We wanted to love the Luna Blanca Resort in Puerto Penasco, Mexico (Rocky Point, Mexico to Americans….), we really did. In the end, not so much….
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The location of the Luna Blanca resort in Rocky Point, Mexico was ideal for us – it was about 30 minutes outside downtown Rocky Point so it was more secluded than other rentals closer in and we were looking for a quiet resort upon which we could reconnect with our friends. And, as expected, the Luna Blanca’s remote location meant that the resort would be very quiet.
In fact, for the first day we were at the resort, it was only John and me lounging in the gorgeous pools and taking the short walk to a very secluded beach. Note: The largest pool had ‘Policio’ tape like a crime scene all around it for the first 2 days we were at the resort. We just took the hint and chose another of the multitude of pools in which to lounge.
The location and beauty of the Luna Blanca grounds along with the oceanfront locations are the good parts of the resort. But, ah dear readers, my review doesn’t stop (or even start there….).
The Luna Blanca resort is a building of one, two and three bedroom condos (we rented the two bedroom as we had relatives joining us). We used Booking.com through which to book the condo which was managed by a resort management company called Castaways.
The very first thing to know if you’re considering renting a condo at the Luna Blanca resort in Puerto Penasco is that you have to actually go into Rocky Point to the Castaways office to check in; if you just show up at the resort first, you’re out of luck. The paperwork Castaways sends you upon booking does, indeed, document this fact (in red, in fact) but, from other reviews I’ve read, this is a frequently missed point. If you’re driving from Tucson, AZ like we did, this will add about an hour to your trip.
The other thing you should know is that the signage which should lead you to the front gate of the Luna Blanca is lacking – in fact, you’ll miss the right hand turn if you were to rely on the signs. So, when you see the power plant turn right! Also, there are two pillars marking the road – that’s your other tip to find the dirt road to get to Luna Blanca. Other than that, if you go far enough to get to the Mayan Palace, well, you’ll be backtracking 15 or 20 minutes to find the correct turn.
As background, we booked 3 night at the Luna Blanca resort – Sept 2 – 4, 2015, a Wednesday arrival with check out on Saturday. Our price for Sept 2 and 3 was $125 a night, $185 a night for Sept 4 as it was a Friday night. We booked unit 203.
Pros of the Luna Blanca Resort in Rocky Point, Mexico
- Quiet and secluded. If you’re looking for a nice honeymoon spot, this may be it. We were the only people on the beach Sept 2 for sunset – there was not a soul around either direction for as far as our eyes could see.
- All properties at Luna Blanca are oceanfront with views that are just breathtaking.
- There are many different pools on the property – included heated hot tubs (no bubbles), and kiddie pools. One pool even has lounges in the water.
- Strategically located cushioned love seats and chairs are a wonderful spot to watch the sunset.
- The beach is much less rocky than other beaches in Rocky Point. Also, if you’re a seashell hunter, this is definitely the spot for you.
- The internet connection worked. It was slow, but that was expected for this remote town in Mexico. And, it’s an open connection which means that you shouldn’t check any banking online. In fact, we were very careful about the sites we went to due to privacy concerns with an open network.
And Then There are the Cons of the Luna Blanca Resort in Rocky Point, Mexico…
Sadly, the cons well outweigh the pros of the Luna Blanca resort in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, mostly due to the rental agency, Castaways, lack of attention to detail in the condo we rented.
- A broken hinge on the kitchen cabinet sent the cabinet right into John’s head causing a bruise. If this cabinet had hit an elderly person, it could have had a much more disastrous outcome.
- The ice maker was so frozen up we couldn’t get though the ice with a screwdriver (the only ‘tool’ we could find). Each day, someone had to take the 25 minute ride to the nearest store for more ice. What a pain.
- There was no hot water at all in the kitchen. The hot water spigot (at least that’s what we thought it was) on the right hand side of the sink didn’t work at all.
- The blender was dead. Just plain old dead so any dreams of a frozen pina colata on the balcony was also dead.
- The master jacuzzi tub was gorgeous but useless as the drain came off in my hand. For the duration of the trip, we stuffed a swimsuit in the drain which kept the water in the tub about 20 minutes.
- The bed sheets were scratchy and were losing their elasticity. We had to refit the sheet on the mattress each morning when we made the bed.
- The door to the second bedroom didn’t close at all. Upon closer inspection, it looked like the door was the wrong size for the door frame.
- There were absolutely no batteries in any of the remotes, either in the living room or either bedroom rendering the TVs useless.
- Peeling paint by the air conditioner register in the hallway just added more leverage to the argument that the maintenance contract needed to be reinspected.
- The lamp shades in the living room both looked like they were punched in by previous occupants.
- There was exposed wiring hanging from a dislodged outlet behind the TV in the living room.
- There were two window shades in the living room that would not go down at all. Since it was Mexico in early September, the condo got very warm during the day when the sun was high.
- The sliding glass door off the living room was incredibly difficult to open and close. In fact, John was the only one who could use it and that wasn’t with ease! Also, both glass doors had black tape covering breaks in the glass.
- Don’t expect any kitchen condiments to be in the condo. The maids must empty every seasoning and olive oil left behind. We’ve rented other places in Rocky Point before and have always had at least the basic condiments.
Since we had to go into Puerto Penasco to check in before physically seeing the unit, we had to go back into town to register the above complaints – another hour wasted. Otherwise, we were afraid that our $200 security deposit would be at risk for damage we did not do.
Upon our arrival back at the Castaways management office, we were instructed to document findings on an incident report, which we did. We were then told by the female employee at the desk that the manager would be in within an hour and call us on our mobile phone. Again, not so much.
We never heard a word from them. Not a peep the 3 days we were there. The female employee did offer to have a maintenance man come by to fix the issues but, since we were in town less than 72 hours, the last thing I wanted to do was sit around and wait for a maintenance man who I determined from other reviews, probably wouldn’t show up anyway. And, Castaways’ policy is that there must be someone present in order to have a maintenance person in the condo thereby tying us up most of the day. Again, I declined this big inconvenience. I again requested that the manager call us as soon as possible and was again assured that he or she would do just that. Not so. Not for any of the 3 days we were there did the manager call.
So, we lived with the condo as it was, making sure to tell each person that the cabinet would hit them in the head, they couldn’t use the bathtub and, oh yeah, it was your turn to go get ice…. The cabinet finally fell right off its last hinge the day before we left. It was probably safer that way anyway.
When we went to Castaways management office to check out, I asked for the manager who looked at me questioningly when I again went over the damages. Turns out that he was never notified of our issues the entire time we were there; he never saw the report I’d carefully filled out. This was a huge oversight and made me even more unhappy. The ball was dropped more than one time with Castaways management.
I again went over the damages and wrote even more on the paperwork I’d left upon check in. I asked for a 50% reduction in the price (we paid $125 for Wednesday and Thursday night and $185 for Friday night). Instead, Castaways management offered me one free night the next time we booked a condo through them. Now, as you can probably imagine, dear readers, my response was ‘Why would I ever stay at another property Castaways managed??!’ I then said that I would contest the credit card charge on my own and left.
The same day, I received the following email:
After analyzing all the situation (sic) that you have on your stay, for this time we want to make the exception and make a refund on your credit card for a total of $147.50 USD. Which is one of your stay nights.I have understood that our staff was trying to help you on sending our maintenance people to check and fix the issues that you had at the property but the access was denied. As I mentioned to you at your check out time I was able to give you a free night on future reservations since you mentioned me that you will not be making future reservation through us, that is why we have decided to make this refund.We really apologize for the inconvenience, we will be waiting for your response.”
Now, while I appreciate their sort of kind response, the night they gave me for ‘free’ was one of the cheaper nights. It would have appeased me much more if they had credited back to me the $185 night.
Reviewer’s Final Comments on Luna Blanca Resort in Rocky Point, Mexico and Castaways Management
While the property itself is stunningly beautiful, we will never rent there again, at least, not while Castaways is the management company. In fact, for future trips to Puerto Penasco (which there will be many), any property managed by Castaways will not be in the running for a rental.
If you’re thinking about renting at Luna Blanca, approach with caution and expect at least one extra trip into town to document findings or you might lose your $200 security deposit. And, be careful opening the kitchen cabinets!
We still had a wonderful time but that was due to the family who were along on the trip with us. Nothing can blow our good time, even a condo that is shoddily maintained.