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“Very mixed feelings”

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Hotel Playa Scondida
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Isla Baru
Reviewed 2 January 2016

I stayed at Playa Scondida during the Christmas holidays and - although the staff, especially Rafa and Eddiefredo - are absolutely lovely and the venue is pretty, and the hotel still deserves a rating of poor.

Cons:
1) We came to Playa Scondida to relax. Unfortunately, this was impossible, as during the whole time we were there music was blaring from the opposite beach from noon until at least 5 pm. We could barely sleep an afternoon nap and definitely couldn't sit on the deck to relax. Another family came during this time, heard the noise and checked out on the same day. Other guests also complained - at least between ourselves. It might have been different had management, which was aware of this, taken the initiative to offer some sort of recompense to the guests to make up for this.
2) Traveling to Playa Scondida was a nightmare. We were offered three options to get there, including the public boat, which we chose. When we got to the port, the public boat was not allowed to take off by the authorities. Okay - not the fault of the hotel. However, a representative of Playa Scondida who was there - instead of telling us to wait for the next boat - took us to wait for an hour and a half in a house which she locked and kept telling us "15 more minutes and a taxi will come, the driver is stuck in traffic"- and didn't update or provide any information. The taxi did come nearly two hours later, and the taxi driver explained that he was so very late because his car was broken (not traffic). Why they couldn't arrange another car is beyond us. We ended up arriving at 2 pm instead of 10:30 - wasted hours on a short holiday. The first thing the management told us when we finally arrived "this was out of our control". Surely, for real service, the first thing they should have said was "so sorry, here, have a cocktail and we will make it up to you"
3) Tons of mosquitos, continuously bitten despite putting on DEET. As were other guests.
4) Stayed one night in the top room, where the bed was pooed on by some creature during the night. Again, no recompense offered.
5) Worst mojito I have ever drunk

Pros:
1) 5 minutes away from a beautiful Caribbean beach, where if you walk far enough away you will not be hassled by vendors
2) Lovely staff and continuously changing menu
3) Beautiful architecture
4) Free snorkeling and kayaking (which other hotels charge for)

Room Tip: The upstairs rooms don't have a bathroom, you have to go downstairs to the bathroom
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank 972Dana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 - 14 of 76 reviews

Reviewed 16 November 2015 via mobile

I absolutely must give props to Playa Scondida after our wonderful stay. I did a ton of research and almost ended up 2 docks down at Sport Baru but SO glad I didn't! There aren't a ton of overnight accommodations easy to find for this area, thankfully Playa Scondida is so popular on Trip Advisor with detailed reviews or else I could have been very disappointed with this island.
If you are seeking a quiet getaway near Cartegena this is an excellent option. I read all about Playa Blanca and the obnoxious vendors- couldn't bring myself to plan a day trip knowing it could end up feeling more like a hassle. Scondida is great for a night or more of peaceful island time, with the option to mix in other activities. Staff will take you to a smaller private beach by boat, or snorkeling nearby for free. They also have kayaks and bikes you can borrow for free. For a fee you can take a trip to Isla Rosario, get a massage (I did this, $40,000 pesos and worth it!) or rent jet skis from local vendors.
What makes this place so great is its size and service. It's very small with only 4 rooms, so you're never there with more than a small group. We happened to be the only couple the 2 nights we stayed and had the place to ourselves, but there are so many different areas to relax separately it would be quiet either way.
Hands down the service is what blew us away. Rafa is the lead manager and great at making you feel welcome. Very attentive and warm. Eddie Fredo is groundsman and captain, will shuttle you around by boat. The chef, ashamed I don't remember her name, is amazing at her job and makes delicious 3 course meals along with a different fresh juice every breakfast, lunch and dinner. My only regret on this trip was buying a coco loco on the beach (unaffiliated with hotel), the likely culprit behind a very nasty intestinal bug we caught leaving us unable to fully enjoy the last 2 days of delicious meals and fun. Despite our state, the staff did everything they could to make us comfortable and enjoy the trip. Thankfully the owner, Fernando, was also there for part of our stay and kind enough to take us on a wild goose chase through tiny Baru seeking medical care. It turned out to be a memorable adventure! We left feeling truly fulfilled. 100% recommend!

Stayed: November 2015, travelled as a couple
Thank Katie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2015

Playa Scondida was exactly what I expected, a hidden gem in the middle of paradise. We stayed only for one night, but we were treated like family. Great food, incredible massage, remarkable activities, super friendly owners, and wonderful staff. We will definitely return for seconds.

  • Stayed: October 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Luis B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2015

With a week in Cartagena me and two friends wanted to get away for a day or two to one of the islands. A friend has recommended Baru so last minute I came across Playa Scondida. It was only a 45 minute boat ride from Cartagena and upon arrival the owner, Fernando, was there to greet us personally. He had a super warm friendly demeanor and was genuinely interested in us, our well being and ensuring we had a great time during our stay. The 3 staff that took care of us were all super friendly and always had a big smile on their faces. The food was delicious, super fresh, perfect size portions. The activities were perfect for our 2 days, sunset boat cruise and lots of interesting stores from Fernando, a snorkel circling a close by island, kayaking over to the beach Azul which unlike the beaches in Cartagena was like a paradise island, such that we wanted to revisit the same beach the next day for a couple of hours. The rooms were great with AC and a fan above the bed. What can I say...it was perfection and we'll definitely go stay again the next time in Cartagena. Thanks Fernando and team! Dean

  • Stayed: October 2015, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Hattonin5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2015 via mobile

My wife and I just spent 4 days at playa scondida, and we couldn't have had a better experience. Everything was first-class from the accommodations to the food to the service to Fernando, Playa Scondida's ebullient owner. We slept like logs in our tree-top bungalow and looked forward to fresh Colombian coffee and yogurt each morning for breakfast. The weather was perfect our entire stay, which allowed us to take advantage of the few services PS offers.

If you are looking for somewhere to RELAX, look no further; you can't help but shut it down while you're at PS. It was the perfect compliment to the few days we spent in Cartagena and we can't wait to come back.

Stayed: February 2015, travelled as a couple
3  Thank brooklynusa02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Playa Scondida

Address: Ensenada de Cholon, Isla Baru, Colombia
Region: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Isla Baru
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Ski-In / Ski-Out Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Isla Baru
Price Range: ₹ 12,548 - ₹ 17,006 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Playa Scondida 3*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our ecological hotel is located on the island of Baru, 20 miles south of Cartagena, Colombia, in the beautiful cove of Cholon, between mangroves, with warm and calm waters, where you will find a dock on the sea, with sun loungers and parasols. You can enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, water sports or just sunbathing. We can organize excursions to the islands of Rosario, the town of baru, and the aviary. In front of the hotel you will find several white sandy beaches, where guests are transported free of charge. The hotel was designed by artisan artists with autochthonous materials like bamboo and palm, consists of two bungalows with two rooms each, with air conditioning, private bathroom. We have a rich restaurant where the most delicious typical dishes of the region are prepared. ... more   less 
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