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“Na Balam- for this price I should be getting more...” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Na Balam Beach Hotel

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Na Balam Beach Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Calle Zazil Ha 118 | Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres 77400, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #17 of 36 Hotels in Isla Mujeres
Caesarea, Israel
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Na Balam- for this price I should be getting more...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2012 via mobile

Though the Na Balam features a great beach, pool and location the incredibly damp and smelly rooms and ludicrous rates well, dampen the whole experience...
Breakfast isn't included and the restaurant is far from reasonable in every aspect. In conclusion- most hotels and resorts on Isla Mujeres don't offer a good value for your money and Na Balam is defenetly no different...

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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571 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (148)
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Vista, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

If you are looking for a beach paradise, I would recommend staying at Na Balam. If you are also looking for good service, I would stay clear of this hotel. On the first day of my stay, they didn't have any beach towels available and asked my friend and I to return in 5 minutes. We ended up requesting the towels on 5 different occasions over the next couple of hours. The service at the restaurant was also atrocious. They took a long time to bring us our food and then ignored us throughout the entirety of the meal. One morning, we asked 3 different waiters for a coffee refill and it took over 30 minutes to get our coffee.

My friend and I enjoyed our stay at Na Balam because the beach/location is unbelievably beautiful. That being said, the service definitely needs to improve.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tel aviv
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2012 via mobile

The service of the restaurant is terrible!!! First night we spent in the suit, arrived in the morning, after night of treveling, at noon I tried to get some rest, but there were reconstructions right above my head, very loud sounds. Then we were tranfered to a regular room that is very poor and old that is not comfy at all. The first morning in the restaurant it took the waiters about 15 minutes to notice that we are there, although there were may be 3 more couples in the restaurant. They were angry and very unpleasant . At the end of the meal they mentioned that the service is not included , and we're standing right near to see how much we are going to add. At the second morning it took them20 minutes to notice us and then they said that there is no coffe right now, it will be another 10 minutes, it took 20 more to get a coffe. After terrible , very unpleasant service they stood there again to ask for a tip. I found my self complaining to the front desk, the guy was very nice, but all he did was to give me a form of satisfaction to fill. The beach though is really beautifull and the beds on the beach are very comfy. I recommend to stay anywhere else and come and enjoy the beach.

Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Smyrna, Georgia
5 reviews 5 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2012

Na Balam is a true gem. Definitely has its pros and cons. And the island isn't for everyone. But, being there felt more like "touring" than just being a "tourist". Na Balam was the best and closest to the sea AND the town that we saw.
-Clean, well maintained room. A/C worked great. Comfy bed, great ocean view from the balcony (unit #11), plenty of space to move about
-Great beach and beach bed
-Great service at the beach by the restaurant staff. Reasonable prices. Fresh, delicious Mex fare
-LOVED being next to Fenix bar. Great cocktails and tapas.
-You can walk right around the point of the beach, near the rocky cove, and snorkel as you wish. Tons of fish. No need to do the $60 snorkel tour they sell to you in town.
-short walk to town where there's endless options for great food (Lola's, Rooster, Olivia) and shopping and drinks. We did this daily, sometimes 2x

-Construction at Na Balam ruins some of the ambiance during the day when trying to take a nap in the room or walk the grounds. They need to speed this up. But you never notice this on the beach or at night
-the walk to the town is filled with potholes and stray animals. Not terrible, but not a luxurious walk. Definitely safe, though. We never felt uneasy walking, day or night
-On Hidlago, in town, the vendors are fairly pushy, so practice saying "No Gracias" alot
-The shower head in the room was a MESS--sprayed everywhere. Pretty worn out. Need to replace those!!

We loved it. It was a 10th anniversary treat. We'd go back. And would stay at Na Balam

Room Tip: make sure you ask for on on the ocean side
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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vancouver, b.c.
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

I used to come to isla mujeres every month. Most of the time, I would stay at nabalam. The location is impeccable. The beach is to die for. The hotel is very nice as are the staff. As always with any place in mexico, use a safe and be careful of valuables (no matter where you stay or how many stars there are). After saying this, nothing ever was stolen from nabalam. I really liked the prompt beach service for drinks and food. The conch ceviche is very good. I wouldn't recommend eating any veggies that are not peeled or cooked (no salads) to prevent sickness. I visited here over 40 times and never got sick if you don't drink water, no salads, only eat fully cooked veggies and drink a coke a day out of the bottle that you open yourself. Also, buy only bottled water that is sealed. And you will never get sick. This island is an absolute joy. It is busy on the weekend but during the day with over night stays are blissful. I cannot more highly recommend a place to stay. It is pure bliss. I have brought friends here and everyone always loves nabalam,

Room Tip: spend the money and upgrade to a renovated suite. It is worth it.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

On the whole, we had a great trip the the Na Balam. The Isla Mujeres was one of our favorite stops on our recent trip to Mexico, and Playa Norte was one of the most amazing beaches I have ever been to. The Na Balam was generally ok,however there were a couple of issues which were pretty disapponting.

The room was fine - we stayed out in the back section near the pool on a top floor room. The room was big and clean and had a rustic feel to it. It was incredibly dark - we needed lights in the daytime - and had a bit of a musty smell throughout (Maybe from the roof??). I think maybe we had one of the worst located ones as it faced onto a work sight/the nieghbouring houses and the view from the balcony and windows was not so pretty. Other rooms looked in a nicer position. There is no tv/phone etc, which is great in such a beautiful beach spot to get away from it all. Only suggection - A fridge in the room would have been great though to keep drinks cool.

The restaurant was great - we ate at breakfast at the Zazil Ha each day, and had a few snacks and drinks. The staff are really nice and friendly, the food and drinks are great and the location is spectacular. Had lots of cocktails on the beach too which were yum! We also ate at Fenix and the food was great there too. Was a bit confusing as is not linked to the hotel, so you have to pay (in food and drinks) if you want to sit at their beach chairs and had to pay upfront.

Generally the reception staff were good - some were much friendlier than others. Check-in was fine, and they helped us to arrange golf-cart hire and transport to pick us up on the way back in Cancun.

So..We were unaware that the Na Balam was renovating while we were there until we got there. The main reception area and bits and pieces around the ground are a construction site, and looked pretty rough. We were also woken early in the mornings by the construction. I'm sure it will be great when its all finished, but for the timing of our trip it wasn't great!

The other main issue was the seaweed. Na Balam is on a corner down the end of Playa Norte and has 2 beachfronts, both of which were covered with rotting seaweed for the entire time we were here. I understand a tropical storm had passed through the week before so maybe it was worse than usual, but it did not appear to be a problem anywhere else along the beachfront. Sitting out the front of the hotel was not that pleasant and it stank, and the water was filthy and brown at the front - you had to wade out quite far to get away from it. We ended up having to walk next door to get in the water, and did not swim out the front. We did not really understand why the hotel didn't clean it up...every morning they had staff come out and start to clean it up - they would rake a bit, shift it around and try to bury a bit and then give up after about 20 minutes and leave huge brown piles of weed everywhere for the day.

I think the Na Balam could be one of the best properties on the beach if they just tweaked a few things. The location down the end of Playa Norte is beautiful, the hotel and grounds are rustic and very cute. If they finish the construction, get rid of the seaweed and freshen it up just a bit it would be the best!!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
2 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2012

Sitting in the Cancun airport, killing time, and decided to express our disappointment with our stay at Na Balam (it's been a topic of conversation all weekend, so may as well get it down fresh). First of all, we will grant that the location itself is really quite nice... Beautiful beach, close to Centro (but not too close). I've seen complaints about the pool, but it was fine; nothing special, but perfectly clean. The restaurant was also decent; friendly waiters, good appetizers and drinks (at very reasonable prices; never ate dinner there), and our free continental breakfasts were actually quite good. But that's about where the positives end.

Fortunately, this was only a weekend stay after spending the week beforehand in Cancun at the Casa Magna. We aren't really the resort types (I don't need someone waiting on me hand and foot), so Na Balam looked like a nice alternative... From the website it appeared more quaint, rustic, peaceful.

Our check-in was not exactly smooth... The young woman running the desk didn't seem to know what she was doing (which always seemed the case when dealing with her), and gave us absolutely no information about the hotel or our stay (ended up having to ask a lot of questions, didn't get towel service cards, etc.), but this is really a minor issue. Getting to our "deluxe" pool view room we found it to be, well, rustic. The lack of TV, phone, and alarm clock didn't both us, and we thought the thatched room was kind of cool at first... The room was large and sparsely furnished. The all-tile floor was not terribly comfortable for walking barefoot, but tolerable. The bathroom was clean, so no issues there. It took a good four or five hours to cool the room down once we got the AC and fan working (it was off when we got it and very hot). All-in-all, first impressions were not great, but okay.

Unfortunately, as our stay progressed things got worse... The first night (a Friday night) we found that our room was anything but quiet and tranquil. It was situated right next to the street, so we got lots of street noise during the day (busier than we expected for being away from downtown as we were), but the noise didn't really die down at all, and if anything increased into the night. And then we learned about the dance club on the other side of the street (Fenix Lounge), which the Na Balam website doesn't mention at all. The first night there was a concert (some American Idol contestant, apparently) followed by a late-night dance party, while the second night was a salsa show followed by another late-night dance party; normally this wouldn't be such an issue, but we were packing our days full of activities on the island, so the pounding house music at midnight while we were trying to sleep was unwelcome. And, amazingly, somehow the thatched roof seemed to almost magnify the sound (it really was louder in our room than it was out on the balcony facing the club). I think we had the closest room to the club, which was bound to make our experience the worst of all, but absolutely no mention was made of this on check-in. Not peaceful, not tranquil.

In addition to trying to fall asleep with the club thumping along, and trying be satisfied with the burlap-quality sheets, we kept finding ourselves with many new bug bites each morning (not mosquito bites, either). I don't know if it's bed bugs or what, but we're deathly afraid of bringing them home with us and infesting our house on return. The one inch gap (with no sweeper) under the rickety front door certainly didn't help things, although other than a lizard, which was actually kind of cool, we fortunately never got any substantial visitors that way (at least that we saw).

While the bathroom looked clean when we got there, by our second day there the sink/vanity was infested with some kind of tiny ant-like bugs, crawling all over our toiletries. Too tiny to bite or anything, and not the end of the world, but still a bit discomforting. Additionally, we had the world's crappiest shower head... Of the many directions it shot water, only a few of them were actually useful for showering. Additionally, the water neither got very hot or very cold (girlfriend likes *hot* showers, even down here, and I prefer colder ones, especially down here... neither of us were satisfied).

Another thing that we found annoying was the yoga. Looking at the website and reading some of the reviews (I admit, while I did a lot of research, I didn't read all 300+ of them), Na Balam markets itself as some kind ultra tranquil yoga retreat. And while there are indeed two cool tree-house yoga studios, and daily yoga classes (which people say are great), they are *not* complimentary with the hotel stay. In fact, these classes cost the same for guests as they do for anyone else just walking off the street: $12 US (which is a standard price back in the US). This wouldn't have been an issue if it had been made clear anywhere prior to our arrival, but it was one of the major reasons we picked the place (girlfriend loved the yoga idea), so it really ended up feeling like a bait-and-switch and just one more disappointment.

Finally, to top it all off, we had to leave relatively early this morning to get to the airport in time for our flight. After being woken up by the garbage/recycling truck picking up at the club at 5:30am (fortunately only 30 minutes before our alarm was actually set), we found that there was no running water. None, not even a dribble. No shower, no flushable toilet, nothing. No idea why, either, as we left the hotel before any of the desk staff had arrived (7am).

Anyway, I'll admit that it's possible we just happened to get the worst room in the place and got hit with an unfortunately combination of issues, and perhaps a different room would have solved our problems if we'd only complained. However, we aren't really complainers, and the desk staff never really seemed all that interested in helping us out whenever we did have questions, so complaints of this sort seemed useless. So, take this review with a grain of salt, but note that we did the same thing with the numerous negative reviews here ("It can't be that bad, look at all the glowing reviews"), and we regret it.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Na Balam Beach Hotel

Address: Calle Zazil Ha 118 | Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres 77400, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Isla Mujeres
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Spa Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Mujeres
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Na Balam Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The love for nature, an admiration to the Mayan culture and a concern for holistic wellness are reflected in this haven of peace and serenity. Na Balam offers you a place to enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean sea and its sunsets with personalized services and attention. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Na Balam Beach
Na Balam Beach Isla Mujeres

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