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“Ylang Ylang was amazing!” 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 #1 of 19 Hotels in Montezuma
Level Contributor
24 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Ylang Ylang was amazing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2009

I was very hesitant before leaving for Ylang Ylang because I had read some bad reviews on this site. After staying there, I cannot believe people could have anything negative to say about the resort unless they were looking for something to complain about.

We stayed in a beachfront bungalow. It was very nice and we appriciated thoughful touches like a pitcher of cold water in the refidgerator. I wasn't a fan of the curtain to the bathroom. Perhaps the addition of a thick fabric curtain would solve the problem easily. The room was very clean, countering previous reviews. Obviously, one has to be cognizant of bugs, but so long as one rinses coffee mugs, doesn't leave food out, and uses common sense, there is no issue. The AC was great, especially when the temp got really hot. The water pressure was a bit lacking, but this is supposedly common to Costa Rica and unavoidable as was the need to not flush any tissue.

The grounds were amazingly beautiful. I think it's funny that resorts spend millions of dollars carving up the landscape and damaging the environment only to be overshadowed by the natural beauty of Ylang Ylang. We saw monkeys, iguanas, lizards, ahouti (sp?) and one very demanding cat. Being so close to this amount of wildlife was magical.

The food was excellent and plentiful. I had trouble deciding what to order each night due to so many options. The sushi and seafood were particularly wonderful and fresh.

The staff was very friendly and helpful with booking activities, taxis, etc. The spa was great, tucked up in the jungle. We rode horses to the falls and had a truly amazing time. Our guide was very knowledable and a lot of fun.

Montezuma was a great little town, very friendly and safe overall. Chico's Bar is a fun place, especially when there's good soccer on. I wish we had had time to try some of the restaurants in town. Next time...

Overall, this was an incredible trip. It was worth the terrfiying Sansa flight to get there and I would definately go back. If you have an unrealistic notion of what nature is like, you won't have a good time. Go to Beaches or Disney World or something. If you want to experience what a foreign country and its flora and fauna are truly like, stay somewhere without destroying its environment with unnatural landscaping and golf courses, and experience honestly friendly people rather than people forced to be servile, you will love Ylang Ylang. I was truly sad to leave and i am already recommending this resort to my friends. It would be fun for a romantic trip, a fun and educational family trip, or a great experience for a small group of friends.

  • Liked — Location, overall service, the food
  • Disliked — The beaded curtain separating room from bathroom
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank Mbelford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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643 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
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Level Contributor
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2009

We were looking for a small resort in Costa Rica, that offered something different than the typical, large, all inclusive Resort.

We wanted a quiet place where we could relax and unwind. Ylang Ylang was perfect!

We had some challenges getting there, because of mechanical problems on our American Airlines flight out of Toronto, that delayed our arrival by a day, and caused us to miss our Sansa flight. The Resort did a great job of assisting us with alternate ground transportation, that was very much appreciated.

We enjoyed dining under the stars: nice walks up the beach; reading by the pool; excellent quality meals, served by Patricia; the beautifully landscaped grounds; the monkeys and other wildlife.

We were there for eight nights, and stayed most of the time in a private bungalow. We enjoyed the privacy of the bungalow. Most nights we would turn on the AC for a few hours into the early evening, and then shut it off and open the screen door and window to sleep- that way we could listen to the sound of the ocean, and the wildlife, including "howler monkeys" one morning.

We learned of Ylang Ylang on line, and checked the trip advisor reviews to help us decide. We were a little concerned by some poor reviews that we saw just before our departure, but in in hind sight I think it must be people that were expecting something else.

My wife and I were completely pleased with everything and look forward to returning when we can arrange it.

  • Liked — beautiful unique location-privacy
  • Disliked — could use more places to put soap and toiletries in washroom- not a big deal
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank Vankoughnet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2009

When my fiance and I decided we wanted a destination wedding, we knew the "factory style wedding" of a large all-inclusive resort was far from our dream wedding... So I started looking into smaller resorts and remembered the amazing meal we'd had at Ylang Ylang when we were on vacation in Costa Rica 4 years earlier.

From the moment I first talked with Kaya, the Ylang Ylang wedding planner, I knew I had found the prefect person and resort to help us make our dream wedding a reality. Kaya couldn't have done a better job, and had a greater passion for his work, if it had been his own wedding!

All of the staff at the resort were extremely friendly and helpful, and made us feel like we were part of the "Ylang Ylang family". The restaurant serves the best food we've had at any resort we've stayed at around the world - bar none. And I can't think of a better spot for a vacation - including a destination wedding.

The two words that come to mind when I think of my experience at Ylang Ylang are: authentic and perfection. And thanks to Kaya and all of the staff at Ylang Ylang, January 3rd 2009 (our wedding day) was absolutely the happiest and most memorable day of our lives.

  • Liked — The personal attention from staff combined with the beautiful setting.
  • Disliked — I wish it was in my own backyard :)
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
4 Thank TravelGirl1972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2009

This is how it works in Montezuma: we originally had a reservation at El Sano Banano as we read in TripAdvisor what a value it was. Yes, it is a value for $75 a night, but the windows in the rooms do not open. When they showed us our room, the room smelled musty, which was a deal killer for my husband who has allergies. Also, the room did not have a safe, which is not tenable. When you want to lay on the beach, you can't have your passports out in the open on the beach.

We went back down to the reception and decided to check in to Ylang Ylang for 4 nights as both are owned by the same operator. This entailed us staying in the tent one night ($160), 2 nights at a private bungalow($265 a night), and one night in the waterfront room ($195 a night).

First night - tent - we checked in and we went to the beach. That was fine. We left the tent with an empty bag of trail mix and came back to ants swarming all over this bag, sink and our bed. We promptly put all our snacks into a tiny refrigerator, took out our bug spray and sprayed all over our room to reduce any ants. The shared showers had no water pressure. It took me almost 30 minutes to take a shower. One shared bathroom did not work. I told the reception that the bathroom did not work. What I got was a blank stare and was told that there should have been a sign. I told him no, and after I reported this, a sign was promptly set up.

Second/Third night - private bungalow - we were told that the people before us would check out at 11AM, but that there was no one coming to the tent, so we can put our stuff in the tent, until our room was ready. We went to the beach and our room was not ready, but as we were having lunch, the reception delivered our keys. Private bungalow was much nicer, but the bathroom did not have a door, only a curtain. We did see many animals from our balcony, which was nice. The second night, our toilet stopped working. My husband went down to the reception (remember, the rooms do not have phones, alarm clocks, or TV), and he was told that someone would come and look at the toilet. After waiting for 30 minutes, the maintenance person still had not made his appearance. My husband went down to the reception and asked, "where is the toilet man?". The same reception person asked what we had a problem with. When my husband explained that we had been waiting over 30 minutes for the maintenance man, the receptionist called and said that someone would come over to our room immediately. We waited approximately 5 minutes and the manager came and fixed the toilet. I ask, why did we have to go down and ask the reception for our toilet to be fixed again?
3rd night - my husband spilled some beer on the floor. He took a towel and wiped down the floor and to his dismay, he found the towel to be dark brown, which was not from the beer he spilled but the floor itself. This is why both of us use flip flops at hotels. Apparently, the cleaning staff does not mop the floors. My husband also found a huge cockroach (size of a chicken egg) in the bathroom. We also ran into tons of ants, big ants, which we killed approximately 50 of these suckers and sprayed the bug spray. After my husband wiped the floor again, we saw less ants. We christened the bungalow to a "bugalow".

4th day - we had to leave our bungalow at 11 in the morning, and we were told that our beachfront room would be ready by 12 noon. My husband and I went to the beach and came back at 12:30 and we were told that the room was not ready but were told that it should be ready in another 30 minutes. We stayed by the pool and in thirty minutes, since reception did not come to us, my husband went and picked up our key. We trekked over to our room, and the cleaning people were cleaning our room, and our room was not ready. We laid in the nearby hammock and waited until 2:15PM. This was when the room was ready. I was ready to explode by this time. Here is the kicker. I am 4 months pregnant and I had no where to go. When I told the reception that this was unacceptable, all I got was that he did the best he can. He blamed it on the cleaning people. No recourse or recompense was offered. I found their attitude highly offensive. His only response was that I could fill out a survey when I left.

Yes, this is a tropical area, and yes, I understand that there are bugs, but the cleaning people are busy creating stupid animal shapes with their towels and not actually cleaning or fumigating the rooms that they have lost the basics on cleaning a room. Also, these rooms are shoddily built that there are huge gaps to the doors so all the bugs have a free reign in the rooms. One night, we heard one woman telling the receptionist that there was a scorpion in her room. The response received was a laughter and a towel to put under their room so no bugs or creatures got in. A scorpion and that was the response given.

Reception tries to be friendly but are completely incompetent when faced with issues that are less than ideal.

Restaurant - portions are small, but the food is really good and the staff is friendly.

The beach is right in front of the rooms, so that's great, but other than that, this is not the place to stay. I don't know if there was a change in management because the prior reviews were all positive, and the newer reviews show that this place is lacking.

This place needs a lesson in how they can best run a hotel and they can take plenty of advice from Rita and Steve at Casa Bella Rita Boutique hotel in San Jose.

  • Liked — being near the beach
  • Disliked — incompetent, inefficient staff, unmopped rooms - the list goes on.
  • Stayed January 2009
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
5 Thank minno20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uumatter, Administration at Ylang Ylang Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 17, 2009
In Response to your "Truly a Joke" review,

Let me start by saying there has been no change in management! We are still here and fortunate to be of service to our guests.

Now to the gritty details...

First night - Tent -
I can guarantee if you leave a bag of trail mix out, the smell alone will attract a whole slew of creatures. It's the law of the jungle.
Have you ever camped before? Outdoors?
Those dang water-saving shower heads are all the rage!
Nevertheless, the toilet was repaired promptly.

Second/Third night - private bungalow
I showed your review to our Manager, Moraya, and he was very surprised to see your comments. Since it was approximately 7:30PM when the toilet problem arose, our maintenance man was unavailable and the Manager quickly resolved the problem, which happened to be a detached flapper valve chain. You were very happy the Manager resolved the situation promptly and all was well and smiles!!! The manager was right there & you made no complaint!

3rd night
When your husband spilled beer, he obviously wiped the floor with a WHITE TOWEL, which is what we offer our guests. After using the room all day, of course the floor is soiled. Our cleaning staff, needless to say, do mop the floors on a daily basis and use special eco-friendly cleaning solutions that are quite strong and pleasant smelling (lemon oil being the active agent).

Regarding ants and insects in general... we are an eco-friendly resort and do not spray the life out of our environment. We could use very powerful pesticides that cause residual damage, but prefer to use pyrethum based products that are lightly toxic, get the job done at the moment and have no residual effect.

You mention that you saw many animals from your balcony, which you liked. We have a particular harmony going on and there are many animals present as a result. Anteaters, which are nocturnal, are plentiful at Ylang Ylang and indiscriminate use of pesticides would endanger their lives. Because of this policy; To cause no harm to our surrounding flora & fauna, we get to enjoy nature as it is, the keyword being SUSTAINABILITY.

So the lesson here is, yes, there are insects. They are part of the food chain... and any scraps like trail mix or even beer are part of their diet. Eliminate what attracts them and they will look for food elsewhere. Ants are scavengers.

You were unaware of this, but regarding the scorpion incident, our maintenance man went to the room and disposed of the insect as soon as it was reported. They are endemic to all of Costa Rica, though they are rarely seen by our guests. The variety we have on our peninsula are slightly toxic... much less than a bee sting in toxicity.

4th day
It is unfortunate you had to wait an inordinate amount of time to enter your room on your final day of your stay. Our check-in time is generally at 2:30pm with check-out being at 11am. I took up the issue with our reception staff and they admit they made the error in trying to get you into your room earlier than the check-in time. It turns out that some necessary maintenance was required that caused the delay. The maids and reception staff apologize for this but were happy to have your room in top shape for you to enjoy.

You mention the cleaning people are busy creating stupid animal shapes with the towels. Let it be known the girls work very hard to get the rooms in top shape for our guests. The artwork they create by folding towels into various animal forms is not only our policy, it is a creative outlet for them that gives them a chance to express themselves. The guests marvel at them. It is unfortunate you attempt to belittle them.

You mention the Reception tries to be friendly. At all times, our staff treated you in a humble and friendly manner and resolved your issues as promptly as possible. The fact that you mention the staff is incompetent and inefficient is in part a result of a lack of patience on your behalf.

It is true we can improve. All of us can... you, me and the rest of the world.

Our staff does not have the luxury of the level of education you experience, nor the indulgence of world travel. Yet they perform their jobs with pleasure and exude an air of patience and confidence each and every day.

I can truly attest, patience is a virtue and relatively rare these days.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2009

We arrived via Sansa airlines into Tambor where we where picked up at the airport by a cab which I pre arranged with Ylang Ylang. The transfer is $40 and so with 2 couples we split the cost. We where transported across the beach via a land-rover to the hotel which was a unique experience.

We had Dome #3 right on the beach it was great. There where a few small ants in the room but what do you expect when your near a jungle. The monkeys went by every morning and afternoon. That was the closest I have ever seen them in the wild. They are so funny to watch and are very curious of people they would jump from tree to tree and then come and have a closer look at us sitting on our balcony I was able to get some great pictures.

We stayed at YY for 6 nights and had the all inclusive program which includes breakfast and dinners. The food was amazing just as good as any 4 or 5 star restaurant. Our server was Jorge who was awesome he is a great asset to YY with his friendly smile and excellent service. Its always nice to have someone serve you who seems to genuinely enjoy their job which I believe he does.

Although I love YY, next time though I think I would only spend 4 nights at YY then move to another part of costa rica because you do get tired of the same menu every night although thats not to say they do not have a great selection and variety of food its just nice to eat out at different places after a while.

We rented the ATV's or quads for the day I would defiantly recommend doing this it was a lot of fun and you get to see alot of the back roads of Montazuma. It cost $80 for the day.

On New Years Eve Montazuma has a street party it was packed full of people tourists and locals. What a great time. At 12 fireworks went off and everyone welcomed in the New Year with a bag. There was lots of loud music and people dancing in the street.

I would definitely go back to Ylang Ylang it is a beautiful oasis and defiantly worth the money.

  • Liked — Amazing location.
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
1 Thank rv4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, NY
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2009

We stayed 2 nights at Ylang Ylang, the 2 longest nights of our lives. Let me be quick : my husband got up in the middle of the night with a cockroach crawling on his face, we had an ant invasion, the windows or door let any insects in, no hot water everyday, backpack stolen on the beach IN FRONT OF THE SECURITY GUARD!, staff not accomodating at all.
It wants to be a luxury resort and it is no more than a tent with hard walls between jungle and beach. We lost $255 a night in this hell hole!

  • Liked — the overpriced restaurant
  • Disliked — where do I start?
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
11 Thank pinkyhoneybunny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uumatter, Administrator at Ylang Ylang Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 17, 2009
In response to "Save your money & run" review.

First off, none of our accommodations are priced at $255/nite.
All of our accommodations offer hot water.
No backpack was reported stolen in front of our hotel over the last few months, let alone in the last year.
Our staff goes out of their way to make our guests happy.
Did you actually stay at Ylang Ylang Beach Resort?

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ilkley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2009

Having spent 5 days in this resort hotel in November, I find myself agreeing with a mixture of both the positive and negative comments about this place.

The positive points are: the setting was lovely, the Jungle King room where we stayed had a/c and were cleaned daily, there were no problems with bugs thanks to a good spray of insect repellant in the room every evening before dinner and closed windows, the beds were comfortable, the food was very good (but not generous in proportion), access to the beach a few yards away was fantastic, all staff were fine (as they should be for the price you pay). The beach access to the hotel adds to the lovely sense of isolation although this can be a problem at night.

The negative points: both breakfast and dinner consisted of one course plus coffee and a fruit drink. No basics such as bread or fruit was offered unlike all the other, much cheaper places we stayed at in Costa Rica.

I'm not sure that it is good value really. Ylang Ylang displays lots of attractive posters exhorting residents to be at one with themselves and the world in this fairly isolated and beautiful tropical setting. Yoga classes, the air of peace which pervades the place and other features tend to emphasis this 'alternative lifestyle' philosophy. It's also reflected in the fairly spartan bed rooms with very little storage space, no shelves in the bathroom, no hot water at the wash basin (shaving was a nighmare!), one very small tablet of soap for 5 nights (although the shower had liquid soap and hot water) and no such luxuries as hair conditioner (admittedly a trivial issue).

In a way, the place seemed to be 'up its own rear-end' in an attempt to offer an experience which was different from the usual expensive hotel in a luxury setting. I find it difficult to explain this conflict but I'm sure that most will understand what I'm getting at.

Both of us felt that there was quite a strong tipping culture despite the additional charges and taxes to the bill but this attitude was evident throughout our 3 weeks in Costa Rica. It's a lovely but expensive country which seems to have 'sold its soul' to tourism.

  • Liked — Situated on the beach with a sense of isolation and peace
  • Disliked — The lack of relatively simple and cheap extras such as furnishings, fruit, bread, soap etc.
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
3 Thank UKHappy-Wanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
uumatter, Administrator at Ylang Ylang Beach Resort, responded to this review, January 17, 2009
In response to your "Questionable value for money" review.

Thanks for mentioning the positives.

We feel you are getting excellent value for your money and here is why;
At $195/nite double occupancy, your rate comes down to $97.50 each.
This includes 16.23% hotel tax (as well as the 13% restaurant tax and mandatory 10% service fee), Breakfast & Dinner, AC, 24 hour security, swimming pool, free internet and all the other amenities... plus our location is right on the beach.

Regarding the food being delicious but not of generous portions, that entirely depends on the specific plate you order. Many of our entrees are very large while the more concentrated dishes are more compact. We use only the best ingredients and all are prepared with love. A large portion of our produce is organically grown.

It is true that Costa Rica has a tipping culture, a result of the proximity and majority of visitors coming from the U.S.
However, whenever you eat in a restaurant, there is a mandatory 10% service fee that goes directly on your bill. You do not have to tip in Costa Rica. That mandatory service fee is a guarantee the restaurant staff will receive their fair share and, according to law, must be included in the price of a meal. Add to that the mandatory 13% sales tax and every plate has a 23% premium imposed.

For accommodations, each daily rate must include a 16.23% combo sales and hotel tax.

The reason for all this lump sum taxation is a result of no income tax being levied on the population. As a business, however, income tax is paid on a quarterly basis.

Add to that the fact that we donate a dollar a day per person to the local Ecological Association, ASEPALECO, and I think you can understand our prices are more than reasonable.

Thanks for your understanding,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 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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