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“beautiful location, but a bit of a rip-off” 2 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)   |  
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Ranked #1 of 19 Hotels in Montezuma
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“beautiful location, but a bit of a rip-off”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2009

The way that the Beach Resort is located right at the beach with the cabins and rooms in the shade of the palm trees is really outstanding. It only takes a few steps to be at the beach, but, beware, it is dangerous and not recommended to swim or bathe there because of the strong current and the numerous rocks hidden in the waves. You will have to take a ten minute walk to reach a spot closer to the village where there are fewer rocks.
Talking of walking to the village: It is a 15 minute walk along the beach, which we mostly enjoyed, but if you don't feel like walking there remains nothing but having meals at the pricey and not recommendable restaurant at the hotel. They try to present it like modern international cuisine, but we had more than one meal there that was way below average: shrimps that were cold inside and sauces that, for what they tasted like, came right out of some big can. The meals on the kids' menu are few and very poor food, which is especially bad because you are explicitly charged for the kids' meals. Calling the fruit drinks "juices" is a joke because at most they contain about 20% fruit juice.
The grounds of the hotel and in particular the pool are very well taken care of and we appreciate the concept of eco-tourism - as far as it is followed through.
There are two further downsides of your stay there: First, and minor one, was that the rooms in the main building are very narrow and there is hardly any room to stow your luggage. Second, and very annoying one, was that a tourist agent has fraudulently managed to link his website with the hotel. He uses the hotel logo and an email address that leads you to believe you are booking directly with the hotel. What's in it for him is hidden in your invoice as "Government Tax and Credit Card usage" fee, which, in fact, is money that you don't have to pay. For us it meant an extra cost of $260 for a stay of four night, which, at the time of the online booking, we believed we had to pay. Be very, very aware if you book that hotel online, we were cheated and there was no way to get our money back.
Finally, the hotel manager promised to try and take care of the matter, read: to get us perhaps some of the money back, but nothing happened, we did not even get a further email from the hotel with an apology or anything the like.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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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, June 19, 2009
In response to; "beautiful location, but a bit of a rip-off"

I had the distinction of speaking to you directly on your departure day in early April and you detailed to me your disapproval of having to pay additional fees attached to your bill. When you found out that your reservation was not made through us directly, we immediately got you in contact with the travel agent who arranged your stay with us. In actuality, you had thought you were making a direct reservation when, in truth, you were not. You acknowledged and understood this and felt that we were being mis-represented. You acknowledged that we were not responsible.

Due to various recent complaints, we no longer work with the travel agent mentioned. It is most unfortunate that these incidents were connected to our resort name as we are unable to monitor what agents say to their clients. To our best knowledge, all current travel agents who work with us clearly portray themselves as agents to the hotel.

The beach at the resort does have some large scattered volcanic rocks at the ocean's edge, which bring complemented beauty to the tropical blue ocean. At times the magnificent waves prohibit swimming but more often then not, one can just slip right in to the warm waters right in front of the resort. There are also natural pools to discover and a sandy ocean opening just a few yards before the resort.

Our resort prides itself on the fact that there is no road access, just a walk on the beach from the town of Montezuma. We inform all direct guests of this at the time of booking. Our restaurant serves mainly organic produce whenever possible and always uses the freshest of products including daily handmade sauces for our dishes. None of our sauces or products we use come from a can. We practice our belief in the slow food movement, which employs the use of only fresh, seasonal foods for food preparaton.

We apologize and are confounded that these dishes did not meet your standards; our waiters are always more than happy to exchange an unsatisfactory plate or drink. We stand by our quality and guarantee it. Breakfast and dinner are included in our rates and any additional orders are very reasonably priced.

When I spoke with you personally, you mentioned that, apart from your travel agent, you were happy with everything else regarding the hotel and loved the location.

In overview, it is vital for all potential guests to make sure that when they make a reservation, they do their due diligence. Just like buying airline tickets, rental cars and renting hotels online, different agents charge different prices and it is up to the traveler to seek out the best deal and reputable representative. Naturally, we prefer clients deal directly with us when reserving online since we know the place like the back of our hand and can offer details and descriptions beyond that of an agent.

We sincerely apologize for the parts of your stay that you deemed unfavorable but are happy to hear that you enjoyed most other areas, like the natural beauty of the resort and proximity to the beach. Thank you for those comments.

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536 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 (152)
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English first
Marin County, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2009

I stayed for a week at this fabulous hotel, first in a tent-cabin in the jungle just yards from the beach. Then I moved to one of the cabanas just for fun. They look so magical, almost hand-sculpted, all curvy and romantic... and they each have their own porch just yards from the beach, with hammocks in the palm trees and white-faced monkeys swinging by with their babies. The hotel is small and casual, and the food in the restaurant was 5-star; they even had sushi. An outdoor sheltered dining room patio overlooks a lawn which separates it from the beach. While we ate, an armadillo crossed the lawn and black-striped red squirrels were in the trees. It was quiet and peaceful and just a short walk to the cute little town of Montezuma, which had dancing and waterfalls. We went Salsa dancing! Oh, and surfing in the warm waters with white sands. The staff is really helpful and nice. They'll set up snorkeling and canopy tours for you. The hotel just opened a spa as well. I just loved my vacation there and highly recommend it. Can't wait to go back!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2009

My husband and I travelled to the Ylang Ylang for the first part of our honeymoon, following our wedding at Bahia Del Sol(see review.) It's a little hard to find but once you get there, it's well worth the trip. If you are driving in, make sure it's with an SUV and not a car. The rental place gave us a car, and let's just say the ride was a bit of an adventure. Make sure you check in at the El Sano Banano on the main drag of Montezuma. You will park your car there, and a landrover shuttle will come pick you up. Our driver Mario was incredibly helpful. You drive across the beach.(the hotel is only accessible by shuttle-no vehilces)

You will first see the restaurant and bar, camping sites to the left, and a check-in desk nestled in behind. We stayed in Jungalow 7 which is air-conditioned. There are huts right on the beach, but they did not have ac when we were there. We were tucked right in the jungle! It was incredible! You can hear lizards running around, and howler monkeys at night. Our breakfast and dinner was included with the price our of room which was fantastic. The food is gourmet to say the least, and the staff are wonderful. We walked into Montezuma each day for lunch. Check out the L'Angolo Allegro Pizzeria. Ask for Marcelo and try the calebrese salad. To die for.

There is yoga twice a day in an open-air studio overlooking the ocean, white-faced and howler monkeys play in the trees, and there is a sweet smell of papaya and banana as you walk to your room. The spa is like something out of a dream. To covered huts up in the jungle. Try the banana-papaya scrub. Oh, my. Sooo relaxing. There are hammocks in the trees right on the beach and Playa Grande is a 30 minute walk away. A hot-spot for surfing. I almost forgot to mention the pool. The pictures I've attached say it all.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
San Juan Islands
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2009

If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary, you should come here! It is a little piece of paradise with your room right in the jungle and the beach a few meters away. The gardens and plantings are a horticultural delight, the wildlife is everywhere, the food is delicious, the staff are delightful and the pool with a waterfall is a slice of heaven. Yoga classes are offered every morning and a spa offers great services in a jungle "tent". The setting is idyllic.

This hotel is not for people expecting a standardized, homogenized, or sterile experience. It is unique in every way. The hotel is a 10 minute beach walk from town. Or if you come by landrover with your luggage, it will be along the sand and bumping over roots and creekbeds. You may find monkeys on your veranda. Our room had no traditional closet. There isn't a TV in your room. There might be ants in your bathroom - you are, after all, in the jungle! Lizards will visit the poolside. Early morning sleep may be interrupted by the roar of howler monkeys. Nighttime can be noisy too with life in the jungle right outside your door.

But in the midst of this jungle, beach and small fishing village, this small resort provides a luxurious experience with meticulous attention to detail. Delightful, efficient and creative maid service. Free wi-fi. Coffee maker, hairdryer, lots of towels, fridge, a/c and fan, indoor and outdoor shower, veranda, comfortable beds. Full service spa. Organic and gourmet food. A great happy hour.

We had a fabulous stay and recommend it without reservation.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2009

First, let me say that I use Trip Advisor often to review hotels, but have never taken the time to add a comment of my own. After staying at Ylang, however, I feel compelled to share my experiences with others, to explain how disappointed I was with my time spent there.

I should acknowledge my own biases when writing this; I am not an overly picky guest, but I do expect a level of service and professionalism that is consistent with the way the establishment is advertised, and more importantly, consistent with the cost of my stay. All of this amounts to the "value" of the experience, and this is precisely where Ylang falls dreadfully flat.

The positives about this place are its proximity to a beautiful beach and generally friendly staff, and actually, decent food. I should say however that parts of that "beautiful" beach are covered in garbage as waste left adrift to travel along the coast comes to rest on the playa grande near the hotel.

My impression is that Ylang suffers from an identity crisis. It thinks it is a luxury hotel, but it is nothing more than a glorified hostel. I say this because of how it is managed, and the type of accommodations provided.

The owner, Patricia, is both greedy and completely unprofessional. You see, we booked our 3 night stay here through an agent, and when we showed up to find the place much less than we had anticipated, we wanted out. But it turns out they have a 30-day cancellation policy (which is absolutely absurd) and she would not grant us a refund for any portion of our stay. She made feeble excuses about the complexity of providing the refund, despite our pleading. It was my honeymoon, I wanted it to be perfect. Patricia just wanted to keep the money. Our happiness as guests was completely inconsequential to her. It was all about the money (a sentiment that her staff whispered to us as well). She then told us to "make the best of it" and to sign up (and pay her) for tours and activities. Any other hotelier would have offered some compensation if they were sincere about their regret regarding the circumstances. This was insult on top of injury. She then proceeded to leave, take a swim in the pool in front of us, and then go about her day. Smug, with a sense of entitlement. Shockingly poor etiquette and a general lack of understanding about hospitality.

I would say we stayed there the rest of the time begrudgingly, my wife would say we were kept captive.

Why were we so desperate to leave? If my wife were beside me should would list off many more reasons, but here are a few: there is no road access to the hotel and you have to wait for their one driver to pick you up from town to take you over the beach to the hotel, which is mighty inconvenient; the rooms are tiny and there is no door between the bathroom and the bedding area, and so the toilet and your pillow are no more than 10 feet apart with nothing between them; the doors do not lock properly, nor do they close properly, allowing bugs (and crabs!!) in to the room; limited hot water; no phones in the room to call the desk if (and when) you have a problem or request; the front desk closes early so you cannot get any assistance in the evening hours, in fact, they are very much under-staffed; you cannot flush toilet paper down the drain, so you have to put soiled toilet paper in a bin next to the toilet in the bathroom without a door...

Then, there is the price. We payed $275 a night for all of this "luxury". We also paid a similar price at other places in CR which were immeasurably better than this. The value was substantially lacking, and there was no attempt to make us happy when we made our dissatisfaction known.

I dont write any of this out of spite, but instead to warn others that this place is not as it is advertised. This is not a luxury, or even semi luxury hotel. It is managed only with an eye toward enriching its owner, with little regard for guest satisfaction.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 14
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, June 16, 2009
I am truly sad to read you were not able to experience the peace and beauty of our area that most guests rave about. Unfortunately, you apparently did not know what to expect, a result of inadequate research regarding your vacation planning.

Rather than placing the blame on us, and particularly me, one of the owners, Patricia, all you had to do was visit our website and read the information. Many of the inconveniences you mention, such as having no phones or television, being in a remote location away from it all with no road, along with your anxiousness and inability to relax, you likely would have decided in advance that this was not the right place for you. This, apparently, is the source of your discontent.

It really comes down to you not receiving what you expected, which is a level of luxury you prefer or are accustomed to that we do not offer at our resort. Once again, had you visited our website prior, you would have known.

To the best of our ability, we accommodated you in any way we could but whatever we offered and performed obviously was not satisfactory to you. We apologize that we were not what you expected and fell short of your satisfaction and acknowledge an incompatibility of philosophy regarding what you need and what we offer.

Our resort is a small, family operated outfit in a remote location on a lovely beach in Costa Rica. When you found the first Bungalow not up to your standards, we gladly and promptly moved you into another. We even threw in a bottle of wine. Admittedly, our accommodations do not offer TV and telephone. It is very likely we will never offer TV and telephones at our resort for reasons you may not understand.

We are an adventure hotel. A getaway.

Now, regarding your explicit paragraph calling me both greedy and unprofessional, I will reply. I deal with many guests. A vast majority of our guests are happy, non combative individuals. Happy to be on vacation, away from work and stress, happy to experience a new place and exotic country, happy to leave the world behind, if only for a little while. You happen to be poles apart from the guests we normally enjoy sharing with.

Rather than choosing to enjoy oneself, instead of turning it into a competition, blaming me for one's inability to lighten up and enjoy a honeymoon, the best of times could have ensued on that beautiful little beach, sighting monkeys in the trees, wildlife in the gardens, inhaling the scenic beauty and reveling in the romance of it all.

Rather than reduce one's happiness to a price tag, one could have had the time of their life. It was, begrudgingly, all for the taking. All of the elements were there for an unforgettably charming honeymoon... walks on the beach, afternoon dips and romantic candlelit dinners.

If you were truly so desperate to leave, you would have done so.
At no time were you held captive.

The reasons you were so desperate to leave are as follows;
No road access to the hotel. Check. The beach is our only access. We'll keep it that way for as long as we possibly can...

One driver to transfer. Check. Mario is not only informative, but sings pretty good, too. He's friendly and efficient, loves people and is savvy. Cars are not needed at Ylang Ylang. We offer parking at our sister hotel in town... a 10 minute walk via the beach.

Bungalow is the accommodation you chose. While definitely not large, it is satisfactory in size with a vaulted ceiling and spacious balcony. That thing between you and the toilet is called a wall, in case you didn't notice. That means that what you write "and so the toilet and your pillow are no more than 10 feet apart with nothing between them", is not only a poor description, it's false. Perhaps you should look at the photos on our website to refresh your memory...

Locks. Check. If you have trouble locking a door or window, we will gladly help you or fix the problem. This is a non issue. All of our accommodations are screened in with glass sliding doors leading to the balcony.

Limited hot water. What you mentioned to us was that the water pressure is low, by your standards. Our shower heads are water saving devices.

No phones. No TV's. Check. Enough said. We'll keep it that way.

Front desk is open from 7am till 9pm during the green season. We are certainly not understaffed. If there is any concern, we have 24 hour guard service and a manager lives onsite.

Toilet paper. While we prefer our guests to place the remnants in the bin, which takes the stress off of our treatment system, there is no one there watching you... so you can, essentially, just flush it down. No guilt. Things are kinda easy like that in Costa Rica.

Our Beach. We clean it of plastic flotsam every day and maintain the beach in as pristine a condition as we possibly can. It's a lovely beach.

Playa Grande. This mile long beach is located a mile northeast of Ylang Ylang. You write... "however that parts of that "beautiful" beach are covered in garbage as waste left adrift to travel along the coast comes to rest on the playa grande near the hotel". Whatever you are trying to convey is a mystery to me. Our beach is spotless. Playa Grande is the part of the Romelia Nature Refuge. Whatever "garbage" you're referring to floats in from the vast Pacific Ocean and is cleaned on a sporadic basis... plastic bottles and plastic artifacts as well as biodegradable flotsam. Some is turned into art.

Value. This is really the sticking point, isn't it. We feel we give very good value. A vast majority of our guests say so. When you consider that Breakfast and Dinner are included in our rate, as well as AC, free internet and all the other amenities, our rates do not come close to luxury prices. Remember, our rates are for double occupancy. Reasonable. Very reasonable.

In summary, I will venture to say all of your frustration came about out of your good intentions. This is understandable. When your visit to Ylang Ylang failed to impress, for whatever reason, your only recourse was to blame me for your exasperation. However, if you had done your homework, you would have found that our website accurately describes in pictures and text what we are all about. Likewise, your agent is also not directly responsible. No one but you can know what your likes and dislikes are. Apparently, our hotel was not the only one you held in disregard during your visit to Costa Rica.

I write this in all sincerity. I had hoped that the feel good vibes at Ylang Ylang would rub off on you and in some way lift your spirits, as it does to nearly all who visit. If only you had researched your destinations in advance, all of this drama would have been prevented and your honeymoon... undoubtedly... would have been perfect.

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Shoreline, WA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2009

I am in love with Ylang-Ylang. Being our first trip to Costa Rica, we were not sure what to expect. It turned our to be beyond our every expectation. The location, the town of Montezuma, the staff (Oscar and Tammy were just great!), and especially the food, were all terrific. I have never eaten so much in my life.

We stayed in a dome, and loved it. We had no problems with bugs (like our stay at a different hotel in CR). The location was close enough to Montezuma to go into town whenever we wanted, but removed enough to feel as though we were the only ones on the beach.

Although we did not bring our daughter on this trip, this is a great location for kids, and very accommodating. We can't wait to go back and make it a full family vacation.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
New York City
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2009

This resort is on the edge of a beautiful beach. The restaurant area is gorgeous and the food is excellent. Awesome pool area (though no one enforces the no smoking rule and everyone there was smoking). We did have a few problems with the staff (accidentally kept my credit card - don't worry I got it back!, and getting working Internet password was difficult). The tent option is not for everyone - there will be bugs inside - lots of them - and noisy monkeys and other wildlife waking you at 4:30am. Basically, not a very comfortable place to stay - but at least they had a good fan to keep cool. If I had to do it again, I'd go with a regular room. Also, tent option is expensive and not worth the bang for the buck.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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)
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Montezuma
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Montezuma
#1 Romantic 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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