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“Beautiful resort-Beautiful wedding”

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Villa Montana Beach Resort
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Isabela
Certificate of Excellence
Galloway, NJ - wineluver1@comcast.net
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Beautiful resort-Beautiful wedding”
Reviewed 21 July 2006

July 6, 2006 wineluver1@comcast.net - Galloway, NJ
After more than a year of planning, and searching for the perfect location throughout the Caribbean, we settled on Villa Montana Beach Resort, in Puerto Rico, on the North West shore, for our June 17, 2006 wedding. And without ever having seen it until we arrived, 5 days prior to our wedding day! I must say I did rely in part on Trip Advisor reviews and photos providing by the resort.
Getting There:
We flew into San Juan and rented a car. It takes an hour and a half if you’re good at driving in traffic. I highly recommend you find a way to arrive using the airport at Aquadilla, only ten minutes from the resort. The last mile or so we began to wonder what we had got ourselves into, as the road narrows to almost one lane, and we thought we were in the middle of nowhere! Then we came around a corner, saw the gated entrance, and drove into one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen.
We had 43 friends and family joining us for the wedding, and every one of them loved the resort, and the surrounding area. They had a ball! I reserved a 3 bedroom villa for my fiancé and me, plus our kids (this was the second time around!) and it was right on the beach, nicely decorated, and as the 3 br is really a 2 br joined with a 1 br, the extra small kitchen was perfect for our son and grandchild. We loved the outdoor shower off of our master bedroom! The villa was well maintained, and any minor items were taken care of quickly, based on island time. (A note here to TripAdvisor readers: we are experienced travelers and have stayed at 4 and 5 star resorts and hotels throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, England, Scotland & Ireland, as well as the USA. If you think of house keepers, food servers and hotel staff in general as servants there to do your bidding, demand instant service, and have no interest in, or respect for, the local culture, well you probably should stay at home. We have found that if we introduce ourselves to staff and local people and show a sincere interest in them, there culture and language, we get great and genuine service. Sorry for the lecture, but not one negative thing we read among the mostly positive reviews regarding this resort ever happened to us, or the 43 people who joined us. Your attitude directly reflects the level of service you receive.)
Some of our guests stayed in villas, and some in hotel rooms, all were pleased. One had asked for a king bed, when shown to the room and it had a queen, they were quickly upgraded to a one bedroom with a king. The pools were clean and well maintained. The grounds were stunning and constantly attended to. A group of 9 of our guests arrived at 11:30pm and the staff were waiting at the reception area to greet them. The bartender stayed open until probably 1am, and the staff even prepared sandwiches in case they were hungry! One night I called the front desk at around 11pm to ask if they had a corkscrew, as the one in our kitchen was broken. They said they would check, and a few minutes later one of the managers, Edna, arrived on a golf cart with a corkscrew she had taken from the bar. We opened our wine, she left, and the next day we had a new corkscrew in our villa.
Things To Do:
There is horse back riding available adjacent to the resort, Tropical Trail Rides owned and operated by Michelle and Craig Barker. Considered by many the best on the island, most of our group went. The ride on the beach is incredible.
I also have to mention the Ocean Front Hotel & Restaurant, just a few miles from the resort, right on Jobos beach. They have an air conditioned restaurant, but the fun is out on the ocean deck. The bar and deck are covered, and the staff was great. We went by ourselves our first night, and the food was very good and inexpensive. Two nights later we went back with our two sons and daughter and 19 month old grand daughter. We had such a great time we decided to have all our guests come back with us on Friday night. I called the owner, who was kind enough to set up extra tables for us, and we showed up with 40 of our friends and family! They just loved it. It’s very laid back, the view is fantastic, and we had so much fun that most of us went back on Sunday!
The Wedding:
It was a beautiful setting on the grass by the ocean, (note: in the photo of the wedding gazebo, the chairs had all been covered in white, but had been removed due to the rain. See the Villa Montana web site for a photo of the wedding gazebo all set up) with the wedding gazebo decorated with fresh flowers and flowing linens. The path covered with flower petals. The guest chairs all lined up. Then the heavens opened and it poured! I mean serious cats and dogs rain! So while we waited in our villa, and our guests mingled by the bar, the staff moved everything onto the restaurant patio, which was covered, so the ceremony could start. But then there was a break, and Diana, our wedding planner, and that Edna again, knowing we really wanted our wedding on that beach, moved it all back outside in no time! It was a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful setting. Following cocktails on the lawn we moved to the terrace of the Eclipse restaurant. The terrace was also gorgeous, with long tables we chose (at the suggestion of Diana) instead of round, flowers everywhere, and wonderful lighting that gave it a magical air. The menu, prepared by Executive Chef Jeremie Cruz (named Caribbean Chef of the Year 1997 -98) was excellent, and served in a timely manner; there when needed, but not rushed. Diana, our wedding planner was there throughout to oversee. And when my 82 year old Mother, who uses a cane, was ready to go back to her villa, there was Edna with the cart! The next morning we hosted a breakfast for everyone and once again, the food was great and the service fine. (Here I will offer a suggestion to management: people will wait a long time for their breakfast, with that beautiful ocean view, but they need their coffee and juice quickly. A coffee thermos placed on the table means your staff doesn't have to keep checking, and won't forget, and the customer doesn't have his nice hot breakfast in front of him but no coffee to drink with it. Minor detail, but island time aside, more than several people mentioned this.)
After Thoughts:
Since we have arrived back home we have talked with all 43 of our guests and all agree it was a well run wedding, and a beautiful resort, and not one complaint. That’s hard to beat! We can’t say enough about the staff throughout the hotel. The bartenders, food servers, house keeping staff, and front desk were all very accommodating, always friendly, and ready to help. The hotel general Manager and owner, Jessica Tiphaine, came out several times to greet us and ask how everything was. And last, Diana Perez, our wedding planner. We thank her for all her effort, before and during our stay. She helped us to make decisions on the ceremony and reception, and saw to it that all went as planned. She was in on her day off, waited with us until 11:30 one night for guests to arrive, and just simply went above and beyond to insure our wedding was perfect. The other special mention is Edna Bosques. She was always there, always helping, and we loved her attention to detail.
We will go back, and some of our friends and family are already talking about a return trip.
Honey Moon:
We left Puerto Rico for our honey moon, and went to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, to the Hotel Villa del Sol on La Ropa beach. I will write a review of that experience shortly.

Stayed June 2006
Helpful?
15 Thank wineluver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 July 2006

Just returned from a 3-night stay at Villa Montana. It took us about 2 hours to get there from San Juan airport. We found VM to be mediocre, especially for the price. We did stay in an oceanfront villa with great view and sound of the ocean. We were disappointed in the beachfront area, however. Very rocky. Actually went to Shack's Beach which was nicer. Jobos beach down the road towards Isabella was also much nicer than the VM beach. (Went to Happy Belly's, restaurant on Jobos with great views and food). Pools at VM were nice but nice much sun, more shady generally. I would describe the VM grounds and decor as quaint. Definitely a nice change from the large resort hotels.

  • Stayed July 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank loveabeagle1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 July 2006

Each year my husband and I return to Villa Montana to recharge, regroup and relax. Living in a big city, it is so nice to visit the Puerto Rican countryside and be pampered by the first rate staff at Villa Montana.

The grounds are simply breathtaking. The lawns are well manicured and the bougainvillea, hibiscus and other tropical foliage flourish throughout the area. This year we were pleased to stumble upon the quaint, organic garden and green house. The whole area smells like the herbs and freshly turned soil. The pool areas are relaxing and offer comfortable areas in the sun and the shade. The lounges in the bar area are especially comfortable, even more so, with the creative refreshing drinks made by the friendly, talented and meticulous bartender.

The beach chairs and lounges in front of the ocean are plentiful and many can be moved in the shade or the hammocks provide shade with the palms. While the ocean in front is a little rocky, there are plenty of sandy areas to swim . The local dogs and cats provide great entertainment as do the kit surfers, surfers and fishermen. My husband and I love to watch the old local fisherman fish by hand with their leathered hands standing right in the ocean with only fishing line and a hook!

The restaurant continues to improve with nuevo cuisine and local favorites. In fact, the chef uses many vegetables, lettuces, and herbs from the organic garden. I had a pumpkin soup that was better than anything I've ever had in Chicago, and the lobster salad was so great I had it twice!

My husband and I have had the opportunity to stay in various different villas, including the hotel room, one bedroom villa, and cliffside room. Each room is unique, clean and a mix between Polynesian and Caribbean. The ocean views are great, but the cliffside also has spectacular ocean views and views of the whole grounds.

This resort is definitely not in a metropolitan city like San Juan where there are the old standbys of hotels with chains all over. There are definitely snags that don't run as smooth as one of the hotel chains. But, that's part of the charm of Villa Montana. This the puertorican countryside. If service feels slow, or the water doesn't get as hot as you want its because you are in the country. It is a different way of life. It is a happy, laid back, friendly atmosphere--it is all part of the experience. Instead of a rigid, regime-type staff and hotel/resort feel, the staff is friendly and makes it feel as if you are a part of the family and Villa Montana is your home for the length our your stay.

We come from a cold city and can't wait for our week at Villa Montana every year to feel warm, relax, and enjoy the company of the staff, owners and guests--snags and all! There is no place we'd rather be.

Helpful?
7 Thank Kelly G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 July 2006

We were among 60 guests at Villa Montana for a family wedding. The drive from San Juan is anywhere from 90 min to 2 Hrs depending upon traffic. Nice scenery, but very americanized.

The resort itself is WONDERFUL. It's a nice contrast to the hustle and bustle of San Juan. It's perfect for a larger group, because it has simple but great amenities, and a very warm cozy atmosphere. The 2 pools are great, the beach is nice. it's a little rocky, but you get used to it, and if you snorkel or scuba, the coral reef is spectacular.

There's only one restaurant, but it has inexpensive non-resort prices, and some great local food on the menu. The rooms are nice, especially the 2 bdrm suites.

My only complaint is that for the prcies charged, better quality beds n linens should be supplied. Also, the bar closes a little early (11:00 PM) in tune with the sleepy lifetstyle. If it rains, there's not much to do. Lastly, staff moves at snail pace, but that maybe be cultural (lol). It takes forever to get food n drink, but then again, if you are on vacation, sitting on a beach, things could be worse.

If you only have a couple of days in Puerto Rico, San Juan would be still be my first choice, but if you have an extended stay, and want out of San Juan, although sleepy,
this is a beautiful place to stay, and a healthy change of pace.

JC
Toronto

Helpful?
3 Thank wilcoam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Villa Montana Beach Resort

Property: Villa Montana Beach Resort
Address: Carr. 4466 KM 1.9 Interior | Barrio Bajuras, Isabela 00662, Puerto Rico
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Isabela
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Isabela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Villa Montana Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 70
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Villa Montana Beach Hotel Isabela
Hotel Montana Beach
Resort Montana Beach
Villa Montana Beach Resort Puerto Rico/Isabela

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