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Reviews (1,367)
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All reviewsquiet poolmain barfree shuttlenativo restauranta la carte restaurantsall inclusive resortbeach barsmall resortdark sandgreat resortthe entire resortold citywalled cityadult only poolrecommend this resortnightly entertainmentboogie boards
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Reviewed 2 April 2012

If you are an alcoholic you may enjoy, if you like real loud music, you may enjoy, if you like dead fish,dogs, cars motorbikes etc at the beach, you may enjoy, however if you thought to have payed for a 4 star hotel, you may be disappointed. It should be rated a 3 star minus,
Dont consider this hotel if you want to enjoy beautiful Cartagena
A disgrunteled customer
hhoedl@hotmail.com

Room Tip: there is no good room
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Herbert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hoteles_Estelar, Gerente at Estelar Playa Manzanillo, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2012

Dear Customer

First, I want to thank you for the time dedicated to let us know your comments in detail on the problems presented in the last stay.

I´m very sorry about happened, and, in the name of the organization, I present you my sincere apologies. Additionally, I want to say you that I have taken careful note about you mentioned, and we have take corrective measures for issues like this, in order to events like these do not happen again. However, we are not able to control all of it. Although traffic is strictly prohibited on the beaches, some do not respect this rule and we have requested a concession to the Port Authority in order to control our portion of the beach.

Thank you for your understanding be sure that always will be welcome to serve you in this, your home.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 April 2012

Very nice resort, friendly staff, great rooms, beautiful pools. It was nice having the quiet pool (no children) between the buildings, just pop out of the patio doors and there you are, with the convenience of not having to hike to and from your room. Bed was very comfortable, made for a great nights sleep. It will be nice when the trees have had time to mature and provide more shade. If you are a bird lover there are number of lovely birds near the pool, my favorite being the Saffron Finch, very cute! There was a strong wind almost every afternoon we were there making the beach a not so pleasant place to hang out later in the day, plus the water looks more like Lake Ontario. There are tours to white sand beaches and the beautiful turquoise waters available. Quality of drinks at the bar is very good. I'm a picky eater and could always find enough food to fill me up. Pizza at La Trattoria was delicious! Nativo Restaurant was a disappointment both times we ate there, the meat was always tough.
Free wi-fi is a nice bonus. There were also baskets with large umbrellas available near the rooms, a nice touch. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the resort.
The free shuttle bus into the walled city was great no need to get a taxi as there are a number of shuttle times during the day and evening. The walled city offered so much to look at, the street vendors, the beautiful balconies, dancers etc The Hard Rock Cafe has excellent food, best quesadilla I've ever had! There are a lot of police around the old city so we felt safe wandering around. The people were very friendly and always had a smile when they realized we were from Canada (they can tell by the band you get at the resort). Although you can use American money the locals prefer that you use pesos.

Room Tip: Spend the extra money for a Deluxe Suite. It is very spacious.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Littlelostmouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hoteles_Estelar, Gerente at Estelar Playa Manzanillo, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2012

Dear Customer


Yours sincerely in the name of behalf of Estelar Grand Playa Manzanillo Hotel.
For Estelar family is and will be a pleasure to have you, that is why we will continue working constantly to ensure your satisfaction and exceed your expectations.
It is a pleasure for us to know that you enjoyed our food; your comments will commit us to improve every day and try to welcome you with friendly service and quality, which should be our corporate seal. we would like to thank you for the good ratings you gave us in the various categories. However I am sorry to read that service at Nativo restaurant did not fulfill their expectations I would like to apologize for any inconveniences ca

Once again thank you for your comments, they will be shared with the hotel staff, it is an important stimulus in performance.

For the Estelar family is a pleasure to have guests as special as you.

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2012

My wife and I stayed for a week in February '12. It was a fantastic experience and the hotel was everything we expected. We have stayed at the all inclusives in Cuba, Antigua, and Mexico and didn't expect anything like those when we booked for Colombia. The hotel is smaller scaled, staffed by people that truly want to help, and most importantly clean. If there is a concern it is dealt with on the spot. Language could be considered a barrier in some instances, but only for those not speaking spanish, it should be remembered that you are in their country and effort to communicate should be the responsibility of both parties. We had done our research and did not go there with the expectation of white sand beaches and clear blue water. My wife picked this hotel due to it's proximity to the old city and the climate. You cannot beat this hotel for being the best spot for venturing out while maintaining the comfort of a place to come back to.

The hotel offers more variety for dinning than I was expecting. The breakfast buffet is gracious, the lunches were always plentiful and the dinners were always full of fantastic options. The activities pool was loud, but everybody there seemed to enjoy themselves. The quiet pool was crowded and as we were leaving it appeared that the hotel was attempting to put a curb to the people placing objects to save seating that they may or may not use. The beach is huge! The water is shallow and turbulent at times, but as long as you are there before the wind picks up around 3pm it is very enjoyable.

The free shuttle to the old city is invaluable and must be used to its fullest. We must have visited the city 4 times during the week. We took a tour offered by a local cab driver, wandered around by ourselves and enjoyed sharing the city with friends we had met while at the hotel. We were there at all hours of the day, ate at many of the local restaurants, shopped at the street vendors and businesses and keeping our heads about us, never fealt unsafe at any time.

If you are looking to be waited on hand and foot, never plan on leaving the resort and plopping yourself at the pool bar to experience the culture of the other Canadians or Americans doing the same, maybe it's best to go to Cuba or the Dominican Republic. If you want to visit a country and experience the culture of a people proud of their history, venture off the resort and bring back more than a palm leaf cowboy hat and a sunburn from where you were above the water line at the pool bar, you will love this place.

Room Tip: Ask in a friendly way, nobody wants to be barked at.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank lilfish5626
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hoteles_Estelar, Gerente at Estelar Playa Manzanillo, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2012

Dear Customer

Thank you sharing your experience about your stay. It is a pleasure for us to know that you enjoyed our food; your comments will commit us to improve every day and try to welcome you with friendly service and quality, which should be our corporate seal.

Once again thank you for your comments, they will be shared with the hotel staff, it is an important stimulus in performance.

For the Estelar family is a pleasure to have guests as special as you.

Sincerely,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2012

The good:
Nice facilities, pools well maintained and a decent gym (for a resort hotel). The staff were super friendly and helpful, and made all efforts to help (although their English was generally poor).
Overall, the food was average only. The grill was worth trying (I would highly recommend the fish). The main buffet restaurant was open air (so there were tiny fruit flies circling), this was my only criticism of the salad and fruit selection, which was otherwise good. The quality of the cooked food in the buffet could be improved by cooking smaller amounts as needed instead of cooking it all ahead of service starting and letting it stew in food heaters. I would imagine that doing this would cut down on waste significantly too. The a la carte restaurant was very disappointing - we tried it once and didn't bother going back. We chose to eat in Cartagena 4 or 5 times as the food at the resort was a little repetitive, and there are some really excellent restaurants in the old city. When we were there the resort was not crowded so we found the bar service good, but I can imagine that this would be a source of frustration if the resort were full.

The beach was good and not crowded (it wasn't groomed, but still reasonable sand) and decent water sports facilities (surf boards, wind surfer, boogie boards and kayaks). The beds were comfortable (apart from issue listed below!) and the rooms were a decent size. Most mornings were still, but the winds picked up in the afternoons. We enjoyed the ocean stiff breezes as Cartagena is really hot, and they made it much more comfortable.

The old city was spectacular - and we used the free bus to go in most days for lunch followed by a stroll through the beautiful streets/churches/museums

The Bad:
The first room we were given had bed bugs and my daughter got about 45 bites. I have lived in tropical countries long enough to know that they weren't mosquito bites (in fact I don't think I saw one mosquito at the resort as they tend to only come out at night, by which time the trade winds have picked up). The hotel were very responsive and changed our room but did not offer to treat our possessions (the little pests have a reputation for being adept hitchikers and I didn't want to bring them home with me!). They did finally agree to treat our possessions but it was clear (after some research online) that they were planning on spraying it with something that is used specifically for treating dust mites and that this would not be effective. We travelled with Thomas Cook/Sunquest and they were not help at all. In fact we didn't manage to get hold of them all trip, and even on the pick up to go home the representative refused to show any interest in helping me resolve it.

I would imagine that all hotels suffer from bedbugs occasionally, but that the hallmark of a good hotel is that it is alert for them and deals with them rigorously when they find them. I had no confidence that this hotel understood what it was dealing with and had systems in place to get rid of the pests. Hopefully when they read this post they will rectify this failure. I would be interested to know if anyone else who stays in Rm 1102 has the same problem.

I would have liked to give this hotel a higher rating, but the bed bugs really were a blight on the trip and a week later, I am still trying to make sure that my possessions are bed bug free before bringing them into the house.

Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
3  Thank CalDorset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 March 2012

Four of us has a very good time in the hotel - good pool, good beach, good effort on behalf of the employees - but the food was OK for myself (i am not a vegetarian but pretty bad for the other three who were vegetarian- employees tried to help but language and also not knowing how to cook good vegetarian food hampers breakfast, lunch and dinner. maintenance of the room by the maid was quite poor - stains on the table were not cleaned for 4 days, only one toilet was kept on the bar but no spare. rooms were cleaned sometimes in the morning, sometimes after lunch - so when you are ready to shower - towels had not been changed - when we requested themaid to give us towels. Basically we were told to wait. Service could be much better but after speaking to residents in other hotels in Cartagena, this seems to be one eyed - king of the blind. Much improvement can be made. Employees are very friendly but very few understand English.

When the hotel had special visitors, the employees tried to put on a good show. Cartagena is a great place, if the hotel was a bit better, the vacation would be out of this world. Overall, a great vacation.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Lali
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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