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Reviews (165)
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All reviewsfamily owned hotelquiet areaother hotels in the areasmall kitchenmexican hotelbalcony doorrestaurants and shoppinghand towelsalways felt safecoffee makerthe air conditioningwonderful stayfront desk staffislarefrigeratorcleanlinessaccommodations
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Reviewed 16 October 2006

Everyone at the francis arlene is very friendly. the family that owns the hotel are some of the nicest people i've ever met. i stayed in room 27 on the roof. this room is gorgeous. from one side you can see an aerial view of the island, which is wonderful at night. on the other side you can see the ocean. isla mujeres was my first real vacation and my first time seeing the ocean. i couldn't have asked for a better hotel experience. i will be returning to the francis arlene and staying in room 27 again around january. the only thing wrong with staying on the roof is after a late night of being out at the club, it feels like a pretty long walk to the top of those stairs. this hotel is the perfect place to relax on a perfect vacation in isla.

  • Stayed: September 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
8  Thank emothrowdown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2006

Let me begin by saying that I am not picky. I've stayed in some pretty dingy places when the price was right with no problem. However, based on reviews posted on this site I decided to stay at the Francis Arlene. I had planned to stay 3 nights but left after only 1 night [Aug. 13, 2006] because my experience was so bad.

First of all, the air conditioner in my room didn't work and no one was around to fix it since I arrived close to 10 pm. The next problem I discovered was that the toliet was broken and didn't flush. Finally, upon waking up the next morning, the water in the shower turned from cold to scalding hot so fast I didn't have time to move out of the way before it burned me. The staff was unhelpful and and borderline rude throughout my ordeal so I moved on to the Meson del Bucanero [which I highly recommend].

Although I was disturbed by my experience I wasn't planning on writing a review here until tonight.... I met 3 new friends from the UK a couple of days ago who are currently staying at the Francis Arlene [they paid in advance so they are stuck]. After buying some beer we decided to go relax and pre party on their balcony before we went out for the night.

We got there around 9,30 pm and by 10 pm the receptionist came up and said that I had to leave because I wasn't a guest of the hotel. Although she was pleasant enough, 5 min. later the "manager" can up and very sternly said that I had to leave right then. I asked her to explain their policy and she adamantly refused, started yelling at me to leave and said that it was the owner's policy [who was conveniently in Cancun]. She was incredibly rude and irrational and I wasn't in the mood to fight with her so I left.

Why am I reconunting this story here? Because there are plenty of other places to stay in Isla where the people are genuinely nice and friendly. Everything about the Francis Arlene is the exact opposite. I have traveled to Mexico on at least 8 other occassions, I speak Spanish fluently, and I have never been treated so poorly in this country. Spend your money somewhere else, this place is the pits.

  • Stayed: August 2006
    • Value
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18  Thank raquelucla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Missoula
216
Reviewed 22 May 2006

The Francis Arlene Hotel is a paradise on Isla Mujeres. It is a couple blocks from the main ferry terminal on a pretty quiet street. Visitor traffic is well monitored by the hotel staff and do not allow non-hotel guests to enter. There is a beautiful courtyard, lush and flowering. No pool though the beach is truly two blocks away. Our room was on the second floor. It was bright and cheerful, very clean and basic. The air conditioner worked well and quietly. There was hot water in the shower. A water cooler in the hallway with purified water was refilled on a regular basis. The safe was at the front desk, you had to bring your things you wanted locked up and they give you the only key. The hotel staff was very helpful with directions and recommending places to eat. Playa Norte was about 2 blocks away. It is a lovely beach with warm, waist deep water. The sunsets are spectacular. You can walk everywhere downtown although a lot of people rented golf carts or scooters. There are lots of market style shops, look around before making a purchase to find out what other people are selling the item for. You certainly can bargain here too. There are many good restaurants around - just about any cuisine you wanted. We ate at Amigos, Picu's, Manana and some others I can't remember the names of. All the food was very good. I would recommend the fresh squeezed orange juice from the street vendor too....very tasty. We had the best smoothies on Isla too.
We took a day trip out to Isla Contoy - a bird sanctuary. You can sign up near the ferry terminal. It's all day - about an hour boat ride with a stop for a snorkel trip on a reef. The island is pretty small and only inhabited by the light house keeper and maintenance staff. Our small group were the only visitors for most of the day. Our guides cooked fresh fish over the fire, we snorkeled around the bay. There is a large sting ray that hangs out there that apparently the locals feed because it was pretty tame. There is salt water mangrove inland where the Frigets nest and breed. There are supposed to be salt water crocodiles but we didn't see any. There is a tower you can climb up that gives you a panoramic view of the whole island - very beautiful. Well worth the visit.
Our last day on Isla Mujeres we took a "Discover Scuba" class for intro to scuba from Cruise Divers on the main street. Our guide was very professional and helpful. If you ever wanted to try scuba - this is a good way to get your feet wet. We went on an actual dive and saw a sea turtle and many colorful fish and coral. Quite a great experience.
The ferries run frequently from Isla to the mainland (Puerto Juarez./Cancun) for about 35 pesos.
There is stuff to do at the south end of the island; we just didn't make it that far in our limited time. There was quite a lot of damage down on the east side of the island that was hurricane related, for example the boardwalk was mostly destroyed.
Definitely plan on spending a few days on the Isla and the Francis Arlene is a great place to stay. We would love to come back someday.

7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2006

Opt for the air conditioning! It's only $10-20 more per night and worth it! The staff was very helpful when we wanted to change to rooms with AC and credited our prepaid other charges to the new rooms.

The hotel isn't on the main drag (Av Hidalgo) it's only 2 short blocks away and the beach are withiin 5 minutes too. An advantage of being off Hidalgo is it's much quieter.

  • Stayed: May 2006
    • Value
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3  Thank CJ J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2005

The hotel Francis Arlene was a joy. After spending a full week at an extravagant, indulgent all inclusive (human nature at its worst) 5 star compound in Tulum our escape to Isla Mujeres and this hotel was such a relief. Gentle staff, clean rooms with hot water and fan, a glorious veranda with an uexpected view of both the sea and the town and a lush cool green common area to enjoy if you took the time. The little fridge allowed us to make our own breakfasts and lunches. Not fancy, just right. The children were thrilled to hang their hammocks up in the room from the hooks and sleep cool all night as we were meant to.

Stayed: May 2004
8  Thank AnnieBGood1111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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