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“A worthwhile experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve

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Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve
Tzantizotz, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala   |  
Hotel amenities
San Antonio, Texas
1 review
“A worthwhile experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2013

My son and I spent 6 days at this fabulous resort. The accommodations were excellent. From the beautiful rooms to the nature reserve itself, it provided exactly what we were looking for. Although I was hesitant about the vegetarian menu, I left wanting to get the recipes for all of our meals. You could tell that each meal was created by someone with a passion for food. We enjoyed our stay immensely. It was awesome to wake up each morning to a smiling staff that was there to assist us with everything that we needed. The lake was so beautiful and refreshing. I was able to relax without any distractions from television, radio, etc. I have recommended the resort to all of my friends!!

Room Tip: From speaking with other travelers, all of the rooms are great!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 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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274 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (65)
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English first
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
142 reviews 142 reviews
75 hotel reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
133 helpful votes 133 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

There were good and bad aspects to Laguna Lodge, and ultimately we left the hotel wishing we had stayed elsewhere. I've traveled to 50+ countries and stayed at hotels ranging from $1500 per night luxury properties to basic 1 star hotels, and felt Laguna Lodge offered the worst value I've experienced. There are many hotels on Lake Atitlan that charge a fraction of the rate -- such as Villa Sumaya next door -- and they offer the same natural beauty and equal architectural charm.

We traveled over the holidays and paid high season rates of $355 per night for the most basic room, which was absurd considering they were doing construction on the pool and front deck for the entirety of our stay. Given that this is a resort, it's a major problem. The owners should have communicated in advance that the resort was under renovation, or not charged the high season premium, since we would have booked an alternate hotel. To add to this, we were told for the first night of our reservation that the least expensive room wasn't available. We didn't think the hotel merited more per night for the whole stay so we said we'd only do it for the first night and then switch to the cheaper room. The hotel put us in the basic room the entire time and charged us in advance for the more expensive room for the first night. When we pointed this out and asked why they did that, the manager told us that it was "easier" for them to have us stay in the same room the entire time. All other luxury hotels UPGRADE a guest if it's annoying for them to switch the rooms, but the Laguna Lodge has a different service philosophy. We asked for our $70 back when we realized what happened, and the manager agreed, but didn't feel it was a big deal to have over-charged us, and he wouldn't have refunded us if we didn't explicitly insist.

My other huge complaint entails the bathroom in our room. There's NO DOOR separating the toilet from either the shower/sink or bed. This is hardly romantic in terms of smells, sounds, etc. I've never seen a hotel designed without a bathroom door, and this is especially shocking for a hotel that positioned itself as "luxury" accommodation. Honeymooners, beware...!

The food at the hotel is absurdly over-priced. They charge $40-50 per person per night for a set dinner, and to put this in perspective our 4 course New Years Eve lobster dinner at Bistro Cinq in Antigua (one of the best restaurants in the country) costs the same. Considering the vegetarian food at Laguna Lodge has less expensive ingredients and no menu flexibility, and isn't remotely in the same league as Bistro Cinq, it makes this pricing crazy. I want to call out that my husband and I don't eat red meat and regularly select vegetarian meals, so our complaints on the food aren't a reflection of our dislike of vegetarian dining. We're foodies from NYC and regularly spend a lot on a good meal, and their cooking simply isn't worth the cost.

Overall, we felt like everything at the hotel was done to make an extra buck, from not communicating you can take a public boat from their private pier, to charging steep prices for every little thing. Do your homework and you'll quickly see their pricing and value isn't in sync with other luxury hotels and restaurants in Guatemala.

Also, this hotel had the least impressive service we encountered among our 4 Guatemala hotels. Things were slow across the board, and all transportation booked through Laguna Lodge generated significant problems, despite the high costs. However, there was never a problem with transportation when we started booking independently, either around Atitlan or elsewhere. The most aggravating thing about this is that the owner "explained" to us that the problematic service was a "cultural issue" because "Guatemalans simply don't understand." Besides the obvious offensiveness of this comment, it's important to point out that Laguna was the only hotel we stayed at that wasn't owned by Guatemalans, and the service was fantastic everywhere else. This suggests the problem was with Laguna Lodge's management. Also, we complained to the owners, but it got awkward and they didn't seem to particularly care so we dropped it.

To be balanced, the compliments I want to give the hotel is that the lake setting is beautiful, and the owners did a nice job integrating Balinese and Guatemalan aesthetics to the design. The breakfast was very good, and the dinners weren't bad. If we'd paid $150 per night--instead of $350--we wouldn't have been quite so disappointed.

While there are many TripAdvisor guests sharing my opinion, the majority gave positive reviews. I suspect the people who reviewed it positively either got a dramatic discount or have less travel experience as a point of reference.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

Situated in paradise, on the idyllic Lake Atitlan, Laguna Lodge was the perfect honeymoon spot. There was plenty for the senses and soul to delight- from the unique detail of the rooms and property, to the plenty of peaceful places to retreat and relax. The staff were so accommodating and always smiling! After having traveled the world over, there are few places that top the list in every way- Laguna Lodge is one of those places.

From a luxury standpoint, the soothing atmosphere is just the beginning. The massage therapists are wonderful, and very easy to schedule right on property. The hot tub offers the perfect place to unwind with a specialty cocktail. And one of our favorite memories was the lavishly romantic, private dinner the staff prepared for us on the rooftop verandah.

For the eco-conscious you'll appreciate knowing that every aspect is focused on low impact, minimal footprint- from the building materials and design, to the bed linens, to the water filtration, to solar heating. And the food? Rest assured it is all local, organic, fair trade, vegetarian. And artfully DELICIOUS to boot!

Even the adventurers will be delighted to know that the Lodge has 100 acres of private nature reserve to explore on foot. The hikes offer amazing views of the lake, cliffs, towns, and volcanoes. You can even rest your weary legs at the hammock palapa.

Laguna Lodge owners Mayah and Jeffro are conservationalists and humanitarians alike, and the projects that they are involved with in and around the community are commendable. Dedicated to employing locals and creating a warm, family atmosphere is just the beginning. After reading the room book, and speaking with the owners in person, we realized they are up to great things. When you're there, read up about their local non-profit efforts in providing dental care, eye care, micro loans and scholarships!

  • Stayed December 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Blumenau, Brasil
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013 via mobile

Laguna lodge was a quick stay but I couldn't have chosen better. Clean, delicious and fresh food, well trained staff, impeccable rooms! I was looking for peace in heaven and I found it. Every detail, every lovely memory from the owners everything about this place is amazing.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Bellaire, Ohio
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

We stayed at Laguna Lodge for our honeymoon. The views were beautiful and we were able to go on several excursions. If you get a chance, climb San Pedro...the view is amazing.

We were worried that the bugs would be bad since the resort was right next to the water, but they weren't bad at all. In fact, most nights we left the doors open to let the breeze in. The food was good and the staff was extremely helpful and accommodating. Our trip was a great experience!

  • Stayed October 2012, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darien, Connecticut
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

My wife, three adult children and I just spent six absolutely delightful days and nights at Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort from Christmas to New Year.

The quality of the service is outstanding, from Andreas who drives the hotel boat to the last member of the restaurant staff. Everybody was perfectly trained and was charming. Most of the staff comes from the nearby village of Santa Cruz which appears to have benefitted from the steady jobs that the hotel provides since construction started. Juan, the excellent general manager, is a constant presence, always available to provide guidance about excursions and to satisfy every request from guests. The friendly owners live nearby and are also frequently available for suggestions and to insure that the guests are happy.

The hotel is only accessible by an easy ten minutes boat ride from Panajachel, adding to the feeling of luxurious remoteness. The hotel's seven rooms are all beautifully decorated and comfortable (although they lack a bit in storage space even for guests like us travelling only with carry on luggage). The view is exceptional from everywhere in the hotel. The public spaces are ample and offer more than enough sitting areas for all the guests. The well marked trails above the hotel provide spectacular views and plenty of exercise!

The small size of the hotel is conducive to meeting the other guests if one wants to. The hot tub ended up being the meeting place of many interesting guests the week we were there.

There are two reasons my family and I are not giving a higher rating to this hotel. Firstly the hotel appears to have struggled with the rising level of the lake, forcing it to constantly adjust the level of its lake front deck and pool. This resulted in noise including electric saw. Even though the owners stopped the electric saw as soon as they realized that it was bothering us, construction noises including electric screwdrivers and nail hammering started again the next two days. This was surprising during a busy week where the hotel was charging premium prices for the Christmas to New Year week. Mid week through our stay, the pool officially reopened, but it didn't appear as clear as we would have liked. Yet, nobody really cared as the lake is wonderful for swimming.

Secondly, the food offering is limited whether you eat every meal à la carte or accept the $55 per person per day (plus 10% service charge) lunch and dinner set menu as we did. The hotel is vegetarian: no meat, no fish. The three women in our family who don't particularly need fish or meat really enjoyed many of the soups, salads, quiches... yet agreed with my son and me that the food offering could offer more variety. The set menu for lunch and dinner could offer a couple of alternatives for each course. The manager was always happy to accomodate requests for substitutions, but only if made hours in advance.

There were other minor glitches, like the fact that for four nights turn down did not happen in one of our rooms or that the hot tub was frequently not really hot, but they mattered so little.

Rightly or wrongly, we believe that Laguna Lodge has only one true competitor along Lake Atitlan, Casa Palopo. Out of curiosity, we went there to try to compare the two hotels. Although we were unable to see one of Casa Palopo's nine rooms, because the hotel was fully occupied, the welcome by the staff and by the more professional French manager was similarly outstanding. The public spaces are equally tasteful and comfortable. Besides the fact that Casa Palopo serves fish and meat, the biggest difference between the hotels appears to be their respective locations: Casa Palopo sits high above the lake, unaffected by the changing level of its waters, and is accessible by road, with its guests apparently content to watch the lake from comfortable chaises around the pool. As far as we were concerned, we liked our lake front seats at Laguna Lodge.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Perfect
Wonderful
Exquisite
Paradise
You could use each of these words to describe Laguna Lodge--the place, the food, the people--and you'd still come up short.
If you want to get away from a hectic life or just deepen an already strong connection with Mama Earth, then get thee to Laguna Lodge.
No, seriously. Stop reading. Go. Now.
It will be the best trip you have ever made.

  • Stayed April 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve

Address: Tzantizotz, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Guatemala
Location: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Santa Cruz La Laguna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 hotels in Santa Cruz La Laguna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Laguna Lodge is on the lakeshore of the legendary Lake Atitlan and exclusively nestled in its own nature reserve. Entry into this Mayan world begins by boat. In a privileged setting our luxuriously natural 5 star boutique hotel commands sweeping views over azure waters to a trio of dramatic volcanoes. Inspired by nature and created from volcanic stone, adobe and palm our spacious lakeside suites are individually appointed with comfortable hand hewn king beds, fine linens, intricate woven textiles and indigenous antiques. In the evenings our award winning Zotz restaurant is bathed in golden hues from a large stone fireplace and antique candelabras, a romantic ambiance for a fine dining experience. After the days tours and adventures enjoy a dip in the hot river rock spa pool and be pampered with a relaxing body treatment offered at our Hummingbird spa. Relax at the lava bar or lakeside pavilion and watch the surreal sunset turn into a star studded night. The Mayan highlands are rich in culture and the lodge’s indigenous staff look forward to offering you a unique and memorable experience! - Utz Ipetik! Welcome! Come and explore, discover and experience with us and see why Time magazine says – Laguna Lodge is pure Maya magic! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort And Nature Reserve
Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve Hotel Santa Cruz La Laguna
Laguna Hotel Eco Nature Reserve
Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort & Nature Reserve Guatemala/Lake Atitlan

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