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Koox Hotel Banana
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Reviewed December 29, 2008

We stayed at Aventura Mexicana 5 nights previous to our stay at Fiesta Banana. It's about 4 blocks away and similarly priced. The difference was astounding. Fiesta Banana is in a decent location for beach time, located at the end of the famous 5th Avenue. The room however, was pretty bad. You have to use a special key to access the air conditioning. We were supposed to have a "balcony", which I guess meant the walking area outside of our room that looked out on other rooms? They did plop two white plastic chairs out there. If they advertise a pool beware. There is a nasty tiny little pool or hot tub looking thing that is essentially inside near the stairs. We ran away for the included "continental breakfast". There was a loaf of cheap Bimbos bread tossed out there with a woman sitting to pour orange juice. The room had no television, no telephone and one window that looked out on the other rooms. The bathroom had a tiny window permanently open that showed icky pipes and a building about a foot away from the window. You can't flush toilet paper. You have to pay a deposit to get beach towels or use a safe deposit box (both were free and included at Aventura Mexicana). We paid about $120 per night for this place after taxes. You can definitely do better for the money!

  • Stayed: December 2008
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1  Thank repose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2008

Stayed at Banana for eight nights. Greart room with balcony looking down to water. Five minute walk to beach club and with 50 % discount, two chairs were 20 pecsos. Fifteen minute walk to Mega or Walmart to shop for food. If you are a light sleeper, ask for room in rear. New restuarant opened 11/29 where they used to serve breakfast. Don't know how noisey it might beat night. Would recomend this hotel highly.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank HuesoNaplesFl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2008

We (adult couple and 5 yo son) only needed an inexpensive place for 4 nights as we were attending a wedding in Playa del Carmen then moving on for a weeks stay at an AI in Playacar. I surfed all around, finding prices from $30/night up to $200/night. Proximity to the beach was not important for us but we needed to be near Fifth Ave (the main drag for pedestrians).
I booked Hotel Fiesta Banana online with some Cancun reservation system. Full payment was charged at time of booking. We paid $45/night which we found to be a great deal on a small family style hotel with friendly service. I sent them an email inquiring about parking as we had rented a car (from Europcar - an okay experience). They promptly answered that the hotel was in a quiet neighborhood with free parking. We never had trouble finding parking (for our car the size of a hamster) right at the entrance to the hotel.
We arrived after dark and had trouble finding the place as the streets are very dark and not well marked. After doing a few circles we found the place, right on the NW corner of 5th ave/32 street, and we had probably passed it a few times as the trees and greenery somewhat obscure the entrance. The gal at the front desk was very friendly and helpful. I showed her my reservation confirmation and filled out a very brief check in form. She found us a 'bellman" who carried our heavy and bountiful luggage up three flights to a charming room.
As others have described, the hotel is built around a tiny courtyard which contains a hot tub sized pool. Nice wrought iron railing, tiled floors and Mexican style furniture. Spotlessly clean (we found none of the aforementioned ants) and always someone at work cleaning the floors or furniture. Nice airconditioner - you use a key that is on the same ring as your room key to turn it on. Ceiling fan. On the second floor is a very nice living area with couches and chairs. We enjoyed our lunch there one day. That's where the always full water dispenser is located as well. So welcome! Free wireless internet and we had no problem with service whether in our room, out on the balcony or in the living area. Simply decorated rooms with crisp whitewashed walls and nice bed linens. Skimpy towels and they only gave us 2. No washcloths. I suppose I could have asked for more just never thought to.
Our room was very quiet, on the third floor, I think #306 or #307. No street noise and the balcony over the tiny courtyard.
The housekeepers didn't seem to speak any English but the front desk person always did. We never got in any later than 11pm but there was always someone at the desk. We left $1-2USD a day for the housekeeper. The standard fun towel creations left on the beds.
Safe neighborhood even at night. Right at the N entrance to 5th ave pedestrian mall. Shopping close at hand. I bought a lovely painted lavabo (bathroom sink) for $39USD at the store in the next block from the hotel.
Checkout was a breeze. We said, "We're checking out" and they said, "Thank you, bye!" after helping again with the bags.
There is a restaurant attached to the hotel. I believe you can choose a bed and breakfast option for extra $. We did not do this but ate breakfast one morning at the restuarant. Simple fare for a decent price. Open air and a nice corner location to watch the action.
This was very good lodging for the price. A great choice if you want to be near the action of 5th Ave.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank CO911dispatcher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2008

My husband, 6 yr old, 8 yr old and I stayed at this hotel for 10 nights in August 2008. We loved this hotel! We picked it based on its close proximity to the better north part of the beach in Playa.

We were very pleased with our room #207 when we arrived. It was clean, roomy and had a mini fridge (which did make some racket at night…not the hotel’s fault, just needed some TLC I guess). We were very impressed with the available storage—a large closet with shelves and a dresser. We were able to fit all four of our empty suitcases into the closet, and all our stuff had a home on the shelves and dresser. The fridge was a great amenity as we purchased some food items from the nearby Walmart, Mega and small convenience stores for other breakfast/lunch options.

We found our north west room was very quiet which was perfect with kids in tow. However we did notice there seemed to be more noise on the south and east part of the hotel... Just a heads up for those who want a quieter room!

In regards to ants….yes there were lots of ants! I discovered those one day as I finished a bowl of fruit loops and saw an ant at the bottom of my bowl… I inspected the box and bag of cereal and saw it was swarming with the tiny ants!!!! I guess I can now say I’ve eaten ants! Needless to say they were pretty small since I didn’t even notice them as I was eating my cereal! Strangely enough we didn’t have any problems with the ants getting into our food on top of the fridge, even when it was partially opened. Not sure why! But all food that was left on the dresser or around the fridge seemed to attract the ants instantly. They were VERY tiny though and the only place we really noticed them was in one spot, right by the light switch and top of the dresser…and of course wherever crumbs of food/open boxes of food were left!

We had to chuckle when we saw the small pool! It certainly just a bit bigger then a bathtub!!! But the kids LOVED it! They played in it nearly everyday. We were very thankful for itJ Not sure if adults would find it much of a benefit though.

We found the maid was very helpful, friendly and prompt. She would leave towel creations everyday, which really impressed the kids! One of my favorite parts of this hotel was that staff seemed to be present at all times. The housekeeping staff would hang out in the lounge area between rooms being cleaned. It made us feel that there were always trusted individuals available to help which was great. We tipped the maid 20 pesos each day.

The complimentary breakfasts were served down in the restaurant. They start serving at about 7:45am until 11am. They provided a basket of toast with jam/butter, an orange juice and your choice of coffee (capaccino’s were yummy!). Tips were expected so it wasn’t exactly “free”, but was adequate. We just left 10 pesos each morning.

The hotel requires a deposit for safety deposit box (located in each room’s closet) and also for beach towels. We didn’t get any hassels getting the money back. Also, in regards to room key being held at front desk…we never heard that was required and never did it!

The location was great in regards to close proximity to the north part of the beach. It was a short 5 minute walk down to Mamita’s beach club. It cost us 60 pesos to get four loungers and a palapa. Mamita’s is a pretty crowded, noisy beachclub…..but it is also on a fabulous part of the beach and has a great restaurant with fairly inexpensive food items. The kids also really enjoyed the pool at Mamitas. It was a small pool so more geared towards children. Just a few minutes walk from Mamitas is a fabulous place to snorkel at Zubul Bar Reef, just before Cocoa Bay Resort. We had a great time there one morning. Also, the beach just past Cocoa Bay Resort is beautiful and quiet.

The location was a bit of a hassle in regards to getting down to the ADO bus station area with the kids in tow. We wouldn’t have minded walking all the time if it weren’t for the kids (a good way to keep the weight under control with all the fabulous food!!!). However it was a bit tough on the kids so we opted to take a lot of taxis. We had read at playainfo.com that there were zones for the taxis and it would be about 12 pesos to get from our hotel to centro… However, it appeared that it was no longer the norm…35-40 pesos seemed to be what they normally quoted us. We inquired of people on the playainfo site and locals/regular PDC visitors insisted that 15-20 pesos would be adequate, so we decided to stick with that price. We would walk up the block to 10th and flag down taxis, say “20 pesos, ADO bus station?” etc. and most drivers accepted that. We were able to get some taxis for 15 pesos as well.

In regards to transportation we highly recommend using the “collectivo” passenger vans that are located at 2nd and 15th. They are very inexpensive, quick and direct. It costs 20 pesos/person to get to Akumal area, 30 pesos/person to Tulum, 40 pesos/person to Cancun. You just flag down any passing collective on your way back to Playa. They seem to come at least every 10-15 minutes, if not sooner. They are very handy and a great way to get around!

We visited a lot of places while in Playa. We went to Puerto Adventuras for the dolphin experience (booking it through the hotel). Akumal bay is the perfect place to snorkel and see lots of sea turtles, large fish etc….and should be a “must see” on everyone’s list if you like to snorkel…plus its all free! Ask the collectivo to take you to Akumal playa, walk about 5 minutes to the entrance to Akumal bay and the turtles are swimming right by the boats, in the sea grass!!! No need pay for a tour! To the left, along the shoreline, is lots of coral and large fish. We also went to Isla Mujeres and a turtle farm there. A day trip to Tulum, to the El Paraiso beach club, is another must-see! Amazing beach there! We love how Playa is a great home base and you can branch out to see so many amazing things in the surrounding area!

We loved eating out at some of the restaurants on 30th/30th as well. El Tacorocito was my favorite. El Fogon is also right across the street. Tacos al Pastor are amazing! And these restaurants are really very inexpensive and serve delicious food. We visited Alux cave restaurant this year and were absolutely blown away by this restaurant! It is really something everyone should check out at least once! Beautiful and extremely unique!

We really enjoyed our time at Hotel Fiesta Bananas and would certainly consider it for future trips. It really was our home away from home!

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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2  Thank jchutton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2008

Made my reservation directly with Fiesta Banana over email since that was the only way through their website. They replied via email asking for CC number to secure deposit. I was a bit hesitant, but this is Mexico, not exactly the most high tech of countries, so I went ahead and sent it. No problems here.

The hotel is exactly 7 minutes walk to Mamita's Beach by my walking speed which is average. The hotel is at the very far end of 5th Ave so while it's technically where all the action is (there's Starbucks 1 1/2 blocks away), the hottest action is at least 10 minutes walk near the midsection.

Near the entrance there was a deal for Chichen Itza package for $45 posted. There were 50% off Coupons for Palapa rentals $2 US total cost to rent for the day. The Palapas are found on Mamitas Beach.

They also had other deals for La Isla Mujeres, Tulum, Xcaret and others for more expensive prices like $70 to $95. I did the day trip to La Isla Mujeres for $70 US. It was an all day excursion that included drinks all day, snorkeling, parasailing (weather permitting), buffet lunch, and a bit of shopping (at their choice of destinations which I kind of didn't like). The boat we sailed on was called Albatross. This package was good, depends on who you travel with to make it more fun. They picked me up at Fiesta Banana (FB) along with some other vacationers that were from Spain and France and unfortunately didn't speak a word of english. The other members of our group seemed to be from Texas. I'm assuming they were from Houston as there seemed to be a large contingent from that part of the country visiting.

My bedroom room had ceiling fan which would become invaluable later on, a fridge, closet, dresser, hard tiled floors, A/C which didn't work properly (way too cold and couldn't turn it down). Furnishings were very simple, no alarm clock, no tv, no radio, no coffee maker, no phone. Incidentally I have T-mobile and my cell phone did not work in Playa so I would not count on it if I were you (it did work in Cancun).

Sheets were clean and as far as I could tell fairly new. I didn't have any problem with that. I wish the blankets could have been thicker and warmer but they worked. The closet looked a bit run down with some of the blinds broken but it worked. There was also a safe inside the closet which you had to pay a deposit for at the front desk. Bed was firm, good for me, might not be good for you.

Bathroom was clean, however they expect you to toss your soiled toilet paper in the trash because their sanitation system gets backed up if you put the tp in the toilet.

I had ants in my room and I had read about other people having same problem. It's sort of a big deal and sort of not. The reason this is an issue is because the ants will find any and all food you bring in (that's not kept in the fridge). I made the mistake of saving my leftovers in the dresser and the next day I had ants all over. Annoying. Same with a bag of apples that I failed to close all the way (darn those zip-loc bags).

The reason it's not a big issue is because you probably won't spend as much time in your room as I did, and the ants are really small (smallest ants I've ever seen). You might think this doesn't make much of a difference but it does. There's a saying, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind". That goes for the ants too. You won't think about them if you don't see them.

I should have asked for a different room but I was being bull headed and decided to stay in my chilly room. The A/C was very cold and to take the edge off the cold, I found that by turning on the ceiling fan, I could keep the temperatures from turning me into a block of ice. Since I visited during June, the hottest month, it was 85 degrees at night. You will definitely need A/C at this time of the year.

The guys at the front desk were warm and friendly. Roberto is the guy you need to talk with if you want to do XCaret, Chichen Itza, or any of their day tours. He typically works from 4p-8p so you may have to wait until the afternoon to get your reservation. They must be booked at least 1 day in advance. You could book it the night before, but if you want to guarantee a spot, it's best to do it one day in advance.

The water bottle refill on the 3rd floor was an incredible blessing. I saved so much money and time refilling at that thing. And the water tasted good too, usually better than the ones sold in the street stands. Btw - when you get to Mexico, do drink the water if you want to avoid getting sick. You don't drink much, maybe a 1/4 mouthful from the sink as soon as you get there. This exposes your body to the local bacteria so when you get exposed to massive quantities of it (which you eventually will) your body will be able to cope with it.

The management likes to keep your key when you leave which is annoying at first, but when you're out snorkeling and travelling on ferries, and wearing little else but your shorts, and travelling to distant islands, you realize that maybe letting them keep your key is not such a bad idea. Well, you can keep your keys if you want, but my personal suggestion: leave em at home. Someone is supposed to be at the desk 24/7. There was one time when the security guard seemed to fall asleep and I had to rap on the windows for a few minutes, but I got in (it was late at night).

The restaurant at the bottom floor offers their continental breakfast with coupon (which is given to you at check in). You are entitled to a cup coffee, orange juice, and toast. The toast was burned on one day, but it was ok the other times.

The pool at FB was tiny and I actually saw a lady swimming in it (she must have been desperate). It's about twice the size of a good sized hot tub and it's not heated.

The cleaning ladies don't use vacuums over there. Not sure why. Maybe it's because they try to keep the noise down, or maybe it's because they don't have money for vacuums. In any case, they do a lot of sweeping over there. They also did some mopping with wet mops on one day (not sure if they mopped everyday). I tipped the lady typically between $1 and $2 US per day.

I met the owner, a young attractive Italian woman. She said that she came to Playa because they offered so many business opportunites. I told her that there were many Italians who had come to Mexico to ply their trade, and she agreed. They have come to this country to make their living much in the same way immigrants came to the U.S. during the early 1900's.

Playa Del Carmen definitely has a small town feel. The people here are all very nice. There is a touristy feeling to everything. The actual town where the locals live is not that big. The taxi drivers will likely not rip you off (unlike Cancun). If they ask for more than 30 pesos to take you anywhere just tell them forget it and take another taxi. Unfortunately even if you want to go a short distance, like a half mile, they will probably still charge you 30 pesos ($3 US). I think they do this because they still have to make a living too.

Cheap eats - Walmart is about a mile away (mabye 20 minutes walk) on 30th Ave. They have a really good hot foods section complete with cheap $2 submarine sandwiches with ham, lettuce, cheese, mayo, peppers, etc. How big was my sandwich? I ate half for dinner and half for lunch and I'm a big guy. Well, I ate it along with some peaches and cream, strawberries and cream and some spaghetti thrown in as well. They also had for sale, chicken, pizza, pasta, bread, and tons of sweet pastries (way too many to list).

Getting back to Fiesta Banana, I'd recommend this place because it's a central location. You can hit Cozumel Island for $24 US (round trip) and spend a day there. Or you could spend a day in Cancun for ($8 US) via the ADO Bus (the primary bus station is 1 mile away, completely on the other side of 5th Ave - one reason not to stay at FB). You can also visit places like Chichen Itza, Tulum, and other parts south. From Cancun your options are a little more limited and inconvenient because you can't access Cozumel directly (unless you pay a private charter), and all things south are 40 minutes further away.

The actual hotel is adequate but I did not like the ants, broken A/C, or the distance to the Bus Station. I might try this hotel again, but I am inclined to try a different one should I come to Playa again. If you do come during the hot summer months, bear in mind this is the slow season and hotel rooms abound. Don't worry about not being able to find a place to stay. You could show up the day of and find a room easily. Next time I think I would stay a little closer to the center of town or find a place on 10th ave which is one block up.

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
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4  Thank Mahadragon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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