really lovley.


I'd definatley reccommend this holiday to families, with either young children or teenagers, because there really is something to do for everyone.
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Travel operator: first choice

Recommended
9 years 10 months ago
We stayed at HVWS between 31st May to 14 June and really cant understand why there are still so many people complaining about things!

The weather was pretty much excellant the whole time-unfortunately due to a tropical storm on the mainland we did have a couple of days that it did rain but it was still hot!also this storm seemed to be the reason why the water at the beach was a bit murky for a couple of days!once the weather picked up the water was crystal clear-great for taking advantage of the free snorkel gear provided by the hotel!!The beach itself is gorgeous with beautifil white sand and plenty of sun shades!

Our room was pretty much as we had expected-having been to quite a few overseas holidays there does seem to be a general code for hotel rooms-ie. basic yet comfortable and providing all the amenities you're going to need!Plus the fact that there was free air conditioning (that usually you have to pay for in most hotels i've stayed in before) was a nice surprise!To be honest you need to ask yourself how much time are you actually going to spend in your room on holiday!!The rooms were cleaned everyday plus we had clean sheets and towels everyday of our 2week stay!Obviously there were a few occasions of the locals in our room/on the balcony-by this i mean a couple of frogs outside, a little lizard inside and a few creepy crawlies but i'm sorry to have to say that i'll never understand why people who book holidays to such exotic locations only then complain about a few bugs and the native wildlife!!oh and the only scorpion we saw was a flattened one at the airport!!

To be honest the food was OK-put it this way we didnt go hungry!We found the food to be varied (they seemed to be catering for a wide spectrum of people) and although there were a few odd items on the menu at times, we found the food to be perfectly acceptable!the oriental restaurant was lovely-OK it was a set menu but you can order as much as you like and the food was lovely!

Unfortunately my only bug-bear with the HVWS was the location-yes, it was on a gorgeous stretch of coastline and it was a lovely place but being someone who likes to venture out at times to mooch round the shops it was a little isolated for my liking. The only town-San Miguel-was a $20 taxi ride away! There were some lovely beach bars towards San Miguel though which although we obviously had to pay for the beer in was a nice change of scenery plus the local people are all so friendly and cant do enough for you!It's quite clear that Cozumel in general is still developing in terms of establishing a tourist scene but it is still a beautiful country that i would definitely consider visiting again!

The hotel staff were great and i really felt for the First Choice team as everyday they seemed to be getting their ears bent by someone complaining about something pathetic and demanding it be dealt with there and then!

Moving on to the issues about the pools!!Well the splashpool had opened the day we got there (31st May) which if i'm brutally honest about i was an eeny bit disappointed as was quite looking forward to a free excursion that i'd been reading about on here and being that i'm just a little bit too old for the slides the free excursion would've suited me better!however, as i say the long awaited pumped seemed to have finally arrived from the mainland and the pool was fully operational throughout our stay-our room was right opposite it!The pool with the swim up bar had been closed off-there were workmen stripping the tiles off in order to re-lay them i assume due to all the fuss about blue paint!As for the blue paint i find it hard to believe when people have been saying that people are getting covered when the whole of our stay we never heard anything of anyone getting paint on them-nor did we see any smirfs wandering about the resort!!Finally, yes i have to agree that the floor in the relaxation pool does require some work however it seems that people have received letters saying that this work is due to be carried out (i assume when the other pool is finished)!!and again i had read reports that people were getting their feet cut to ribbons on the floor yet did not witness anything of the sort whilst we were out there!

During the day there was activities available-scuba diving lessons were offered first thing (usually around 8/9am)then there was a daily quiz plus water polo!The evening entertainment was definitely aimed at the families at the hotel and although it was the usual thing-kid's disco then some sort of singing/dancing caberet it seemed to be OK and everyone seemed to enjoy it!

Overall i have to say that we had a fantastic holiday at HVWS and i'm not disputing that some people who were there at the very start of the season did encounter some problems but unfortunately i am more inclined to be believe that some people complaining whilst we were there were obviously on the compensation band-waggon out for a free holiday!a lot of the reports seem to have been exaggerated and i find it quite sad that there were obviously people there so intent on making First Choice pay in some way that they probably ruined there own holiday by bitching about stuff so much and by wasting their own time taking countless pictures of stuff in order to try and get a free holiday!
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Travel operator: First Choice

Recommended
Sunseeker
9 years 11 months ago
Do not bother going to the Holdiay Village White Sands.....it is not finished and First Choice will not tell you that until you get there.

The rooms are dirty and come with an array of wildlife includng scorpions!

The pools are all breaking up and people are getting covered in blue paint from activity pool.

The First Choice reps are shocking......they do not fix any problems or deal with complaints at all unless you shout at them particulary Simon.

Anyway we had such a bad time here we contacted First Choice upon our return and have been advised that they are not going to do anything and should we wish to pursue this matter further we need a lawyer!

Go somewhere else!
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Travel operator: First Choice

9 years 11 months ago
The hotel was lovely, the staff welcomed us with champagne and beer on arrival, it was seamless and easy.

Our room was clean and spacious, had a lovely vier.
The grounds were well looked after, their were a few holes where palm trees had not been laid as yet, but these were roped off and were being planted as we left.

There was a small issue with blue paint being smeared on peoples costumes, but the area was roped off quickly, and some people chose to ignore this and then complain. There were other pools to use.

The high ropes and splash pool werent ready when we went, but my kids loved the kids activities. FC always provide so much for the kids to do that they are never bored and didnt miss the high ropes. Plus the beach was lovely and the sea warm. Made a change to be there then at the pool each day.

The food was hot, varied and tasty. We never went hungry even one of my kids didnt and they are fussy eaters. We literally could not fault the food. Towards the end of the holiday we were a little bit bored of the food, but anywhere you go the food does get a bit samey towards the end of the 2 weeks.

The reps were under a lot of pressure due to so many 'complainers' out for all they could get, even adults without children moaning about the splashpool etc, we were offered free excursions as way of a sweetner which i felt was more than adequate.

Overall i feel this resort can only get better once these small niggly problems have been sorted out.
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Travel operator: First Choice

Recommended
9 years 11 months ago
Hotel was not finished when we travelled and we were not informed of this fact until we arrived through at Cozumel airport.

The Food was very limited in choice with very strange selections for breakfast (veg, chicken fajitas, vegetarian lasagne)

The Mexican staff were very helpful afraid I cannot say the same about the First Choice Manager and Reps.
The Daytime entertainment was good but the evening entertainment was very repetitive.

I would like to think once this resort is fully operational it will probably be a nice place to stay but I for one will not be returning there and will never travel First Choice again
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Travel operator: First Choice

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