I was at my wit's end trying to book a hotel in Margarita for a week's stay over Xmas 2007. We wanted to have a week in Margarita and a week in Tobago as we have a friend from London who now lives and works in Tobago. I booked our various flights as early as late July and wanted to book a hotel in Margarita well in advance as Xmas is obviously high season. I contacted many of the mid-rage hotels (Bella Costa, Imperial, Howard Johnson etc) who all said that they couldn't take reservations so early in the year and that I should contact them later in the year. The one exception was the Colibri who were prepared to reserve a room if I could forward payment to an account in Italy for some reason which seemed a bit dodgy. I then contacted the same hotels later in the year who then told me they were now fully booked!! More than a little frustrating. By this time the only option was to book with one of the top-end hotels, e.g, the Hilton or La Sammana. I booked La Sammana with Expedia which ended up costing a lot more that I had originally budgeted. I thought why not, it's our first holiday in years, the last one involved my premature return to the UK from Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit. Anyway, I saw a review that said good things about La Sammana and I thought it would be a nice Xmas surprise for my wife staying there. When we finally got there (more about that later) it didn't seem very busy given that this was high season. The only guests seemed to be wealthy, surgically enhanced Venezuelans. It started to dawn on me that the only reason why anybody stayed there was because all the other places were full. By the way, if you do go to Venezuela, make sure that you only take American dollars and try to exchange your cash in one of the ritzy casinos who apparently give you a really good rate of exchange into bolivars. Try not to exchange your money with the banks or other currency exchanges as the difference between the official rate and unofficial rate is almost double! Put simply, if you exchange US dollars and get a good rate, then Venezuela is good value. If you don't, then everything will be very, very expensive. I had been in Trinidad/Venezuela back in 1987 when you could stay in the Hilton for less than 20 pounds sterling! My, how things have changed. Anyway, La Sammana has various spa/massage facilities which are expensive but good, but it's basically this that gets them their 5 star rating - not the actual hotel, although the rooms are well presented and furnished with double poster bed's etc. However, my wife was using the hairdryer which was positioned near to the bathroom sink and it exploded which could have been serious. Other than the spa and the pool, there's nothing else there and nothing else to do. We found some of the staff very friendly and it's no fault of theirs that the hotel comes up short. The nearest beach is around a 15 minute walk from the hotel and requires a trek through a kind of no-mans-land through the backyard's of a couple of upscale apartments/hotels. The beach was well attended by locals, which was good to see, but the beach itself was filthy. Lot's of empty can's and bottles strewn over the area which didn't seem to bother the locals one bit! Something else that's a bit weird is that unlike any hotel that I have ever stayed in, there is no information whatsoever about the Island, where to go or what to do. The communal lounge has a TV and some books that date from the 60's about rainforest's, tribes and the like, and other areas are covered in information about cigars - useful if you were in Cuba. The inclusive breakfast buffet is very popular and plentiful but hardly anybody ate lunch or dinner at the hotel. In the main, you are ignored from the moment you get there. My advice is don't stay at La Sammana. Also, DO NOT FLY WITH AEROPOSTAL - they screwed up our flight to Margarita from Caracas and it took us 3 days to get back to London as a result of an 11 hour delay getting out of Trinidad!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- .Is a Luxury Hotel conceived following the highest European standards. The rooms offer a sophisticated comfort, with terraces and ocean view.A space designed for Rest and Relaxation, through its own Thalassotherapy Center, first in the Americas and Only in Venezuela, exclusive licensee World Leader in Professional Marina Thalgo Cosmetics. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Samanna De Margarita Hotel Porlamar
- La Samanna De Margarita Margarita Island, Venezuela - Porlamar