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All reviews beach side plunge pool playa norte beach beds yoga studio beachfront room beautiful beach continental breakfast palm trees best beach on the island laid back beach location hotel restaurant white sand hot water lobby area an umbrella
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12 - 17 of 944 reviews
Reviewed 30 April 2018 via mobile

We needed a break after a pretty challenging 3 months and were looking for a relaxing place to chill for several days.

NA Bala fulfilled the requirement! The facilities are somewhat rustic which I liked and the staff was very attentive.

The continental breakfast was not the typical American continental breakfast. It was part of the package and included a complete breakfast (fresh cut fruit, coffee, juice, bread, butter, “homemade strawberry mermelade”, either eggs made anyway you wanted or pancakes or granola with yogurt)!!!

Stayed: April 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank Purple3415
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2018

Na Balam has a lot going for it, and has a few qualities that are frustrating given the price you pay. Ultimately we enjoyed our stay, and went in knowing a few things up front. I'd probably give it a 3.5 out of 5.

So much that has been written - both positive and negative - is pretty accurate when you aggregate the information. A lot will depend on the perspective of the visitor. For example:

You are getting the best beach location on the island - right on the "horn" of Playa Norte - and you pay for that privilege. You get relatively few "amenities" for the price, unless you pay A LOT for a suite, but on the other hand you have a decent breakfast included, and beach beds are also available for your use, unlike the nearby resorts which charge their own guests for beach chair access. The overall vibe here is pretty nice and laid back.

Our room was beachside standard - King bed - otherwise similar I would guess to the pool side rooms. Rooms are spartan and don't come with many amenities. No TV, no WIFI in our room, very spare furnishings - our room didn't really have much other than the bed, a side table, and a luggage bench. However, we did have a nespresso machine, and there was bottled water provided for its use. WIFI downstairs in the beach bar and the lobby.

Our corner room provided a very nice view through some palms of the MIA lagoon, though out the other window we were basically looking at the upstairs roof / deck of the beach club. Our sitting deck was out on this side, and I must say there was a constant odor of sewage coming from an exhaust vent below us, so that made this area less attractive to us.

I think people must get frustrated with what they get for the rate they pay. Things should not be exaggerated though (in no way does this hotel feel like a "hostel" as was alluded to in a previous review.) But no, it is not a 5 star property. And some of the things that are consistently reported were issues for us too. Hot water was hit and miss - also the water pressure would disappear for several seconds and come back. So what people say about the showers is true. Some fixtures are mis-matched or wonky, etc.

Despite knowing that the property is scheduled to close later this year, I found no evidence of a bad or uncaring attitude in the staff. The breakfast staff was scrambling - the front dest employees were friendly, housekeeping was on duty all the time. The employees during my stay were all there to work and to elevate the guest experience.

Our biggest disappointment was in the booking process - we knew we didn't have a fridge, but were told that they had some available for guest use. That was an important consideration for us. So I make extra efforts to communicate this during the reservation and rep-arrival process ( four times) - but as you guessed when we got there, all the fridges were out, so that was that. However, I otherwise got the room that I paid for, in the location that I wanted. They did not PROMISE me a fridge, but did speak to the fact that there would likely be one there for my use.

So it kind of boils down to a value proposition - location vs price point paid. I can totally see how the reviews swing wildly based on people's expectations. If I had my fridge (which was the implied expectation) I would go with 4 circles. Stay here for the location, with included beach loungers and included breakfast. Do not stay here for unlimited honeymoon luxury / decadence. And you definitely want the beachside, not the poolside - but I'm sure you already knew that.

Room Tip: Beachside rooms. Avoid poolside.
  • Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank SEIdahoThomas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 March 2018 via mobile

Back in October 2018 I made 2 reservations at Na Balam for 6 nights. I was going with my wife and another couple for A relaxing vacation. I’d stayed at this hotel about 8 years ago and loved its location and laid back feeling and was looking forward to forward to going back there. Then I read several bad reviews which made me question my decision to stay there. I learned that the hotel was going to close for renovations, that the rooms were not up to par and that many people were upset about their stay there. Then we arrived and after confirming 3 times we find out that our rooms were no longer available. That a wedding was being held there and that our rooms were needed for the guests. We were livid! We confirmed 3 TIMES and no one said anything about the wedding. Now what? Well, they said we could stay at a new hotel on the southern part of the Island. A hotel that was brand new and could put us up for our stay. We weren’t t happy but had no choice. Well, we went and fell in love with this new place. The people are great, the hotel is beautiful and the location is perfect. It doesn’t have the craziness of downtown Isla but it isn’t far. We LOVED it!!!! So, bottom line, don’t stay at Nabalam but definitely stay at Hotel Izla. You will not be sorry.

Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
2  Thank Ilene H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2018 via mobile

We arrived at Na balam for the last stop of our trip, ready to enjoy 2 relaxing nights in a great hotel. We had booked a poolside room (room 25) that looked simple but bright and clean. Instead we arrived in a old dark room with a bathroom even worth than a 1 star hotel. The pool was dirty. We asked to change room and had to pay 80 dollars in order to get a suite. We paid a total of 500 dollars for a 2 night stay in this “suite”. Suite was bigger and brighter but bathroom was not decent at all: water going out of the shower when you take your shower, plastic bin, old towels, and terrible amenities (no conditioner at all). We arrived for breakfast at 8am and then wanted to enjoy the beach but the beach club was not opening before 9.30am. We finally managed to get a sunbed but at 4.30pm, somebody came to remove the umbrella as the beach club was apparently already closing. The beach club is the only nice thing in this hotel and this is a shame that the service is that unfriendly. Value for money in this hotel is really bad.

Stayed: February 2018, travelled as a couple
1  Thank stephal8883
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 February 2018 via mobile

Traveled with 2 friends. We had a very nice time here. We booked a 2-bedroom / 2-bathroom apartment with a full kitchen and a huge sofa that I made into a very comfortable 3d bed. The hotel compound is on beautiful Playa Norte and right next to the snorkeling cove by the Mia Reef bridge. Lobby area was attractive. Beach bar food was good. Staff was pleasant. Shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion were provided. Beach towels were provided. Air conditioning worked well. Pool was a bit cold in January but the warmer “hot” tub in the shaded garden was lovely. Walking distance to numerous bars, restaurants, shops, golf cart rental, convenience stores, and pharmacy. There is a small grocery store about 8 blocks away. Our unit had a private patio with a table and chairs where we spent the evenings unwinding. Other than a little late night music the first night we had no noise issues. Of course there were a few minor glitches - there always are. The front desk had no blanket for the 3d bed on the first night (I got one the next morning). There were a few mosquitoes inside when we arrived, the batteries were dead in the safe, and the WiFi worked only in the lobby, not in the room. The room description on home away indicated that there was a “washing machine” and “clothes dryer” in the unit and there wasn’t, but the front desk kindly took my clothes to the lavenderia. But overall we have a very relaxing and enjoyable time there. It was a clean, tastefully decorated, spacious, comfortable beach apartment. This unit would work well for a family (or a group of friends like we had). I heard that they might tear down the hotel and build condos - that would be a shame. It’s a great little hotel in a beautiful location.

Stayed: January 2018, travelled with friends
Thank Little_Lilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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