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“Disappointing”

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Monty's Beach Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Jiquilillo B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Surrey
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
Reviewed 29 December 2013

On the recommendation of our daughter and good friends, as well as positive reviews on Tripadvisor, we stayed at Monty's Beach Lodge June 21-25, 2013. Unfortunately our visit failed to live up to expectations. In retrospect we should have left after the second day, but stayed on mainly because of the enjoyable company of the other guests and the general lack of nearby, suitable alternate accommodation.

So, on the positive side, we loved the guests and staff, we were fine with our room (except for the brackish, saltwater shower) and loved the location of the camp. We learned on the third or fourth day of the relatively fresh water in the showers of the newer cabanas by the pool and rinsed off there.

However, on the negative side, where oh where to begin.  Two big issues were food quality and, more worrisome, hygienic practices in the food preparation and service areas. Every dinner we were served the same salad or cole slaw, rice, beans and overcooked, salty chicken or pork. Breakfasts were similarly uninspiring with the same two fruits, watermelon and pineapple, served with scrambled eggs each day.  Disconcerting too was the fact that portion controls seemed to be in place. Normally that would be a big problem for us, but the quality of the food put us off our appetites. A number of the young men, if they weren't sick, were more than happy to accept our uneaten food to supplement their meager portions after a long day of hiking or working.  Based on our firsthand reports, written reviews and a location on the Pacific coast, we assumed seafood would be a big part of the meals. Unfortunately it appeared once only as a complimentary dish served to a couple who arrived from Maine to check out a possible partnership with their charity. Despite the somewhat impressive meal, I think they passed on an agreement. They seemed embarrassed to eat as they watched the rest of us with our dry, salty pork. It was obvious things had changed drastically since our friends visited a couple of years ago and even in the short period of time since our daughter was at Monty's for Semana Santa.

Now to hygiene issues. If food safe practices are in place the staff has either forgotten the rules or is not bothering to adhere to them; there appeared to be no oversight in this important area. Flies abounded in the kitchen with no apparent attempt to control them, ie screens or fly traps. Every day prepared food sat in serving dishes far too long and were kept neither hot enough nor cold enough....perfect conditions for bacteria to thrive. From what I could tell, condiments were never refrigerated. I know that drinking glasses, and I suspect the rest of the dishes and cutlery, were rinsed in the brackish, unpotable well water, again a contamination issue. I have no proof but I strongly suspect that these sloppy hygiene practices led to a large majority of guests ( a quick poll suggested at least a third ), including the three of us, suffering with diarrhea and stomach ailments, most probably as a result of food poisoning.

On a slightly more minor note, we had no problems with the GIVE kids arriving late night/early morning. The problem was the LOUD music that greeted them and woke us abruptly at 1am and went on until 3am! Gerry laughed it off the next morning. 
 
Ratty surfboards, filthy yoga mats and dog poop scattered around the lawn round out some of the other issues. The whole camp suffered from a lack of leadership and direction. 

I emphasize we were not expecting a 4 or 5 star resort, but expected much more in terms of food quality/quantity and hygiene. Both were abysmal. Like our daughter we will not be recommending Monty's to anyone.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Elderados
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
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English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 December 2013

There are truly no words to describe my experience at Monty's Beach Lodge. To say it was magnificent, beautiful, and magical would be an understatement.

The staff at Monty's Beach Lodge is one of a kind. They are incredibly thoughtful, helpful, giving, respectful, kind, and FUN. They care from the bottom of their hearts, and like several others have said, create a home away from home experience.

Vikki, the main chef, prepares the most delicious & fresh meals imaginable. Carlos, the bartender, with his charm and enthusiasm makes it nearly impossible to leave the bar! His energy is magnetic. Karen, the manager, ensures everyone is well looked after and that things run smoothly. And Gerry, Monty's partner, always has the answers. No matter what your request is, Gerry is the guy that will make it happen. He is full of life, love, and incredible stories. His hospitality and vision for Monty's Beach Lodge create a unique, and unforgettable stay. I did not have a chance to meet Monty, but I imagine no less. I have never been more relaxed in my life, and I have them to thank for that. Along with the beautiful yogis that joined me on this trip.

Thank you Monty's Beach Lodge for an incredible experience, I will be back.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Prathna B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 November 2013

My husband and I brought a group of 22 travellers to Monty's for our first ever yoga/volunteer retreat. We were very pleased with our stay here! We found the rooms to be basic but comfortable. The yoga deck overlooking the ocean comfortably held all 22 of us with the ocean in the background and the beach below us. The sunrises/sunsets are unlike anything I have ever seen!

The food was delicious and served family style. They were VERY conscious of some serious allergies we had in the group and no one had any issues. They were able to cater to vegan/vegetarians and we were never hungry.

The community work you can do here is endless......if there is something you would like to do, they will make it happen. We weeded the community garden in preparation for planting, taught yoga and art at the local school and went to the community in Chinandega to serve a lunch. Gerry also facilitated an amazing day trip to Esteli for us as well as two trips out on the Mangrove and a smaller group trip to Leon. He went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable and able to do everything we wanted to. The staff even decorated for Halloween and we had a wicked Halloween party!!

The staff were all friendly and treated us like family. I cannot say enough good things about the people who work here and take care of you. I miss them all so much and hope to see them again someday soon.

We will definitely be returning. Jiquilillo is a true paradise and you won't see a ton of tourists running around here. It is rustic and beautiful yet comfortable and welcoming.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank JABRJacobs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wellington, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 August 2013

This place made it feel like I never left the United States. The staff was basically family. They cooked and cleaned for you. They had a night guard and amazing dogs that would look out for you. There wasn't one point where anyone wasn't safe. The food was outstanding. I was beyond impressed by the food. When staying at Monty's, we met the head guy, Gerry. He was amazing as well. He wanted us to have fun while there and that's what we did. They had music playing at the bar and it was a really relaxed and fun environment. Would I go back? Without a doubt. The family that I made over there will be a family that I can't see and talk to when I want but is a family that I am happy to have made. After being there for a week, which seemed like a month or two, saying goodbye was really hard because the staff there was just like family.
Another amazing part was that you could walk about 40-50 feet and you would be at the beach. So walking up every morning and hearing the ocean and falling asleep to the sound of the ocean was amazing. Gerry tried to teach me how to surf. He was successful in teaching one of my friends but I guess I'm not meant to be a surfer.
The reason that I was there was because I was part of a organization that was helping to build a school. Staff from Monty's would come out and assist in helping to build this school. That was awesome. Monty's Beach Lodge is doing a lot to help the community. They have the right idea and are taking actions to move their community forward. I advice each and everyone of you to go and take a look at what they are helping to accomplish in the community.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank monkeyman11205
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacksonville, Florida
2 reviews
Reviewed 12 August 2013

The idea of going from America to a 3rd world country can be kind of intimidating.
This hotel absolutely exceded my standards. The staff was so welcoming and the enviornment felt very laid back but there was never a second I didnt feel safe. Jerry, the main man, was so warm hearted and did so much for us.
By the end the staff felt like family. I WILL definitely return. No question about it.

Room Tip: I stayed in 'Cameron' and it was wonderful. Three beds and private bath.
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank EricaNBenson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BC, Canada
Level Contributor
28 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 August 2013

I just returned from our 4th or 5th trip back to Nicaragua and back to Monty's Beach Lodge! We feel like family there now (although they really did make us feel that way on our very first visit!). It is so exciting to see all the amazing work the owners and staff have done to improve the lodge... every time we go there we see all sorts of great new things. It just keeps getting better and better!

People need to realize when they are travelling to remote areas in less developed countries, life will be different. That being said everyone at Monty's has always bent over backwards to be helpful, accommodating and make your stay a good one.

I had to write another review after reading the nasty and slanderous posting by MNZ88 from Kamloops. This woman makes such terrible and defamatory statements after only spending 17 days in Jiquilillo. I'm sorry but no one should be putting any weight in such a nasty review after reading all the great ones posted over and over. Take it from someone who has been going back time and time again, this woman knows nothing about the work, intentions or character of the owners and staff at Monty's!

This trip involved my wife and I spending our 18 year wedding anniversary at Montys and to celebrate we climbed a volcano and then were surprised by the staff who made a special romantic dining table for us up on the yoga deck with flowers and balloons etc! This is actually the second time we have been at Monty's on our wedding anniversary. It is a special place.

Thanks to everyone at Montys. You are doing fantastic work. There are many of us from all around the world who think so and will continue to support your efforts!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank jangajungle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2013

I spent three weeks at Monty's in July of this year and the time flew by. Lots of volunteering going on with great groups from the GIVE organization to let you know there are amazing young people who are doing great things! The atmosphere is very relaxed so that everyone interacts with everyone else allowing me to meet families as well as small groups of travelers. Watching the surfing as the sun goes down (not much a surfer myself) and seeing the local people cooling off with their families in the water made me really feel a part of the community. The food was AMAZING! When it's homemade fish sticks - prepare yourself to have seconds and maybe thirds!
Hopefully, the Women's Cooperative from Padre Ramos will be cooking bread in their solar ovens while you're there because at $1 a piece, it's a delicious way to support development work. It's my fourth time at Monty's and I can't wait to go back next year!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank chemurt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Monty's Beach Lodge

Property: Monty's Beach Lodge
Address: Jiquilillo, Nicaragua
Region: Nicaragua > Chinandega Department > Jiquilillo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Jiquilillo
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Monty's Beach Lodge invites you to a rustic hide-away on Nicaragua's gorgeous north Pacific coast. Our Palm-thatch lodge and restaurant sits on a breathtaking sandy surf beach, just on the edge of the traditional fishing village of Jiquilillo. You will relax on our wide open beach, play in the warm surf, and kick back with fresh food and good friends. At Monty's, stay and play, and experience all the warmth of Nicaragua at your place. ... more   less 

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