We stayed at the Aquarium for a week over Christmas as part of tour of Colombia and had a wonderful holiday. The hotel provides a good 3-star all-inclusive service. The infrastructure generally needs a makeover as it's all a bit tired. The rooms are very comfortable and standard rooms are spacious and well-equipped with LCD TV's and balconies.
The all-inclusive food and drink service is reasonable - the main buffet restaurants (there are two) serve the same, predictable buffet fare. The A La Carte restaurant bookings open at 8am but to get a table, we found you need to join the queue by 7.30am - and even that won't guarantee you one of the scarce restaurant tables. Those restaurants, though, are very good.
Staff vary. Our arrival at reception was greeted by an off-hand "Check-in is not here - it's over the other side". This was a brusque reference to the check-in facility provided in an out-building which required directions from a further staff member to find. How difficult would it be to provide a warm welcome: "Delighted that you've arrived safely, we're going to make your stay with us very special and we have made a special arrangement to hasten your check-in - would you please make your way across the foyer and out the door in the corner to the third door on the left along, where my colleagues will be delighted to complete your check-in"? Some further staff training needed here.
On the other hand, there are some great professionals on the team. Leonardo and Waldo create a fantastic bar experience while Jefferson and Martin are very warm, welcoming and efficient in the main restaurant.
I suffered a minor ailment during our stay - Decameron provide an on-site nurse in a small medical centre who was absolutely fantastic. She directed me to a local pharmacy for some supplies and provided a wonderful ear-flushing service on-site the following morning. First class.
And the major flaw? Decameron have lost track of changing customer needs. There is clear evidence of several regimes of cost-cutting, mostly at the expense of customer convenience. While almost every other hotel in the country provides a combination security box in the room, Decameron provide a security warning - and then charge $4/day for the supply of a keylock to fit an old lock-box.
Our greatest frustration involved the provision of wi-fi. My partner and I arrived with two laptops, an iPad and two iPhones. I run a business at home and like to keep these devices connected. However Decameron charge from $4 per hour per device to provide wi-fi connectivity, only available in the lobby and not anywhere else. The cost of staying connected - somewhere between US$1,000 and $2,000 for a week! The cost of providing the extra connectivity I wanted - is zero. Absolutely outrageous and unforgiveable - this service is 5 years out of date, should be extended to the whole hotel and provided free - just like water in the bathrooms or the signal to the televisons. Decameron have failed to realise that their duty of care to customers now includes allowing them to stay connected and not abusing that position. They misunderstand the meaning of hospitality - or else have decided they're not in that business but have remained in 1970's 'lodging' and feel free to disconnect and rip-off their customers.
Our overall experience was positive and we enjoyed the pool and water-sports facilities. When Decameron bring themselves up-to-date with their customers' 21st century needs, the Aquarium will be even better.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the midst of an Antillean environment, this resort has an exceptional architecture with circular towers overlooking the sea at ‘Punta Hansa’ – at the northern end of the Island of San Andres – which allow for wonderful panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. These buildings are alongside a long wooden dock that leads to a natural pool in the sea and with an aquatic platform ideal for snorkeling and other water sports. The Decameron Aquarium is located approximately 10 minutes from the airport and is a well sought out location for tourists since the longest and most beautiful beach of the island is located only a few blocks away, surrounded by a boardwalk, parallel to a commercial area with restaurants, discos and the most exclusive bars. You will enjoy an enchanting paradise that can be explored completely on foot and where a cultural mixture of English, Spanish, Pirates and Corsairs can be explored. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Decameron Aquarium Hotel San Andres Island