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“Reservation cancelled by M&A four weeks out - BeWare!”

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M&A Eco-Beach Bungalows
Whitehorse, Canada
Level Contributor
232 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
“Reservation cancelled by M&A four weeks out - BeWare!”
Reviewed 24 February 2013

In July 2012, we decided to make our dream vacation to Palau a reality. Once flights were confirmed and booked from North America, I started the hunt for land accommodations post our Palau live aboard for the second week of February, and based on reviews, booked M&A through the owner, Arlene, in the fall. It started off well.

Initial email exchanges were promising and we were quite excited to include M&A in our vacation plans. However...communications were disrupted during their typhoon. Regardless once we reconnected I was assured our reservation was in place and I requested payment and cancellation information.

Without online payment options I was in the process of mailing(!) payment, but still required cancellation policy info. Communication continued back and forth sporadically.

After a few weeks of this process, the cancellation policy was received and I was reconfirming where to send the money order when Arlene advised they were going to undergo renovations and we couldn't stay at the property! Needless to say, some scrambling took place to secure accommodation at this late date (high season was soon to start in Palau, it was holiday season, rates had increased significantly since fall for some of our "back-up" properties but now there was availability issues, etc.).

I do have to give Arlene some credit. She did try to find alternate accoms in the same price range that included breakfast, and was prepared to arrange our rental car as promised but in the end I thanked her very much and booked on our own.

While we were in Palau, we did drop in to see how the reno's were coming along as we drove the island. Other than a landscaper trimming the grass, there were no construction crews around, no vehicles, no people. There was another private vehicle by a house (caretaker?)...but no one came out to see why we were looking around.

Everything was neat, tidy...but buttoned up. Almost like they went on vacation. The grounds and facility did look promising, and the beach area was quite nice, given private-ish beaches are few and far between on the island.

I'm sure this is a lovely place to stay, the owners endearing and we sincerely wish them well, but the process to make a reservation and how this "booking" experience turned out...lets just say we learned a LOT!

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Yukon Landcruis... R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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71 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
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English first
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2013

My husband and I stayed there at the end of Dec 2012 for 9 nights. The room was nice and the hotel was very close to the beach. It could have been the perfect place wouldnt have it been for a few things.
- you are charged for completely EVRYTHING. It was my birthday and the owner charged my husband to decorate the table with a few flowers (even though they grew all around the place). We also organised a car rental and the owner drove us to pick up the car from Koror (which is about 40min by car away). She went to Koror regardless as she needed to get some groceries, yet we were charged 50USD for the one way journey and considering she had to go there anyway we felt the amount was a little over the top. Make sure you always ask how much she charges before you committ to anything because if you dont ask, the price doesnt get mentioned until you are presented with the hefty bill at the end of the trip.
- we had a few times dinner at the hotel's restaurant and the cost was 22USD per person. The food was alright, fish and vegetables and sometimes some local dishes. During our first few nights there were a few other guests staying who also had dinner with us. As there were more guests great effort was made to cook the dinner, local dishes were served, local vegetables and fish and a homemade dessert. However, once the guests left and we were the only ones, the quality of food decreased significantly. We were served dry salad, a large amount of rice, a large amount of noodles with hardly any sauce or vegetables and some fish. For dessert the 2 of us received one (!) shop bought something which even still had the price tag on it (just over 1USD). Considering this is a restaurant it is unacceptable to serve shop bought dessert and also to serve plain rice and plain noodles and some fish and still charge 22USD per person. We eventually stopped eating at the restaurant as it was just completely overpriced for what was served and instead drove to Koror where you could eat in a restaurant and pay less for more food, better quality and not having to eat just rice and noodles.
Overall we felt we were taken adventage of and the owner just sees a dollar sign for each guest. You are charged for every little thing yet when she served me only one a small banana and one apple for breakfast (as I asked for fruits) no deductions were made. The owner said that due to the typhoon there were no fruits available. However, we went to Peliliu for one night which was badly hit by the typhoon and somehow we were served large amounts of melon, oranges, apples bananas (the hotel we stayed at was just as small and nothing fancy) - so something couldnt have been right there as the mainisland has hardly been affected in comparison to Peliliu and you could also find plenty of fruits in the supermarket in Koror..
Also twice we found fungus on the food. You were always served some kind of dessert at breakfast (always some shop bought cake or something) and twice is was going off and mould was growing on it, so make sure to take a close look.
The rooms are nice (although a lot of things kept breaking, the main lamp, the fan, the main lamp again and so on which was a little annoying as something broke almost every day) and the location and beach is great.
Overall I would not recommend the hotel as the owner didnt feel to be genuine or honest and I would not stay there again as it was completely overpriced for what it was.
Another aspect I didnt like is that they have a bat in a tiny little cage, hardly big enough for the bat to move at all and they keep it in there for the whole time.. keeping an animal in such a tiny cage, where it cant move or fly is just plain cruel.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
9 Thank seasharky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Peachtree
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 February 2013

My boyfriend and I spent 8 nights at M&A Riverside bungalows. Arlene is the best! She arranged for a rental car for our entire trip. We spent several days scuba diving in Koror. It was a 50 min drive, but well worth the trip back to the bungalows where Arlene would have a wonderful dinner waiting for us each night in her open air dining room. The fish each night was fresh and served in leaf bowls along with rice, fruit and a desert! We brought our own wine and drinks to the table. The beach was empty and felt like it was our own. There was great snorkling right off the beach! The bungalows were charming and clean! Our favorite part was the deck where each morning we enjoyed coffee and each night we had a couple cocktails. Arlene makes you feel so special. One day she saw that we had picked up a couple coconuts. She told us not to eat them and she would bring us some that afternoon. When we returned from our long day of scubadiving, we were so excited to find fresh coconuts in our fridge, cut and even had an unbrella. It was the best tasting coconut milk I had even tasted! I would stay with Arlene again over any other hotel in Koror when we return to Palau. Well worth the drive from Koror.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Linda W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seoul, South Korea
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 November 2012

My wife and I spent spent the week of Thanksgiving here. What a wonderful find! Arlene isn't just the owner...she's a one-man-travel agent. She picked us up at the airport at 3am, secured our rental car, set up our tours to the Rock Islands, Jellyfish Lake, and the island of Kayangel. She also happens to be a fabulous cook :-) The bungalows were perfect for our needs. We spent a lot of time at the beach, less than 100 meters from the bungalows, and enjoyed every minute of it. We're extensive travelers and Palau was worth the trip. We'll definately be back...and we'll be contacting Arlene for another stay at her property when we do. Staying here is a no-brainer!

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MariaandBucky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Osceola
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2012

We just spent 9 days here and enjoyed every minute. Arlene is a rare person and worth the trip just to get acquainted with her! The bungalow and furniture are all built from local woods by her husband and crew. Spotless and comfortable. Surrounded by tropical plants and flowers. Wide paths through the jungle to the beach a short walk away. All paths and the beach are raked every day and are also spotless. Beach is within the reef so very calm and clear. Can walk out to reef at low tide. Shoulder high near reef at high tide. Mahogany trees shade the beach so you have a choice of sun or shade. Road around the island is nearly paved construction and convenient to the "City" - Koror. Mountains in north are pretty uninhabited. Small villages near shore. Local people were very friendly and we enjoyed them very much. Felt like this was a home away from home and want to go back and stay forever!

Room Tip: Only four bungalows all of which are wonderful!
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Judith B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yigo, Mariana Islands
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 17 October 2012

We didn't really know what we got ourselves into when staying here, but our trip to Palau was a great time and the M&A Riverside Beach Bungalows made a great retreat to get away from it all. We only stayed 4 days and the first few took a little getting used to not having phones or Internet access. We drove down to Koror every day and enjoyed the scenery. We also bought a lot of fish and Arlene helped us immensely with bringing them back to Guam. The breakfasts were tasty, but make sure you let Arlene know if you want dinner as she needs to take some time to get supplies for the meal.

It's a great place if you enjoy serenity. It might not be for you if you are expecting amenities and civilization.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank mr_alan_chan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
The Hague, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
27 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 September 2012

This is really paradise! Away from (the not so nice) Koror to the North of Palau, this place will give you a real Palau experience. The cottages are well build and very clean and in good shape. The restaurant is amazing and the private beach is one of the best we’ve seen on Palau. There’s a reef in front of the beach that you can easily swim to. They provide you with beach beds and a hammock.
Arlene, who’s running the place is very helpful and speaks very good English. Thanks to her arranging skills we managed to go to Kayangel the most northern Islands which are a real paradise. Arlene also gave us very good tips for a waterfall that’s not touristic!
It’s easy to have your own car. Arlene can arrange that too.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Luigi-e-Ralfonzo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about M&A Eco-Beach Bungalows

Property: M&A Eco-Beach Bungalows
Address: Chol, Ngaraard, Koror, Koror Island 96940, Palau
Region: Palau > Koror Island > Koror
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 Speciality Lodging in Koror
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
M&A Eco Beach Bungalows is a private, safe and secluded resort located towards the Northern Part of the big island of Babeldaob. We boasts the longest stretch of beautiful, white, sandy all natural beach with crystal, clear, warm ocean waters. We have hammocks & lounge chairs where you can relax under a shade of overhanging trees and enjoy the fresh breeze or read a book. A great place to snorkel among the corals or walk along the reefs during low tides. Great place for families with children. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
M&A Eco-Beach Bungalows Palau/Koror, South Pacific

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