This place advertises itself as “a short 10 minute walk from the ferry dock”, but this is misleading. The "walk" is actually a balancing act over about a quarter-mile of wet narrow boards elevated about 8 feet above the crashing surf, with no handrails for most of the trip. Got rolling luggage? Forget it. We glad we had backpack-style bags.
The cabin/room was cute, no complaints there. It was a very steep climb up to it, but we are very fit and didn't mind the exercise. Anyone much older than us or with any kind of health issues would be very unhappy with this however.
The restaurant? This was a horrible experience. We visited it twice during our stay, once for “happy hour” and again the next day at breakfast time. We were the only guests there.
The first indication of trouble was the staff’s attitude when we walked in – sullen unsmiling faces. Waited about 10 minutes at a table and no one came out, so finally went in and asked for our drinks, which were supposed to each come with a free tapas. The drinks were brought and we smiled and said “gracias” but got only a blank look in response. The tapas item took so long to arrive that we’d already shrugged and given upon it by the time it finally came. The tapas itself was quite good – bruchetta topped with roasted pepper. The scenario was repeated with the second (and last) round of drinks – we had to go find the server ourselves, ask for the drinks, deal with the same bizarrely surly attitude and this time wait twice as long for the tapas to be unsmilingly delivered.
The next morning we made the mistake of giving the place a second chance and attempting to have breakfast there. Once again there were no other guests and once again we encountered the same sullen attitude when trying to get some coffee. No menu or silverware were ever brought out, and our cups were never refilled. We finally decided to just forget breakfast. We left the restaurant to grab our bags from our room and check out. Unfortunately, I left my hat sitting next to our table. 15 minutes later when I went to retrieve it, our table had been cleared and the hat was gone. The restaurant staff denied knowing anything about it but it had obviously been taken – either stolen or just dumped in the trash. The manager didn’t really seem to care at all and we walked all the way back to the ferry dock across the wet swaying narrow boards with stomachs rumbling, and me squinting under the hot bright sun with no sunhat.
One other note: it was only as we were leaving that we read the signs in the bathrooms that said that the place filters the water from the toilets and uses it to water the vegetable garden – then serves these vegetables in the restaurant. Not even sure if I’d be comfortable with this in a first-word country with rigorous sanitation standards. Certainly not in a primitive rural area of Guatemala.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
February 19, 2013
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Thank you so much for your feedback and for staying with us. We greatly appreciate any comments that our clientele provide for us. With this information we can improve the hotel experience for our guests in the future. We deeply apologize for any negative experiences that you had during your stay at Isla Verde.
We would, however, like to clarify a few things that you mentioned in your review. When we receive reservation requests, our first email response contains information about how our clients can arrive to the hotel directly at our private dock, therefore avoiding the 10-minute walk from the public dock.
We also make sure to let people know in our first email response that since we are located on the side of a ridge in the highlands of Guatemala, our hotel is built on a slope. We inform our guests know ahead of time (in our first response email) that there is some stair climbing and that if they feel like they need to be lower on the hill for health reasons or other reasons, we’re more than happy to oblige. Often, our guests don’t mind the walk once they reach their room and take in the view that all of our rooms offer, which is a beautiful view of Lake Atitlan.
In regards to the service you received while in the restaurant, we want to apologize if you didn’t feel like you were warmly welcomed. As we mentioned in our private email correspondence with you, we understand that sometimes there are cultural misunderstandings between our employees, who are Native Mayan’s from the village of Santa Cruz, and our clients. We know that this does not excuse any rude or unfriendly behavior, so we hope that you can accept our apologies and understand that the situations has been duly noted and the incident has been brought to the attention of all of our employees. We also want to reiterate to you (as we did in our private email), that we have hired our employees with full knowledge of their integrity and honesty. Most of them have worked for us for years without incident, including the employee that you encountered while at the restaurant.
Finally, lots of research and planning about eco-friendly practices and facilities was done before building the hotel, to ensure a minimal impact on the land we use, while simultaneously having a comfortable, chic hotel alongside the lake. With that being said, the water from the toilets, showers and sinks in the bathrooms goes through a bio-digestive system, therefore ridding it of bacteria, before it is used in the ORNAMENTAL GARDENS ONLY. The ornamental gardens only serve as decoration on the grounds of the hotel. Therefore, in NO WAY do we use water from toilets, showers and sinks in our vegetable garden. In addition to using clean water in our vegetable garden, we ensure the cleanliness of our vegetables and fruits by sanitizing all of them before use. If you read any of our other reviews, you will note that a good majority of them are very positive and absolutely NONE of them mention anything about getting sick from the food in our restaurant.
We do apologize for your unpleasant experience in Santa Cruz and we wish you safe and happy travels in the future.
Isla Verde Staff
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.