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“A good 3-star but with a major flaw..” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Decameron Aquarium

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Decameron Aquarium
Ranked #8 of 41 Hotels in San Andres Island
Grantham, UK
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A good 3-star but with a major flaw..”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 12, 2013

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.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 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?
3 Thank JCGB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Date | Rating
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
76 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2013

Re posting this as it was my favorite place.

MY WEEK AT SAN ANDREAS ISLAND Dec 2005
Spending a week at San Andreas is Heaven. The hotel I stayed at is awesome, and beautifully landscaped. The hotel Decameron Aquarium is partially situated on water by pods. They own 5 hotels so you can stay at 1 play at 5.The Aquarium is the only one that doesn’t have a beach, but you can take a free shuttle bus to any of the 5 hotel resorts, .at the Aquarium they have a pool bar, snack bar, 24 hour bar, 4 restaurants, a patio a disco tech, a water sports area. You can snorkel, kayak, jets ski, kite ski. Scuba dive and surf sail. If you’re not into sports you can have a drink at the bar and go swimming in the pool or work on your tan while listening to Colombian music( mostly salsa, merenge and reggae) The disco is above the 24 hour bar.

The service is great. The staff are friendly and hospitable. I ate at 4 different restaurants (sea food, steak house, Italian and international buffet) just at the Aquarium alone. The food and drinks are great Sometimes I drank Pina Coladas and sometimes Sexo Calente (gin + orange juice + grenadine + ice). Depending on the bartender the drinks can be pretty strong. One time I had only 2 and a half drinks and had to lie down after I felt my head spinning. LOL The amazing thing is I didn’t get a hangover the next morning.

The island is small so you can travel around the island in 2 hours. The white sand, coral rock, clear water, beautiful trees and wild life, are a feast for the eyes. At one part of the island, there’s a big hole in the ground that extents to the ocean, or so it seems. The islanders call it a Blow Hole because when the tide is strong water from the ocean will blow or gush strait up to the sky. I also went to see the cave. You can step into the cave up to a certain point then see the water at the bottom.

San Andreas has 3 very small islands within 10 minute speed boat ride distance. 2 of the Islands are so close together you can walk from one to the other in up 4 and a half feet of ocean. One of the islands is so small it just fits a restaurant and a bit of beachfront property on it. The restaurant made awesome red snapper lunch including a drink served in a coconut shell. On the other side of the restaurant is very shallow part of water called a Reef. (I think) I sat in the so called Reef part and felt the low tides coming to me at both ends slapping me in the face. LOL



I took a cab to the Hill part of the Island, which is high enough you can see half of San Andreas Island. What a view! The average rainfall while I was there was only 2 minutes. You can see one quite small rain cloud pass you by. At the Aquarium I seen lots of different birds fish lizards and crayfish or crabs.

Shopping is cheap in San Andreas but so is the average income of an islander. Tourism is the main source of income there. One US dollar is 2000 pesos, that’s one beer. LOL

I really had a great time at San Andreas and I would recommend going there for vacation.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 Josie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Medellin, Colombia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 12, 2012

We just came back from San Andres a couple of days ago.
The hotel was sold to us as a 5 star-hotel but it is definitely not. Still we had a terrific time because the ocean is amazing and there are many things to do.
The rooms are nice and clean and the staff were very friendly.
As most all-inclusive hotels the quality of the food and cocktails was average.
They do put effort on offering you variety at the buffet but don't expect anything amazing.
Out of the 5 Decameron hotels in San Andres, this is definitely the most complete having swimming pools and ocean (but not beach), offering water sports (kayak, wind surf, kite surf, snorkeling) and being located right in the heart of the island (close to the duty free shops and the main San Andres beach).

We do have our complains though as one of their selling strategies is to promote that you will have access to all their hotels and will have the opportunity to dine at their "A la carte" restaurants but is not that simple.
To book in one of these "A la carte" restaurants is a real mission. They only allow you to book on the same day and the places are limited, so generally by 8.30 is all booked up (bookings open at 8). Not fun.
Also, when we finally managed to book dinner at "Los Delfines" restaurant, it was a horrible experience.
One of the waitresses was extremely rude, the food tasted old and despite being empty the service was terrible. We couldn't make it beyond the starter and ran away from there.

They got another negative mark as we got back to our hotel and wanted to complaint with one of the managers but we waited around 10 minutes and the manager didn't show up. We gave up.

San Andres was a cool experience. Swimming with stingrays and snorkeling at the coral reef are a must!

Room Tip: Definitely ask for a room with sea view (if you ask nicely the girls will sort it out for you).
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank MarceSanchez16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 12, 2012

We had our son's wedding at the Aquarium in May 2012. The hotel and complex is very good value for the money. All the staff were good. The food was very good. Entertainment was fun and well done. All the wedding party had a great time, and I would definitely recommend the Hotel. Also we did a couple of excursions to the island and they were quite fun. We had the wedding off site, on the beach and it was terrific.

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean or pool view
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank OttBob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gatineau, Canada
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 11, 2012

For the price you pay you expect getting a a 5 start hotel experience, but you don't. Sadly the Aquarium is the best of the Decameron hotels, but it doesn't have a private beach. Food is ok but not great.

Staff, on the other hand, is very helpful, makes your stay pleasant and strive to make you feel at the best hotel (Darcy, Carlos and Lisseth were great). The first night we assigned a room close to the activity are, and we requested to get a new one. The following date we got the best of the rooms, amazing view, far from noisy areas and on a third floor (just as we requested).

Too bad they no longer offer the inter-hotel bus ride, so you can enjoy all other hotels without having to rent a car.

Room Tip: You may want to get rooms for from the pool area, and with ocean view ;)
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Raptorjd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 24, 2012

I think it is important to report this on Trip Advisor. Decameron hotels are very good and inside it feels secure and comfortable. However, outside it is not as safe as reported to be. I have tried writing to Decameron and had no response. I believe that crime reports are suppressed and the danger is that tourists have a false sense of security. Travelling at slow pace on the roads around the island by golf buggy is very common indeed. Our group, myself, husband and 2 Colombian friends and their 15 month baby rented one from opposite our hotel, the Aquarium. A short distance from the Marazul hotel we had a shocking incident when 2 men ran in front of the golf buggy and robbed us at knife point. We were lucky the moment when the road was traffic free was so short or the outcome may have been much worse. I had a huge machete held to my throat and when I raised my arm to protect myself my camera strap was slashed from my wrist and my camera was stolen. Our friends in the front had a baby and they were terrified for their child. The driver chose to drive the buggy into the bushes to block off one side with the intention of protecting the baby. Their bag was stolen and they were threatened with the knife. It happened very quickly and the men were obviously experienced and waiting for a quiet moment on the road. The police did attend but failed to pursue the men and after a long time at the police station it was clear they were not intending to do anything at all. They would not issue a report and said 'surely you do not want to make us do paperwork just for a theft.' They then seemed rather threatening and our Colombian friends who are lawyers said we should leave immediately. Whilst we were in the police station 2 other similar incidents were taking place, one at the Blowhole, which was where we ourselves had been heading. So please take note and don't use the golf buggies as you are so exposed and vulnerable. And remember insurance claims have to be backed with a police report of the crime - San Andres does not apparently acknowledge that crime is taking place so no chance! The police and the hotel chain have their own reasons for suppressing the information. All I can do is warn other people to take care. It is a beautiful place but not the safe haven it appears to be.

Room Tip: pool area possibly noisy block 12 and 13 are good
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
16 Thank linda a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bogota
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2012

The good. Very good hotel, food & drinks, clean rooms, people, fun enterteinment at nights, sea sports. Try to drink Coco-fresa, the special hotel drink. Good pool, water a little cold. All inclusive is great. The sea food restaurant, excellent.

Average. You can swim into the ocean, but the hotel has no beach.

I recommend: A tour to Johhny Cay, and the Aquarium. Beautiful beaches and cristal clear water.

Room Tip: Rooms towards the sea are better to avoid the noise of the late shows and music.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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?
1 Thank DIEGO F G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Decameron Aquarium

Property: Decameron Aquarium
Address: Avenida Colombia 1-19, San Andres Island, Colombia
Location: Colombia > San Andres and Providencia Department > San Andres Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in San Andres Island
#3 Spa Hotel in San Andres Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Decameron Aquarium 3.5*
Number of rooms: 297
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

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