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“Too much for too little... Just don't do it!” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Serena Hotel Punta del Este

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Serena Hotel Punta del Este
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Rambla Williman- Parada 24 | Playa Mansa, Punta del Este, Uruguay   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 66 Hotels in Punta del Este
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Too much for too little... Just don't do it!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

There is only two types of rooms in this hotel - Standard & Suites. 32 standard rooms and 7 suites. All of them expensive (from $420-$650 dlls- Jan. 2013) and all of them a rat hole - Depressingly small, broken bath room, you can hear all the sounds in the hallway (zero rest), the bed is as hard as a wood board, together with the hard pillows and detergent smell/feeling cheap amenities. Not even ONE bottled courtesy water- NADA! And the minibar is depressing. Forget robes and slippers, they don't care and have no respect for the clientelle, starting with the ower, who is in a defensive mood whenever you bring any questioning on the hotel rules with him. A cheap man, truly lacking any finesse and obviously any experience in the service industry. The owner claims to have an 'historical hotel', when the building looks lika an ordinary suburbian home from the 90's- completley decorated with Indonesian sculptures and furniture. So much for respecting Uruguayan historical buildings! This ingrate man shouldn't be allowed to speak to the clients, since the minute you understand he is the owner, the hotel starts looking grimmer. Bad for the hotel reputation. During our stay, because of the stiff beds, we ended up getting a back pain and a crick in the neck and we literally had to both get massages to ease the back problems. Although the restaurant is gourmet and most of the staff is sweet, the owner has set up rules that are marginalizing. If you are not one of the lucky ones to get one of the 7 suites (only $200 dlls more in price than the way over priced standard rooms) you cannot use some of the areas of the hotel, reserved for the suites only. The 7 suites get better beach seating, better parking lots, better check out times, better lunch tables, etc. As if the minimal price difference made them 'royalty', when everyone is being overcharged and paying the excat same prices for the services (truly outrageous!) Even if no one is using the "reserves for suite" spaces in the beach areas throughout the day, they don't let the other 80% of the hotel guests to use it.. In a 32 room hotel, with only 7 suites, this seems offensive. It is not that the 'reserved suites spaces" are better hang out places, what bothers is the fact that so minimal price difference has you in the worst rat hole and feeling lika a lesser and marginalized guest - Just sad. The only thing they have going for them is that they have beach front access, rare for hotels in Punta del Este, nonetheless, don't be deceived by this fact, (like we did) when choosing a hotel for your stay in Punta. The beach lounging and restaurant areas are cute, and once you are in the sun, you tend to forget all your pains, but that happens everywhere! This is not the place to spend your dreamy "expensive" vacation in Punta. I would truly recommend to look elsewhere.

Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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206 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
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English first
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

This is almost a great place to stay... almost. Instead, it's the kind of place I'd never stay again. The restaurant serves delicious food in a lovely setting. The pool and outdoor seating are like something out of a post-card. The rooms are adequate, there is a spa, and the front desk tries to be helpful.
However, for the one lunch (for two, consisted of one entrée, two appetizers, four bottles of water, and a strawberry daiquiri) we ate at the restaurant we spent US$150, which is a lot for lunch (and we live in New York). And while the pool was nice, our experience was marred by several gusts of wind, one of which blew a beach umbrella over onto me. I guess it wasn't so much the wind blowing the umbrella over that marred the experience as much as the fact that it was the third umbrella to blow over that day, the umbrella stands had no screws to keep the umbrellas in, no one apologized or asked if I was okay after the umbrella hit me, and the umbrella that hit me was put right back up. I had to move day beds to be at a safe distance. Our toilet didn't flush properly and we were told it would be fixed after we left. Our safe didn't function properly and it was implied it was our fault. We wanted help with reservations for Christmas dinner, but instead of being told that basically every restaurant would be open and we just needed a reservation, we were given brochures for the two restaurants at the casino.
All of these things could have been anomalous. Maybe we were just unlucky. But combining our experiences with the fact that it's a ten minute drive to restaurants, night life, and other beaches, we would never stay here again when there are so many other options. Next time we'd rather rent an apartment.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Serena H, Gerente at Serena Hotel Punta del Este, responded to this review, January 4, 2013
We are very sorry to read your comments, and to realize your stay with us has not been pleasant. We trully do our best.
We cannot change what happened, but we would like to invite you to visit us again to compansate the bad impression we gave you.
Best regards.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

As many others have noted, the Serena is small (32 rooms), insanely expensive, and difficult to book (at least three months in advance and that's just for the slow season), and while the exterior, restaurant and the lobby are really nice, the rooms and corridors are very plain and would barely count as a two-star hotel in the U.S. Yet they're charging four-star prices.

However, you can't beat the location, since it's the only hotel in Punta right on the beach rather than across the street, and even better, it faces the calm side of Punta, not the wild ocean side. Plus they have a very nice pool and lots of furniture around it. The relatively young staff try hard to be at your service. The hotel restaurant sets out a generous continental breakfast in the morning. Parking is free, sufficient, and easy to use.

In the end, I reluctantly concluded that I got my money's worth, since the location and service were excellent. But location in this sense means a sheer stroke of luck---it's great only because the dumb planners who laid out Punta del Este put the Rambla too damn close to the beach rather than running it inland so all the resorts could sit on the beach. (Which means the people who secured this spot of land on the beach side of the Rambla were very clever, and the current owners must be raking in huge profits.) Many other beach resorts, such as Miami Beach, Kaanapali, and Cancun, all put the main beachfront arterial behind the resorts so many resorts can all face the beach directly.

Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
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Serena H, Gerente at Serena Hotel Punta del Este, responded to this review, November 25, 2012
Thank you for your kind comments! we hope to see you again soon!!
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Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012 via mobile

We stayed one week in this beachfront hotel, the perfect relaxation place. Breakfast is served in the restaurant with direct view on the beach only a few steps away. After breakfast you can relax on comfortable couches and mattresses, literally on the beach. As it was beginning of the season, it was very calm. Staff is very friendly and always helpful and very service minded. An error they made in room assignment was compensated with no flinching with several vouchers for full meals and drinks thanks to the very attentive and dedicated manager Belen. Also they changed our flight reservation and went downtown to pick up the new tickets! Rooms are functional. The only thing missing is maybe a desk and a chair but no problem as you will stay out of the room most of the time. The Spa pool is a little small and only few Lounge chairs. The beach is incredibly huge and long and you can access it directly from the restaurant and outside pool area. The restaurant choice is a little bit small but all the dishes were great, especially the seafood and fish. The only complaint here are the prices, which are very high (that is the missing 5th point in the overall rating). However, this seems to be the price level in many places in Punta. Downtown is a 5 min taxi drive, which should cost aprox 240 $ (12 US$) or you can take the bus conveniently for 10 times less. To get back take the bus to San Carlos in calle 30 or Rambla Wiliman and get out at parada (stop) 24. If you look for a place to relax literally on the beach, this is it.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

Love this small hotel on the beach . Very comfortable, clean, good meals at the restaurant very tasty. Outdoor spaces are BEAUTIFUL . A place to enjoy. You need to get a bus, or drive your car to town as the hotel is a bit apart . Still I would be back GREAT PLACE !!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Serena H, Gerente at Serena Hotel Punta del Este, responded to this review, October 20, 2012
Thank you very much for your comments. We hope to have your visit again!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
world traveller
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2012

If you visit Punta del Este this is the place to stay. Minimalist rustic beach decor, on the sand. Great service everything you need for a memorable stay.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2012

We were prepared by all of the helpful previous reviews - great location, a rarity in Punta del Este where the hotels are not on the beach. But we were still disappointed with how basic the room was, especially in light of the amount we spent. It would have been nice, for example, to have a small desk to sit at, and any place else to sit in the room other than the bed. Symptomatic ot the lack of "creature comforts" was the facial tissue doled out in small packets. At this price point, something hot for breakfast would have been nice too.

It was easy to get into town on the public bus, which stopped almost right outside the door. Reliable and $1 a person.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Serena Hotel Punta del Este

Address: Rambla Williman- Parada 24 | Playa Mansa, Punta del Este, Uruguay
Location: Uruguay > Maldonado Department > Punta del Este
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#3 Romantic Hotel in Punta del Este
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Punta del Este
#5 Luxury Hotel in Punta del Este
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Serena Hotel Punta del Este 4.5*
Number of rooms: 32
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Also Known As:
Serena Punta Del Este

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