How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Elena Arbanasi
We Always Enjoy Zamas
Love this place. This is where we go to get away from Playa del Carmen...when we need a break. Although we only go for a night or two at a time, I find it to be a lovely place with good food and nice people.
A little over-rated
We stayed here in Summer 2003 during a small tropical storm and found that the thatched roof of our unit was covered in at least 1/4 inch of mold, the rain poured in under the doorway, rust lined the sink, the shower consisted of a tiny stream of water due to minerals caked around the fixtures and the cold water handle nearly fell off, the towels were old and the sheets on the bed were wet. We decided to leave before our prepaid stay was completed and the management later refunded our money which I had not expected. I think this place must seem fine in sunny weather but I would suggest that the positive comments are overstated at best. Perhaps nothing else could meet our expectations after a fantastic stay at Hotel Secreto on Isla Mujeres during this same vacation but we had found Hotel Mayaland at Chichen Itza and Hacienda Uxmal to be very comfortable.
I recently stayed at Zamas for one night in a garden-view room, and was charmed by the playfully decorated rooms - lots of colorful tile. The restaurant had wonderful food, with a nice view of the water, and everyone I encountered was very friendly.
I agree with other posters, however, that the beach was small, rocky and not really suitable for swimming. It might have been the weather, but our room became almost unbearably hot during the night, and the room does not have a fan.
We stayed 11 nights at Zamas in February 2003. We had a garden view room across the road, and at night it was very warm, even with windows open for a cross breeze (perhaps the beachfront would be cooler?). The beach was just OK and there was too much wave action for snorkeling. The food was good at Que Fresco, but a little TOO lively for us looking for quiet evenings; fortunately there are many other good restaurants within walking distance. The owner was a snob, one of the restaurant's "hosts" who also sells his jewelry was extremely crabby, but Leticia was a gracious hostess and very helpful. I would give Zamas a mixed review and probably would stay at one of the other establishments in the area before booking there again.
Nice Cabanas, but the beach?
I just returned from a trip to the Tulum area, and I spent some time at Zamas while I was there. This was the only place that we reserved before leaving for our trip, and it was very easy to make the reservation, just email them. We had a garden view cabana, which was very nice and a much better deal than the beachfront. We didn't have to cross a road to get to the beach like some have said. The beach cabanas might have been better if there was much of a beach at Zamas. It is very tiny, and I can't believe the previous reviewer who said they haid the nicest beach in this stretch. They must not have visited many of the beaches there. We thought Zamas had the worst beach of any of the places we stayed at. This isn't to say that what they do have is an ugly or, just that it feels crowded if there are more than 2 people in the water there, and you can't walk up and down the beach unless you enjoy pacing back and forth between a couple of rocky areas that aren't passable. The restaurant was very good, but it can be pretty pricey. Our favorite places to eat were all in the town of Tulum. After spending a couple of nights at Zamas, I felt that it was a nice enough place, and could have been perfect if it was in a better location with a decent beach. As it was, I didn't like paying more than double to stay there compared to admittedly more rustic options down the road on some extremely nice beaches.
The small resort of Zamas on Boca Paila Road south of Tulum turned out to be a real gem. The staff and it's owner, Daniel McGettigan, were constantly helpful and always friendly. The cabanas are spacious, not toooo rustic, quite clean with great showers. It is the cuisine which really distinguishes the place. The chef at the restaurant, "Que Fresca" has a delft hand with the local fish, produces the best salsa ever, and even has a brick pizza oven a la Wolfgang Puck! The fish tacos are not to be missed: char broiled filets of fresh grouper with the usual trimmings over fresh tortillas. This beach is the best I saw along this road. And the weather was perfect for my stay 4/29/03-5/5/03.
Zamas is great
I've just returned from a vacation in the Yucatan, of which 6 nights were spent at Zamas. What a wonderful place and staff. My visit there was an unmitigated pleasure.I was impressed not only with the quality of food at Que Fresca! but also with how friendly and hepful the wait people were. Their facility with English was much appreciated during the first few days as I was regaining my familiarity with Spanish, and they were always great about answering my questions on how to pronouce various words. Letitica especially was a delight. She was lively, friendly, informed, immensely helpful - and lots of fun to talk to.I appreciated the cabana designs - even more so after I stayed some other places in the Yucatan - the hammocks, the porch, the wooden windows that could be opened for the evening breeze - we even took pictures of the bathroom we liked it so much. Other appreciated touches were the wooden chairs on the beach (which I like much better than "lounge" chairs), the room staff making everything look inviting and pretty, and the ease with which one could meet other folks or get space from them depending on what you wanted.Zamas set the bar for the other places we stayed, and sad to say, no other places in the Yucatan measured up, and that included resort places like Capitan LaFitte.In terms of the friendliness and efficiency of the staff, the accomodations and the ease and comfort of being in a place, Zamas was nirvana.
Beyond all dreams
what can one say but that Zamas ,after ten years ,is still the most beautiful and best kept secret in Tulum! the restaurant has been reviewed worldwide as the one of the ten best that the entire Yucatan has to offer and more! consistently good food, sometimes great, and, without a doubt, the friendliess staff in all of Tulum. there is nothing to say needs improvement ,here ,other than the weather is unpredictable ,and, be prepared for a wonderful, delicious and relaxing rest. even the music played is almost too good. what variety and the whole ambience is so inviting and fun.. go to Tulum and visit Zamas youll never forget it. i havent. its not unusual that people go back again and again....
Extremely unwelcoming place!
After reading many very positive reviews of Zamas, I was very eager to book a cabana for a recent visit to Tulum. I sent an email but never received a response. I called the number on the homepage twice. Both times a child answered the phone and took a message- I never received a call back. (This all ended up to be a blessing in disguise because we ended staying at Cabanas Copal and I could not have hoped for a more rustically enchanting place.) Despite the unprofessional reservation system, I still wanted to try dinner at Zamas. However when we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted by the most unwelcoming host, rivaling those of the snobbiest restraurants in NY. It was even more of a shock since EVERYONE we had encountered in Tulum until then had been so friendly. He was such a jerk that we just left. I am sure that the food there is as good as they say, but why deal with that kind of attitude when there are so many other wonderful places to eat in Tulum? Clearly all the good reviews have gone to their heads.
Don't tell anyone
I am really afraid to write a review for this place, because, I don't want it to change... It may not be for everyone, but if you want a beautiful place a little bit out of the way(no electricity, but solar lights and running water)this is a magical place...the beach is beautiful, the restaurant has consistently fabulous food...rooms were large and charmingly decorated and, if that's not enough, every afternoon, our fresh towels were folded into swans! The mosquito netting had no holes in it and every cabana has a hammock for each occupant...but, you probably wouldn't like it, there would be too many bugs for you and you have to use bottled water(they have big bottles in each room)and I'm sure you would miss your hairdryer and your TV and would be bored swinging in your hammock each evening listening to the sounds of the nearby surf...don't go.
TripAdvisor Reviews Hotel Elena Arbanasi
Travel Blogs from Tulum
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For someone who travels a lot I was definitely cursed with the lack of good stuff to fight off infections and sickness as I always seem to be getting cuts infected. Monday and Tuesday was apparently my immune systems days off and I copped a beating of hot and cold flashes keeping me bed ridden for my final days in Puerto. The meds finally kicked in and on wednessday and I was back to my loud self keeping the hostel on edge. As Wednesday was my ...
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... expected. It was dark and our taxi dropped us at our beach bungalow accommodation down a quiet secluded road only to find a sandy entrance with a large wooden door and no one really in site. We pushed back the door and other than a few mellow lite garden lights there was only bush land, sand and a couple of little paths into the darkness. We all giggled with a nervous anticipation and followed the path dragging Jess & Stephies suitcases through the mounds of ...