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“Beach Perfection” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Na Balam Beach Hotel

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Na Balam Beach Hotel
Ranked #12 of 38 Hotels in Isla Mujeres
Belmont
Level Contributor
53 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Beach Perfection”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2014 via mobile

The beach in front of NaBalam is hard to describe but having just returned to a rainy grey Boston, the memory of turquoise blue water and cloudless blue sky are going to sustain me until Spring finally comes. The grounds and beach at Na Balam are special...there are shell lined paths, gorgeous flowering shrubs and vines and shaded seating areas by the pool and throughout the property. The hotel is a convenient 10-15 minute walk to the center of "town" and to some of the amazing restaurants and shops on Isla.
The staff at NaBalam and at the restaurant were very attentive and accommodating. The food at ZaZil Ha was excellent, I had ceviche twice and my husband had fish tacos.
NaBalam may not be for everyone....there are no tvs or wi fi in the rooms ( lobby and restaurant) but if you want soft white sand, tranquil water, yoga classes and friendly staff, this is the place to go on the island. I have made plans to return next year!

Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank Judyenewengland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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816 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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nc usa
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2014

We spent our honeymoon here 14 years ago and decided to come back and try it out again. Looks just the same and I'm pretty sure we were even put in the same room! The location really can't be beat and the beach is just gorgeous here, but the prices seem high compared to the other hotels on the island. I don't know if they were just really busy the first few days or just standoffish, it was hard to get service in the restaurant or on the beach, but by the end of the trip we were treated very well by everyone. Food was okay, but not great. The room was nice, nice views. Shower was a little leaky and hard to adjust the temperature, but other than that no complaints other than the price.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mitsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
29 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 20, 2014 via mobile

Wife and I had fish tacos here that reminded us why we came to Mexico. They were simply amazing. Two year old had a ham and cheese sandwich that was also great. Drinks were good too. We did not stay in the hotel, but we did rent one of the day beds on the beach (which we wish we had not since we paid way too much for how long we needed but we wanted somewhere for the two year old to take a nap).

I would highly recommend the restaurant, it was the best food we ate while in and around cancun.

Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank TeacherInTransit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2014

We loved our stay!

We searched online, read reviews and settled on Na Balam. We were delighted with our choice (so much nicer than the horrible high rise Avalon across the way). The hotel is nice and small with various little bungalows set in a very natural environment of palm trees, sand and beach. The rooms were very clean. The staff were charming. The location is supurb. The water off the hotel was warm, crystal clear, calm and had stunning shades of turquoise - like a swimming pool! The restaurant is right on the beach and has an incredible view out across the turquoise water. The coffee was excellent and be sure to order the guacamole and a 'coco' (coconut water served in the shell with a straw) to wash it down.

We have been recommending the hotel to all our friends and we will definitely return!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Travelisw0nderful
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seal Beach, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 10, 2014

Upon arrival the batteries were out on our air conditioner/fan, in a hotel that is just a basic maintenance I would not to have to expect to complain about, The hot water was spotty. The price of the hotel is not worth the location, don't waste your money. Had construction outside our room the entire visit, food was not good!

Room Tip: Suites are smaller than the cheaper poolside rooms,
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Holly M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Isla Mujeres hotels

New York City, New York
Level Contributor
94 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 7, 2014

I stayed here for a friend’s wedding. This was a generally relaxing, tranquil hotel with a great location on a beautiful beach but it is seriously over-priced for what you get. The term eco-resort felt loosely used & I ultimately took it to mean no frills. No frills at $380 per night (I added the all-inclusive meal plan) is not ok.

Staff is not up to par & they do not seek to help you. They didn’t enable anyone to check-in early, they don’t help w/luggage (I was told I could store my luggage in their office but then left to squeeze it in (it barely fit) by myself). I had to ask for help to get my luggage up "rustic" stairs. At a minimum, I would have appreciated an offer to help or to call someone to help without my request. Additionally, other people’s reservations were horribly screwed up though I’m not clear on where the fault lies. There was no tour or offer of a tour of the property. They sent me down to the beach without towels & were surprised that I returned to seek towels / ie I didn’t know to ask for them. I was also annoyed to learn that there was an additional fee for yoga classes of $15 per class. Additionally, I had to setup my own bed on the beach twice! & these are wood bed platforms that are stacked pretty high! I nearly broke my finger! There is someone who can help, but they aren’t there until late morning / early afternoon. They will not call cabs for you. For $380 per night, I would like for something to be included! So the service was frustrating to say the least. They are not mean or anything terrible, they are just not what you expect in the hospitality industry & I would recommend that they either be trained or bring in someone who is experienced. Note that restaurant staff was totally fine & exempt from prior comments.

On the flip side, the restaurant here, Zazil Ha, is seriously amazing & hands down the best Mexican food I have ever had as well as the best value considering the all-inclusive option. My favorites were the Ceviche Na Balam – best ceviche ever & a huge portion, Seafood Platter – amazing mixed grill of seafood covered in the perfect red sauce & Fish Tacos, also my favorite fried fish tacos. Note that the all-inclusive option is essentially a day rate, not from check-in to check-out as is the standard most other places (I had to pay a la carte on my last day). Unfortunately, there were few drinks included in the all-inclusive plan which was not clear when I committed to it – but it included a limited asst of non-top shelf “national” drinks i.e. lower quality tequila, beer & a lower quality rum. I was ok because I am happy alternating between margaritas (& am not picky when it comes to the tequila used) & Corona. My boyfriend however had no options as he drinks scotch/rye/whisky, decent vodka or wine. Additionally, the restaurant closes pretty early (around 10:30/11:00). We both joked that it was the most sober we have ever been in such a setting. Before you commit to the all-inclusive option, ask to see what’s actually included. There is also a really nice, affiliated bar nearby, Fenix, but the all inclusive does not cover any drinks there.

The beach is beautiful. Fluffy sand, crystal clear, bathtub warm water. However, as Isla de Mujeres is becoming very, very popular especially with boats coming over from Cancun this creates over-crowding… The beach here is very shallow – you have to walk out very far to be in a decent depth & once you hit that depth you are encountered with a full-line up of parked boats blasting music & leaving little room for safe swimming. It is much nicer to go swimming early in the morning before the boats come in. Water is very still & you can rent paddle boards. There are a lot of people (even kids) selling stuff on the beach – it can be annoying, but some of their items (beaded jewelry, shark tooth jewelry & straw totes) were actually very beautiful & fairly priced.

Rooms are ok. But eco-resort really does feel like it’s used to charge a higher price for a no-frills resort & room. I did have a beautiful, though obstructed, ocean view. Bed was ok, cleanliness was ok, bathroom (dilapidated shower) w/generic products was really weak for the price paid, towels weren’t great (old, not plush, etc. - For $380 per night, I want a decent towel!), no TV but there is AC. I did really like the general design of the hotel...very eco-chic & simple...it does feel like that beautiful hidden boutique hotel on a beach.

I have paid far less for higher quality hotels in & out of Mexico, including “eco hotels”. I like the idea of eco hotels, I just don’t think that they should charge the same amount as other hotels that offer more. or charge the same but offer other, inclusive eco activities / services (such as the yoga classes, bikes or paddle boards) & better service to compensate for the price. If this hotel was $150 -$200 per night & if the additional all-inclusive program had a better choice of alcohol (or was less expensive), I would be writing a much nicer review as that’s where I think their rates should fall.

As for the wedding on the beach, it was an absolutly beautiful setting & wedding. & the size of the hotel was perfect for a small wedding. The food from the restaurant was delicous & better than most food at weddings especially destination weddings.

I probably wouldn’t return to the hotel, but would definitely return to the restaurant if back in Isla. I would love to see another location or even a cookbook from this restaurant. Also, Isla de Mujeres is still very nice but it's sadly rapidly developing in a Cancun-like direction. The island looked very different from the last time I was there only several years ago.

Room Tip: Beach view is beautiful, but some rooms are obstructed by the restaurant / party space. Be selectiv...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank roberta_nyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2014

My family stayed at Na Balam from Feb 21-28th. It was a great experience. We stayed in an ocean view King room (number 9). The rooms are average--clean and well appointed. But as others have said, if you are looking for a picture perfect luxury hotel--look elsewhere. I was very impressed with the breakfast. From reading other reviews I expected that the breakfast would be very bad--but it was great--a large fruit plate, fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh toast & yummy coffee. What else could you want for while in a tropical climate? I was very impressed with the service of all of the staff. On 2 occasions we left our snorkeling gear and other valuables on the beach inadvertently and they were returned through lost and found. Lastly, the beach is amazing! Overall, we would definitely return to the hotel and confidently recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, non-luxurious/pretentious hotel with an amazing beach. We were travelling with a 2 year old and it was just perfect!

Room Tip: We had room #9 and it was fabulous--ocean view
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Nana32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Na Balam Beach Hotel

Property: Na Balam Beach Hotel
Address: Calle Zazil Ha 118 | Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres 77400, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Isla Mujeres
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#5 Spa Hotel in Isla Mujeres
#7 On the Beach Hotel in Isla Mujeres
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Na Balam Beach Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 32
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The love for nature, an admiration to the Mayan culture and a concern for holistic wellness are reflected in this haven of peace and serenity. Na Balam offers you a place to enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean sea and its sunsets with personalized services and attention. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Na Balam Beach
Na Balam Beach Isla Mujeres

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