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“Wonderful resort” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ylang Ylang Beach Resort

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Ylang Ylang Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Montezuma Beach | 10-12 minute walk North along the beach, Montezuma 00000, Costa Rica (Formerly El Sano Banano Beach Hotel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 19 Hotels in Montezuma
Staunton, Virginia
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Wonderful resort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

We spent 4 nights in February. We stayed both in a cottage--Coco Joe's--and in a Dome. The cottage, tucked into the forest, was large and comfortable with a large porch and an outdoor shower which was very refreshing. We had a view of the beach and our own hammocks. The Dome was smaller, but still quite comfortable. We had an indoor and an outdoor shower here. Both breakfast and candlelit dinners are included in the room price. The menu for both is extensive and well-prepared. There is a pool with a refreshing waterfall and the property has easy beach accessibility--walk out of your room, down a short path and onto the beach. It is an easy, but hot, walk to the town of Montezuma for shopping and lunching. One warning. Do not try to drive to this hotel! Our driver tried and got stuck in the sand. Go to Sano Banano, a sister hotel and restaurant in Montezuma, call Ylang Ylang, and they will come pick you up in their Land Rover. In short, this was an excellent place to stay, and the "green" philosophy of the owners added to the ambience.

Room Tip: Choose a dome or cottage with a beach view and direct access to the beach.
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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
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615 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (189)
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English first
Nevada City, California
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
11 hotel reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2014

My wife and I have travelled extensively over our 32 years together, but never have we had the pleasure of staying anywhere like Ylang Ylang. At first it seemed a bit out of our price range, but we decided to splurge for our last few days in Costa Rica. It felt like we died and went to heaven! We had a little dome with a private beach, which we could see from our bed. We were lulled to sleep by the ocean. We had frequent visits from monkeys. As a retired solar engineer, I really appreciated that YY is partly solar powered. We took several yoga classes from Diane which were wonderful. Maybe the best feature was the restaurant which served awesome gourmet meals (breakfast and dinner were included in the price). This way easily the best place we have ever stayed. Hope to return soon.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2014

This review is long overdue, better late than never. My husband and I got married there in December 2012 and it was truly amazing! We will absolutely return as often as possible.

This place is really beautiful and the wait staff is exceptional, especially Harold. He knew all the guests name the day after we arrived! The restaurant is delicious and comes with the room price! I thought the portions were generous and liked everything I ate. The ingredients were all fresh including the amazing fish on the menu. This place is really not that expensive when you consider the extensive breakfast and dinner prices that you would otherwise be spending.

The property is also BEAUTIFUL, seriously and I have stayed at a lot of hotels. We booked the beach bungalow for 8 days, and did not want to leave. The cleaning staff is also amazing, they would sprinkle fresh flower petals on the bed and make animals out of the towels. The entire property was very clean and well kept and attended to, Moraya was a great wedding coordinator etc. He was really fast to respond to all emails and did a great job coordinating everything. All i did was show up and everything was taken care of!

My only suggestion to them is that they lower their alcohol rates for a wedding group price, we were charged $9/per drink/shot/beer and that added up even with 22 heavy drinkers.

Counting down the days til we can go back!

  • Stayed December 2013, 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
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Miami, Florida
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2014

We loved Montezuma. The Ylang Ylang Beach Resort was so perfect. I booked a few days in Montezuma as a surprise for my mother and aunt and they kept thanking me. Ylang Ylang had a wonderful staff, super friendly. The restaurant was delicious. We were obsessed with the green tea ice drink. They also had vegan and raw in the menu which was a great surprise. The beach is soo beautiful. The hammocks everywhere were a big plus. The best part, the massage I got at Ylang Ylang. I wish I remembered her name but it was the BEST massage EVER. Can not wait to go back to her. It was also so special because the massage area is high up so you are surrounded by little cute monkeys and the sound of the beach. We loved our room. Next time we want to get the Bungalow on top, hopefully its available, it looked beautiful! Overall Ylang Ylang was my favorite part of Montezuma.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 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
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Oxford, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
36 hotel reviews
148 helpful votes 148 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2014

We stayed here are part of a 3 weeks trip covering 7 destinations across Costa Rica, so I believe we are able to offer a very objective review based on our expeirience, when comparing the resort to other acomodations on our trip. I struggled with the 3 or 4 score, i would say a 3.5 if possible, but sadly not a 4.

So i booked this aware is was a bit more resorty and expensive than other options. The photos of the rooms online are accurate.
You arrrive and check in at the sister hotel in the town centre, so they can send a car to transfer your luggage to the resort. It seemed over priced for food compared to other places, and the toilets were pretty dirty, but i guessed it must have been a busy day.

Waiting for the transfer make the hotel sound remote, but acutally its a easy 10 minuate walk from town along the beach.

Sadly the first thing that greeted us was a huge advert offering $50 Per night off the rack rates of all rooms. The cost of the room/food package we booked was $210 per night, so top end for our budget and the most expensive during our trip, our splurge if you like. !A $50 saving per night would have been great.
Upon arrival at Yalng Ylang I was hoping that as the resort was clearly not busy, we may have recieve an upgrade, but sadly not. Shame really, and I guess i was annoyed that perhaps others were staying in better rooms for a lower price with the offer, than we were having booked many months ahead of time. But no big deal i hoped, we had heard great things about the resort.

We were offered a very waterery welcome drink in a plastic cup, hmmm and then off to the room.

We booked a beach room, and as I stated the photo on the web is acurate. What does not come across were some of the details which meant this room really wasnt great. Firstly the rooms are directly underneath the beach suites, aimed at families, and if you are unfortunate to be staying under children, as we were, they are neither quite or private. We woke to crying children twice.

Also the path outside the rooms seemed oddly busy, and so you did not feel there was any level of privacy. The room was very dark, and actually a bit cave like! Two big and very comfy beds, with nice fabrics, but no where to leave a large suitcase. a tower of small shelves, but cluttered with unneeded items and leaflets. The bags had to stay on the floor and we had to step over them everytime we did anything, which is simply poor design. The area given over to the (noisy at night) frdge and coffee maker was impossible to get to unless you walked sideways down the side of the second bed. very sqashed up and impractible.

The bathroom has no window or air and a really annoying shelf over the sink, which renders the use of the sink for washing or shaving completely impossible, (possible if you wish to risk a facial injury). Very strange design. The rooms was clean but the towels were changed regardless of use, which annoys me in resorts which "bank" on eco credentials. The rooms are at the very end of the resort area and therefore are the furthest walk from all amenaties and of couorse the town centre. So when returning from a tour perhaps bear this in mind. Overall i was disappointed with the room standard, design and function. A good point was the adequate water pressure to the large shower area, but the curtain was an inch shorter than the bottom of the shower tray, so it flooded the fllor each time it was used.

So i guessed the added value would come from the grounds and the Food!

The grounds are very beautiful, and seem manicured within an inch of their life! So if perfect manicured jungle is your thing, you will love this place. No faults with the gardens for sure! Beautiful, really beautiful.

There was a spa offering treatments, but a massage of a short 55 minute duration was priced higher than at my very nice spa at home, so didnt feel tempted to book.

The pool area is pretty and well designed, however the pool is spring water and as a result i would imagine requires a little extra attention for hygiene reasons, especially given the amount of babies and young children using it during our stay. Sadly this was one area we were very disappointed. We attended the pool during the first afternoon to find that at least 3 of the loungers were broken, others very saggy. Some previous guests had left a fruit plate on a lounger, half eaten and it was not clearer away. Also empty paper cups from coffees. We stayed til sundown and saw no staff attend the pool. lots of babies without swim nappies and a toddler using the pool for very long periods without using the rest rooms. I guess its not the hotels fault but a polite notice might make other guests feel it was a consideration. The next morning after our breakfast we went back to the pool area about 11am only to find the same old fruit plate, plus now several ants still left on a lounger! The gardener had been watering the plants, but the pool was dirty with lots of green debris from the garden and of course the loungers and dirty plates had not been moved. There seemed to be Jacuzzi jets at one time, but they did not work and the fixings were green with algea. This is not an acceptable level of service when charging such high room rates in a pretty small resort. I didnt feel comfortable using the pool again as it was not clean.

So the food. Well this was a mix of nice/average (but over priced) and not so great at all.
so from bad to worse:

A breakfast of a tiny amount of scrambled egg and one peice of toast quartered. not breakfast but a joke. oh it strangely came with jam. VERY SMALL PORTION. not acceptable. Husbands huevos rancheros was nice, and adequate portion. other breakfast similar, the fried potaotes were sooo small and not at all satisfying, not fruit, how much would a plate of fruit to each table cost the resort!

Inclusive drinks were limited to passion fruit, tamarindo and were both very watery, from a powder of something and kept in a plastic vat in the fridge. poorest fruit drinks anywhere without exception.

dinner - night one we both had nice main courses, the seafood options which were the highest in price ont he menu! but the dessert at $14 extra was poor and did not have any tiramissu taste at all. a basic icecream pudding. so a let down.

the second night we booked to eat on the terrace. we booked for 8pm and had to wait a while for the table as it was not available, we had a couple of cocktails, which were ok. when seated we were still kept waiting ages for service, somewhat of a theme at ylang Ylang and ordered our food. My chicken was so over cooked it was not possible to cut the meat with a knife, my hisband found this very amusing. his fish dish was good. We were hoping for a lovely romantic dinner, under the stars with lovely food, but half way through the main course, once it finally came, the staff started clearing the tables, clattering about and setting up the umberellas for breakfast. not exaclty the ambience we were a)hoping for b) paying for.

The service speed overall was soooooo slow, even by Costa Rican standards, and often one staff member came across as pretty surly, the other overly freindly. a weird good cop bad cop thing going on. strange! The lady who made the cocktails was nice.

overall the stay disappointed us, We staying in nicer places, with better rooms, much better food and freindly and attentive service from about $120 mark. I would say overall the resort is over priced and perhaps is a victim of its own sucess.If i had paid $120 i would have rated it a 4. many guests seemed to be repeat guests, which is usually a good sign, but maybe it was a convienent stop for north americans with short breaks in mind.

The beach is picturesque, but lots of waste and rubbish, we collected a whole recyling bin of stuff on one walk, and we didnt see this in other places, theres lots of hippies smoking bongs.

Montezuma seemed to be a higher priced as a town, so perhaps thats one reason we felt the resort was pver priced.

I would not return to the ylang ylang resort as the rooms and service did not live up to the hype.

Room Tip: the domes seemed more private, but some are close to another one, which doesnt come across on the we...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uumatter, Owner at Ylang Ylang Beach Resort, responded to this review, February 26, 2014
Dear lovetohiliday11,

After reading your evaluation, i spoke with our manager about your visit with us and decided that rather than get into every single devilish detail that you took the time to elaborately write about, I can humbly say that our philosophies diverge when it comes to getting what you want as opposed to what we can provide.

For example: You begin your review with the disappointment that you did not receive a substantial discount or upgrade because you noticed an advert for $50 off. That discount happened to be posted as a result of a last minute cancellation due to grounded flights in the U.S. It was listed for a Bungalow with a nightly rate of $285 plus tax per couple, which was above your budget, according to you. Anyway, it was rented moments before your arrival.

Since our hotel was 100% full and we were unable to upgrade or move you into a more luxurious Bungalow, we believe this soured your time with us and gave you impetus to find fault.

Here are a few items I would like to address as pertains to your review:

Upon your arrival, you were offered a delicious Passion Fruit drink that we make on the premises out of fresh fruit. It is a gift. A welcome drink. Served in an unbreakable acrylic wine glass, similar to what we use in our pool area for obvious safety standards. It is light and meant to quench thirst.

You chose to berate it...

Regarding your large suitcase, we would have happily stored it for you in our reception had you asked. We do it all the time upon request.

Your towels were changed as a courtesy to you. Consider it an amenity. Had we not changed them, I wonder if that would have been another issue...

Our pool is lovely and clean. People are expected to clean up after themselves and when they do not, our crew will. Perhaps not immediately, but within a reasonable amount of time. We run a tight ship but are not regimented. The 3 chaise lounges have been repaired and were done so as quickly as possible, before receiving your review.

Regarding your remarks about our restaurant, I would like to mention that our breakfast menu is varied and delicious, with many options to choose from and an accurate description of ingredients are listed in our menu. The amounts are ample and satisfying. You are exaggerating.

You are misinforming in stating that the inclusive drinks are limited to Passion Fruit and Tamarind... you left out the Iced Tea, Lemonade, unlimited and top of the line Britt Coffee and Bottomless Cup of Tea... and regarding our mixtures, I take issue that you are misinforming in stating that they are from a powder when, in fact, we make everything fresh on the premises with real fruit. We don't do powder. Our inclusive fruit drinks are made to quench thirst. I see no issue with this and you are, most certainly, the first guest in over 20 years of operation to find fault with this.

I am sorry if any meal was less than perfect and wonder if it wasn't, did you return it or ask for a re-do... that is what you normally do in a restaurant if something is not up to standard... it happens... and the chicken in mention is not factory farmed, by the way. It is range fed and free from hormones and antibiotics and treated more humanely, from local providers.

I also apologize for our staff who began to arrange and tidy up the restaurant while you were present as this is not acceptable protocol and they have been reminded and reprimanded. They send their apology as well.

Likewise, if service was slow, I apologize. Please bear in mind that we make everything fresh and since our restaurant is a popular place, we can get quite busy.

I find it amusing with your remark that our Resort "is a convienent stop for north americans with short breaks in mind. " Being from North America, Ii sounds presumptive and somewhat degrading . Anyone can clearly see that this is a Destination Vacation Resort.

I thank you for picking up rubbish on the beach, but I must inform that it was not "our" beach. We scour and pick up any flotsam that is unappealing every day from Ylang Ylang's beach and are vehement in keeping it clean. The adjoining beaches are also cleaned but not as often as ours. We do, however, arrange beach clean-ups whenever necessary and donate time, personnel and bags for the service.

In summary, I must say that Ylang Ylang is certainly not overpriced, but actually quite reasonable considering our location, safety, amenities, accommodations and delicious food included and though your review focuses predominantly on the negative, we will learn from your criticism and take it to heart. I also must add that it is up to each and every person to have a good time while on vacation and figure out a way to overcome the mind traps and enjoy the beauty that surrounds them for its true worth. Immersing oneself in the beauty is what it’s all about here and we have plenty of it.

I now end my response on a light note and must tell you, dear… your spelling is atrocious… I found more than 36 spelling errors…


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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
31 hotel reviews
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

We were here in December and had a fantastic time. Our beach bungalow couldn't have been better. The views were the best we've ever had and we were only 20 yards from the beach and about 100 from the sea! We miss waking up to that every morning - so peaceful and beautiful. Really is the most idyllic beach location. The sea was warm too which always helps though during many parts of the day is quite rough, but there are always a few hours during which you can swim safely. Oh and the hammocks on the beach just round it off perfectly.

The resort itself is beautifully done, and really fits in well with the surrounding environment. It's certainly not one of those imposing resorts which dominates the environment - it seems at peace with it. Walking around the grounds you'll see plenty of wildlife. We saw howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys, heron, agouti, igaunas, racoons and more. There aren't that many bugs either. A few ants in the evening, but they tend to largely leave you alone.

I cannot state enough how good the food is here. We live in London and are used to very good food, and have eaten in many top restaurants around the world, and the food here did not disappoint at all. The breakfast, lunch and dinners were all delicious. All slightly imaginative, and always high on fresh, quality produce. I was sceptical before leaving, as a menu that is so big and has so many cuisines always makes me wonder if they can pull it off. But trust me, they definitely pull it off - and more! Probably the best sushi we've ever had, but also loved the pasta, and the french style dishes. As many say the blackened tuna with mango sauce is out of this world. Don't let anyone suggest differently about the food. There is something for everyone, and I tried something off all the different menus, and was happy with all my choices.

We had one spa treatment, and it's probably the best massage i've ever received. Can't remember her name but it was the older American woman.

My only complaint is that the pool is too cold to stay in for long, and really takes your breath away when you get in. But it does have an incredible waterfall, which when falling on your head, back and shoulders give you a good massage!

We will 100% be returning one day for another idyllic beach stay. Now one of my favourite places in the world!

Room Tip: The Beach Bungalows are sensational.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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Mill Spring, North Carolina, United States
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2014

Ylang Ylang is a quiet little paradise. Comfortable private rooms, gorgeous views, cool breezes, and wonderful staff make you want to stay longer and when you have left, make you want to return soon. No crowded, noisy beaches here. Excursions if you want them, hammocks and chaise lounges on the beach or by the beautiful pool, if that is what suits you.

Room Tip: The beach front domes are private and quiet and only steps from the sand.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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

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Additional Information about Ylang Ylang Beach Resort

Address: Montezuma Beach | 10-12 minute walk North along the beach, Montezuma 00000, Costa Rica (Formerly El Sano Banano Beach Hotel)
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Montezuma
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Montezuma
#1 Family Hotel in Montezuma
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Montezuma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Ylang Ylang Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This family-owned resort is known for its natural tropical beauty, variety of wildlife roaming the grounds and outstanding customer service. Located a 10-15 minute walk on the beach from Montezuma, one will find romantic Beach Front Bungalows with A/C, a Spa nestled in the jungle, and a tropical pool edged by waterfalls. If you're looking to get away, this is the getaway place. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ylang Ylang Beach Hotel Montezuma
Ylang Beach Hotel
Ylang Beach Resort

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