I booked Makanda pretty much based on T.A. reviews & looking at the hotel website. We needed something that would sleep 3-4 adults, and wanted a great view. I thought it was a little pricey, especially for August, but could not find anything I liked better, so we decided to give it a try.
The reservation process was easy. I had many questions, before & after booking, and all my emails were answered, usually within a day or 2. We stayed in Villa #8, the only one with 2 queen beds. It is spacious & lovely. We loved the terrace, especially the hammock! The view is OK, not as sweeping of an ocean view as other units have, it is more jungle/ocean combo. The beds were very comfy and the A/C worked great. The TV could use updating. I know that should not be an issue while on vacation. But when it gets dark at 530p and it's the rainy season, having a nice TV is appreciated!
Arrival - check in was easy & I was advised about ordering breakfast. Then I was told where to park, and the desk clerk & another person showed us to our room which was down 2-3 flights of stairs (about 6 steps each). They helped us with our luggage, but on the day of check out, we had to leave around 7 a.m. and there was no one available to help get our luggage UP all those steps!
Breakfast - you order the night before, and pick a time for delivery. It was promptly delivered all 3 mornings. The quality was OK, not great but good. However on the 2nd day of our stay, I had asked for juice and it was not with the order. I told the gentleman who brought the food that we were supposed to get juice & asked him to please bring it. He nodded, but we never saw him again ... Another minor complaint I had was the coffee service. They don't bring you coffee, you have to make it yourself in the kitchen. Yes, you have the means to do that, but I make coffee at home. When I am on vacation I want someone to make it for me! They could bring a thermos of brewed coffee, and then if you want more, then use the coffee pot in the kitchen. Oh, and no cream or 1/2 & 1/2. Your "creamer" is a juice-box type of milk...
The pool area is lovely, and we had it to ourselves most of the time. But the only way to get there from our unit was to go up all those steps, across the parking lot, and down more steps, or take a shortcut through a flower bed/shrubs. The guy who checked us in actually pointed this out as an option. This would be OK if there was some type of designated pathway or stepping stones, but there's not. You are literally walking through small plants & mulch. And the hot tub was never hot, or even warm. Pool furniture is nice, and they provide floats for guest use. We enjoyed using those.
The beach - yes, it is down the hill and it is a pretty strenuous walk, even the trip down. And while it is beautiful, there are no facilities (chairs, umbrellas, drinking water, restrooms), and it seemed too rough & rocky for swimming. I don't know if it is always that rough. We basically just hiked down, stayed a few minutes, and hiked back up & headed for the pool. This is not a complaint, as we knew it in advance, but just to inform future potential guests. If having a usable beach is important to you, you might want to look at other lodging options.
Restaurant/ dinner - it's not what I would really call a restaurant, just a few tables by the pool. We wanted to eat there, but it POURED down rain all 3 nights of our stay. We had to eat, and not wanting to venture out by car in the rain, we ordered from the room service menu. Now this is where Makanda shines - they bring to food to your villa and all you pay is the menu price & tax. There is no "plus, plus" like you usually pay for room service (gratuity, delivery fee, service fee, etc.). We thought the food was really good - had the pulled pork sandwich, a quesadilla, and a burger. When I got home, I emailed them to get the recipe for the pork & they shared it with me.
Other nights while there, we got groceries from the food store & cooked, or heated up leftovers from lunch. So having the kitchen was a big help!
Wildlife - we did not see much! Saw a couple of monkeys at check in. And saw a sloth in one of the trees by the pool. That was it. We had hoped that by having the more "jungly" setting for our villa that we would see more animals. But that was not the case. No fault of Makanda - they can't control nature!
All in all, I would probably stay here again.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.