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Na Balam Beach Hotel 3.0

Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Convenient and picturesque location right on the island’s most famous beach
  • Airy rooms feature furnished balconies or patios
  • Outdoor pool set within pretty tropical gardens
  • Suites include private whirlpool or plunge pool
  • Free continental breakfast with homemade granola and bread
  • Pleasant, beachfront restaurant, Zazil Ha, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Spa offers some treatment facilities overlooking the beach
  • Yoga pavilion and equipment
  • Free Wi-Fi in common areas

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi or TVs in rooms
  • Noise from neighboring beach club
  • Spotty hot water in showers

Bottom Line

Na Balam Beach Hotel is a three-pearl hotel located on idyllic Playa Norte (North Beach), a five-minute walk from downtown’s dining and entertainment options. The hotel’s 31 rooms and suites are simple and inviting, and all room categories include private balconies or patios. Beachfront spa treatment facilities and an open-air restaurant maximize the views of Playa Norte’s sugary sands and clear waters. Continental breakfast and lobby Wi-Fi are free. Hotel Cabanas Maria del Mar down the street offers cheaper rates and a similarly picturesque stretch of Playa Norte’s beachfront, but guest rooms are dated. Travelers could also consider Ixchel Beach Hotel, which has more up-to-date rooms.

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Scene

Elegant, yet down-to-earth hotel with superb beachfront setting

With a semi open-air lobby and restaurant topped with earthy palapa roofs, Na Balam Beach Hotel exudes an unfussy, serene ambiance. Whitewashed walls, wooden accents, and stone flooring are a common theme throughout the public spaces.

The property can be confusing to navigate at first, with guest rooms and facilities spread on both sides of the street (which means only half the property is truly beachfront). Shady paths surrounded by lush gardens open up to reveal the hotel’s pool or restaurant, partially hidden amid the thick vegetation.

The hotel attracts mainly couples and families -- there’s even a small playground just next to the restaurant -- including wedding parties. The property’s open layout offers numerous places for socializing, from the large restaurant to the lounge-like area off the lobby, which also serves as a quiet spot to connect to the hotel’s Wi-Fi (free in common spaces).

Location

Central location, directly on gorgeous Playa Norte

Na Balam is set on the stunning Playa Norte Beach, a little over half-a-mile, or a 12-minute walk, from the Ultramar Ferry Terminal. The hotel is set across two sides of a bland stretch of road, with only a few neighboring hotels and businesses. Fenix Lounge, which often features DJs and Cuban salsa, is found (and can be heard) next door. The buzzing shops, restaurants, and bars of the island’s compact downtown area can be reached in five minutes on foot. Dolphin Discovery, Tortugranja (Turtle Farm), and Punta Sur are less than a 20-minute drive away. 

Rooms

Bright, minimalist rooms feature private balconies or patios

White-on-white decor gives guest rooms a crisp, clean atmosphere. The white walls, bedding, and drapery contrast attractively with dark-wood furniture and pieces of Mayan-inspired carved artwork. Appealing balconies or patios are furnished with wooden lounge chairs and small tables. Personal safes and hangers are found inside large closet units. But notably there's no TVs or Wi-Fi in rooms.

Speckle-tiled bathrooms are less striking, although square raised sinks add some visual interest. Sink vanities are found separate from the shower and water closet. Some showers include a pump filled with shampoo and shower gel, while others offer small Collezione brand toiletries from Italy.

A number of rooms feature beautiful palapa roofs. Pricier suites include private plunge pools or whirlpools as well as separate sitting areas. Views overlook either the ocean, pool, or garden grounds. 

Features

Lovely outdoor pool and whirlpool, scenic beachfront restaurant, and spa treatments with ocean views

Features at Na Balam are well above average and cater to relaxation and convenience. The hotel’s on-site spa offers body treatments and facials in either an open-air wooden structure set on the sands of Playa Norte, or in a tiny building by the pool, shaded by an enormous banyan tree.

The hotel’s kidney-shaped outdoor pool is surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens. There are a few soft lounge chairs found around the pool, as well as a small whirlpool. Nearby, a tranquil palapa-roofed meditation room provides yoga classes for a fee.

The on-site restaurant, Zazil Ha, features a menu of Mexican cuisine, seafood, and botanas (tapas-sized plates). A free breakfast of homemade toast, granola, and coffee is offered here every morning, and the restaurant is also open for lunch, dinner, and drinks. Open-air and decorated with nondescript wooden furniture, the restaurant decor is simple but its view of Playa Norte is excellent. Restaurant tables extend out onto the beach’s powdery white sand, where there are also a few large daybeds for guests to lounge on.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the common areas only. There’s a full-service marina, and the hotel hosts weddings.

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Address

Calle Zazil Ha 118, Playa Norte, Quintana Roo 77400, Mexico

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