Last time we were in Utila, we were directed to the Jade Seahorse by our dive master, who said "For beautifulness, it can't be beat." We walked in, and our jaws dropped in wonder.
The best way to describe this place is a cross between a mosaic tile work museum made from recycled stuff and the Swiss Family Robinson's tree house. Every square inch of this place is covered in art. You can stare at something in a square foot for hours, but it's all part of a part of a greater masterpiece.
The bar, Treetanic, well...it's IN A TREE!!! How cool is that? They play an excellent and eclectic mix of music. We were there during a blackout, and the staff simply handed out candles, which people stuck in their empty Salva Vida bottles, until the place had a strange romantic glow to it.
The "Botanical Gardens" consist of walkways, ladders, bridges, gazebos, swings, winding stairs, all made of gorgeous mosaics of everything ranging from old teacups, old bottles, seashells, and bizarre artwork. Glass sculptures hang from nooks and crannies, among the lovely tropical plants and carefully planned lighting. It goes on and on forever too! If every human being on Utila decided to come into the Jade Seahorse on one night, I'm fairly sure that they could all fit.
We stayed three nights in the Mono Lisa Cabin, for $50.00 per night. That might seem expensive compared to diver hostels, but, hey, by American hotel standards, that's dirt cheap, and totally worth it. The cabins are as amazing and artful on the inside as the gardens and bar are on the outside. The shower was lined with little marbles. The ceiling boards were burn-etched with patterns, and no two were alike. A collection of bizarre, yet fitting art, all derived from The Mona Lisa were covering the walls. The four-poster bed was comfortable and beautiful. The blue gauzy curtains and red wooden floor added just the right touch.
We noticed a pattern that sometimes the air conditioning didn't work...usually when the bar was open...which...um...encouraged us to go to the bar. Good thing too. The bar was full of the coolest people I'd ever met: a guy from Alaska who'd white-water rafted with bears, a girl from Rhode Island who'd hiked the Appalachian Trail, European backpackers from various countries with stories to tell about trekking it up to Hondouras from Panama, an Aussie who'd just done some volcano boarding. Utila draws divers...divers love adventure. The stories I heard and the people I met were just fascinating!
On the last day of the trip, I sat out in the gazebo by our house for hours, contemplating our week, while chatting with other tourists.
I've read other reviews where people said that the cabins were too close to areas where people were talking. I didn't have much of this going on, but if I did, I'd take it as a sign that there were people outside I should probably meet, because they're probably having a good time.
I will DEFINITELY stay here again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nightland sits on a hill beneath the caribbean sky, surrounded by old tamarind trees. Designed by an artist, the cabins reflect a unique architectural style inside and out. Gardens cascade down the hill toward the Jadeseahorse restaurant and Treetanic bar, an elevated ship's deck built between three huge mango trees. Utila welcomes you! ... more less