My spouse and I booked a week in the "luxury borbon suite" at Casa Espana based on the photos and description sent to us by the hotel representative. The price was $100 US per night and we paid 2 nights in advance to guarantee the reservation. This hotel is a couple of blocks from the west beach, and perhaps a 10 minute walk to Playa Norte. It has no view, which we were aware of. I'd read some negative reviews here and elsewhere, but there were also some positive reviews, and the hotel contact person came highly recommended on the Trip Advisor forum.
We were looking for a romantic getaway and this small hotel seemed like a perfect fit for us. When we arrived and saw the room we were disappointed and upset.
First, there is nothing remotely luxurious about this room, nor is it a "suite". A suite suggests there is more than one room. I would describe it as a hostel quality room with a king size bed and a TV, though not as clean as many hostels.
Second, the room looks nothing like the photos we viewed before booking. The bed has no canopy and the room is much smaller and shabbier than depicted in the photo, with a stained blanket in lieu of a bed spread. There were heavy opaque curtains on the large window instead of the breezy curtains in the photo. The large window looks directly out onto other balconies - there is no way to open the curtains without losing all privacy, even during the day. There is no window covering at all on the large window in the door, which is partially shielded by tree branches. Anyone going to the door would have a full view of the room and occupants. There is a flimsy lock on the door and no safe.
Third, we were told the room had a "kitchen" in one email, a "kitchenette" in another, and "cooking facilities" in a third email. The "kitchen" was an old sink and mini fridge beside the bed, with a couple of plates and a few pieces of cutlery. There was absolutely nothing to cook with, not even a microwave or toaster. After leaving, we were told that a coffee maker is available if you ask.
The bathroom has a large window with heavy drapes over the jacuzzi. The view is of other balconies - the drapes cannot be opened without losing all privacy. The toilet seat is of the inflated variety and is too small for the toilet. The bathroom is shabby and awkwardly shaped.
The court yard and small pool are completely shaded. There are a few tables to sit at, but they are close together and offer no privacy. The pool is mostly ornamental. There is a nice water feature on the back wall and the court yard is pretty. It is probably the nicest feature of the hotel.
As other posters mentioned, the front desk clerk was immersed on the Internet every time we saw him.
My husband and I were both upset when we saw the room. We left our bags and went for a walk to think about what to do. We decided that staying in this hotel would ruin our vacation. Since we'd already booked the most expensive room at the hotel, we decided to find another hotel, even if we could not get our deposit back. It took us four hours to find another hotel room for the week, probably because Carnaval was approaching. We returned to Casa Espana and checked out.
We found a room at the newly renovated Roca Mar that was the same price as the borbon suite at Casa Espana, but had a new king size bed, walk in two person shower with rain shower head, balcony with a hammock and deck chairs with a stunning view of the crashing surf, and triple wide patio doors that opened up so that you could fall asleep to the sound of the waves. That's what $100 US per night should purchase on Isla.
A few days after leaving Casa Espana, we met another couple while having breakfast at Elements of the Island. They mentioned they weren't happy with their hotel room, so the hotel had moved them to the best room in the place, but only charged them the rate for their previous room ($70 US per night.) They were still upset with it. We asked where they were staying and it turns out, they had our room at Casa Espana. They didn't like it much, either, and ended up changing hotels as well. They said the bed was uncomfortable. We didn't spend the night there, so I can't comment on that.
We e-mailed the hotel contact person, who was very solicitous and offered to meet with us, but was not prepared to refund our money as she felt it wasn't the hotel's fault we didn't like the room. I didn't feel like arguing about it while on vacation. We'd already spent most of our first evening on the island dealing with it.
If the Borbon Suite at Casa Espana had been $30 US per night and we'd been looking for an ultra-budget vacation, I would not be posting a negative review. At $30 US per night, it was okay. I have happily stayed at $30 hotels in Hong Kong, Thailand, and China, because the price reflected the amenities. At $50 US per night, I would be disappointed and wouldn't book Casa Espana again. $100 US per night for this room is wildly out of synch with the going rate on Isla. I could not recommend this hotel to anyone at that price.
I don't like posting negative reviews, but in this case, I think a heads up is necessary.