Hotel review: Holiday Inn Huatulco in Oaxaca, Mexico

Two-year-old Holiday Inn Huatulco sits right on the beautiful marina of Santa Cruz Huatulco, where fishing, tour and taxi boats come and go all day.

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As the only major chain hotel option on the water in Huatulco, I figured a review could be helpful to potential visitors.

My favorite things about this hotel?

The central location and the balcony views:

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I spent hours on the shaded balcony watching birds and boats over a recent multi-day stay at this hotel.

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Here’s what the hotel looks like from the water:

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As you can see from the photo, 16 of the hotel’s 83 rooms have great balcony views of Bahia de Santa Cruz.

How much does it cost?

$60-$100 American dollars or 20k IHG points per night.

Warning: Though the pre-paid rate includes estimated tax, I ended up paying about 15% more than the quoted rate.

Wi-Fi and parking?

Both are free. The Wi-Fi was good but not perfect. The parking garage is under the hotel.

Food?

The hotel has a restaurant and room service.

The breakfast is not free, but you can add it to your room rate for $10, or just pay each time you visit.

There’s also a coffee stand at the hotel that serves Starbucks drinks, though it was unmanned at random times.

After several visits to the hotel restaurant, my impressions are: Decent food, though slightly overpriced. There are a bunch of really good restaurants in walking distance, though breakfast options are more limited.

A few of my favorite local restaurants: Terra Cotta (in nearby Crucecita), Bossa Nova, & fusion restaurant Mercader.

Also one restaurant you can’t find on Google Maps that has amazing charred meat in its fusion tacos: Beduino Tacos Arabes

Here’s how to get to it from the hotel:

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Other amenities?

The hotel has a very nice small gym, an outdoor pool, a playroom for children, and a small shop in case you forgot sunscreen.

Bugs? 

Relatively equatorial, I expected Huatulco to be well represented by the bug community.

My fears were unfounded, as I don’t remember seeing a single bug the whole week, and we even stopped wearing bug spray after the first day.

I visited in April, and I can’t guarantee that your experience will be the same.

What is there to do nearby?

Head over to the marina and you’ll often find several boat captains offering fishing, sightseeing and snorkeling tours of Huatulco’s nine bays for ~$50/person for a half day.

There is a nice (crowded and touristy on weekends) beach near the hotel with a bunch of restaurants on it.

There’s also a nice, much less crowded beach behind the marina gas station.

Bring your mask and snorkel to either beaches, as they both have rocky sections where tons of puffer and needle fish hang out.

I also saw a ray tucked in under a rock by the cruise ship terminal.

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Touristy beach is red, chill beach is green.

Even more gorgeous is the beach at Chahue, one bay east of Santa Cruz:

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Playa Chahue.

Playa Chahue is about a 20-minute walk from the hotel, or you could just take a taxi for a couple bucks.

One bay west of Santa Cruz is Entrega, which I heard has awesome snorkeling right off the beach.

Crucecita is the city center of Huatulco with many restaurants, and there’s a brand new “tourist corridor” that you can use to walk there from Bahia de Santa Cruz in about 30 minutes.

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The tourist walkway from Crucecita to Santa Cruz.

How was the room?

It was a cool, comfy oasis.

By cool I mean the crucial AC and ceiling fan both worked great, and the tiled shower was refreshing.

The chairs on the balcony were soft and in pristine condition.

Nice hotel staff?

The staff was extremely friendly and helpful. A couple employees I talked to lived in the States formerly and spoke perfect English.

I will say, my visit would’ve been even better if I’d maintained the Spanish I learned in college. Many locals in Huatulco don’t speak any English.

Cons?

The marina area is really cool, but it is fairly crowded & touristy (mostly Mexican tourists).

I’m sure it pales in comparison to certain areas of the more famous beach towns in Cancun, etc., but near the main beach in Santa Cruz it wasn’t possible to walk around as an obvious visitor without being ambushed by restaurant and tour salespeople.

Here are some photos of the hotel:

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Questions or thoughts?

*Update 4.21.2017: This hotel is now on IHG’s PointsBreaks list for this quarter, meaning you’ll be able to book rooms here for only 5k IHG points per night, from April 24 through July 31 of 2017.

One thought on “Hotel review: Holiday Inn Huatulco in Oaxaca, Mexico

  1. Pingback: Turns out the best craft beers in the world are hecho en Mexico | easyjourneys

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