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“Beautiful hotel and location but not quite excelent.”
Review of Hotel Banana Azul

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Hotel Banana Azul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 15, 2009

This place is beautiful no doubt. It is quite new and is kept very clean. The decor was amazing, the staff was great and the bartender, Franklin, was one of the best ever. I decided to stay here because of this site, but I wish I had read more about it. I gave it a 4 star rating because I enjoyed my stay overall. I just want to make sure everyone reading this knows everything about it.

They put in a jacuzzi and pool recently but the jacuzzi isn't heated so nobody uses it. The bed we had was the worst bed I think I have ever slept on. We were in the Dolphin Suite. Our neighbor told me his was really bad too. The water pressure there was almost nothing so if anyone was showering while you were or a toilet flushed then the water almost disappeared. (This might not be Banana Azul's fault but I am just telling you what I dealt with.) The towels seemed like they were bought at a yard sale being all different colors and sizes and quality. The chairs in the main area looked nice but were not very comfortable.

What saves this place though is the location, the decor, the food and the service. If it wasn't for those things I think I would have left after 1 night. Now I wasn't looking for the nicest place in the world but most of what I listed above are simple fixes outside of the jacuzzi. But come on who builds a jacuzzi without the ability to heat it?!?!

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jcwilliams35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
colinsito, Owner at Hotel Banana Azul, responded to this reviewResponded December 17, 2009

Dear Mr Williams. I am sorry we did not live up to your expectations here at the Banana Azul. Your criticism and comments are valid, but I would like to enlighten you (and potential future guests) about a few of the reasons why things are the way they are.

Yes, the "Jacuzzi" is not heated. It is actually never was meant to be a jacuzzi. We do not promote it that way as we knew that comes with implication that it is heated. We call it our "swirl pool". You might have recalled that the water from the swirl pool is circulated with the pool. Given that the temperatures average about 90 degrees here (with humidity). It never dawned on us that anyone would want more heat. Your observation of no-one using it is different then ours. The whole pool feature which is 5 months old has been very well received. We will continue listening to customers to see if our assumption of what we thought people would want is correct.

In regards to your bed and towels. They are medium quality standard hotel issue here for Costa Rica. We would love to do better but according to our numbers, our rates don't support high end appointments. Our vision here was never to be "high end" or luxury. it was to provide a good value for the average working person to afford a tropical vacation on the beach. Most of the feedback that we get implies that we are succeeding.

The water pressure... Yes, it is low and you are not the first to bring this to our attention. Believe me.. having low water pressure was intentional. During your stay, you might have noticed we are directly on the beach. While most people like that fact - building a hotel in a undeveloped area with no sewer systems can be very tricky as the water table is 1-2 feet below the ground (depending on time of year). Even though we have raised the property we have to be very careful about how much water we put into our septic fields. In addition to our low-flush toilets, we have installed "reducers" on water pipes to restrict the flow in an effort to reduce what goes into the fields. Thankfully for everybody, it is working.

Thanks for noting that we were "not excellent". I would never want to profess we were and I would fear people coming to stay here would come with that expectation. I have given up in life and more so after living in a developing country in trying to achieve excellence. Our motto here is "We strive for progress, not perfection".

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1,178 - 1,184 of 1,544 reviews

Reviewed December 13, 2009

My husband and I stayed here for our 20th anniversary. It was relaxing and refreshing. The staff, service, and food was outstanding. The tour connections were made with the most professional outfitters. The only time things didn't go perfectly was when we arranged our own adventures. Our room was a bit on the small side and the bed could have used a better mattress, but these downs were far outweighed by the ups.

Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
1  Thank nidomio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2009

Two couples, senior citizens, joined the mix of nice customers staying at the worlds best deal, Banana Azul, for almost a week. We were delighted with management, staff, accomodations, service, food, drinks, atmosphere, VALUE, place, location, beach, town, and everything else. The hotel isn't for everyone: I had to cold shave, and missed room service (though only when we wanted to have drinks on our large veranda at cocktail time). The nice rooms are a bit hot during the day, but cool off nicely at night (with the help of an electric fan). Don't expect shampoo and handcream, or those types of amenities, but for the price you can afford to buy everything needed at the supermercado. We also missed the Limon airport (closed - perhaps to open again in January) because getting there and back by other than air is a hastle. The place was short a few lounge chairs for sun sitting at the beach or by the pool, but they will figure that out as they go along.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank BFreeLincolnshire_IL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2009

It's only been a week, and I miss Banana Azul already.

I arrived at Banana Azul on a rainy Sunday night, after a long journey. I was amazed when I first saw the grounds. I was greeted by beautiful landscaping, smiling faces, and friendly dogs running around. I stayed in the Ocean Room #2, the second room from the ocean. Every night, I kept my french doors open so I would wake up to the waves, wild animals, and the smell of breakfast being cooked downstairs. The breakfast is very tasty, and it seemed like it was something new and fresh everyday. Yum! And I miss the delicious coffee that was ready around 5:30 every morning. I would grab my cup of coffee and either walk out to the beach, or relax in one of their many hammocks.

I loved the fact that Banana Azul is a small hotel; I received a very personal experience. Not only did I meet fellow travelers, but I also was pleased to meet Roberto and Colin. They are fantastic and their attention to detail is impeccable. Being a solo traveler, safety was also important to me. I never had any issues with anyone at the hotel or the staff. Everyone had kind smiles, and I felt very comfortable.

I could go on and on about how wonderful and magical this hotel is. I would recommend Banana Azul for anyone visiting Costa Rica or making their way through. I have already talked friends into visiting and I also plan on going back. Pura Vida!

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled solo
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2  Thank SLeigh83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2009

We REALLY enjoyed everything about our stay. Everything about the place was just as we had hoped for. We stayed in the Dolphin Room in the western corner of the second floor. The wooden-floored and wooden-walled room is spacious, with french doors that open to a wrap-around balcony (complete with table, hammock, and adirondack chair). Before arriving, I was concerned the room - directly above the hotel office and closest to the road and small parking area - might be noisy...Not an issue. Indeed, my memories are filled with the sound of the crashing waves on the black-sand beach (which could be seen - through a stand of trees - from our balcony).

On the first floor, beyond the hotel and tour desks, are a comfortable lounge where many took advantage of the free wi-fi; a dining area which offered terrific breakfasts (as well as lunch and dinner, neither of which I can speak to); and a quiet, but well stocked bar. The whole of the first floor is surrounded by a "stream" - stocked with colorful koi and turtles - on the other side of which is the small pool and landscaped grounds. Beyond the grounds, across a small dirt path, is Playa Negra and the ocean. The hotel has a little palapa and a couple plastic adirondack chairs out here, plus a handful of hammocks...a great place to relax before and after a tumble in the ocean - the water here is rough, but definitely didn't feel dangerous - or a walk along the beach.

Speaking of walking along the beach, the hotel is maybe a 30 minute walk along the black sand beach from Puerto Viejo...close enough to be convenient, far away enough to be peaceful. The hotel is also a healthy bike ride south to the beautiful beaches of Punta Uva, and if you're really feeling it, the laid-back town of Manzanillo and its terrific waters. We weren't feeling it, and chose to drive the pothole-filled road to Manzanillo, as we did the smooth highway to Cahuita, about 15 minutes north of the hotel. Here we had a fun walk through the Park, seeing (and hearing!) howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin (aplenty!), a three-toed sloth, birds, and butterflies.

Anyways, we had a great time in the area. And Banana Azul was the perfect place to call home during our stay. The location was ideal, the grounds were lovely, the room was spacious and clean, the staff - all of them - were nothing but friendly. Highly recommended to anybody who visits the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bsmoove1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2009

Looking for a great get away? Try the Banana Azul. The staff will take good care of you, while the excellent cooking will spoil you. Need a cold drink, then Franklin is your man. The owners are gracious and they make the place like a paradise. Enjoy many activities if you choose. I found horseback riding with Vanessa one of my highlights. Ride along the beach and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Vanessa has brochures at the lodge.
Seeing is believing is seeing!
Raymond

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled solo
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1  Thank ScamperMichigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2009

I had a fantastic 4 night stay at banana azul, i have zero complaints. The staff were helpful and friendly. The rooms clean with a great balcony. The breakfasts were fantastic. I didnt eat dinner here but I hear the food was good from other guests, personally when on holiday id rather explore the local area for dinners.

They arrange any trip you want here with great ease and just add it to your bill. I am surprised to read any bad reviews of this place. I stayed in 8 different places around costa rica all within this price bracket, this was one of the best, and by far the best we stayed along the whole carribean coast.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank lpentelow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Banana Azul

Address: Playa Negra, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
#1 Romantic Hotel in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Price Range: $47 - $154 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Banana Azul 3.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Banana Azul hotel is a small and simple hotel north of town on Playa Negra. The small boutique hotel has been created with care using local products and a philosophy that emphasizes relaxation. We cater to adults, 16 years and over. Blooming gardens adorn the property, as does several freely-hanging hammocks, providing the perfect spot for afternoon napping or leisurely reading. A meandering pond inhabited by fish and turtles flows through portions of the property adding a lighter element to the ongoing natural soundtrack of waves crashing against the shoreline. The hotel consists of 22 beautiful guest rooms with private baths, fans (some with A/C), and free WiFi. Most rooms are on the second floor of the main building, and open onto a large veranda with sweeping ocean views and of the garden. Banana Azul offers its guests a quaint restaurant that serves a complimentary filling breakfast, variety of lunch options and refreshing drinks throughout the day and a relaxing three entre dinner option in a romantic atmosphere at night. Caribe Fun Tours is on site to assist with tours and transportation needs and can assist with a variety of package options including visits to the Arenal Volcano, canopy tours, snorkeling trips, and even rafting excursions. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Banana Azul Hotel
Banana Azul Puerto Viejo
Hotel Banana Azul Costa Rica/Limon

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