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“An honest story! Would come again..”
Review of El Momo Cottages

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El Momo Cottages
Reviewed 5 February 2016

When choosing our facility for the nights on Saba we stumbled upon El Momo. We were in for simple, charming, close to the shops and far away enough from the shops at the same time! We came from St Maarten, we were in for peace! We also wanted a warm shower and electricity. So.. El Momo!

When we booked we received a very honest story about what to expect. If that description didn't meet our needs, we were able to cancel it for free. That's what I call honest business.

El Momo is not perfect (like some people write), but it is really really charming. Who needs perfection in the rainforest? This is indeed kind of like camping. The owner helped us with everything and was always in for a amusing talk. The (clean) pool gave extra refreshment during the day, the always open 'honest-bar' (free to take a drink from the fridge and pay later) at night!

Beds were great! Full breakfast really satisfying. You get woken by the coq. We had nothing to complain about. Take the easy road, breath the island and slow down.

note: Saba is an expensive island in general! You find yourself going up and down the hills every day, unless you sit still all day. The walk to 'town' for shopping takes you about 10-15 min and it's fairly easy. For elderly people (65+), this might not be the best option for you! El Momo is only accessible via a stone chair. It is beautiful, but there is no need to visit again. To far away! ;-)

The flight to Saba is great!!!! We loved it! Forgot my new swimming pants at El Momo, but the owner came after me all the way to the airport. What a service! Thanks a lot...

Room Tip: You might want to have your own (eco) toilet! Paper is collected in the bin.
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  • Stayed: January 2016, travelled with family
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Thank McLad22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 31 January 2016

The owner Andries is a very friendly host, with a good(our) sense of humour. He can and will arrange anything you like (taxi's, bookings in restaurants,...)
The houses are excellent for people who appreciate nature and don't need hairdryers, airconditioning, tv, etc. Like somebody wrote; camping in the rainforest! Indeed. And we liked it a lot. The view, the sounds, the hummingbirds, the butterflies, the frogs, the cats, the roosters. The stars, the sunset, the lounge, the pool, ...
We had an excellent time and hope to come back.
We slept in the Sunshine Cottage. This was a nice one. Next time I'd book this one again or ask for the one that is highest.

Room Tip: I'd try the highest or Sunshine Cottage
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  • Stayed: January 2016, travelled with friends
    • Location
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Thank Chris B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2016

I can see why some people either love or hate this place. I LOVED it. It was a week of living in the rainforest, sights and sounds of nature all around me at all times. So if you are squeamish or don't like nature, this is not the place for you... in fact, Saba is probably not the place for you.

If you love nature, and love the sounds and smells of the jungle, then you will adore El Momo. You know, I never did find out who El Momo is!! (Andreis??)

Within an hour of arrival (yes, there are about a zillion steps to climb to get up to the cottages, but you get used to it and you get a little workout every time you come back to the place!), I had met a resident giant iguana, a hummingbird or two, multiple local lizards, a giant cricket, a snake and the very friendly house cat. These critters wander about, in and out of your room and your bathroom - there are no locks on the doors - at all times of day. It's pretty amazing being surrounded by nature, and you feel like it embraces you.

El Momo is a jumble of cottages built right into the hillside; each one on a different level, but each also with its own unique view of the foothills of Mt. Scenery, all the way down to the ocean. It is gorgeous. I loved the little sitting area, just outside of my cottage (I stayed in the Sunshine Cottage); there were two hummingbirds that kept an eye on me as I sat out there and wrote every afternoon. My (outdoor) shower had the most beautiful views.

Now, living in the rainforest is not spotlessly clean or dry (there are insects and critters and intermittent rain, depending on the time of year), and there will be bugs and frogs and lizards in the room at any given time. You have to expect that, and it's part of the charm (it is called an eco-lodge for a reason!).

Saba's water supply comes from rainwater, so you have to conserve. It's fine for showering (actually very very clean and refreshing) and brushing teeth, but I'm not sure I'd drink it until I was used to it a bit longer, as there is no water filter system at El Momo.

The cottages are in need of a little repair, but they are dry and deliver what's promised. The breakfasts are lovely but dinner is inconsistent, so you typically need to go down to Windward Side town (5-10 minute walk, but the road back up Booby Hill is really steep!) for dinner. I'd stay here again in a heartbeat and would recommend it to anyone travelling to Saba and looking for a peaceful experience staying about as close to nature as you can get without camping.

Room Tip: I would opt for a moderate room - the higher the room, the better the view.
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  • Stayed: December 2015, travelled solo
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1  Thank Lesli W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2015

Absolutely LOVED my stay here! I wished I had stayed here longer! What a welcome relief especially after I had an awful 2 night stay elsewhere.

What I loved:
From pretty much wherever you are, you have an amazing vista...into infinity....the sky, the ocean, and the hills. It really just takes your breath away. Even my bathroom had a GORGEOUS view....as did the communal dining/gathering area.

Surrounded by beautiful jungle greenery. What a wonderful thing to be surrounded by greenery. The cottages are perched up on a hill (so you do have to go up steps) and there is green everywhere. It's gorgeous! I even saw two iguanas mating right outside my cottage in the greens.

Semiprivate cottages. Because there is enough shrubbery, I was able to sit naked on my balcony to eat and look at...the vista. You do have to be on the lookout out depending on which cottage you have but believe me, it's not too hard. I loved going naked from my cottage to my bathroom next door. It's very freeing, and amazing since I was bathed in sunlight.

I stayed in the Sunshine Cottage and I loved it. It had its own bathroom right next door. I would say stay higher if you want even more privacy. The highest cottage is usually for honeymoon couples.

The great customer service. Even though the front desk was run by a volunteer (who is only staying for about a month) while the owner was away, him and the other woman truly made me feel welcomed and were so kind! The woman even gave me a ride to one of the trailheads and they were extremely helpful in many ways!

Kitties. There was a precious kitty who I grew to love in my short stay. She is a new resident, she basically adopted the place. She is very friendly and I named her Polkadot Pepper because she has four black polkadots on her back going down diagonally on her otherwise white fur. She is precious! They also have another cat who was indoors but she was not feeling well so I did not get to meet her.

Pool. SInce Saba's couple and seasonal " beaches" were not convenient to get to, it was great having a pool to swim in. I was super lucky because I pretty much had the pool to myself all the time! And got to see a great sunset...because of course you get a great view from the pool. It's not big to swim major laps but I got to do very mini laps :) It was also well kept. (Again, obviously there will be little things in it because of the nature of things but they clean it everyday).

Peaceful. I loved listening to the frogs as I fell asleep and feeling the cool breeze of the night.

Easy walk from the center of WIndwardside. From Windwardside, it's an uphill walk on a lit road so you don't need a flashlight..ever! But to Windwardside, it's a downhill walk. Besides the up and down (all of Saba is like this btw), it's super easy and safe even at night, and I am a solo female traveler.

Vegan options. They were very happy to offer to make vegan options for breakfast. Breakfast was not included but it was nice to know they are super vegan friendly.

Close enough to town but faraway enough for peace. Enuf said.

Why it may not be for everyone:

Nature. Yes, you are surrounded by nature. So there will be bugs in your room. You can close the windows but they will be attracted to light so you will see some ants, some moths, maybe spiders. Honestly it's not bad! You are in nature! There are no screens on the window, only windows that have glass shutters so some may have to choose between closing the windows so more bugs don't get in and getting night breeze. I run cold so I preferred to have the windows shut.

Vintage nature housing. Do not expect shiny surfaces and no cobwebs. Since the housing is more exposed to the outdoors, you will see some cobwebs and the housing is mostly painted wood so it's not shiny. It's charming! (Nevertheless, herein lies also an area of improvement ;see below)

Walking up one hill from Windwardside and climbing steps to your cottage. I regularly hike, dance and practice yoga so this is not a problem for me at all. If you don't or cant' do inclines, then the only place to stay is within Windwardside center (or the Bottom) so that you can just walk on mostly flat streets to restaurants at night. (Ugh, but it's so noisy there....and not with jungle noise). I'm assuming however, that most people who come to Saba like to dive and hike so this will likely not be a problem...just giving a headsup to the occasional vacationer from St Maarten who may not be aware that Saba is mad hilly.

You may hear your neighbors. It's very open housing in that there is no insulation, so noise travels and one night I did hear my neighbors talking pretty loudly at midnight and again when they woke up at 5am. I nicely asked them (from my bed) to keep it down please and they did. I am not a light sleeper at all but that was the only time I was woken up. Jungle sounds do not bother me at all and in fact help me sleep.

Wifi strongest from reception/pool area. If you need to be connected from your room, you may want to ask about getting a room closer to the reception. My room, was not too far but it did not get reception, and only extremely little on the balcony. But nonetheless, I was okay with not being completely connected. I had electricity and plugs to plug in my electronics at night and that was important to me. Wifi from my room was not, so long as the place itself had it. I would suggest they install extenders so that the connection reaches some of the room, but honestly, I doubt this is an issue for most travelers to Saba.

This place is for nature people basically.

Areas for improvement:

Place could use some TLC. I host in my home as well and can just imagine how hard it is to maintain a place like El Momo. However, I think it could use some energetic people to just do a deep cleaning once in a while. Some areas could use some wall scrubbing (it's just dirt) and cobweb clearing in the corner. I felt like doing it myself and did scrub a bit of the bathroom walls. The two people in charge were older and respectfully, may not have had the energy to be that detailed. Take me! I will do it if you let me stay there for a bit! I clean very well and with love!

Showers cold. It said it had hot water but it was just a couple of minutes of barely tepid water so I couldn't really wash my hair. The temperature would be okay on a hot day but I was there on some days when it was not that hot, and at night, forget it. On the other hand, having an uncomfortable shower may be a good deterrent against people taking long luxurious showers which would result in the place running out of water (which I have been told happens sometimes when people leave the toilet water running --- luckily it didn't happen when I was there. You have to be mindful of the water supply in Saba because all there water is rain harvested and is not without limits.

Bug netting? It seems like in the past there was netting there (there were no mosquitos at all --- seems like on the entire island...I did not get bit once) in the rooms becasue I saw a hook on the ceiling over the bed. I think it would be a very reasonable and do-able upgrade to get screens for the windows of cottages or even reinstall the netting so that some people won't freak out. I think it would be a worthwhile investment.

TIP to guests:
Pack light, there is not much room to hang clothes, especially if you have two people in the room but in humid environments, I was told it was better to roll up your clothes so that dampness doesn't get in there so I rolled up my winter jacket and all my clothes up and it worked. Either way with two people it may get cozy in terms of putting things so pack lightly! You will only be hiking and diving anyway!

SUMMARY: Because of the kindness and generosity of the hosts/property managers and the amazing energy and surroundings of El Momo, I highly recommend staying here! Next time I am in Saba I will stay here!

Room Tip: The higher you go, the more private you are.
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  • Stayed: December 2015, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Service
1  Thank Lna G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2015

I stayed at El Momo for a few days. The place is just beautiful, providing great views and a nice atmosphere. As Saba is a small island, the guests (and the owners) have to live with some particularities like: You are really in touch with nature, so you may meet (harmless) animals on the site, you will enjoy using rainwater, and if something stops working, sometimes it can't be fixed until the next day. Besides that, the owners are very kind, doing everything to make their guests feeling comfortable and to support them with advice or organizing something. After a hot day, the clean pool is a perfect treat. The breakfast is very good, you enjoy it looking at the sea. Water, beer and snacks are available day and night. Wifi was surprisingly fast. My cottage was clean. So, if you are a bit adventurous and if you don't need your daily pedicure, El Momo is your choice. If I have the chance to do, I will stay there again for some days. When I left, I had the impression that my stay was too short, which is a good sign. - Due to a canceled flight, I could not spend my first night at El Momo, but arrived only next morning. Andries, the owner, was very fair not charging me with the lost night. This is something that you won't experience at other places.

  • Stayed: October 2015, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank physicus83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about El Momo Cottages

Address: Booby Hill | Box 542, Windwardside, Saba
Region: Caribbean > Saba > Windwardside
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Speciality Lodging in Windwardside
Price Range: $108 - $142 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — El Momo Cottages 2.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Peace - Nature - Silence. Nature lovers who enjoy priceless amenities of tropical flowers, palm trees and hammocks overlooking a deep blue sea and warm hospitality will find El Momo to be the perfect retreat. It's small, quiet, charming and a little "Robinson Crusoe like"; A little piece of paradise where time moves slowly and attention is paid to details. We have breathtaking sea views and fantastic ocean sunsets from October to March. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Momo Cottages Hotel Windwardside

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