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“Spectacular Setting, Superb Staff, Serene Stay” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Villa Santa Catarina

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Villa Santa Catarina
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Santa Catarina Palopo, Panajachel, Guatemala   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #7 of 29 hotels in Panajachel
Ann Arbor, MI
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Spectacular Setting, Superb Staff, Serene Stay”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

My wife and I have a soft spot in our hearts for Santa Catarina Palopo. Always will. We spent two special summers here in the late 70s and still have friends in town. The country's Civil War kept us from traveling to Guatemala for many years, but we did stay in touch, and at long last, the time was right for a return trip. For us, the only place to stay was Villa Santa Catarina (VSC). After all, 35 years ago, we had lived in the center of the village, just a two-minute walk away. Back then, construction was just commencing -- it would eventually take 12 years to complete -- and we used to stroll past the bare concrete block foundation every day on our way down to the lake. At the time, we couldn't comprehend why anyone would build a hotel in our very modest village. Nor could we envision ever staying there ourselves, impoverished students that we were. But, fast forward to 2013, and, well, here we were. And as it turns out, building this hotel was a very cagey move. Firstly, the property looks out on stunning Lake Atitlan and its magical backdrop of three soaring volcanoes: San Lucas, Santiago Atitlan, and San Pedro. Can you say Location, Location, Location? Secondly, in a very tough economy, it provides much-needed employment for a number of motivated local folks who serve as front desk clerks, waiters, chefs, housekeepers, maintenance men, et. al. These are good and gracious people do their jobs with the utmost care and professionalism. And finally, VSC gives tourists who are tired of the grubby chaos of Panajachel a refuge of sorts. Comparatively, it is tranquility itself with its exquisitely green grounds, the native birds that seem to be connected to amplifiers, and that view, that view.... There's not a lot to do in the village at night, but the VSC restaurant is surprisingly good, with very attentive service, so plan on long, leisurely meals. Then get up with the sun, order a French press of coffee, and stare across the lake at those mystical volcanoes until you have them memorized....

Room Tip: Rooms 23-28 have balconies that overlook the pool and have the best view of the lake.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
    • 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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77 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kent
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

We stayed in this hotel for two nights whilst touring Guatemala and we found it very comfortable and clean in an ideal situation on the edge of Lake Atitlan. The balconies overlook the swimming pool, grounds and the lake. The gardens were full of flowers and many birds. Outside the hotel women were sitting on the pavement weaving and selling their beautiful goods. Next door to the hotel there is a shop attached to the school which sells handicraft goods to raise money for the school. Well worth a visit. The breakfasts were good and there was a good choice of food in the evening. We had a very pleasant stay.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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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Cabrieres-d'Avignon, France
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

The hotel is a combination of marvellous things: wonderful place, great service & hospitality, great food, lake Atitlan next to the hotel. A place to warmly recommend to anyone willing to visit lake Atitlan area.

  • Stayed March 2013, 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.
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013 via mobile

Thoroughly enjoyed our two day stay, friendly service, delightful location, beautiful grounds. Watched the pool guys cleaning the pool with meticulous care in the early morning. Bedrooms fairly basic but fine. Guess they're fighting a losing battle with volcanic dust!!
On our first evening we ventured up the approach road to the village as the afternon school shift children were leaving school - a cacophony of fun and lots of attention from very young children learning the hawkers trade. We climbed up the steps to Restaurante Santa Catarina in the village square and were extremely well received by Helena and her family. We only stayed for a beer but promised to return the following evening.
Pleasant dinner in hotel with well presented food on our first night. 2nd night we ventured back to Helena's family restaurant with 8 friends that we were travelling with. Greeted like long lost friends we asked what she suggested rather than chose from the comprehensive menu. This is a very basic eatery but if you want a change from hotel eating then give it a try, lean over the balcony and shout 'Oggy, Oggy, Oggy' and the children in the square will enthusiastically respond with 'oi, oi,oi'!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rode Heath, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

I loved the hotel and what a setting when I looked outside in the morning following my evening arrival. The staff were very professional and extremely attentive nothing was too much trouble for them, I guess they made my visit even more special.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

the hotel is a few miles from panajachel but has a great position in the tiny village with a good pool and a lovely garden full of birds.It is easy to get transport into town but we appreciated the tranquility for a couple of days and were able to get a boat from there to the other towns around the lake.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

The room was nice, and the bathroom spacious, and the room was looking over a lovely swimming pool... and this is it. There is no restaurant/bar near by, and you have to dine in the expensive and american style restaurant. The food is reasonable, but this is not want you want to eat in Guatemala. If you want to reach the nearest village, you have to take 15mins tuk-tuk ride ($8 each way).

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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 Villa Santa Catarina

Address: Santa Catarina Palopo, Panajachel, Guatemala
Location: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Panajachel
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 29 hotels in Panajachel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Villa Santa Catarina 3*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Villa Santa Catarina Hotel Panajachel
Hotel Santa Catarina
Villa Santa Catarina Panajachel, Guatemala - Lake Atitlan

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