There is undeniable magic in Mazatlan. It's not easy to find a city in Mexico that has both the classic sun and sand but that is also so culturally rich and historical.
A colonial downtown, with cobblestone streets flanked with pastel-colored buildings, is set just a few blocks back from what is now a fully renovated malecon overlooking the Pacific, with clifftop perches from which to catch those awe-inspiring west coast of Mexico sunsets.
And when it comes to capturing the essence and vibe of Mazatlan, there is one brand that comes to mind. El Cid Hotels & Resorts is not only a truly Mexican company, but it is distinctly mazatleco. The company was founded in Mazatlan, operates out of Mazatlan and celebrates all that this city in transition has to offer.
One of the best hotels in the collection of seven is El Cid El Moro Beach. Located directly on the beach in the Golden Zone, overlooking Mazatlan's three iconic islands, this towering property has some of the best views in the city — and comfortable rooms, to boot. Recently the hotel added an Elite Club, where VIP guests can check in and check out as well as come to relax with all-day snacks and complimentary beverages.
Luxury Double or Luxury King rooms have private balconies, marble bathrooms and partial ocean views.
In the 27-story building there are 390 rooms and suites. Luxury Double or Luxury King rooms have private balconies, marble bathrooms and partial ocean views, while the one-bedroom suites offer full ocean views from the private balconies and can host a maximum of six guests. (Tip: Room 1623 is a palatial, apartment-style corner suite with an expansive oceanview balcony; fully equipped kitchen complete with toaster, coffeemaker, refrigerator and cooking utensils; a living room with pullout sofa; and two bathrooms.)
El Cid El Moro Beach has two restaurants: one that serves international cuisine and seafood (the outdoor terrace has had a full renovation) and one that serves authentic Mexican fare.
But the hotel's proximity to downtown makes it a great home base to explore the fantastic restaurants of Mazatlan. Consider El Presidio, located in a historical building off a quiet street in the Centro Historico. Walk into the open-air courtyard that is shrouded in trees and dotted with stone fountains. The building is full of nooks and crannies, hidden staircases, and private rooms to explore, with a rooftop terrace that overlooks downtown. There is a grocery store on site, as well, for those who want to make use of their in-suite kitchens.
The resort offers a European plan (EP) and an all-inclusive option. And seeing as Mazatlan is still a growing destination, prices are extremely competitive for food and drink. There is no on-site fitness center, but a free shuttle service takes guests to El Cid Marina Beach Hotel (a five-minute drive), location of the new El Cocay Amenity Spa & Gym. A 3,000-square-foot fitness center is also available at El Cid Castilla Beach.
The pool features waterfalls, cove-like rock formations and a swim-up bar.
A lovely pool has waterfalls, cove-like rock formations and a swim-up bar. But El Cid encourages guests to make the most out of the destination, as well. A private boat connects to nearby Deer Island, which has views of the Mazatlan skyline from its secluded beach.
El Moro Beach grants its guests complimentary access to the amenities of the nearby El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel and El Cid Granada Hotel. Combined, these two hotels offer six restaurants and bars as well as swimming pools, waterparks and a golf course.
In preparation for this year's Tianguis Turistico event, all Mazatlan El Cid hotels and resorts underwent extensive renovations. In addition to the renovation of the 1,210 rooms and suites under the brand umbrella, restaurants La Alhambra and El Alcazar at El Cid Castilla Beach received a remodeling. The lobbies of El Cid Castilla and El Cid Marina were also renovated, complete with touches like welcome aromatherapy and new custom-made art.
But one of the more welcoming qualities of the hotel, and of El Cid in general, is the exceptional passion among the staff for the brand and the destination. Everyone from the bellboy on up is approachable, accessible, friendly and sublimely proud of Mazatlan and the El Cid experience.
Case in point: On my arrival to El Cid El Moro, I was met by two public relations managers. Rather than dine at the hotel restaurant for lunch, which would be the customary choice for a hotel PR rep, they opted to show off their home city instead.
We cruised down along the coast, through the historical center and up the hill toward the city's observatory. There sat La Marea, a brand-new seafood restaurant that offered epic views across the sea and down toward the port and old Mazatlan. The menu was packed with items like fresh ceviche, fish tacos and locally caught shrimp. Paired with a frosty Pacifico beer, it was the perfect way to be welcomed to Mazatlan.
Starting rates at El Cid El Moro Beach are $127 per night EP and $188 per night for the all-inclusive plan.