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“Return Visit”

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Hotel Villa Isabella
Reviewed 3 August 2011

A return visit to Villa Isabella finds improvements including a new kitchen, larger lobby area, and a Vonage phone for calls to the US and Canada. Earlier improvements added a pool, dining area, and wifi.
The staff continues to be friendly and attentive. Breakfast continues to be delicious. Although mostly Spanish-speaking, the staff is accustomed to English-speaking guests and is quite forgiving of Spanish poorly spoken. Co-owner Mike, a native English speaker from California, is usually there and enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge of Nicaragua.
Right in town, an easy walking distance to the beach, the hotel has an at-the-beach theme throughout. Everything is clean, the rooms are air conditioned and comfortable, and the showers have “real” hot water (not to be taken for granted in Central America). This is US-style accommodations; a definite cut above the backpacker hostels typically found in the area.
Our room had a view of the pool area. If you want an outside view, be sure to specify this when making your reservation.
Co-owner Jane continues to be a driving force behind lending libraries in the country, making Villa Isabella the center of operations for this and related NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) activities.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank John_C_Morley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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47 - 53 of 168 reviews

Reviewed 25 June 2011

With a young family, you are always looking for child friendly accomodation and we found it in Villa Isabella. Kids always insist on staying there and on chocolate pancakes for breakfast...

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank NickStClair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2011

From the moment we stepped onto the veranda with its elegant yet comfortable array of rattan rocking chairs and hammocks nestled in the lush, tropical garden setting we felt safe, happy, and secure.

My mom and I were taking a brief 72 hour trip out of our home in Costa Rica to fulfill the visa requirement of leaving the country every 90 days. We were given erroneous information regarding a clean, inexpensive hotel in San Juan Del Sur. After our taxi driver combed the streets of the city several times searching for a non-existent hotel, we finally asked him to pull over in front of Villa Isabella so we could inquire about rates. From the look of it, I thought it would be too expensive for our limited budget. After a small amount of negotiation with the friendly and good-humored employee, Hamilton, we arrived at a price just slightly below what was quoted. When we learned a full breakfast was included, the price seemed reasonable, especially after seeing the room with 2 large beds, a fabulous air-conditioning system, a TV PLUS dvd/vcr player with a TON of fun movies to choose from. The shower was large, beautifully tiled, and great water pressure with plenty of hot water! They even gave us a wash-cloth, which is rare when traveling in Latin America. We usually carry our own, just in case. It was made abundantly clear to us, not only by the staff, but the owner, Mike, that they would do anything possible to make our stay more comfortable.

They provided unlimited coffee, tea, bottled water, advice on local activities and restaurants - even a 10% discount at a waterfront restaurant, el Timon, which we thoroughly enjoyed at the water's edge. The lobster was reasonably priced and delicious.

Oh yeah, the breakfast…what a treat! I grabbed a fresh cup of coffee on the way into the clean, nicely set dining room. The coffee is hot and ready in a carafe so no waiting forever for someone to bring you one. The fresh cream and sugar is available right next to the coffee. If you prefer tea, the hot water is sitting at the ready, along with a nice selection of teas. Fresh lime is available for the asking. Breakfast starts with a bowl of fresh fruit, fresh juice and several choices of main course including a delicious daily special, such as omelet or frittata. Eggs were cooked to order and the bacon was cooked to perfection! I was impressed by the efficiency of the service, the quality of the food, and especially the white chef hat worn by the cook. On our second day, we were surprised to see the owner wearing the hat, cooking the food, and joking with the guests all at the same time as he filled in until his morning crew arrived. He is, indeed, a man of many “hats”.

The camaraderie on the front porch was warm, lively, and fun! We enjoyed conversations with other guests, the locals, as well as the owner and his friends. I was happy to see a thriving community and encouraged to return to Nicaragua. When I do, my first choice for accommodations will be Hotel Villa Isabella!

Room Tip: Front-facing has a lovely view and veranda.
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  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank caroleconnolly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 May 2011

Happy accident brought us here.

We pre-booked a hotel, fearful that with Semana Santa approaching there would be a scarcity of lodging options in SJDS. We arrived by taxi from the ferry in San Jorge (a great driver and ride might I add) I told the driver this was where we were staying and he knew the hotel. When we arrived at reception they had "no reservation" for us but found us a room. A/C and hot water, Score! Pool with comfortable chairs, lots of shade, and garden space. Bonus. I was bit confused when I saw the pool, I didn't remember the hotel had a pool, hmmmm. Hot (good) coffee and (not just black) tea all day. Yummy, made to order breakfast, with a different special of the day option. A free phone call to the USA was a great surprise. I'm sorry to say I went on-line too much because of the WiFi. Each staff member was very helpful.

I went back to my Lonely Planet Guide and read the description of the hotel....oops. I booked somewhere else. With a name not even close to Villa Isabella, why did I tell the taxi driver this hotel? Guess it was meant to be.

So, we ended up here. Hanging on the front porch, making friends. Mike, the owner went out of his way to be helpful, as did his friends and other travelers that gathered on the porch. We arranged surf lessons, got the scoop on food options, beaches, sports bars. We also learned about The San Juan Del Sur Bibliotecca Móvil, a community program dear to Villa Isabella. Mike was not just helpful with us he was with everyone he came in contact with. Thank you!

We look forward to returning!

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank konacar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2011

Booked two rooms at Villa Isabella two months before arrival for one week. Was told upon arrival that after a few days that we would have to change rooms. As a minority hotel ower at a beach resort in N.J., I know that this inconvience is done so the owner can make as much money as possible. However, I booked two months early!, and I would never force this on a guest if they were unhappy.

After a few days went by, Mike the owner informed me it was time to move. Not only did I have to change rooms, I had to change buildings, which was four blocks away and away from my family! Not only did I have to move to a totally different site away from my family, but it was also a major down grade. This room had four walls, two beds, a TV and a bathroom and now windows. If felt like a prison.

After checking-out my new room four blocks away from my family, I then returned to Villa Isabella to speak with Mike the owner. He was not there at first, and expressed my concerns with an employee. This employee attempted to intimade me by totally staring me down with a look like he wanted to hurt me. I asked him why he was looking at me like that, and then he looked away. This guy was rude to me and continued to stare me down whenever I saw him.

I could hear Mike in the office, and he did not come out until I approached him. I politely told him I was unhappy with this change. His response, with a firm voice , was "that's it, that 's all I can do for you!" As I expessed this was several steps down from what I paid for, all he could utter was with several ahh haa, ahh haa, ahh haa. Then disagreed with me that it was not a step down and said "you have a TV, beds and hot water". The truth is that this room had no windows, no hot water, the AC had an on and off button and could not be adjusted, so we froze, was very loud and could not sleep, and get this: The toilet was totally broken, and was given a bucket to use instead of the toilet. I was told how to get my waste from my body down the shower drain with the bucket.

My advice, stay away! If you have an issue, Mike will screw you over, and only cares about himself if things don't go his way. It's time for him to find another profession because he can not handle problems!!!

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled with family
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5  Thank mikieva13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2011

I found the rooms at the Hotel Isabella clean, simply but adequately furnished and with air conditioning and fans. The staff was friendly, cheerful and helpful. Sitting on the front porch that was encased in flowers and greenery was the perfect spot to read or visit. Breakfast each morning was made to order and provided a great start to the day.

I would highly recommend Hotel Isabella.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled solo
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Thank Ella043
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2011

We spent a week here and could not have been happier. They have many ammenities that other motels in the town do not have: American and Spanish speaking staff, FREE internet and international telephone calls, free hot coffee in the lobby every morning, hearty breakfasts, quiet rooms, AC, round the clock security, very friendly and help-ful staff. It has a lot of Nicaraguan charm...It is not just another American - style hotel but is clean and comfortable and secure. YOu'll love it! I hear that a couple condos are for sale and if I was thinking about buying a place in San Juan del Sur this would be at the top of my list.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank Durangotraveler33397
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Villa Isabella

Address: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Region: Nicaragua > Rivas Department > San Juan del Sur
Amenities:
Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #27 of 77 Speciality Lodging in San Juan del Sur
Price Range: £41 - £146 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Villa Isabella, a bed and breakfast boutique hotel, is dedicated to your full enjoyment of San Juan del Sur and the surrounding Pacific Coast paradise. Our attention to detail and personal service frees you to focus on your stay, either for business or pleasure. A full to order breakfast is complementary and the coffee and tea are always ready. ... more   less 
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