Playa La Ropa S/N
Fronting the best stretch of sandy beach in the area, with a bilingual staff and great restauarants and bars, Viceroy Zihuatanejo formerly known as "Tides Zihuatanejo," competes head–to–head with nearby cliffside Casa que Canta to lure moneyed guests looking for the best of everything.
Viceroy Zihuatanajo is part of the hotel group running upscale hotels in lots of other sunny spots, including the Viceroy Riviera Maya, of Mexico. After years of fine tuning, this excellent resort is now one of the best in the country, with a well–trained staff and the prime spot on the region's best beach.
While Casa que Canta's main draw is its panoramic views, here the main draw is the easy access to the excellent Playa La Ropa beach. Some suites are only a few steps from the sand, while others are further back but never more than a few minute's walk—without any steps to climb or elevators to board.
The resort staked out its spot long ago and manages to sprawl along a few hundred meters of Playa La Ropa, a gleaming stretch of picture–perfect crescent beach with a view of the hills on each side. Quality wooden lounge chairs under the palms are topped with terrycloth covers and neck pillows, with waiters breezing by regularly to take drink orders. In a nice touch, they'll gladly bring over a table and set up lunch where you want it also, so you don't even have to venture far from your comfy chair or day bed to get a white linen dining experience.
The waves here can occasionally get a bit rough for small children, but are great for surfing or boogie boarding and there are no riptide worries in this bay. An independent booth handles parasailing or catamaran rides. Three swimming pools provide calmer options. You can choose from an infinity pool for adults facing the ocean, a shady circular pool, and a large family pool with a waterfall and a swim–up bar. Two lighted tennis courts and a well–equipped gym with a range of quality equipment and snacks allow a good workout. The spa is more of a massage center since there are are no locker rooms or shared facilities, but the center employs a talented team that offers a wide range of massages and beauty treatments. A platform on the beach is ready for early morning yoga sessions.
Finding other ways to relax isn't difficult. With only around 70 rooms and suites, there is never a fight f=or chairs by the beach or pools and there are lots of little nooks and quiet corners where you can settle down with a book. Three bar areas are comfortable places to spend a few lazy hours, from a swim–up bar at the family pool to another with a clear view to the beach and waves. The bartenders whip up the expected cocktails and then some, plus the Coral bar (with built–in backgammon tables) offers up more than 100 tequilas, including some high–end brands that are hard to find, and they are glad to set up an informative tasting.
The two restaurants here are standouts, with polished yet friendly service that keeps guests coming back. Fresh seafood and local specialties are the highlights, with a presentation that always comes with a flourish. La Marea restaurant is a romantic dinner-only spot, set up by the beach with flaming torches, candles, and entertainment. The extensive wine list is focused on the Americas, especially Mexico's Baja region, but covers much of the world, including some kosher wine from Israel. The 2,000 bottles—some ready for deal-toasting at $750 or more a pop—are kept in a temperature controlled wine room that's set up for tastings or intimate private dinners. The more casual La Villa restaurant is more casual and serves all three meals. During breakfast it spills onto the sand for barefoot dining. Or they'll serve you wherever you want, like by one of the pools or in your suite.
The smallest rooms of the seven categories were the original first 10 built here, surrounding a small pool. These feel like private casitas, with beamed ceilings and a balcony with a hammock. The others are 700 square feet and up, ranging from the "deluxe mini suite" to several two–bedroom suites with their own plunge pools. While the presidential suite is the largest and comes with a butler and its own infinity pool, the beach suites have a prime location by the ocean and oodles of space to stretch out. All the suites, including these, have their own plunge pool.
The design at this Viceroy resort goes beyond the usual hotel room mold and no two rooms are exactly alike. Most beds are situated in the center of the room, draped with white gauzy fabric, containing a vanity area behind the headboard. Even the smallest rooms have a nice sitting area and a terrace or balcony, while marble baths with an array of quality toiletries allow plenty of space for two to get ready at the same time. At night the quarters are especially impressive, with a variety of well–placed lighting creating a dramatic effect. The impressive amenity list here keeps on growing, including iPod–ready music systems, fob keys that are enclosed in a woven necklace, plus cool face towels and a welcome cocktail upon arrival. There are no coffee makers in the room because each morning someone puts coffee on a shelf outside the door at a time you can specify. Wi–Fi works well and is complimentary throughout the property.
Viceroy Zihuatanejo is the clear king of the beach in Zihuatanejo and apart from a lack of water views from some rooms, there's little to fault in this attractively designed and well–run getaway spot. I've visited this hotel three times now, several years apart. Instead of seeing new buildings and more one–upsmanship in the facilities, instead I've seen even more attention to the little details and service that just keeps getting better.
Web Address: Viceroy Zihuatanejo
Total Number of Rooms: 46
Published rates: $355 to $1,600
Review and photos by Timothy Scott