We stayed at the Nina for a total of three nights. We were flying standby for our vacation, so we came down a night early before our AI stay and then we stayed in Playa two more nights after the AI waiting for flight loads to open up. Better than waiting around in an airport, for sure!
We took ADO bus from airport, got off and walked right to the Nina, with our six year old daughter. The Nina is in a great location. It's one block from the tourist shopping area and then continue on to the beach another block away.
We weren't sure what to expect for $38 a night. We loved almost everything about it tho.
First of all, the staff were all friendly and were genuinely interested in helping us with directions etc. and I had a good, long conversation with one of the employees about work life in Playa.
Because there were three of us, they gave us a room directly above the reservation area. They said they don't use it often. This room was huge, I think it was about 26x22 feet. It had two beds, a large dining table, three other chairs/love seats a kitchen counter with sink, a gas stove and oven, floor to ceiling shelving, tv, bathroom. If you were on a budget and didn't want to eat out all the time, you could cook on the stove and oh yeah, it had a fridge too to store your food. The gas stove wigged me out a little bit, but my husband used it to heat up some leftovers and we survived. They did not have a pan to loan out, walmart is a few minutes away if you wanted to buy one.
All that said, not sure if they let you reserve this room, or they only use it if you have more than two in your party, sorry, didn't ask about that. Might be worth looking into, though,
The other rooms did look pretty small.
We felt very safe there. It is close enough to all the action, there were tons of cops around and lots of street trafffic. Easy access to cabs. I think they close the gates to the hotel sometime at night and whenever I walked into the hotel, someone always checked to see who was coming in.
The other guests seemed like "normal" folk, have to admit, didn't know if it was going to be a seedy place at that cost but it was not like that at all.
The hotel has a lovely little courtyard if you wanted to lay around and read a book. Daughter liked searching for almonds.
The only thing off about our stay was that the floor of our room was white tile and looked clean but turned our feet completely black. We should have given them a chance to make it right but we just made do and hubby tried cleaning the floor once but that wasn't a big success. Don't know what the deal is with that.
Also, we made reservations on the El Tukan website and that worked out fine except they really only use it to reserve a room. We had to "pay" when we got there. If you can get your pesos before you get there, that would help so you don't get charged a foreign transaction fee on your credit card. We did not have any troubles with getting double charges on our credit card or anything like that.
They offered a free shuttle service to the sister hotel El Tukan where you can use the pool or go further on in the shuttle to the beach club. They only run the shuttle every few hours and we felt like we would be sorta stuck too far away from the Nina so I don't know how all that was.
A relaxing vacation for us is at an AI, but if you like getting out and about town, the Nina is a good place to start if you are on a budget. The friendly staff there are a real highlight of our whole vacation.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC