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“You get what you pay for”
Review of Laguna Mar

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Laguna Mar
Ranked #5 of 8 Hotels in Pampatar
Reviewed December 30, 2008

Overall we had a good holiday and got what we paid for but if you are used to staying at good resorts in the Caribbean you will be disappointed. That said, the hotel seemed only half full and I imagine this was because other tour operators had told potential guests that the hotel was carrying out renovation work. First Choice didn’t let us know that in all the time we were there the Jacuzzis would be out of bounds, the wave pool wasn't working, there was only one slide available, and because the theatre stage was being refurbished, the shows had to take place in the disco. The team did the best they could in the space available but trying to do a dance routine when they were limited to about 12 square feet was difficult for them. Consequently, very few people managed to squeeze into the disco to see the shows.

The hotel consists of two buildings, both exactly the same, one houses the Italian restaurant and one the Mexican. We only went to the Italian once as, although the food was good, it seemed that the staff couldn’t wait to get us out, our next course was on the table the minute we had finished the previous, and we weren’t offered coffee, etc. We much preferred the Mexican restaurant, the food was excellent and if you like your food really hot, ask for salsa sauce. Everyone should order a Mexican coffee because even though it tastes like lighter fluid, the show that the waiter puts on when making the coffee is a delight to watch. We had upgraded to a junior suite and our room had an absolutely massive bed, and three sofas. When we got back to the room after the chambermaid had visited the air conditioning would blast us away, but if we turned it off the floor became damp and slippy.

We preferred not to have lunch in the restaurant on the beach as the birds waiting to steal whatever they could from our plates were such a nuisance. We usually ate lunch at the restaurant in the grounds beyond the largest swimming pools. This is covered in netting so you only get the occasional bird able to get in. They serve a good menu and I can recommend the burgers and pizzas. Amusingly, the English language skills of the staff aren’t that good so after taking your order, the waiters always had a conflab and then returned just to check that a cheeseburger isn’t just cheese in a bun, or “do you want milk in your white coffee?” It was always such a lottery as to whether we got the right meals that we were always smiling in this restaurant.

The beach is not in any way reminiscent of any “bounty advert” beach you have found elsewhere in the Caribbean and I wouldn’t suggest you try snorkelling from the beach as it is too rough, but the sea is wonderfully warm and jumping about in the waves kept me amused on the days we went to the beach. Put your sunbed into the surf to enjoy the relaxing movement of the sea.

Usually we stayed around the pool nearest the hotel. The beds have gazebos around them which are lovely, and could be useful when a breeze became a bit strong, or when there was the occasional shower. The iguana are so used to people that they wander around and beneath the sunbeds, they are beautiful colours. The drawback to spending time around this pool was that the music track, which seemed so good at the start of the holiday, drove us crazy by the end. It lasted several hours but never changed, the hotel definitely needs to invest in a different tape.

The staff in the restaurants and bars are very good, the staff in reception not quite so. We particularly enjoyed Peewee’s Spanish lessons and all the staff appreciated that we took the trouble to try to speak our limited Spanish. In our personal case, when we booked trips the coaches tended to turn up late but this is a very laid back kind of place so we just went with the flow.

My only real complaint relates to the overnight trip into the Orinoco Delta / Canaima. We had looked forward to this trip so much and I feel we were let down by the accommodation. There were a great many wonderful things about this trip, flying over Angel Falls is an unforgettable and magical experience (but if you do this trip in a 12 seater plane, please note that you do NOT need to scare your fellow passengers by getting up to take a photograph from the opposite side of the plane – it turns around so that you get the view from your window too). Another great experience was walking behind and above a waterfall in the National Park. When we were there we experienced a shower of hot rain which really brought home to us that we were in the rainforest. Sadly, upon arriving at the camp the first thing we encountered was a mammoth satellite dish - not what we expected from an eco-park. The netting in the restaurant windows and in our room did not keep the mozzies away from us and we were eaten alive. Although we had brought electric mozzie zappers, there was nowhere to plug them in. Also, if you are given room 11 ask for a different room, the bathroom door doesn’t close and it is very close to the generator which is very noisy. Between the noise and the mozzies, we were awake all night. Although there are showers, the cold water trickles out of them in a very thin drizzle, there is no hot water in the camp. If you are vegetarian you get the same food as everyone else, you just have to leave the meat. Also be aware that a great many people who book this trip do not get to see Angel Falls, the cloud formation can come down very quickly indeed and if the pilot thinks visibility isn’t good enough, he will abandon the trip and return you to the airport. We count ourselves very lucky indeed to have seen this wonderful spectacle as when our pilot came into the restaurant, he said that we should pack up straight away because if we missed our take-off time, we wouldn’t be able to see the Falls and it was touch and go as one of our party wanted to go shopping.

We wouldn’t return to this hotel, even though we met some really nice people, and the splendour of Angel Falls and the surrounding countryside is breathtaking. One last recommendation, take extra money and pay cash for your excursions. We found the rep quite useless at sorting out one of our problems and were most disappointed with his assertion “the way the tour company manages the currency exchanges it works out a lot cheaper to book the trips by credit card”. We found exactly the opposite and had a shock when we got the credit card bill and wished we had paid in cash.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Alli_Ram
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 9, 2008

Just returned from Laguna Mar, had a fabulous time, visited the Orinco Delta and Angel falls, what an experience, had a mud bath on the lost island, (still picking out mud in places that I did not know I had places!).

The hotel is probably one of the best on the island, a little tired in places but not enough to detract from the fabulous holiday we had, be warned though, take a cardigan or similar to cover up in the evenings as the air con in the restaurants is rather fierce! Say hi to Pedro in the lobbie bar of the South Tower, fabulous chap!

  • Stayed: December 2008
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4  Thank jan046
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2008

We have just returned from the lagunamar resort in Margarita, the complex is large but unfortunately, not everything is open. The staff are great and are all extremely courteous and friendly. The hotel could be better the rooms are damp and the air conditioning is too cold, the restaurants are freezing so make sure you take a cardigan. The food leaves a lot to be desired and after a few days becomes very unappertising!!! The weather though was absolutely great, and we went on a few tours, all arranged with marcostours, we actually found his details on this site and I'm glad we booked with him and not first choice as a number of people had their trips cancelled at the last minute. If you go, don't miss out on the Delta cainama trip it was fantastic and something we'll never forget, especially the big piranha caught by my husband. All in all our 2 week holiday was very good value for money, we did so much and met some fantastic people. Oh, and the people of Venezuela are great, so friendly if you make an effort to speak to them you'll have a great time.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank HolliDayKent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2008

Just been to Laguna Mar Resort - Pamptar
what a great place if it was up and running plenty to do for everyone maybe because it was the end of the season?
Staff were really nice and could not do enough for you
the beach was the best...be careful though of the sea as the current is very strong
All inclusive was the best as you had so many restaurants to choose from the beach restaurant was very good all fresh food and the staff were very kind I could not fault any of them
went to went on the 2 days trip to the Camp - remember mosquito repellent as they really do bite and if you can take a mosquito net with you and don't forget to cover up
Great laugh and will be going again

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank bubblesEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2008

We have just return form a 3 nights and 4 days at the resort.. It was wonderful, I have never experienced such lovely service before, the staff was very professional at what they do, they did it all with smiles...
The facilities is wonder ful, the slides, the pools, the waterfall bars and the restaurants.. (The only thing about the bars is that they close at 11pm nightly which was not so good for us who normally exceeds 11pm liming) I enjoyed the Italian restaurant the best.. All the food and drinks was lovely at the other restaurant also, ( although I don't think I can exceed 4 days, because its seem like the same food all the time)
We took an all inclusive package..
We also took a standard room which was good, but we didn't get a good window view, so be sure to ask for a pool view if not balcony..
The spa is out of this world.. Not expensive..
All in all the trip was one of the best trips I've been on..
Im going again in February 2009...
"I can't just ketch one"

Stayed: October 2008
4  Thank DarkieTrinidad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2008

Hi,
Just returned from Laguna Mar and had a brilliant time, weather really hot and air con is a must in the rooms. Lovely breeze down the beach so it was more bearable for being in the sun. Went on 3 trips all arranged by Marcos Tours, his details I obtained from previous reviews. Can't fault anything he did for us and would highly recommend him and his trips which are a fraction of First Choice prices example:
Marcos
Swimming with dolphins 90 USD including transfers
First Choice
107 USD without transfers.
A few people had problems with credit cards not being accepted in Margarita, so it might be worth taking cash/travellers cheques as a back up
Say hello to Carlos( has a funny eye) in th South Lodge restaurant. He is really good and will help you if you want to learn a few phrases in spanish
Marie

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled with friends
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3  Thank chowy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2008

Hotel

Well to be brutally honest, the only problem with the hotel is the 'First Choice' description of 4 star. It may be a venezualan 5 star hotel, but it falls short of the standard for a British hotel.
Having said that, we had a lovely time at the Laguna Mar and made some nice new friends (considering my ability to be anti social that's quite an acheivment...lol)
Hotel is clean and tidy if not a little tired, staff are friendly and more so if a little effort is made to speak some spanish (Speaking slowly and loudly in english does not count as spanish, although some brits think this works...lmao) My one problem with the hotel was the food and that was simply the fact that it did not agree with my pallet, I tried it on several occasions, just not for me.

Excursions

Did a couple, Trimaran trip to coche island (ok)
Also made the effort to do the 2 day trip mentioned on this site several times to go and see angel falls... NOW THERE IS A LIFE CHANGING TRIP. ABSOLUTELY RUDDY MARVELOUS.
Sorry, was I shouting? Must control myself...

Everything about that trip was amazing, including the kayaking down a pirhana infested river.. OOOOooo.

All in all was the holiday worth the money? Yeah it is was.. for the trip to the jungle alone it was worth every penny.

Hi to our new friend Nihal and Ruth, A pleasure to meet you guys. Hope to see you real soon.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Don M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Laguna Mar

Address: Sector Apostadero, Pampatar, Margarita Island 6316, Venezuela
Location: Venezuela > Insular Region > Coastal Islands > Margarita Island > Pampatar
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 8 Hotels in Pampatar
Number of rooms: 406
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Also Known As:
Laguna Mar Pampatar
Laguna Mar Resort
Lagunamar
Laguna Mar Margarita Island, Venezuela

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