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The Sommersbys
Riva, Maryland

Beautiful with Perfect Service

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 23 Feb 2024via mobile
This is a truly wonderful escape. Isla Palenque has excellent low key service in an amazing environment with wonderful rooms. We especially loved kayaking around the island with Francis, the cocktails by Carlos, and the truly friendly meal service from both Jorge and Carlos.

All you need to bring is shorts, bathing suits, shoes optional, and bug spray - we got bites even with spray on (it’s a real tropical island after all!).
Date of stay: February 2024
Room Tip: February is very hot! Bring bug spray.
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this review
Responded 25 Feb 2024
Thanks for your review and the great comments on the service, your meals, and the adventures with our on-site guides. It is a good idea to bring bug spray, especially when going on tours into the forest on the island. But many of our guests also never bother to use it and are fine. Shoes are optional for sure. Please come back soon.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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      Reviews (218)
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      6 - 11 of 218 reviews
      Reviewed 8 February 2024

      If you are considering a visit to Isla Palenque, stop thinking about it and just book it. You will not regret it.

      My husband and I came for one week to celebrate our 20th anniversary. From the minute we reached the dock, our every want and need was exquisitely catered to. The casitas are fabulous, and the air conditioning kept us very comfortable. We loved the outdoor bathroom - one morning I had monkeys serenading me while I showered.

      It's really the staff where Isla Palenque shines. They go out of their way to ensure you're enjoying your visit. During lunch one day, we asked for our lounge chairs to be moved to the beach - it was done within minutes. Iris provided excellent massages. We did a fun rum tasting class with Michael and his passion for the subject was infectious. We did many activities with Frances including a snorkel trip to Isla Secas, dolphin watching, a monkey walk and a hike into the jungle. He is so knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in the area; every adventure with him was fascinating. I highly recommend the Isla Secas trip. The snorkeling was perfect, and the empty island beach we went to for lunch was one of the prettiest beaches I've ever seen.

      The food was fresh and delicious. Try the Palenque tartar. On our anniversary, they prepared a special private dinner for us in a palapa. The food, including lobsters wrapped in banana leaves, was out of this world. The waitstaff, including Carlos, Guillermo, Jorge, Michael and Carolina were attentive and friendly.

      Benny, the concierge, worked tirelessly to cater to our every whim. Benny and chef Axel even put together a first - an ice cream making class for us. It was so fun and we feasted on our ice cream and sorbet the rest of the week.

      A few (hopefully) helpful tidbits:
      1. You better like the person/people you're traveling with because you won't see many other people.
      2. If you're looking for a party, this place isn't for you.
      3. The only shoes you need are a pair of flip-flops/sandals and a pair of hiking boots - seriously, I way over-packed in the shoe department.
      4. Visit Isla Palenque to be pampered, indulged and well-rested. It is truly a magical place.

      Thank you Isla Palenque for the anniversary trip of my dreams!

      Date of stay: January 2024
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Value
        • Location
        • Service
      Thank NorthStar32889334298
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 12 February 2024

      What a wonderful review. We love your packing recommendation about shoes. Thank you for spending such a special occasion with us on our island. Greetings from all of us at Isla Palenque.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 14 January 2024

      What a dream! Come here for paradise. The casitas are very comfortable and private. The outside space is absolutely dreamy. You can walk steps to the ocean and yet have complete privacy. I had two of the best massages of my life on the outside deck. The food is beyond fresh and delicious. Expertly cooked and varied. The swimming pool is the perfect temperature, and the ocean is as well. My family had a wonderful time, and we hope to return!

      Date of stay: August 2023
      • Trip type: Travelled with family
        • Value
        • Location
        • Service
      1  Thank TrianaTeresa
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 16 January 2024

      Thank you for your "Paradise" Review. We are glad that you and your family had such a wonderful time at Isla Palenque. Please come back soon.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 27 November 2023

      We just returned from a delightful four-day stay at this wonderful resort, and the experience was nothing short of incredible. All the glowing reviews are absolutely accurate. The staff, food, activities, and location make this place worth every moment of the trip. A special shout-out to Derek, Jens, Carlos, Paco, Obajoralis (apologies if the spelling is incorrect), Yarelee, Benny, and everyone else who went above and beyond to ensure we had a fantastic time.

      We enjoyed the night walk, a premium rum tasting led by the knowledgeable Carlos, the Secrets of the Island tour, a fun mixology class, and evening wine and cheese. However, simply lounging in the cabanas or gazing at the ocean during meals was an experience in itself. The casitas were charming, and the housekeeping was nothing short of miraculous – we never once saw them, yet the casita remained spotless throughout our stay.

      One highlight was when an entire family of howler monkeys joined us during lunch to feast on the almond tree. It added a unique touch to our dining experience.

      I wished we could have extended our stay to enjoy more of the activities. There's just so much to do!

      Overall, our time at this resort was unforgettable, and we can't wait to return.

      Date of stay: November 2023
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Value
        • Location
        • Service
      Thank JasonM751
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 5 December 2023

      Thanks for your visit, Jason. Yes, four days is not enough. At least 5. But most guests say a week. Thanks for all the positive comments and the nice mention of so many team members. We will take great care of the Howler Family and of course the rest of the island. Please come back soon or maybe visit another Cayuga Collection Hotel in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, or Panama soon.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 3 November 2023 via mobile

      WOW, where to begin? This place is the true meaning of paradise, our time spent in this hotel was worth every second!
      We started our journey traveling from Costa Rica to the border of Panama, where we met with the hotel driver who was amazingly nice! He took us to the bay where we would be picked up by a beautiful boat that took us to Isla Palenque. The boat ride to the hotel is a whole experience itself! They received us with fresh water and fruit juice, and gave us a quick tour of the beautiful scenery to get to the island. As we arrived we were received by the staff of the hotel, such wonderful people!
      I was blown away by the facilities of the hotel: the restaurant is just by the ocean with stunning views of the beach, where you can have a delicious meal (like, REALLY delicious) while feeling the soft sand under your feet. You also have the option to have your meal inside the restaurant if you like! The pool is right beside the restaurant, where you can have a refreshing dip and unwind on the pool beds.

      Now, the bungalows: W O W! Each bungalow has a private entrance that leads you to the terrace, fully equipped with a lovely table, a rocking couch hangin from the ceiling and even yoga equipment for you to relax and submerge yourself into nature. The inside of the bungalow is just amazing! The most comfortable bed I have rested in, a small area for you to chill out and a mini bar stacked with delicious treats and beverages! The bathroom is another whole experience, it is located in back outside of the room, so you can connect with yourself and indulge in what I like to call a “luxurious rainforest”. There is a shower and also a bathtub where you can give yourself a relaxing bath surrounded by paradise.

      The food: the flavors and the combinations that the chefs use are simply remarkable, Each dish is carefully though through and made with so much love, you can sense each flavor balanced perfectly in each dish, the ingredients are amazingly fresh and tasty and the presentation is just another level. They offer plenty of variety and consider your food requirements as needed. I can guarantee you, whichever dish you choose will leave you in awe! I specially recommend trying the ice creams, the flavors are so creative and tasty!

      The staff of the hotel is just amazing. They make you feel at home and like everything is magical while you enjoy your stay! They were always so attentive and the service was impecable! Very helpful when it came to information about tours and assisting you with anything you need! And how can I forget, one of the things that impressed me the most was that EVERY time I left the room and came back the room was all organized again! I’m telling you seriously - like a whole new set of clean towels, a made-up bed like if nobody had ever slept on it, water bottle filled up with fresh water - it was like magic! The timing was perfect, I never saw them enter or leave the room! Just came back from breakfast, lunch or dinner with a whole new fresh room just for me!
      It was so pleasant to be surrounded with such wonderful people, they are extremely dedicated to all of the guests and we were so grateful for their amazing attention! I even felt like moving into the hotel hahaha!

      The tours are also amazing! We went on a tour around the island to go see the natural blow whole and we even saw monkeys, birds and spiders! We felt really really safe the whole time with our guide! We also did the whale watching tour and it was just spectacular! It impressed me how well the locals know where to find the whales, we saw so many and also saw dolphins! We were extremely lucky! They also offered us beverages to stay cool during our tour!

      This experience was a 10000/10! Easily one of the best hotels I have visited in my whole life, this is not just a simple hotel, it is a complete experience full of luxury and nature that inspires you to want to come back every time.

      Date of stay: September 2023
      Trip type: Travelled as a couple
      Thank Capi1995
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 11 November 2023

      Thank you for taking the time to write this wonderful detailed review. We really appreciate this and are glad you had such a great stay with us. We agree that Isla Palenque is much more than just a hotel. We hope you come back soon and once again thank you for the praise. It motivates us to take even better care of our next guests.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 28 October 2023 via mobile

      What a truly amazing place and staff. You really do feel like you shipwrecked on a deserted island that just happens to have beautiful casitas with outdoor showers, air conditioning, and a staff of people eager to make the best possible experience. Travel was flawless both in and out and you feel the seclusion with the flights and van rides and boat ride. Staff all speak English and Spanish. Food is amazing. Setting is amazing. Laid back holiday. Only 8 casitas (and one large villa) at this point so it never feels like there are too many people around. 10/10 would return. Jens and Benny were fantastic concierge staff. The restaurant/bar staff were fantastic Derek,Michael, Guillermo, Carlos, and Obdiale. Paco and Francis were fantastic and a lot of fun. They taught us a lot about the island and panama.

      Room tip: Will need bug spray. Mosquitos not horrible but present.
      Date of stay: October 2023
      Trip type: Travelled as a couple
      Thank rorys909
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      Guest Service, Revenue Management at Isla Palenque Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 2 November 2023

      A special thank you for remembering all the names of our staff in this review. This means a lot to us. And of course that you enjoyed your stay so much. Shipwrecked but with all the creature comforts. It really is the island experience that we all dream about. Please come back soon. Greetings from sunny Isla Palenque.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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