A Guatemalan colleague was of the opinion that “posadas” are nicer than hostels but not as nice a full service hotels. This was my first experience staying in a posada (which roughly translates as “inn”) and having stayed in hostels and hotels over the years, I think my colleague’s observation describes Posada de los Volcanes very well. On the one hand each room had its own private bathroom and color TV, there was free Wi-Fi and a free breakfast. The room was clean with solid fixtures and a comfortable bed. So it was definitely nicer than any hostel I have seen.
But there were none of the amenities you would see in one of the business class hotels back in Guatemala City: no telephone, coffee maker, shampoo, alarm clock, air con, or elevator. That is not a complaint or criticism, it is just the definition of a posada. And I did not need those amenities as I had a local cell phone, a travel alarm clock, a heating coil to make tea and instant coffee in the room, etc. The value for the money was excellent, and like I said, the place was clean and pleasant.
In addition, the location is great – just a five minute walk to either dock. Right across the street are several restaurants and a nice bookstore. The local market is worth visiting (and very tourist free) and it was just a 15 minute walk or $1 and 2 minutes via a tuk-tuk. Lots of resources, lots of options nearby.
The other thing that stands out about Posada de los Volcanes is the service. I contacted the inn by e-mail from the states and the e-mail communications were very prompt and clear and I was able to complete the reservation before I left home. And despite some last minute changes to my itinerary due to work once I got to Guatemala, they were able to take care of me.
When we got there, the service was great – the staff speaks Spanish and English very well. They were able to arrange cars and guides for us for different outings during our stay. And here is the key: I usually do not book cars or tours through hotels because there is usually a significant markup over what you would pay if you just walk down the street to the local tourist agency. Not so at Posada de los Volcanes – we compared prices with the local tour operators and found that there was not much of a “hotel mark-up”. And their drivers and guides were excellent.
The other nice thing was that while the staff offered to help make bookings for us, there was no pressure to do so. A few times my wife and I have had uncomfortable experiences at hotels where the owners gave us the hard sell to use their tour services. Not so at Posada de los Volcanes and that was a relief.
Overall it’s a good place, good location, good service, and good people.