My family of three spent a mini-vacation here, for a total of 6 days and 5 nights.
On arrival, the weather was very bad and did not seem as if it would let up at all. We arrived at the hotel at around 10am. I had asked my travel agent beforehand if an early check-in was arranged and he said that it was arranged by the tour operators in margarita.....yeah right!
As I told my wife, I am almost certain that all those people involved in tourism on the island are in collusion on some grand money-making scheme. The tour operators dropped us off at the hotel without a word, and when we finally got to the front of the line at reception, we were told that check-in was at 3pm and if we wanted to use the facilities we would have to pay Blvs.100 PER PERSON, otherwise we would be confined to the reception area, which was already crowded and had no available seating area, that already having been taken by those before us.
At the reception desk, there was a major leak and water was literally falling out of the ceiling....given the decor of the place, it reminded me of that scene from the movie Jumanji where the house turned into the jungle and flooded out!
We decided we would try to wait out these capitalists, but with the weather so bad and our supply of snacks diminished, our spirits were starting to get as damp as the reception area, so at around 12noon I gave up the Blvs. 200 (thankfully they did not charge for my 7yr. old) so that we could at least have lunch. Fortunately we were told that our room would be ready in five minutes and we were able to get to our room shortly thereafter and refresh ourselves before going to have lunch.
Now this hotel was an all-inclusive one, and all meals/snacks were included in the package, but one had to pay attention to meal times, as the restaurants were all closed until the appropriate hours.
But first, the room...nothing special, spacious enough to hold two king beds, a small table with a 20" television (limited to about 13 channels of which only two were in english) and a low armchair. The room had a damp musty smell about it (floor was tiled), which we figured out eventually came from the water that the staff used to mop the room.....it seemed that by the time they got to our room, changing the mop water was not of significant consideration.
With the air condition on and the floor wet/damp, the scent would linger, so we turned off the a/c and opened out the sliding door to the balcony. On the subject of a/c, the a/c is central, and there is only a dial with three settings, two fan speeds and one to change the temperature, however the a/c vent faced the beds directly and since everyone in my family has sinus issues, it was a horrible experience to sleep with the a/c on.
The saving grace for the room was that the view from the small porch was okay and was our spot for 'family alone time' until we were ready to sleep.
Next, the food. In short, nothing special...almost entirely continental with one or two locally prepared dishes such as yucca/cassava, corn cuccoo. The dining area was clean, of sufficient size so finding a table was never a problem and staff were relatively efficient. I should also mention that there were freshly sqeezed juices (watermelon, cantalope, lettuce, papaya, celery) that my wife took delight in taking advantage of....the offspring cared only for soda, which was also available via a self-dispensing machine.
The facilities on the compound were a high point...beautifully landscaped with no bothersome insects such as flies or mosquitoes but there were some beautiful iguanas on patrol, but which never got in anyone's way. The hotel boasts seven pools, which was where the little one spent most of the day time. There are daily activities at the main pool from around lunchtime which included Bingo, Aqua Aerobics and Volleyball.
In the evening time, there was a show held on a main stage adjacent to the main pool, which for me made the choice of hotel worthwhile. The hotel seemed to have full time staff who are professional performers/dancers and each evening they put on a fantastic and spectacular show for guests, which was themed differently every day.
The hotel had its own access to the beach, which is on the Northern/Windward side of the island which I found too rough to bathe peacefully, but there were dedicated marked beach recliners with sunshades for hotel guests which were very inviting for taking naps or lounging on. You just have to get used to all the beach vendors who are constantly walking up and down selling their stuff. The only way to get rid of them is to either buy something from them, or make it abundantly clear you weren't going to.
All in all, despite the one or two hiccups, we made the most of our stay there and found it at the end of the day, excellent value for money. I would probably want to stay somewhere else if I return to the island though, as I think to repeat the experience at the same hotel is boring....after all its not Disney World.
Finally, a bit about currency conversion....stay away from the Cambios unless you have to officially account for your spending. You can get almost twice the exchange rate if you 'speak' to the local business people down at the beach or at the flea market. Oh, and make sure your conversational spanish is good, because almost none of the hotel employees speak more than 5 words of english....literally!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The magnificent four-star, all-inclusive Hesperia Playa El Agua resort is situated on the most breathtaking of all beaches on Venezuela's beautiful Isla Margarita. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hesperia Playa El Agua Hotel Playa El Agua
- Hesperia Hotel Playa El Agua
- Playa El Agua Hesperia
- Hesperia Playa El Agua Margarita Island, Venezuela