Upon check in to Casa Grande, we were told that if we decided to leave early, we would still be charged for the full reservation-- perfect foreshadowing for our stay at the retreat.
I'll start by saying that the grounds at Casa Grande are absolutely beautiful and the place has enormous potential but it is far from met. It bills itself as an eco-friendly retreat and it is somewhat eco-friendly in the sense that it is extremely spartan (no AC/TV/etc. lowers energy consumption); however, bleach and Fabuloso are used for cleaning/laundering so I suspect the eco theme is more of a cost saving measure than genuine philosophy. Also, many non-native plants on the grounds are labeled but no natives-- again, just doesn't jive with the eco theme.
When we got to our room, we found that 1. we were given a room with no view despite being one of four families staying at the fairly large retreat and 2. there was no smoke detector in the room (wooden structure). When I alerted the front desk that there was no smoke detector, I was told that "smoking is not allowed at the property." Uhhhh.....? I told her I needed a room with a smoke detector and she said she would check if any of the other doubles had one. They did not. At dinner, the owner, Steven, came to our table to discuss the smoke detector and he told me (quite condescendingly) smoking was not allowed on the property and that they hadn't had a fire in 25 years but he provided us with his cell phone number in case one started (no cell service up there though, and the hotel phone is locked up at night- thanks). Fortunately, they did not have a fire in 25 years and one day- we survived the night and a detector was installed the next morning. Smoke detectors need to be installed immediately in all rooms, though- this is extremely unsafe, illegal in PR, and Steven needs to understand that cigarette smoking is not the only cause of fires.
Beyond this, we were extremely disappointed with:
1. Low quality, springy/creaky beds (the kind on which you roll to the middle) that need to be upgraded/updated
2. Signs everywhere telling you what not to do (quiet hours, don't lean back in chairs, don't use too much toilet paper, TV's prohibited-- come on, who is going to bring a plasma on vacation?). Very controlling atmosphere.
3. Cloudy pool (filter is on a timer and needs to be run more) that closes at 6pm
4. Ridiculous reading library- nothing regional, intellectual, or entertaining
5. No suggested tours/activities in the area and barely functioning wifi in the lobby so no ability to do internet research on your own.
6. Really mediocre and slightly overpriced food (we ate dinner the first night and were turned off to it for the rest of the stay).
7. NO COFFEE BEFORE 8am. Seriously. There are no coffee/hot water pots in the room and the kitchen is locked up so you can't have coffee until the restaurant opens and then you have to pay for it.
8. Liquid soap dispensers were the only toiletries- from a yoga/eco retreat, I was expecting cute, eco-friendly hippie soaps and lotions.
9. No check-out before 8am. We could not wait to get out of there but we had to. I'm sure we probably could have arranged something the night before but we should not have had to. Again with the control.
Really, we would have been delighted with this place if we had planned for a camping cabin in a State Park- brought a grill and some food, prepped more in advance for stuff to do during the day, etc. For $150/night (including tax), however, much more comfort, safety, fun, COFFEE, and hospitality, and much less control should be provided. This place could be an awesome destination but it was really an unfortunate low point in our otherwise great vacation.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We're glad you appreciated the grounds and landscaping at Casa Grande.
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1. Standard hotel policy worldwide requires payment for all nights reserved once a guest checks in, even if the guest curtails the stay. Of course, we make exceptions for emergencies and other extenuating circumstances.
2. All guest comments about our plant signage have been very positive. They enjoy learning the names and origins of the large variety of plants, flowers and trees.
3. Our rooms have lovely views of the mountains that surround the river valley that is home to Casa Grande.
4. Our beds are high quality commercial grade and are checked regularly by our housekeeping department. When necessary we purchase new beds and donate the old ones to needy community members.
5. We use signage to enhance the guest experience, not to control them. We're concerned about their safety and want to provide the most peaceful stay possible.
6. We have an informal library exchange for guests to leave and take books during their travels.
7. Our front desk managers are knowledgeable and glad to assist our guests interested in tours and nearby activities.
8. Internet service is via satellite and is the fastest speed available in this somewhat remote area.
9. The large majority of our guests are quite pleased with the restaurant experience and find the prices fair and reasonable.
10. Unless we're serving buffet style, we do charge for coffee and tea.
11. We eliminated wrapped soap bars and plastic containers and replaced them with liquid dispensers. The one at the sink contains hand soap and the one in the shower has a combined body wash/shampoo. By making this choice we've eliminated a lot of unnecessary waste.
12. If guests let us know they're leaving before the office opens in the morning, we're pleased to check them out the night before.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.