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Parador Villas del Mar Hau
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Royal Isabela(Isabela)
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Reviews (416)
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Reviewed 19 August 2011

This place will be a terrific find for those looking for a relatively affordable family hangout on a beach that is nothing short of exquisite in all beachy ways. So let me start with the beach. You go there for the beach because the cabanas are essentially on the beach with a boardwalk and some palm trees between. (In fact, one morning I was up early and a man climbing a palm to hack down coconuts a few feet from the porch was, too.) The beach is shaped like a rounded W with you standing at the bottom. On the left you have a long sweeping arc of gorgeous, rolling surf. White crests, huge sand drag, delightful for lying on your back and letting the waves take you wherever; terrific for body surfing, too. In low tide you can swim in the waves and feel like a fish in a sand bowl, so steep is the ledge formed by the crashing waves. On the right of the W you have "la posita," an amazingly clear stretch of water barely a leg deep at its deepest spot and always calm because of the reef protecting it from the larger ocean. We have a toddler and she was in it 4 times a day, perfectly safe, along with all the others of every age who love lounging around in the water without the athleticism waves require. Best of all, between the reef and the flat, lake-like part is an underwater circular ledge that creates a little lagoon easily navigable for bigger kids and great for snorkeling. If this beach (Montones) sounds good for you, you will enjoy these accommodations because there you are-- no packing or hauling needed. We swam before breakfast, after breakfast, before lunch, after lunch, you get the idea. Also on site are a modest but refreshing pool, a small basketball court, some swings... we never get to using them, but others might find them fun.

Now. The cabins I recommend for their porches. Ask for a hammock when you check in. They hang it up for you, and suddenly the non-watery part of your vacation is all set, too. Our 2-month-old could nap in it, our big kids shared it with raucous swinging, I read a whole book there while happily listening to the surf. The porch also comes with an outdoor table and chairs, so you can have all of your meals out there in the shade. We always rent one of the 2BR cabanas with a kitchen, getting groceries at the ECONO market in downtown Isabela and cooking for ourselves all week to save money. The oven is small, but there are four burners on the gas stove top and each unit has a grill outside. You might go to Olas y Arena, the outdoor restaurant nestled between the cabanas with equally spectacular views, for a meal or two, but it's not cheap and only some things on the menu are truly tasty. When you get groceries, pick up dish soap and a sponge. Pack a drying towel. Life will be so much better. And hang or refrigerate your food as though bears are coming. The bugs can be like bears if you give them something to get excited about.

The bedrooms are set up well but they're no place to hang out, mostly because housekeeping barely visits and beach places get dirty fast. Same goes for the bathroom, which is fine at first but then icky within hours of arriving and then you're stuck with it. Wear flipflops inside. Bring your own facecloth. Use the mop and pail they leave for you. If you're particular about clean linen and are staying more than two nights, it wouldn't hurt to bring a spare set of sheets.

Downtown Isabela is a poor, run-down place. We have family in town so it isn't so bad. But it's certainly no destination for tourists except for groceries. If you're looking for activities, go to the caves or the observatory, go horseback riding a few miles down the coast, or learn to snorkel. And if you want luxury just for a meal, skip this parador's restaurant and drive up the coast 5 minutes to Villa Montana's restaurant, Eclipse. It is spectacularly aesthetically pleasing and worth every penny just to sit in it, never mind eat in it.

We have been to these little cabins year after year at different times, and sometimes it's serene and other times it's throbbing with music, so you have to roll with it. Depends on who's there with you because the beach itself is public. Also there's a PA system that the housekeeping uses to communicate and it's rare but a bloody nuisance when they use it.

So there's the nitty gritty. Have fun!

Room Tip: To get the best rate, check the internet for specials AND call to compare.
  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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14  Thank akorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2011

Let me start by saying that check in is at 5pm. There is no maid service at all (you are provided with a pail,mop, and broom at your door. Housekeeping consist of a lady bringing you towels and sheets, every 2 days. If you want clean towels daily, there is a $5 fee for that. Beach chairs are not provided by the hotel, but you can rent one for $10 a day. Beach towels can also be rented for $5.The resort needs a small convenience store or something. There is only one restaurant which is completely over priced for the amount of food and quality that is given. I got sick from the food. They served me spoiled beans. The fouth day I couln't take it any longer and walked down the road approx. 1 mile to a restaurant that locals go to, there I found good food for an excellent price. I will not be coming back to this location because a vacation should be just that (A VACATION).

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank cumaylin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2011

Nice and quit place. Beutifull beach and delicious restaurant.

  • Stayed: September 2010
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Thank Cyberwoolf11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2011

Our family of 3 just spent 6 nights at Hau. We loved every minute of it and especially were delighted with our two bedroom casita #2. The unit was clean and the linens and towels crisp and freshly laundered--you opened the casita's windows and a wonderful sea breeze ran through it. It was lovely. Do not come here if you are expecting sleep number beds, luxury beach service, teen activities, or infinity pools, but do come if you want to get away from it all in a truly beautiful beach setting. We fell in love with northwest Puerto Rico, the people, the pace of life, the affordability, and the quiet.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank CTorruella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2011

We were a group of about 40 people ages 40 - 70. The beach was gorgeous and very well maintained. The rooms looked great but we only went for the day. STOP don't eat here! Grab McDonald's or Subway but the food they served us was really lousy. Super small portions but I guess that was ok because it wasn't worth eating it!!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank newinpr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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