We originally had reservations to stay at an apartment mid-island, but unfortunately there was a booking mistake and our apartment was not available. The owner checked around to find us another place to stay and we were told that there was space available at Zina's Guest House. Because of the fact that it was high season and we were looking for last minute accommodations, we decided that we would give it a try.
To begin with, Zina was most hospitable. There was fresh bread and some supplies in the fridge (a few cold beers, ham and cheese) which I felt was a very nice touch. In looking at the website, it sounds like an ideal place to stay. Unfortunately it did not turn out that way. The apartment itself is quite run down. The website talks about "luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets". The sheets on the double bed were indeed Egyptian cotton, although probably 10 years old and had seen much better days. When the sheets were changed after 7 days, the next ones were labeled "Polyester - made in Pakistan". The second bed in the room, a twin bed, had no sheets on it when we arrived. I found one sheet in a box in the kitchen and put it on the bed myself.
The bedroom has 3 windows. Two of the windows have heavy curtains, but the third window, the largest one, has only a nylon cafe curtain which provided no privacy at night once the bedroom light was on. None of the window locks worked and there were no screens on any windows. The website indicates there is cable TV available. There was a TV in the room, but we were told there was no cable, so TV did not work. We were told not to use the air conditioner any more than necessary. We decided to turn it on the second night we were there to hopefully drown out some of the noise. It certainly did as the AC sounded like a 747 about to take off. So the choice was either listen to constant dogs barking, traffic and music, plus the noise coming from a local bar about 2 blocks away which went on until 4 or 5 in the morning, or the loud AC.
The kitchen is very small and poorly lit. There were several electric applicances but little countertop room to use them. The dishes and silverware were in need of replacement. Most of the dishes had been damaged by overuse in the microwave.
There is a small window in the kitchen which looks down into the courtyard of the house next door. These people have 2 dogs, both of whom stay on the patio all night. When they bark, and they both bark very, very often, the sound bounces off all those surrounding cement walls.
The bathroom has no door (just a shower curtain hanging across the doorframe) and measures approximately 4' x 5'. There is a very small window, which cannot be opened because there is no handle. Therefore there is no ventilation in the bathroom, which as I mentioned, has no door and opens directly into the kitchen. Not a good thing. When you are sitting on the toilet, your feet are actually in the shower stall. There is no stopper in the sink and no electrical outlets at all.
After being there for 4 nights and neither of us getting any sleep because of all the noise, I informed the owner that we were not satisfied with the accommodations, needed our rest and wished to leave and wanted our remaining money refunded. Her reaction was to tell me that she could not give us our money back, but we could leave if we wanted to.
After a few more days we were informed by the owner that she had gotten some money so that we could leave. Her first offer was for $100.00 less than what was owed. I told her that was not acceptable and she then said she had the other $100.00. We left the following day.
I think Zina has come up with what she considers a great marketing strategy. On her website she talks about "having a true cultural experience in the colonia" which in reality translates to staying in a run down apartment in a very noisy neighborhood and having to deal with a difficult person.