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“Simply Perfect”

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Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol
Ranked #1 of 35 Holbox Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Canton of Vaud, Switzerland
Level 6 Contributor
96 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“Simply Perfect”
Reviewed January 18, 2013

It's snowing outside! It's cold and windy and where I want to be is Isla Holbox and more specifically Palapas del Sol. I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, the sultry breeze on my face, taste Estella's amazing food and enjoy one of Martin's great mojito's. Is it possible to feel homesick for a place where you've only spent two weeks?

My wife and I had the most amazing stay over the Xmas and New year holidays. Neither of us had visited Mexico before and I was tasked with finding somewhere to chill out and relax, somewhere that was off the beaten track and we found it at Palapas del Sol.

This is not a 5 star hotel, I'm not even sure that you can call it a hotel. On the website Adriana describes it as a 'hotelito' and although I'm not quite sure what that means, I like it. Think of Palapas del Sol as a B&B and I think that you are half way there. The rooms in their freestanding blocks are truly comfortable, with huge bed, idiosyncratic furnishings, a couple of hammocks and an ensuite. Meals are taken communally on the terrace in front of Estella's kitchen. Palapas del Sol is the home of the amazing staff team that give this place it's life blood. Samuel quietly and competently makes sure that the place is working smoothly. Estella rules the kitchen. Martin is the main speaker of English and among other things makes the meanest cocktails and his wife Cecilia ensures that your room is kept in exquisite condition. As with any family home you can expect children to be running around and the two little boys are, as all little boys should be, true scamps.

Isla Holbox feels remote, you've made the effort to get here and so be prepared for the odd thing to go wrong. One night the entire island had intermittent power cuts, another evening the wind was so strong that guests ate in the kitchen. whilst on another, my wife and I didn't have any hot water in our room but as soon as we mentioned this to Samuel and Martin they dropped everything and within 30 minutes it was fixed.

Palapas del Sol does have its quirks. One of the main ones is that nothing is priced. You are encouraged to help yourself to beer and soft drinks in the kitchen and if Martin isn't around to mix yourself a drink at the bar. All you do is then make sure you mark it on your sheet on the kitchen wall. Estella tempts you with amazing home cooked food. But you never (unless you ask of course) know 'how much'. We weren't too worried by this, we saw the prices in town and felt that if Palapas del Sol was anywhere close the end bill would be fine. Strangely we saw other departing guests smile as they paid their bills. We too were very pleased when we got the bill. I'm not going to spoil any surprises but it was very good value compared to town.

The other thing to work out is the question of what to have for breakfast. I must admit that my Spanish is virtually non existent and there is no menu. But basically breakfast is a bowl of amazingly tasty fruit, a glass of juice, tea or coffee and eggs. Not just any eggs I hasten to add. But Estella's Huevas Rancheros (crispy tortilla, beans, fried egg, salsa) or Huevas Mexicana (scrambled eggs with vegetables). You can ask for Pan Tostados (toast) or, if you end up like me, tortillas. If you dare ask for Chile you'll get a small bowl of freshly chopped habanero chile in lemon juice, works great with the Huevos Mexican and the Empanadas and the Tacos and the......

I am a self confessed foodie and you've probably worked out that I am a fan of Estella's food. Lunches and dinners are based around seafood, meat is served only very occasionally. Fish Empanadas, fish Tacos, guacamole, salad, ceviche and more are all available. For a more substantial meal Martin & Samuel will grill freshly caught fish and its fun deciding with them what type of fish you fancy before they go to the market to buy.

I need to tell you about how we were spoiled on New Year's Eve. A communal dinner of Lobster and Champagne, dessert and coffee. Followed by a bonfire on the beach complete with marshmallows to toast in the glowing embers and the surprise of watching fireworks down the beach. An amazing memory cherish.

Here are a few of my top tips if you decide to stay at Palapas del Sol...
Leave your hang-ups at home, chill, relax and enjoy the warmth and hospitality that this place offers.
The watch tower can only be accessed through one room, if this is important to you ask for the 1st floor red room.
Expect biting insects around dusk. There is a basket of miscellaneous insect repellents (and sun cream) that you can make use of. We found that Johnson's Baby Mosquito Repellent worked best for us.
Be respectful, this is home to Samuel et al.
If you want to be rewarded by one of the most beautiful smiles that this world has to offer then take your empty meal plates into the kitchen and Estella might just reward you.
Everyone says that Estella's cooking is the best food on the island. After eating in several Isla Holbox restaurants and enjoying some good food in the process, I can gladly confirm that this is true!
We watched a lot of guests come and go, some only staying one or two nights. To truly appreciate Palapas del Sol you need to stay longer than that.

And a couple of more general points...
Book ahead, over the holidays there were nights when every bed on the island was taken.
Isla Holbox is mainly a cash economy. The two ATM's aren't reliable and the bureau de change will limit the amount of cash that you can exchange. So bring plenty of Mexican Peso.

I should also add that although we never met Adriana, the emails that we exchanged before and after our holiday were immensely helpful in organising our stay and set the scene perfectly for our arrival.

On a final note, I just want to share my wife's description of our holiday at Palapas del Sol.

"Perfect".

I need say no more.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Steve C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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241 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 1, 2012

I am going to remember my 33rd birthday forever. And this is not because of the "perfect storm" Sandy relinquishing her fury back in NY. I don't think it is the symbolism of this age either. It is just being with my perfect husband Luciano in a perfect spot on earth - at Palapas del Sol on the Holbox island in Mexic.  His search for a destination was kept as a very deep secret in our house, until the very moment we boarded the airplane.  All the excitement and anticipation was fully matched by what we found at our destination. It was serendipity, everything felt like it was meant to be... A country road and a typical golf cart that serves as taxi and main mode of transportation on the island takes you to a cosy ensemble of beautiful little colorful houses washed by warm turquoise waves - Palapas del Sol. We were welcomed by the owner of the place - Adriana, an aerial presence, barefoot on the white soft sand,  like a fairy of the island, beautiful,  spiritual and kind. Our room brought its own authentic touch with its furniture built by local Mayan carpenter. Daily fresh roses, comfortable bed and impeccable white swans made out of towels by the sweet Cecilia added to the whole picture. As for the food... Well, you want to eat not because you are hungry, but because it is so good and you don't want to miss anything! After the first meals, we gave up on the idea to try any of the multitude of restaurants around and decided to stick with Estela's home cooking. At the end, nothing could be better, healthier, more delicious than the recipes her mother taught her, rooted in long Mayan tradition, together with her own passion to cook for you, her talent and inventiveness. Lisa fish on the grill, lobster, octopus in tomatoes sauce, fresh salads and fruit, amazing deserts, most exquisite Mexican wine, all that on a front open deck by the sea, listening to the birds singing accompanied by the wind and dancing waves. Everyone in the house seemed part of the family and conspired to make our stay unforgettable - Martin and Topo, who arranged the little cabana on the beach with candles defying the northern winds and flowers for my birthday dinner, their little sons running carefree in the sun ... The perfect place to discover wild beaches and sunbathe topless. The perfect place to forget about time, actually time does not exist in Palapas del sol. Ah, yes, the fishing! Juan took us in his boat to the Passion island, an uninhabited little corner of paradise. We fished on our way there, all three of us, and while me and my husband were enjoying ourselves on the little island ( we circled  it twice by feet, admiring the huge flocks of pink flamingoes, pelicans and iguanas, seemingly having their typical  board meeting by the island), Juan prepared for us the most mouthwatering ceviche from the fish we caught ourselves! The sea is so rich and so generous there, rewarding the people who treat her gently by taking away from her only what they need for their daily beautiful, simple lives. We were able to separate from this oasis of serenity only after promising ourselves that we are going to return as soon and as often as possible. After all, the season for swimming with the whale-sharks by palapas del sol in holbox starts exactly at our wedding anniversary - month of May!! As little Gabriel puts it... Ay, mamacitaaa!:)))

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank lucianoelmonarca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 28, 2012 via mobile

first things first: palapas del sol is a very special place. the seven bungalows are build directly to the beach, have lots of space, huge beds and they are rich of nice details. and they are very clean, too (the sheets have a fantastic smell). the service is also brilliant, we were treated like members of the small palapas family. the place is run by adriana and stella and her family. adriana is a very openminded, helpful and sympathic person, which helps you with every little thing you need or know about the paradise island holbox. stella is an excellent cook, if you have a special wish, they will drive to the markets and get the ingredients as fresh as possible. we had several dinners in different restaurants about the island-stellas menu was definetely the best. so again: palapas del sol is a very special place run by very special people and it shold earn more than the highest rate. we will come back, for sure.

Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank advistripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AdrianafromHolbox, Owner at Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol, responded to this review, September 5, 2012
Dear guest,

Thank you very much on behalf of Estela, Samuel, Cecilia, Martin and myself. Estela is so happy with your review, today she is making tamal frito de chaya organica, which is an organic chaya (yucatan peninsula native kind of spinach from our backgarden) fried and crispy topped with homemade tomato sauce and a stuffing of pepita molida (crushed seeds). Estela really likes to work with local Yucatecan ingredients for her fresh and healthy dishes.
Your review made the Palapas family proud, happy and shiny and is motivating us to continue what we like best, make our guests feel welcome and at home!
Hope to receive you soon again, warm regards from another beautiful day on Isla Holbox,

Adriana & family
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2012

We stayed five days at Palapas del Sol in July with our two daughters (two years and nine months old), and could not have a better time. The hotel is great, the location ideal—right at the beach, just a few minutes walk from town, so it’s more tranquil and peaceful than other hotels which are in town. The hotel is nicely decorated, and the atmosphere extremely friendly and relaxed.
But the best thing about Palapas is the people there, who make you feel at home. Adriana, Samuel, and Estela are wonderful, and they make your stay enjoyable. They really go out of their way to make your stay a great one, always making sure you are having a great time there, and helping you out with things to do outside the hotel as well (even recommending good restaurants in neighboring hotels!). They are very warm, friendly, and relaxed and they were especially nice and warm with our little daughters. The food is also great, thanks to Estela which is the best! Breakfast was excellent, with tasty fruits and natural juices. We also had lunch and dinner and it was always delicious and fresh food.
Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at Palapas, we will come back for sure and will recommend Holbox, and particularly Palapas to family and friends. We wish we had stayed longer. Clementina and Milagros could not have had better vacations!! Clemen is still missing Josue and Saul so much!
Thank you!! Rosalia, Sebastian and the babies

Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank RosaliaySebastian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AdrianafromHolbox, Owner at Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol, responded to this review, August 27, 2012
Hello sweet and beautiful family, thank you so much for your beautiful and positive review! It was a great pleasure to have you with us, and we are looking forward to your next stay with us. Estela says thank you so much, and she thinks back a lot too of your sweet and precious babies. At the moment Estela is specializing in healthy food, and she is getting really so good at vegetarian and vegan interpretations of traditional Yucatecan and Mexican food. This week she made a vegetable stuffed chile in home made coconut milk and she spiced it with curry and it was....well exquisite! She had to repeat the recipe three more times for our guests and she is enjoying very much that our guests are leaving these recommendations for her. Thanks again, for all, warm wishes and hugs from us at Palapas del Sol.

Samuel, Estela, Josue and Adriana and the rest of the Palapas del Sol family:)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Den Haag, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2012

We are staying in THE hotel palapas del sol at holbox, à dream island for nature, relaxtation, fishing, beautiful animals etc. But the one thing that makes our stay complete and more fantastisch is THE hotel PALAPAS DEL SOL with his pure impression of people, rooms. The rooms are decorated by his owner, Adriana. It is à combination of typical mexican romance, style and beautiful woodculture. THE details she brings in to THE rooms are amazing and so tasteful. There is à lovely big pool also incredible decorated at THE center of all the rooms. Nearly all The rooms have à seaview and if not, one step out of THE room and you have à view you will never forget. The owner and her staff (wich I am not allowed to call staff because it's one family) are so kind and helpfull, everything is possible. They want you to feel at home. The hotel provides you breakfast, afternoon bites and diner on demand. The have an excellent team in The kitchen. And what is so nice about it, is that there is à big diningtable in front of the kitchen at the veranda, where all the gasts are coming together for sharing experiences of the day. That is such a nice experience and feeling good moment. Everything is very clean and fresh. On the beach there are chairs that belongs to the hotel. THE beach is also very impressively decorated with large beds for three persons. Please come to see for your self. One note and than I stop my review because I can go one for many more lines. The owner and her "family" are so helpfull: helping you by planning trips, restaurants, first aid for everything etc. Etc.

Thank you Adrianna, Topo, Estella, Lucy, Martin and his wife for making our stay more than worthfull.

Ps. THE owner is also very spiritual and yogadreaming, wich makes that she is so relaxing that nog I am too.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Daphne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AdrianafromHolbox, Owner at Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol, responded to this review, August 13, 2012
Dear Daphne, you are a profound pleasure to have and after having had you and your beautiful family and friends here for two weeks, I am not really looking forward to the moment you are leaving, but you will forever stay in my heart, thank you very much your positive review, and for being such a beautiful person with all of us. Just for the record, Samuel, Estela and myself we´re equally involved in the decoration of the rooms. Samuel is an artist with shells and driftwood, and Estela has been sawing those beautiful and romantic anti mosquito drapings over the king sized beds. We love to work together with local workers, our new beach beds we´re designed by Diego here on the island, all other beach furniture was made with sustainable woods in a Mayan community on the mainland. I just mean to say, with these great people around us anything is possible on Isla Holbox or Mexico for that matter. Life is truly a beach on Isla Holbox. Promise to come back soon, love ABDC
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mexico City, Mexico
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed August 7, 2012

There was nothing I didn't like about Palapas del Sol. First of all, let me say that I am not a "5star hotel lover". I am always pursuing to find the best ambience in small and personal hotels. The experience I was looking for, as a solo traveller, was to feel relaxed and enjoy myself; the staff at Palapas del Sol was so welcoming and warm that I couldn´t feel better. I felt like if I was at home and they were family. The food is great, the ambience is fabulous and I enjoyed every single second of my stay there. If you consider coming here, the only thing I would suggest is to bring a really good insect repellent, but the nature bites had nothing to do with the hotel =D You should try the "Empanadas de Raya", believe me that it´s a lifechanging experience. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Carla S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AdrianafromHolbox, Owner at Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol, responded to this review, August 13, 2012
Dearest Carla!!! Thank you so very much for your stay with us and please come back soon, you are a wonderful person and we so enjoyed your stay with us for a full week, though it seemed to have flown by in a second. With you and Nacho & family we felt beautiful friendships emerge and we were all very much enjoying every second of the day, as much as you do. I love to remember you first seconds watching the ocean from the dining table, you made an everlasting memory, thank you so much sweetheart, hope to see you soon again, lots of warm sunshine from all of us here at Palapas del Sol, Adriana
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Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 1, 2012

One of the most beautiful and quiet hotel we've ever been! Recently built with all natural material, respectful of the environment, only few rooms - all ocean view, on the beach, facing the paradise sea of Isla Holbox. The welcoming was really warm and we litterally felt at home. You can also eat on site, depending what the adorable Mexican cooker can prepare for you. Nice advice also for visits to do. In brief: paradise on Earth if you look for a quiet, natural and luxury place in Holbox.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank KallistaTrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AdrianafromHolbox, Owner at Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol, responded to this review, August 13, 2012
Thank you very much for your staying with us in Palapas del Sol, and your positive review here on Tripadvisor, We enjoyed spending time with you and would love to welcome you for another stay whenever you´re in need of some relaxation time on the most beautiful island of Isla Holbox,

Love and many thanks to you both!

Adriana
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol

Property: Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol
Address: Paseo Kuka | Playa Norte, Holbox Island 77310, Mexico (Formerly Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol)
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Holbox Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 35 B&Bs / Inns in Holbox Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Casa Palapas del Sol is an ocean front beach hotel intimate and quiet with 16 rooms. All rooms have air-conditioning, private entrances, bathrooms and balconies or terraces with hammocks and seating area. A relaxed beach retreat for barefoot island living. Authentic and genuine Mayan hosts with the intention to make you feel at home At Palapas del Sol and in the restaurant the freshest local ingredients available on the island are used to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. A beach front pool, beach palapas with hammocks and king size beach beds invite you to enjoy this so privileged spot. We happily assist our guests with transfers, tours, spa and beauty services, romantic dinners on the beach, honeymoon suite available. ... more   less 
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