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“Great little island” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Decameron Aquarium

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Royal Decameron Aquarium
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Avenida Colombia 1-19, San Andres Island, Colombia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 37 Hotels in San Andres Island
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Great little island”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2014

I have been to this island 2 times and enjoyed it
Don't stay at the St Louis as it a party resort at the south end of the island
I was there one night and upgarded to the Aquarium and it was a much better place to go and you can walk to town

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,687 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kingston, Canada
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

We have traveled to Nicaraugua, Elsalvador, Cuba Dominican over the last 20 years and never felt the need to do a review until now.
First of all the staff and customer service is wonderful, very helpful and friendly.
The resort itself is clean as well as the rooms, although the rooms are out dated, but you are only there to sleep.
Our room was in the tower and if you want any peace and quite do not stay here, very very noisy.
Acutally there is no where to go that isn't noisy from 10am to 11:00 pm..
Food at the buffet was hit and miss, which we have never had this problem before and we are not fussy. The A-la Carts were very good.
Check in was fast and painless.
We stayed for 2 weeks and knew going into it that there was no beach, but were told there was a hotel beach at Rocky Cay as well as another a-la carte. What they don't tell you is that it is a Cab ride to and from all the other Decamerons except for one, and the one you can walk to you can only book 4 people per day per resort???and it was empty most of the time.
Cab rides varied in price depending on which resort you were going to for the dinner, but we did spend a lot on Cab's in 2 weeks. I feel all inclusive means just that.(should include shuttles)
There is a new Decameron on the Island the Islania very beautiful right on the beach (although public), which when you book there you have cabs included, but we (the other resorts) could not go there at all.
The Island itself is small but very nice. The main part reminds be of Myrtle Beach with lots of up scale stores and board walks.
We always have a great time when we are away no matter what, but I must say I would not go back to this resort or any of the other, if any I would go to the new Decameron.

Bonnie, Brian, Rob, Claire, Chris and Linda Ontario Canada

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

Oh so much to say so I will trying and keep it brief: Was there Feb. 17 - 24

Good about the resort: Views, snorkelling at the docks, some of the staff had great customer service, they are constantly improving the cosmetic appearance of the resort (please note the word cosmetic), fresh fruit and seafood, great access to walk around the town, renting golf carts, West View.

So-so about the resort: Communicating with staff when you don't speak Spanish (which everyone at the resort including the guest did), internet (when it worked it worked well), Rocky Cay (better snorkelling at the resort but had a nice beach), pool (while small it worked when you couldn't get a chair at the docks), small rooms but clean and who is really spending much time in them?

Bad about the resort: Most of the food was bland (black pepper isn't a bad spice to use), repetitive food, often cold when expecting it warm (at the a la carte), finding shade at the docks (you do have to get their early to get an umbrella), standing in line at 7:30 am (30 minutes before the a la carte reservations started) and waiting 45 minutes to be told there is nothing left or finding out that the a la carte restaurant is closed for the day, beds are rock hard, in need of updating more than the cosmetic such as windows (ours would not close properly and leaked).

Dismal failure about the resort: Nightly entertainment (same music, same teaching of the dance steps twice a day), is way too loud and starts way too late.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
103 helpful votes 103 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2014

Just returned from a 1 week stay (Feb 10-17) at the Royal Decameron Aquarium. We had read reviews before booking and knew what to expect, we were not disappointed. The only downsides for us were the front desk staff & internet (see below), everything else was great.

RESORT: The over the water towers all joined by boardwalks was better than we anticipated. It was very unique and made it different. The resort is a bit dated but they work very hard to maintain it. There is a small pool which is very small considering the size of the resort and the natural pool by the pier which is amazing for snorkeling. We saw all kinds of gorgeous fish, the stingrays come to the pier as well. There are 2 buffets, 4 a la carte restaurants and 1 snack bar. There are 3 main bars, lobby, pool (swim-up) and pier. You can eat at all other Decamerons on the island except the El Isleno (brand new). Great concept I have never seen elsewhere. There are chairs & umbrellas scattered around the piers, if you want shade, you must get there early (before 8h30 or so) to ensure you get one otherwise they are all taken (same goes for the pool). The constant wind/breeze is great on the piers.

ROOMS: The rooms we had were in tower 1 which is the farthest one out to sea. It also makes it the quietest which was great. We had amazing ocean views. It felt like we were on a cruise ship balcony. The rooms themselves were very clean, small bathroom with small shower, safe ($), flat screen TV and mini fridge stocked with bottled water. They had not been updated but we didn’t care. They were perfectly fine, we weren’t there to spend time in the rooms other than sleep. There was no alarm clock and no coffee maker. The maids did a great job daily.

FOOD/RESTAURANTS: The food was good, the fresh fruits amazing. The fish was really good, I had fish every single day. We tried all 4 a la carte restaurants (Italian, Steakhouse, Thai & Seafood) and also tried the Japanese at the San Luis hotel. The selection at the buffet was good but tended to be repetitive. There is no limit of times you can eat at the a la carte restaurants and some (Seafood is the one I know of) are also opened for lunch. You just need to reserve the morning of for the same night for the Aquarium and 1 day in advance for any other hotel.

BEACH: There is no beach at the Aquarium. However, the piers/boardwalks are a nice change and you don’t have the sand to worry about. There are plenty of options available to spend a day at the beach, Rocky Cay, the private beach club for the Decameron hotels (must book a day in advance) where there is a full bar & restaurant available and part of the all-inclusive. There is also Johnny Cay which is well worth the visit. There are also public beaches nearby or at other Decameron hotels.

STAFF: Most of the staff is great except for the front desk. The front desk staff could really use a course in customer service, they very rarely smile, you get the feeling that you are constantly bothering them whenever you go up to the desk and 75% of the time, the person you ask the question says go wait in this line, the other girl is the one who handles this or that….I have never seen this before anywhere I have travelled. It seems they each have a specific task to look after and God forbid they help you with your request. They also never have small change so if you want to change your bigger bills for tips, good luck.

Overall we had a great stay, aside from the front desk and the internet, which you have to pay for and only works in the lobby and only on some days (I think it worked only 2 or 3 days out of the 7 we were there). There were some people (myself included) who got sick (stomach issues) during our stay. Some in our party did and some didn’t. We had all been eating the same foods so very hard to say if there was a bug going around of if it was food/water related. We found out on the plane back that other travelers who stayed at other hotels got sick as well as many others did at our hotel. Obviously not a fun thing to happen but that would not stop me from coming back. The island is absolutely beautiful, the ocean is truly spectacular, 7 shades of blue is right as they say. We felt safe everywhere we went. I would definitely come back to San Andres and would stay at the Aquarium again.

Room Tip: Ask for rooms in tower 1 for quiet rooms & nice ocean views.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakbank, Manitoba
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2014

Our group of 15 stayed at the Aquarium from January 27-Feb10, 2014. To be honest our stay exceeded my expectations. We had requested rooms close together and, to our surprise, we actually got them. We stayed in building 1 and our room was 117 which was on the 3rd floor. We had a lovely ocean view, the room was clean and the noise level wasn’t an issue.
At first we didn’t have much for hot water however I discovered you had to run the tap for awhile to get hot water and then we had plenty of it. There were a couple of times when we had no water at all however within 15-20 minutes there was plenty again.
The grounds were immaculate. There was always someone raking, watering, painting etc.
We ate at the Italian, Thai, Seafood and Steak restaurants. The Seafood and Steak were the best in my opinion. The Thai wasn’t overly spicy so for people looking for authentic Thai I think you would be disappointed. The Italian was fine but not overly note worthy. The buffet for the most part was better than what we have experienced for the past 2 years on other vacations. Sometimes the food at the buffet wasn’t overly hot but there was always plenty of options to choose from. The snack bar usually had a different flavor of ice cream each day at lunch which was great.
We did go to Rocky Cay for a lunch and a dinner. The lunch buffet at the Aquarium had way more variety and there was NO ice cream at Rocky Cay! We were quite excited when they said they had lobster available for dinner. Several of us ordered it and none of us ate much of it. It was unpalatable to say the least. Somewhat disappointing.
Our afternoon at the Rocky Cay was fun. You need to get there early if you want to get a lounger. There is lots of shade available under the palm trees. A lovely sandy beach and you can wade out to the small cay just off the shore. A fun way to spend a day.
We also had a lunch at the San Luis. The food was about the same as at our hotel.
The San Luis was across the street from a nice beach that you could walk or swim in the ocean.
We did stop for drinks at the Marazul. Lovely hotel however the Aquarium is in a better location if you like to walk to shopping, restaurants, bars etc. It didn’t appear there was much around the Marazul to explore. You would need to bus or taxi to most destinations.
We are use to a beach so we weren’t sure how well we would like the pier idea however it was great. Generally we could get lounge chairs with an umbrella without having to be up at 5AM. They could have had a few more umbrellas however they had the lawn chairs bolted to the deck so you couldn’t move them. No doubt it was to keep them from flying away in the wind. It was quite breezy during our stay.
You can snorkel right from the pier which is a bonus. Underneath the dock we saw all sorts of different ocean creatures including puffer fish, an eel and stingrays. Unless you have a death wish, you do have to watch where you are when snorkeling as there are always boats and jet skis in the vicinity. They do have the area roped off so you need to stay inside the area due to the number of water craft out on the water.
We took an island tour with Big Mike. It was interesting however it would have been nice to have a few more stops to take pictures.
We did a snorkel/boat ride to Johnny Cay and the other small islands. We used one of the local dive shops. We got to Johnny Cay before the crowds however there were lots of people there so it must get very crowded later in the day. Still the water is amazing and the visibility is very clear. Our boat driver didn’t rush us and took his time going across the ocean which was somewhat rough. It was hoots of fun and I highly recommend doing it.
We had a meal at Nico’s for our anniversary. The food was somewhat on the expensive side however it was tasty. The service was excellent and they didn’t try to rush you out of the restaurant.
Several in our group bought jewelry from Tex ORA Caribe. The owner, Mario Plata, was very pleasant and spoke excellent English. He custom made several pieces for our group. His prices were more affordable if you don’t want to spend all your holiday money on jewelry.
We mostly used US money without any issues. Generally you got your change back in pesos. We took lots of small bills with us so we didn’t have to scrounge around for change. That worked out well for us and I recommend doing that.
They did tell us that you could only get the OMA coffee at the airport which wasn’t true. We found it downtown in the shops where it was cheaper AND the airport ran out of it the day we were leaving so several of our group didn’t get to bring any home.
Also, the liquor at the duty free shops downtown was the same if not a better price than the airport. With the exception of liquor we did find that most items at the duty free shops were slightly higher than at home.
Some of the group rented golf carts for the day to do their own little tour. Despite the crazy traffic in the downtown area once they got out of there it was easy to navigate and they all made it back to the hotel in one piece with lots of stories about their day.
Peeves – Most hotels offer free WIFI in the lobby these days. You had to pay $4USD for 1 hour. The service was poor and most times you couldn’t get on or if you did get on you’d immediately get bumped off. The internet places were $2 US so we ended up using the WIFI Jet Set, at a little bar downtown. A beer was about $2US so for the same price you got a beer to drink as you surfed the net.
The safety deposit box is not included in your package. We had to pay an extra $3USD per day for the box. Most places the SDB is included.
The bar fridge wasn’t stocked with pop, beer or water. They did supply water however it would be nice if they threw in some beer and pop like the hotels in Mexico.

We wandered into downtown almost every day. We never once felt unsafe or concerned for our well being.
For the most part the staff at the hotel was friendly and welcoming.
There was a rumour that the hotel chain has been sold to someone from Columbia who owns his own airline so there may not be opportunities for Canadians in the future to visit the island.

I would recommend a visit to the island if you are considering San Andres. We did enjoy our 2 week stay.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Laval, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

This is the resort to go to if you like the ocean! The view is fantastic and the water is warm. The hotel property is clean and they are always cleaning, fixing and painting. The room has a small bathroom, but clean, the view we had was worth every penny! We were in tower 15 room 16, which had a view of the ocean and the sun rises with wind all the time on the balcony. We had a problem with the tv in the room and it took no time at all to fix! They have a small pool with a bar at one end of the resort that we tried for about 10 min, then spent the rest oft eh time on the docks near the ocean pool snorkeling all day and feeding the fish. They are lounge chairs all along the dock but get there early if you want a umbrella, witch you will appreciate later in the day because the sun is really hot! The a la carte resturants is like all the other decamerons, you have to be in line early in the morning to reserve it for that night, for the resturants in the other decamerons on the island you have to reserve it a day ahead.the 2 buffets are limited with its choices but the food was good. There is a beach that Decameron has, Rocky Cay it cost $6 by taxi to go but it is worth it. The bar and the buffet is for Decameron guest only. Nice white beach and a little island you can walk to, and from there you can snorkel out to a boat wreck.
The scuba dive shop that is there is very professional and is rated 5 stars. We did 6 dives with them. It is called divers team. The dives were great and the ocean is warm :) . You can walk into town witch is right next to the resort with out any worries at all. The people don't bother you and don't ask you every minute if you want to buy something. We went into all kinds of stores off the main strip that the locals shop in and didn't feel out of place or any danger at all.
You can take a day and go to Johnny cay witch is a small island that is open in the day only, I would recommend renting a suns hade fort he day because of the sun and because the beach were they are situated is all sand and no rocks. Where as if you just sit on the beach next to them there are a lot of rock in the water. All kinds of iguanas on the island and got drinks. At the aquaria with is anothe small island the water is nice and the sting rays are there, but the food was not good at all!
If you can go swimming with the string rays, it is a neat experience to hold them in your arms and feed them.
We visited other decamerons on the island and the aquarium is by far the best one. The other one has no wind because it is not on the water and is a lot hotter. The aquarium is small towers of 18 rooms maximum exept for tower 16 witch is new.
So all in all this was a great vacation and would recommend it to anyone, but you have to like water and sun.

Room Tip: Get a room with an ocean view, if you don't mind music till 11pm the north end if you want more...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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Montreal, QC
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2014

We were there from January 13th to 20th. Overall, the hotel is good. We got a room with an oceanview and all I can say is WOW. That was the highlight of the hotel. We visited other Decamerons, and although some were nicer and newer, the views at the Aquarium cannot be beaten. Rooms were very clean.

There's a direct access to the sea from the hotel, which other hotels don't have. We were surprised that none of the Decameron hotels, including the Aquarium don't have a beach. That was disapointing I must say. There's a lot to do in town, but if you just want to relax and not do anything, the beach is 7-8 minutes walking and it's public. This was the main thing we found missing from our trip. The beaches are all public on the island and you must not expect to take long walks on a beautiful beach. If you're a beach lover, think twice. The hotel is near the city so you can go walk, eat and shop at night. That was convenient. The island is safe so you should not worry.

Service in the hotel was bad in general. Waitresses barely speak to you. They seem annoyed to having to serve people. Bad attitude. Snack bar waitresses must take a training on how to smile, that place was the worse for customer service. But I gotta say, there were a few people nice to us, like el Flaco. He was super friendly and always made you feel welcomed. Girls at the reception were also nice and the girls booking the tours were very friendly. Waiters in general were nicer than waitresses in the buffets.

Food was good but very repetitive.

If you like Cuba for its long and beautiful beaches, don't go there. If you want to visit a different place and have a different experience, then I recommend San Andres and this hotel. There are a lot of tours AND they are quite cheap compared to all other cities we visited. Tours cost between 30 and 45$ per person. The island tour was worth it, you get to know more about the island history and its people. Quite interesting! Thats the good thing about small islands, you can visit it in a day and get a lot out of it.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 2 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 Royal Decameron Aquarium

Address: Avenida Colombia 1-19, San Andres Island, Colombia
Location: Colombia > San Andres and Providencia Department > San Andres Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in San Andres Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Royal Decameron Aquarium 3.5*
Number of rooms: 250
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Also Known As:
Royal Decameron Aquarium Hotel San Andres Island
Decameron Aquarium

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