When a quick phone call on a Saturday morning revealed that Issimo was willing to give me a junior suite for $89 which was half of the off-peak rate, I immediately gave my credit card details to seal the deal. I regretted my decision when I saw signs outside various high-end hotels in the area advertising space and walk-in rates. I wished that I had held off to do an ocular and make a comparison.
Marketed as a honeymoon hotel with no children allowed, Issimo lived up to expectations in terms of setting: a breathtaking view of the Pacific from the room's balcony, rose petals scattered on the bed, complimentary bottle of champagne and breakfast coffee delivered at your doorstep.
Prices were excellent: The 50-minute massage special was a good deal at $29 and food and drinks were at 50% off during happy hour at 1-5pm. The included breakfast was delicious and consisted of combined buffet (fruits, sausage, breads, coffee) and a la carte (Continental or American).
This is where the honeymoon ends. The servers take FOREVER to do anything (30 minutes to get my bill even after i followed up and I was the only customer), only 1 or 2 can converse in English. The receptionists don't pay much attention to the guests and with the exception of one server named Alex and the masseuse, everyone needs a lesson in customer service with a smile. Some utensils had stains.
The room looked pretty at first but on closer inspection, towels were frayed, the safe didn't work and the jacuzzi spewed water like crazy when I tried to turn it on. The bed was comfortable. Btw, the shower/jacuzzi has no partition whatsoever from the room so the place is definitely not for staying with anyone other than your significant other!
It was my bad not to check if the hotel had beach access. Apparently, only 3 or 4 hotels in the area had it. So I had to drive my car to another area and hike 10 minutes through a jungle to get to the beach. It was nice enough, but I like my beach to come with beach chairs and restaurant service hehe. So I much preferred our stay at Arenas del Mar. The pool was nice and had a view.
All in all, not bad for the low, low price that I paid. I'd feel sorry though for anyone who pays the full price. I think management should focus efforts on training the staff, fixing stuff that don't work and replacing those towels!