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“Beautiful boutique hotel at a great price” 5 of 5 stars
Review of La Lancha Lodge

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La Lancha Lodge
Lake Peten Itza, Santa Elena, Guatemala   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Santa Elena
Nashville, Tennessee
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Beautiful boutique hotel at a great price”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2012

My husband and I stayed here in July of 2009 for four nights, and from the moment we arrived we were treated like royalty! We had a wonderful and relaxing stay and would definitely visit again. The food was excellent, the view was amazing and the staff were all extremely friendly and helpful. I do agree with some of the other reviews however in that the lakefront area could have used some improvement. Overall all though, a fabulous find!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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169 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
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English first
San Francisco, California
1 review
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2012

I've stayed in $15 beach cabins in Thailand to $1500 suites at Aman and been equally enchanted by each. Remarkably, the experience at La Lancha was one of the more disappointing of all my travels.

My wife suggested this resort as the cap to our 2 weeks of traveling around Guatemala and having heard good things about the other Coppola properties, thought this would be a nice way to relax at the end of our travels. It wasn't.

First off, the parking lot is right beside reception which is beside the open-air dining room where guests are eating. Pull in and you disturb their dinner. You are then taken to the upper floor where a somewhat tired bar, sofa, gift shop await and handed a sheaf of papers to sign: foremost among them a waiver removing the resort and the Coppolas from all responsibility for anything that happens to you to at their property. I could see this being necessary if we were to zipline to our room, but this is hardly a welcoming gesture for what is supposed to be high-end resort and I don’t think I’ve ever been presented with such a waiver. They literally hover over you until this is signed. Quite frankly, the entre front-end operation seemed to be lacking in charm or friendliness.

Once the legal matters we dealt with, we were shown to our room, which of course meant passing through the diners with luggage. The walk down was nice and the pool area is quite sweet though it desperately needs a hot tub to make it usable after 4pm as the entire pool is unheated.

Simply put, the room was terrible. We were hit with a musty smell as soon as the door opened and the décor was both uninspired and shoddy. I appreciate rustic, but you have to go pretty far put of your way to execute a room this poorly in a handicraft-rich country like Guatemala (a $50/night hotel in Antigua has more charm that this very expensive resort room).

As others have mentioned, the walls between adjoining rooms are paper thin and the rooms laid out in such a way as to put your neighbour’s toilet directly against your bedroom wall. You will hear every noise from a whisper to … use your imagination.

Meals were adequate but very expensive (a $23 turkey soup?) and with a somewhat limited menu. The on-the-house appetizer was welcome, but after three nights of the same appetizer, you’re left wondering how difficult it would be to change it up every day. I will say that the wait staff tries very hard and were quite charming. They are however, poorly trained - table settings were inconsistent, plates taken off tables while others are still eating and we were continually asked which room we were in which seems somewhat silly in a resort with ten rooms.

One of the things that struck me was once at the resort there is pretty much nothing to do other than hang out by the pool. The “beach” on the lake is a cleared area of grass with some left out too long in the rain wooden chairs and a couple of canoes. The bar is uncomfortable and hardly conducive to hanging out and chatting, and you need to go downstairs to find someone to make you a drink. And there are no bicycles to take a tour into the local town.

One goes to Flores for the ruins of Tikal – which are incredible – but even here La Lancha falls short. They continually ask if you would like to book a tour and I enquired about the price - $300 for a private car/lunch/guide/admission. That seemed a little high so I called a cab driver and found my own guide and did the whole thing for less than half. I appreciate that a hotel marks things up but one gets the impression that La Lancha is always gouging you. Talking to other guests the feeling was mutual. We witnessed people complaining about the food and talked to one couple who was cutting their stay short due to disappointment.

The sad thing is that this could be a lovely place and experience with a few simple changes. Sadly there seems to be little interest on the part of La Lancha to improve either. If I could, I would ask for my money back,.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2012

We stay 2 nights as part of a 16 day trip to Guatemala. We receive a rain forest room but it was located in the edge of the row facing the lake, so we could seat on porch and enjoy the lake view. Room is excelent with beautiful decorations. We love the concept of no TV and no phone in room. The view from the hotel , from every, place is great. The food is very expensive, but excelent. Having in mind that it is quite remote from the main road, so practically if you don't have a car you are in their hands. Same food quality in the restaurant on the main road will be 40% less. We ask breakfast boxes for our early wake up tour of Tikal and what was given does not suit a high class hotel as La Lancha- few peaces of fruits, and a dry cake.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
59 hotel reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2012

There is a lot to like about La Lancha: The pleasant room, good shower, nice dining area with friendly service, and wonderful view from the deck of our lakeside casita.

But while I like the 'rustic vibe,' it borders on shabby in a couple of areas. Most obvious is the lack of facilities at the lakefront. A long set of dirt/wood steps takes you down to the lake, which could be a wonderful spot if only there was some attempt to make the water slightly more accessible. Many hotels and homes along the lake front have little docks or gazebos to facilitate access to the lake and create a wonderful spot to relax. But La Lancha leaves you to walk through a grassy area with biting ants and then wade out from the rocky edge to get into the water. There are also a few pieces of shabby furniture that look practically abandoned. Seems a real shame.

One other annoyance: It was exceedingly hard to make a reservation here. At first the staff seemed extremely slow in responding. But I eventually discovered that when I hit 'reply' to staff emails, they go to an address that doesn't reach them. Only toward the end of a frustrating two weeks of phone calls and emails did I figure out the ridiculous pattern that I had to always add the original email address every time I replied to any email. This really should get fixed.

On the whole, I really liked La Lancha, but I did get the feeling that it would have to do better at these prices if it weren't operating off a celebrity name.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2011

We have just spent two nights at La Lancha after spending two nights at its sister property Blancaneaux. Maybe because I felt slightly nickle and dimed at Blancaneaux and maybe because I am from London, I thought that La Lancha offered good value - although the alcohol is expensive (but cheaper than Blancaneaux).

I thought the staff were lovely - very friendly and helpful. I liked the fact that, when we had an early start, they gave us a packed breakfast rather than make us do without.

The location is beautiful - it is a 20 minute drive down a bumpy ride - but that is ok - it is about an hour from Tikal and about 50 mins from Flores airport.

My husband and I both thought that the food was excellent - good value and great quality. Very fresh and tasty.

The only downsides to La Lancha were (a) the sewage smell that came from our bathroom from the moment we walked into the room - and it never went away and (b) the paper thin walls. I am not sure what the problem is with the sewage smell but it was quite off putting (although, because we didn't spend much time in the room it wasn't a major problem).

The howler monkeys are very loud - and they woke us up at about 3.00am - but as howler monkeys are everywhere in Guatamela (or at least this region) I am not sure you would be able to escape the noise regardless of where you stayed. They also added to the uniqueness of the resort.

We had a rainforest room - it was clean and nicely presented and with a side view of the lake.

Getting to the lake was quite easy - just down some steps - the water is beautiful and clear and warm.

All in all a nice place to explore Tikal from and to enjoy the lake.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2011

Great view of Lake Peten-Itza. Staff was very helpful. Food and wine were wonderful. Touring alternatives were great and efficiently managed. Remember: you are in the middle of nowhere. I have been to the Tikal region before, and whatever you think about this place, trust me, this is the only choice. And... Tikal is an amazing amazing place. I will admit the walls are thin, but on the other hand the place close effectively closes down at nightfall. The whole point of the region is to explore by day the ruins and nature. Besides Tikal, I recommend the boat tour of the lake, which is just a tad roughing it (use insect repellant) but worth it.

Room Tip: Try to get a room as high up on the hill as possible to reduce the amount of stair walking to get to...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2011

We stayed at the hotel for 3 nights and felt absolutely pampered all the way. We had organized tours from the hotel and they made sure to bring water, local beer, sandwiches and even a box of fresh fruits in the cooler for us. Sunrise tour to Tikal was mind-blowingly beautiful and our guide was very knowledgeable. The grounds of the hotel are beautiful. Definitely take a canoe ride on the lake and spend some time relaxing by the lake. Boat ride to Flores was beautiful and gave us a much better idea of the area. I cannot say enough great things about the food. It was simply delicious every single time. Coppolla wines were really wonderful as well. we especially liked his white savignon blanc. The rooms that have lake view are definitely the best. Staff of the hotel was super friendly and nice. The swimming pool area is nicely maintained. it was so refreshing taking a swim after a long day of touring. perhaps the only thing that is not ideal is how paper thin walls in the neighboring room is. if your neighbors are noisy you will definitely here everything that is going on. However, it didn't bother us much and we were extremely happy with our choice of the hotel.

Room Tip: Pick a lake view room.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about La Lancha Lodge

Address: Lake Peten Itza, Santa Elena, Guatemala
Phone Number:
Location: Guatemala > Peten Department > Santa Elena
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Santa Elena
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 10
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Also Known As:
La Lancha Hotel Flores
La Lancha Flores
La Lancha Lodge Guatemala/Santa Elena

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