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What a Difference a Year Makes

Posted by Tony & Cheri on September 21, 2013

Jaime Garcia, our most senior employee, with our 2013 Travelers' Choice Award

What a difference a year makes!

It was just a year ago that our little place, the Luna Blue Hotel, was struggling to avoid being crushed by travel industry giant Expedia as it bulldozed over small hotels like ours throughout the world. Things looked grim. But here we are less than a year later still thriving and now receiving accolades from some of the biggest travel sites on the internet. Quite the turnaround, if we do say so ourselves.

Early this year the Luna Blue Hotel was awarded its second Travelers’ Choice Award for “Best Bargain Hotel in Mexico” by TripAdvisor. It is one of the most sought-after and prestigious awards in the travel business. Then not long after that honor, (one of the world’s most popular websites with 90 million visitors a month) named us the “<a title="Luna Blue Hotel named Favorite Bargain Hotel in Mexico by readers “Favorite Bargain Hotel in Mexico.” We are proud and pleased with these awards. It’s always wonderful to be named the “best” or the “favorite” on any list or in any category. To have it happen twice in the same year is a something very special.

What makes these awards even sweeter is the fact that both sites base their results on the opinions of actual travelers. It makes us happy to see that travel choices are not yet completely controlled by giant international mega-corporations but are still ultimately where they should be…in the hands of those who love to travel.

Of course we are also thrilled that these awards show that people recognize what an excellent choice our hotel is for travelers. Being a bargain…a great value…has always been our goal.

When we first started on this adventure we knew our hotel would never be a fancy, luxury property. That wasn’t our style. But neither did we want a bare bones “budget” place. We believe people want and deserve a little comfort when on vacation. We wanted a hotel for people like us…simply a nice place to stay that average travelers could afford. To us that is what “bargain” means: a good deal for a good price.

In keeping with that idea, we have always tried to keep our rates some of the lowest in town. For example, compare the nightly high season price of a standard hotel room (not the most expensive room nor the cheapest…just the basic mid-range room many people want) at the Luna Blue Hotel with some of the other popular small hotels in the area.

Luna Blue Hotel…$90.00
Aventura Mexicana…$188.00 Riviera del Sol…$176.00
Casa Tikul…$160.00 Hotel Cielo…$125.00
Acanto…$153.00 Hacienda Paradise…$122.00
Hotel La Tortuga…$139.00 Hotel Bric…$125.00


In fact, our most expensive room–the Garden View Deluxe room with a full kitchen sleeping up to 4 people–is less expensive than all of the other listed hotels’ “standard” rooms!

All prices were taken from the respective hotel’s website, are exclusive of tax and are for the same high season time period. Not all the well-known small “bargain” hotels in Playa are listed here. Some of Playa’s small hotels don’t publish their rates but require you contact them for a quote. This gives them the chance to increase the rate on a moment’s notice if they want. We don’t deal that way. Our rates are always published on our website. What you see is what you get.

Of course no two properties are alike. Each of these hotels offers its own type of atmosphere, amenities and extras. At the Luna Blue we offer amenities we feel certain will help our guests get the most out of their vacation. Each standard Tropical Hideaway room has a queen bed, unlimited free bottled water, a refrigerator, air conditioning, safe, private bath, ceiling fan, daily maid service, either a porch or balcony, free or discounted use of four local beach clubs, a free margarita at our very popular bar, daily free breakfast snack of coffee, teas and locally baked sweet breads and use of our garden and pool.

Luna Blue Hotel wins 2013 Certificate of Excellence Award from TripadvisorObviously, price and amenities don’t tell the whole story. The fanciest place in the world isn’t worth staying at if the service isn’t good. We are suitably proud of our own reputation for great service. Our multi-lingual hotel staff speaks English and is renowned for being helpful and friendly. And as owners who live here in Playa, we personally look to the comfort and safety of each guest…which may be why we have one of the highest “Excellent” rankings on TripAdvisor in all of Playa del Carmen.

We think our outstanding service is also one of the reasons we also were awarded a third major award this year, our second “Certificate of Excellence” by TripAdvisor…an award given to only 10% of travel businesses worldwide.

Yes, it’s been a wild 12 months…but in the end we are confident that there is still a place in the world of travel for the small independent property like ours. We are thrilled to be recognized for the value we offer to travelers who come our way, and we are happy to still be here in Playa del Carmen, wishing “Happy Travels” to all our readers and friends.

Come join us in paradise.

12 Responses to “What a Difference a Year Makes”

  1. Brenda Orzen said

    Congratulation …coming back from the nightmare with Expedia to winning to back to back awards is a wonderful accomplishment and speaks volumes about how you run your hotel….Proud to call you a dear dear friend …keep up the good work.

  2. Paul Curtin said

    Congrats you and your team certainly have worked very hard to achieve the goals you have attained. Thanks so much Paul and Karen.

  3. Let me know when you get TVs

    • Tony & Cheri said

      Steve: We made a decision long ago that we wanted a real tropical oasis of a hotel… not some cookie cutter version of an American Chain Hotel transplanted to the middle of paradise. We wanted something more authentically Caribe-Mexican. And we decided televisions were not part of the escape to paradise adventure we wanted to offer our guests. We view travel as a way for people to get away from their regular schedule (be it work, school or television watching). So instead of television we offer an afternoon napping in a lush garden, a swim in a sunken swimming pool next to a waterfall overlooked by a thatched roof bar that serves ice cold beer and the best margaritas in town. We also have a lending library for those who want to catch up on a favorite author’s latest mystery or romance novel. And we encourage our guests to see what Mexico has to offer outside of the hotel. It’s only a short walk from the Luna Blue to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and an easy day trip to some of the world’s great adventures such as climbing thousand year old pyramids, catching a marlin in deep water, snorkeling or diving the second largest coral reef in the world…not to mention an exciting night life that runs from fire dancers, to all night dance raves to theater and music from around the world. We would rather have people out exploring the paradise around the hotel than having them sit inside it watching TV. We know people like to keep in touch with the world even on vacation so we do provide free wireless. And if you want to see the “Big Game” of the week there are plenty of sports bars in town where you can join with the crowd in cheering on a favorite team. Yes we know TV is an important part of many people’s day, but we have had guest after guest tell us over the years that despite their reservations about not having television, they never missed it. There is just too much to do here. We understand that we aren’t the perfect choice for everyone, and you may prefer another property…but we encourage you to give us a try…we promise you won’t be bored.

  4. Steve said

    mazel tov!!

  5. SKINNY ME said

    Great Job!!

  6. Brian said

    Keep up the good work, congratulations

  7. Greg H said

    Truly NOT having a TV is a plus on vacation. Vacations are to enjoy and relax and the Luna is perfect just the way it is. Looking forward to Feb.for another stay at the Luna. Congrat on the awards, you are deserving of them all.

  8. Congrats on your award! You’ve done a great job helping a lot of travelers have a wonderful vacation. We’re pleased that TripAdvisor could be a megaphone for your low prices and great service.
    Steve Kaufer, CEO, TripAdvisor

    • Tony & Cheri said

      Thank you Mr. Kaufer for taking the time to read our blog and leave your comment. We appreciate not only the awards and recognition TripAdvisor has given us over the years, but also for the opportunity to offer advice and help to other travelers as “Destination Experts” for TA’s Playa del Carmen forum. We share your company’s philosophy that there is no better judge of the travel industry than travelers themselves.

      Tony & Cheri

      • You are most welcome. And thanks for all of your contributions as a DE. As it happens, a vacation with my wife to Playa Del Carmen in 1998 was the “travel planning story” that was the inspiration for TripAdvisor.

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