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Estelar Playa Manzanillo
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Reviews (1,322)
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Reviewed 4 March 2012

all was good for our week away the end of feb. weather was good , food was great,especially italian and mexican.. the rooms were good bed excellent but might be worth it to get a suite as there was no where to play cards because of the wind suite rooms were spacious. beach walks were good and pools as well.one suggestion would be if you go to mud volcano wear old suit .staff were great and omellette girl esmerelda was always teaching spanish.maybe too quiet for younger but great for me.lots to do all day if you wished to participate. for those who need shade at pools it is limited but lots of shade at beach.

Room Tip: get a suite spacious
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank triven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2012

We arrived in Colombia in a bit of a crisis and my husband had to go to the hospital in Boca Grande. He’s said it was the best experience he’s had in a hospital despite the scary circumstances of the visit. I had arranged with a Sunquest rep. at the airport to have a bags sent on to the hotel and let them know we would hopefully be arriving later that day.
We arrived exhausted much later that day to be greeted by the lovely Jennifer at the front desk who knew who we were and asked if my husband was ok. After a very hectic day is was much appreciated to be greeted warmly.
We fell into a daily routine of long walks on the fantastic beach, a swim in the pool or in the waves and huddle under the shady huts on the beach to read, chat and catch up with all the news from our girls on vacation with us, on break from University.
Without going into longwinded detail, we had a fabulous stay, everything, the staff (especially), room, pool, food, beach all excellent.
Juan at the beach bar was a sweetheart and when he wasn’t inundated with ‘bubba’ wielding patrons he would offer drinks to the likes of us hiding out in the shade.
Roy was always ready with a huge smile and a friendly ‘Good Morning Toronto’ when we’d take our walks on the beach.
The buffet/ food staff were always near by with café con leche or vino blanco, and while they were practicing their English we in turn practiced our Spanish with lots of si gracias…
Jefferson our effervescent bellhop (is that still a word used?) with his contagious smile taught us some Spanish to add to our limited vocabulary. All the Bar staff were friendly and patient with the non stop demand for their liquid chemistry talents (drinks were fantastic!).
Although I think our girls were hoping for a bit more excitement they had a wonderful time as well and asked when we can go back!. They volunteered for one of the nightly activities in which they put several couples up against each other in varies zany stunts of balloon popping, latin dancing and a romantic skit using toilet paper. We laughed hysterically and they each won a massage in the spa. The activities staff were great fun.

We all enjoyed our trips into beautiful Cartagena (on a comfortable AC’d shuttle bus) both day & night visits. Cartagena is not so much a ‘must see’ as it is a must enjoy, wander the streets, eat in the restaurants (two of the restaurants we visited had live locals musicians, both excellent). Stroll by a church while the choir is singing and religious or not you will be moved. Stunning is a better word for Cartagena.

No reflection on the resort;
The towels on the chairs were a bit of an annoyance and I can see why it might cause confrontations between guests as mentioned in some earlier reviews. I would just like to say that it was really unnecessary (and rude) as there were more than enough chairs for all the guests to use at various times of the day and no need to ‘reserve’ them.
If you are going to be reading many of the reviews; just remember if you are going to travel (and the more you travel) that sometimes you should expect that everything is not going to be perfect, but get over it, move on and don’t let it colour your view of all the wonderful things this place and travel in general has to offer.
We were a bit distressed by some of the attitudes of the guests but I guess you will find that anywhere you go.
Learn a few words of the language and use it. Although tips are much appreciated by anyone in the service industry, graciousness and politeness will also go along way. Remember these people (the staff) are there to provide you with a service; they are not your servants.

Enjoy – we would go back again and highly recommend to friends.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank Joey D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2012

I/my husband travel. Between the 2 of us we have been and experienced the world. I have been critical. There are many reviews that are partially accurate...and many reviews that are not. This resort is half great and half not. There is NO great beach. No wonderful ocean. I was surprised considering the location. The resort itself is lovely - completely different from what you would see in Mexico, Cuba, Bahamas, St.Martin, etc. etc. It is different. It is South America. My only criticism is for the tourists that have no courtesy to other travelers. I am also shocked at how Canadians/Americans act towards their host countrry service people.
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The food is better than what you would get in other "all-inclusives". The rooms are standard....but actually 5 star if compared to Cuba.. I could complain about single things but then again there are things in my house that could do with adjusting.....and so I must say I was happy with the Occidental Cartagena. I would return.

Room Tip: The first # is your bldg #. I.e. room 1501, would mean building one, fifth floor, room 01. If you love being beemed by sunlight then ask for building 2 or 3.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank PROSCALER
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2012

Agree with Dannel64 - - read only the positive reviews and you will not be disappointed. As I wrote in my facebook album....Warm weather, great food, so much culture and beauty - - would go back in a minute. I've posted a few pics....meet Joe, keeper of the beach. We met Joe on our first day. I came up with a brain wave based on recommendations on TA about taking a spanish/english dictionary which I did. I also did up a cheat sheet (see pics). On one side it had the english...with the spanish right beside it. I carried it folded up in my purse/knapsack. Anyway, Joe greeted us happily and when we responded with a Hola...he was thrilled. He asked if we spoke Spanish. I said no, but I have a cheat sheet and showed it to him. Well, we spent the next 15 or 20 minutes giving each other lessons. He was so genuinely thrilled that my bff spent that time with him. The next day when we saw him, he spoke a couple of the words we had worked on the previous day. Meet Javier who is 22 and Karen is 25, two of our activity co-ordinators. Besides teaching me how to salsa, we went for a long exercise walk on the beach. We picked shells, learned about the various types of birds, where they lived, about their job, how to say "windy" in spanish and english and had some really good laughs. My cheat sheet did wonders to build the language barrier...we had some good laughs with staff when we couldn't pronounce a word or phrase and they corrected us. When we did pronounce correctly they would give us a big grin. Would I go back to Occidential Grand? In a heartbeat....

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Cibm6423
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hoteles_Estelar, E-Commerce at Estelar Playa Manzanillo, responded to this reviewResponded 6 March 2012

Good Afternoon Dear Guest,

Thank you for your feedback and taking the time to post your comments. We were very pleased to read about your stay at the Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo Hotel. We would like to invite you to visit other destinations where we can provide you the same excellent service.

Kind Regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2012

I'd like to start off by saying that Cartagena is a beautiful city with wonderful people and delicious food....a must visit. Having stayed in the Bocagrande area Feb. 2011, we opted for a different location this year ....Occidental Grand in the very windy Manzanillo beach area. Both were 2 week vacations. In the brochures, the hotel has a rating of 4 or 4+ star......Being an experienced traveller and have stayed in all star ratings, this hotel should be rated as a 3 star. Yes I agree, the staff is what gives this hotel any hope for 3+ rating.
The food was horrible ...not representing Colombian food at all. We ate out in the Bocagrande area or Walled city everyday. We made a few attempts to eat the buffet lunch, both times not enough seating..asked if we could take our food to the bar area...not a problem...The bar service was excellent..we are not big drinkers, but we enjoy our after dinner drink.
The maid service was an issue as well. Even though we left a very healthy tip on a daily basis, calls had to be made to housekeeing either for towels or soap. The drinking glasses in the room were neither changed or washed and the bathroom floor was swept about the 6th day following our arrival. The sliding doors (3) were always left open and unlocked..being on the first floor this posed some concern. By the 3rd day, being fluent in Spanish, I decided to leave written notes with basic requests...it helped.
Lastly the Sunquest representative was nowhere to be found for the entire 2 weeks
On a positive note..the room was a suite...very comfortable. We met a lot of wondeful people at the hotel both locals and visitors, some of which we intend to keep in touch with..
We hope to return to Cartagena in the future...but not to this hotel. They are building more hotels and condos closer to the Walled city and in the Bocagrande area...not sure when they will be ready... This hotel had a shuttle to and from the walled city...but we prefer to walk everywhere. If you are interested in beauty, history, culture and amazing weather, then Cartagena is the place for you.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank pepita01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hoteles_Estelar, E-Commerce at Estelar Playa Manzanillo, responded to this reviewResponded 6 March 2012

Good Afternoon Dear Guest,

I read about your experience regarding. On behalf of the hotel staff, I would like to apologize for any inconvenience you experienced during your stay with us. We take guests comments seriously as this helps us in our ongoing efforts to improve our services. We hope to see you again very soon for your next stay at Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo Hotel.

Kind Regards.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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