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Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel
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Reviewed January 1, 2014

Casa de Maria, a Kali Hotel, is not only a hotel, but an out of the way, northern Colombia jungle retreat. If you get the top house, each morning when you arise, you are surrounded by vistas of forest and sea. This large property is ideally located a short walk from the sea, where you’ll find the most private beach I’ve ever seen in Colombia, and it is wide and long. You’ll not find any aggressive vendors, and in fact we were the only people there. Mother Nature is at her best on the well kept hotel grounds and refreshing swimmimg pool. Dining is in the lower house, it’s meant to be casual, and the staff are humble and are being themselves, (the best kind of staff!) The food was great, but make sure you try the restaurant on the beach for a rustic feeling away from all the typical tourist hassels.

Overall, a fantastic stay and conveniently located minutes from Tayrona National Park. This is the closest my wife and I will ever have of a Tarzan and Jane experience!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank NOprcline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 3, 2014

Thank you so much for this review. We are very proud to offer this unique property as a stand alone vacation destination, as well as part of a package with our other Kali hotels. As you mentioned, the beach is still pristine - you only share is with the local fisherman! Its great that you tried to lunch offered on the beach. The fisherman are very happy to cook you up the day's catch under shade of their cabana. Thanks again for your coming, and we hope to see you again soon!

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Reviewed December 9, 2013

Previous reviews have pretty much said it all about the location, it really is amazing; both where the hotel itself is and the stunning beaches nearby that you can have to yourself (unlikely to happen in the park itself). The pool is lovely with great views and, again, given there are only four rooms, this is virtually 'private' as well. Definitely worth getting there if you can although i suspect booking well in advance is going to be necessary in the not too distant future.
My only 'buts' are these:
The check out experience was bizarre. The manager (Juan Diego) just shows you a calculator with a number punched in and informs you that is what you have to pay. When i asked for a breakdown this seemed to cause him considerable irritation (not sure why, this must happen all the time, indeed we overheard the same thing happening with other guests earlier the same day). I obviously knew the room rate we had booked at but this needs to be confirmed and i didn't know how the final balance had been arrived at as the cost of food had never been mentioned (it should be discussed during check in). It also turned out that a 'propina' had been added which Juan Diego ,without waiting for me to agree, immediately assumed i would want removed and started to scribble out a receipt that excluded it. As it happened, once i understood what he had done, i was happy to include it (i sincerely hope it goes to the lovely natured staff) but the whole experience was unprofessional and disappointing. In addition he had an open wound on one finger which looked as if it was in need of urgent medical attention and should certainly have been covered up and not on view to guests. In terms of being helpful with regard to getting around the local area we had more luck with the guy in the local shop who gave us precise instructions and even stopped the bus for us and told the driver where to drop us. Juan Diegos advice boiled down to 'its about 15 minutes in that direction'. Not impressed with him at all and he lets the Villa Maria down.
Other reviews have mentioned the food and it seems it is what it is (simple but generally Ok although on the second night my girlfriends fish was virtually raw) but it seems a shame to have a good quality BBQ on the porch and never use it - would be an easy way to introduce some variety as would swapping rice for a baked potato occasionally for example.
Its such a special place i feel bad pointing these things out but they are important and they did have an impact on our overall enjoyment of our stay.

Room Tip: We were in room 1 which is the smallest and doesnt have a tv. The new rooms (3 and 4) probably have the best views.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank icantfindanAm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 20, 2013

Thank you for your review. We are so happy to have accommodated you during your stay here on the Colombian coast. I'm glad you mentioned the pristine beach in front of Villa Maria. Part of the reason we are so passionate about our location is the fact that the beach compares to Tayrona Park in quality but is much less crowded with easier access.

I am so sorry about the "buts" you had during your experience. They are quality suggestions that we appreciate and have used them to improve Villa Maria. Here's how:

We have an online booking and property management system that we can access from our operations base in Santa Marta. Having recently installed a limited access mobile internet modem out there, we can now access our property management system directly from the computer at Villa Maria. This allows us to show detailed invoices at checkout, alter them accordingly, and even print them so you can take them with you. Our previous system was the best we could do without internet, but since your visit it has gotten much more sophisticated.

The propina is a completely voluntary add on to your bill. We try to accept all tips via the credit card charge so they can be fully shared among all employees. We used to calculate a 4% tip, but many guests had mentioned they felt it was too low, so we changed it to 5%.

In the future, if any employee (including the manager) has an open wound, we of course will be sure to have them treat the problem and have someone else handle the situation at hand.

Again, thank you so much for your feedback. We cannot see all things at all times and greatly appreciate it when shortcomings are pointed out so we can correct them as soon as possible.

We hope to see you again and blow you away with our service and quality!

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Reviewed November 25, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for 3 nights in room 1 and our friends stayed in room 4. The property was very rustic with chickens/roosters roaming around and lots of fruit trees. The pool was nicer than expected. They cooked breakfast and dinner for us every day.
Pros: great property in tayrona, friendly staff, relaxing, short ride to the park entrance, nice quiet beach in walking distance, can hear the ocean from your room, nice views - rooms 3 and 4 are the best on the property.
Cons: dont stay here if you don't like bugs - it's in the jungle and its to be expected but if you aren't looking for rustic this isn't the place for you. They don't speak any English so it was difficult to communicate. Other guests helped us translate so we got by. The dinners are basically the same food every day but good and simple (we loved the homemade picante sauce!) - costs about 50k for two people per dinner.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank PreilavTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 15, 2013

Thank you so much for the review. We are very proud to offer our jungle retreat by itself, or as an addition to your Santa Marta vacation. We try to offer the highest level of luxury possible for the rural location. We are in the process of developing a more complicated menu, so next time you come, we hope you will be pleasantly surprised!

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Reviewed November 20, 2013

After two days in NP Tayrona (playa Brava and playa Cabo), we stayed a night in the top floor suite in Villa Maria. This small hotel is located in a wonderful place with absolutely stunning views of the ocean and the mountains. The hotel has a very comfortable pool and a very large beach on walking distance (approx. 8 minutes), which turned out to be a private beach when we were there.

The service was excellent, as was the food. During our stay, a local fisherman came by with the largest lobster we have ever seen. A few hours later, the lobster was prepared for us on the bbq and served as diner. Definitely, one of the best meals in Colombia.

Thanks for the lovely stay at your hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LAvdP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 15, 2013

Thank you so much for this great review. We are so happy you enjoyed your time at our jungle retreat. It is truly a slice of paradise. Not everyone tries the lobster, but everyone should! Its fresh, locally-caught, and so good. The scene at the beach is authentically Colombian, and something everyone should experience when visiting the coast. Thanks again!

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Reviewed November 3, 2013

My husband and I spent several days here in October 2013. I have traveled quite a bit in Colombia, and have never been to a more wonderful place! Villa Maria is located in an absolutely stunning location, with a view of the ocean and the nearby mountains. It is very close to Tayrona Park - just a few minutes' bus ride away - and also has a pool (with an equally stunning view) and is a short walk from the beach.

Villa Maria has essentially everything you could ask for - it is lovely and easy to spend a day around the property at the pool and local beach, or to head to Tayrona either for more beach time or hiking. The service was excellent, as was the food, and the lunches and dinners we had there beyond the included breakfast were both delicious and affordable. Juan Diego and the rest of the staff all took care of every possible need that we had, and had good recommendations about the area and Colombia in general. The rooms were clean and well appointed, and it is clear they have taken great care in general to make the property beautiful and welcoming to guests. They pay attention to the little details, too - for example, there was always a beach bag for us to use with fresh beach towels, and they have cool filtered water available in the dining room to fill water bottles.

It is hard to imagine a more lovely, relaxing way to spend a few days on the coast than to be at Villa Maria - we will certainly be back!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Fetaki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
brian_sutcliffe, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded November 11, 2013

Thanks for this great review as I too think this is a special place which anyone traveling to the coast should experience. When you return please book early as we have limited space and have to unfortunately turn away many people trying to book as we were full. We hope to expand in 2014 but it is only in the early planning stages at this point.

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