We stayed here for 2 nights on the first stop on our 2.5 week tour of Guatemala and Belize. 2 adults and 2 children (aged 11 and 16).
We booked directly with the hotel and got a discounted rate for a family room for USD 99 a night for 4 persons including 3 breakfasts (the 4th one costs 55 GTZL). We also booked a private transfer with the hotel for USD 110 from Guatemala airport.
Here is a summary of the good and the not so good.
Location / Views
The location is superb with awesome views over lake Atitlan. All rooms are basically identical in size and all face onto the lake so each gets more or less the same view of the lake and volcanoes (but worth checking with hotel when booking in case this is wrong).
The hotel is also just a short 5 minute walk to the lake end of the town which is the pretty and quiet part of town with some nice laid back restaurants.
They serve really cold beers for around USD2 a bottle.
The hotel can organise a half day boat trip to 3 towns villages on the lake which is worth doing. The trip costs USD 18pp. 11 yrs and under shouldn't have to pay - but they forgot to tell us that. The boats get over-crowded so not comfortable but the villages are all really different and worth seeing. (San Marcos La Laguna has a nice 8m pontoon jump into the water; San Pedro La Laguna is a laid back town - nice stop for a drink; Santiago D'Atitlan is busy, crowded, dirty and full of people hassling you - one to avoid unless you like that kind of stuff).
THE NOT SO GOOD AND THE BAD
Rooms are pretty basic and about about the right size for a couple sharing. The bathrooms are small and very basic. What they didn't tell us is that they don't do family rooms. If you want more than 2 staying in one room they load up the same room with extra beds. That means we were totally crammed in. There is also no aircon which means the rooms get a bit stuffy. It would have been nice if they had told us that for an extra USD20 a night we could have had 2 rooms - that would have been much more comfortable.
You can book pretty comfortable group transfers for USD 22-25 pp from the airport to Panajachtel. We thought paying a bit more for a private transfer would be worth it. It wasn't. The driver turned up very late (we would have got to the hotel quicker with a group transfer). The van was beaten up, pretty dirty, no aircon and he had his travel sick young son with him. You live and learn. We took group transfers everywhere else around Guatemala.
Depends on whether they have guests staying or not. On the first night there was a group party staying so the breakfast spread the next day was pretty good (fruits, juices, breads, omelettes and some local fare) although the quality is not great. The next day when the hotel was practically empty they decided not to serve most of this - just bread and cereal. We had to ask several times before they went into the kitchen to get some fruit and juices. If your room doesn't include breakfast then we would recommend taking the short walk into town. You can get better for around half the price.
Very mixed. There was one gentleman who went out of his way to be very helpful - didn't get a name. Most are polite but indifferent. Some are a bit dishonest - like rounding up the bar bill to the nearest 100 GTZ on the basis that the price list is out of date and the real price is actually twice what it shows on the menu. Yeah right! You need to watch out for this.
Best to avoid unless they upgrade the kit. The jetskis are old and knackered and very expensive even by UK standards, so we didn't go on these. Me and my daughter hired a kayak for an 1 hour...but we didn't quite last the hour. The kayak is older than me and weights a ton. The paddles are heavy wood and look like they have been bitten by sharks (see photo). The scenery is spectacular and made for watersports. Although it was mostly fun we eventually ran out of steam and came back with sore hands.
If we were rarting this on location and view it would get a 5*
If were were rating it on hotel quality, service, amenities etc it would get a 2* at best.
On balance 3 seems about right.
None of this stopped us enjoying our stay - it was an experince and fun. Everywhere is different and we travel a lot for these types of experiences. Part of the service issue here is that there doesn't seem to have been a lot of investment in this hotel for some time. Also sometimes it can be short of guests and this does impact adversely on staff morale.
I really wouldn't want this review to put anyone off staying here - if we were going back to the lake we certainly wouldn't rule it out. But be aware of what you are getting.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Offering a beautiful setting on Atitlan Lake, recognized as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Hotel y Centro de Convenciones Jardines del Lago has attractive rooms. Set in gardens, it features a restaurant and a terrace with lake views. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Jardines Del Lago Panajachel, Guatemala - Lake Atitlan