Having recently stayed at Eclypse De Mar, I just wanted to share a few things with those of you who are trying to get the best bang for your buck while traveling here.
While the cabins are simply gorgeous, the service was below average. If you are looking for someone to hand you your key and say "have a nice week" then this is the place for you. The option of having your breakfast brought to your cabin was really nice - although for $160 dollars a night you would think they could include more than just toast and coffee. While they make it sound very exotic by telling you that toasted coconut bread and fresh jam will be delivered to your cabin, it is indeed no more than the local bread that they sell in all of the grocery stores on the island toasted along with small packets of Smucker's jelly packets. When the breakfast was delivered, the simple smell of it brought a family of geckos that didn't want to leave, and licked up every last bit of fruit juice and jam that was left on the plate. Perhaps this is why there is not more than coffee and toast. (?)
No one on the staff was ever rude or inconsiderate, but they just never went out of their way to offer any special service. It was always a matter of hunting them down if you wanted anything. For example: While having lunch in the restaurant one day, once the lunch was set on the table, that was the end of the service. I had to go to the kitchen to ask for another drink. As the weather was not great on this particular day, we decided to stay in the restaurant area and play some of the table games that they provide near the front desk. While four of us sat there for several hours, never once were we asked by any of the kitchen staff if we wanted anything to eat or drink. Not that any of us were above going to the kitchen and asking for something, but again, I just think for the price that you are paying, the service should be better.
Transportation to the main Island (or even to other parts of the same island) is all done by water taxi. If you are not planning on eating your meals in the restaurant at Eclypse de Mar, it will cost you an extra $3 - $5 per person to get to the main island in each direction, depending on the time of day. So if you you are a group of 4, it could cost you up to $40 per evening just to go into town to look for a different restaurant. If you like to explore restaurant options when you are traveling, just know that it will cost you to get back and forth. The water taxi across the bay (still on the Isle of Bastimentos) is cheaper - there just aren't as many food options there. We did have dinner at a local restaurant called "Roots" on Bastimentos that had great prices and great local food!
I live in New York City and am used to taking a taxi - but I spent more money on water taxi's in Panama than I ever do in NYC. Perhaps Eclypse de Mar should think about offering a complimentary shuttle once or twice during your stay for the price that they are charging. Even something as simple as that would have made the service seem better.
The best service we had from Eclypse De Mar was on the day that we decided to hire a boat for the day to show us around the Islands, take us snorkeling, have lunch and enjoy the beaches. Our guide provided by EDM (Hernan) was great. He was very friendly, provided much information about the islands, hung out with us when appropriate, but also stayed out of our way to let us explore beaches, snorkel, etc. as much as we wanted. The Hotel provided some fresh pineapple and water in the boat for our day trip... however, upon receiving our final bill at checkout time, we noticed we were charged for the 4 bottles of water. Again, throwing a few bottles of water in our boat and not charging for them would have gone a long way in the service department.
If you want to get away and not be bothered by anyone and don't mind paying these prices for a getaway with no service and no extra amenities, then this is for you.
I guess we were a little spoiled by the fact that we stayed at Banana Azul in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica for a few nights before going down to Panama. They offered relaxing beautiful accommodations "away from it all," while still going the extra mile to make sure you were taken care of... at half the cost.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
December 6, 2012
It is very important for us to give the correct information about our Lodge and about the service in our Hotel.
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As being a very small lodge, we are very used to interact with our guests during their stay.
Much of our time includes talking and sharing our experiences with our guests, what we enjoy very much. Among the daily effort that means keeping everything organised, cleanliness, quality and service.
As you already know our hotel is gay friendly and we were very happy to have you as guests.
On the other side, we remember you all (2 couples in two separated Bungalows), and as you have mentioned in your review, we (my husband and me) have 2 small sons and during that week one of them (our 1 year old baby) had flu and fever, so maybe we had a difficult time and was really hard for us to find extra time to share with you, as we are used to.
Let us share with you that we consider that people who choose Eclypse de Mar as a destination for relax during their vacations can feel uncomfortable by noise of small children. Maybe that is why we haven’t been so much time in the Restaurant and Reception area during those days. We would have also loved to share more time with you as with the other guests during those dates but we couldn't.
It is very important for us to leave clear that we have detailed you in advance the whole information about our location, costs of the water taxis (during day and night), costs of different Tours, activities around the Lodge and detailed information about our services at the moment that you contacted us through e-mail requesting for a reservation. So we feel really surprised about your review, because we understand that you have read our e-mail before confirming your reservation.
About the Continental Breakfast (which is included) please notice that it was also detailed in the first reservation e-mail, offering what you were going to have, including our “original” coconut bread, which we serve every morning in our breakfasts, hand- made by an old woman in the village of “Old Bank” in Bastimentos and to whom we buy it from since more than 4 years (and let us tell you that the one that you could find in Bocas town will probably taste totally different as it is made with a chinese different recipe and not by local people. It is is very important to clarify this point due to contribute with the sustainable activities of the local community)
We also notify our guests that we offer filtered water (not extra charge). But if someone order beer, juices or bottle of water during the stay at the Lodge, it will appear in the bill at the end of their stay and we assume from the beginning that the guests will agree to pay for it (unless we offer it as courtesy).
About your check out request, when the flight leaves early in the morning, we use to make the bill the night before. Usually if our guests decide to go out for dinner we give them the option to proceed with the payment the evening
before their departure date (guests and us agree that it makes it easier for both parts instead of leaving the payment for the next morning, as the Captain usually arrives very early on time to transport our guests to Colon island where the Airport is located).
We feel very proud about our staff and we trust them very much, so sometimes Karen proceed with the bill payment, as she did this time.
Finally we feel very happy that you have enjoyed your stay in the Bungalows (which you agreed they where very clean, pretty and large), also the activities that we have suggested you around the archipelago and the Lodge (hiking through the Nature Reserve area, snorkeling around the Bungalows and around the coral reef located a few meters from your Bungalows, kayaking, and swimming until sunset time from your private deck–terrace, enjoyed the day tour with our very kind Captain “Hernan”, having a nice “home made” dinner in our Restaurant over the sea, smiling and local staff, and complete information about the area to allow our guests to enjoy as much as possible the different activities during their stay…. These are the things that we can guarantee to our guests from the moment that they will arrive at our Lodge.
These are the things that we love to manage every day to guarantee to our guests a unique and unforgettable experience from the moment that they will arrive at our dock. We hope that our future guests will concern about our interest and commitment on making their stay at Eclypse de Mar Acqua Lodge memorable and beautiful, even if we (owners) cannot be with them their entire stay.
Malena Trevisan (Owner)
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.