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“Hidden Gem” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Casa Palopo

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Casa Palopo
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Carretera a San Antonio Palopo, km 6.8, Santa Catarina Palopo, Guatemala   |  
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Hotel amenities
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2009

Beautiful Place !! Doesn't exactly feel like a Hotel but rather like a rich uncle's estate nestled in the foothills overlooking Lake Atitlan with 3 Volcanoes in the foreground,
w/ great personalized service to match!! What a view on a clear day & those sunsets!!

We chose their private car service for the round trip from GUA City after reading previous comments about the road issues! Turned out a great choice!. This way you enjoy the views or snooze rather then trying to figure your way around. If budget allows there is also the helicopter option, half hour rather than 3 hours by car. We saw it coming over twice on Saturday.

The place is filled with paintings, recognized the large Botero in the main sitting area, local artifacts, candles, glossy colorful picture books, various magazines, games, cozy fireplace, nice bar, romantic indoor & outdoor dining & a terrace all overlooking the lake & volcanoes.That is the main theme & attraction to this place.

The rooms are very cozy and colorful also nicely appointed with various sized personal terraces again w/ great views. We had breakfast, lunch & dinner, Every meal was a joy! The wines a little pricey, but they let you cork it over to the next night. On one evening for our special dinner they found a ton of rose petals (mind you this is the tail end of their dry season) to sprinkle over our little corner that had become our favorite spot to eat. Then they had these 2 candelabra with huge candles. Very romantic.! They use candles at night throughout the place indoors & out extensively & it gives the place a very warm feeling. They also have a piped music system that plays a variety of latin pop, jazz etc.
There is a gym for those inclined and a rectangular lap pool with a few cocoon loungers.

We only ventured out twice during our 4 night stay. Once to visit Santiago, one of 12 villages surrounding the lake for a little culture with the boat and guide provided by our hosts. The other outing was a 10 minute walk to the small village that CP belongs to, Santa Catarina to watch multitudes of colorfully embroidered female weavers some w/ velvet headresses. Very intricate!!

Another very popular outing is to visit the very colorful village of Chichicastenago about an hour away by car on Thursdays or Sundays when they have their open market days. We left that one for another trip because we enjoyed CP so much!

For those in need to stay connected free good WiFi is available.

ALL the staff was eager to help & to serve!! Very warm & friendly!!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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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144 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
tucson, arizona
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2009

Blanca, at the Casa’s front desk had arranged our transportation from the Guatemala City airport and after a long flight we were pleased to find Juan Carlos waiting for us as promised. The main highway to Lake Atitlan is under construction so it’s currently a 3-hour, curvy drive on (very good) secondary roads to the hotel, but the lovely scenery and mountain villages are a wonderful distraction.

We arrived in the evening and the place seemed enchanted—with candles flickering everywhere and a fire crackling in the fireplace. The walls in their shades of reds, blues and golds fairly glowed in the soft light. Our room was spacious and comfortable, with a patio overlooking the lake and volcanoes.

In the morning light, none of the magic was lost. As I got a better look at the hotel itself, it was evident that the owners had taken great care with every detail. Everywhere you look, from nearly every angle, there is a picture-perfect vignette. The furnishings, the art, the architecture, the landscaping, the colors & textures—even the view—all compliment each other perfectly. But the overall effect is not contrived in any way, it’s simply pleasant and appealing.

And the service was great. Our room was supplied with luxurious Frette sheets, towels and robes…and was tidied at least three times a day. The staff was friendly and happy to help with any arrangements or activities we might enjoy. Jennifer, the general manager, was especially helpful. She’s lived in the area for years, and was able to give us tips on everything from hiking trails to lunch stops to which shop had the finest embroidery work.

Traveling by boat was by far the easiest and most pleasant way to get to the villages around the lake. We went once from the Casa Palopo dock (arranged by the hotel) and once via the small village of Santa Catarina Palopo (negotiated with a local launch driver at the dock by the lake.)

I’d stay there again in a heartbeat. It’s a great home base for exploring the surrounding villages, that is, if you can drag yourself away from Casa Palopo at all.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Panama City, Panama
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2009

This very charming and elegant hotel was by far the best hotel we stayed during our Guatemala trip. The staff was very attentive to our every need and Jennifer, the friendly general manager, was courteous and very helpful. She was knowledgeable of the local culture and the area. She helped us with transportation and recommendations on site seeing ventures.

It seemed that each room was well appointed had a majestic view of Lake Atitlán and the three volcanoes. In our room the bed was very comfortable. Hot shower with great water pressure. Aveda products in the bathroom!

The solar-heated swimming pool was a delight. We relaxed around the pool reading (English) magazines from the lobby.

This hotel has a helipad for guests who prefer to arrive by helicopter. (Mine is in the shop. *wink, wink*)

I would recommend this hotel to those who want the best service on the lake! Thank you again, Jennifer and the staff of Casa Palopo for making our stay enjoyable and memorable. We hope to come back again next year!

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Barrie, Canada
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2009

We bought a 4 night package on Luxury Link which included the Junior Suite, a romantic dinner for 2, and a private boat tour of the lake and nearby villages. It was great value for the money that we paid!

The service was impeccable...as soon as we arrived we were greeted at our cab, our bags were taken care of, we were given a complimentary fruit drink, given a tour of the hotel and taken to our room. Our room was made up three times daily...our complimentary water decanters were always full, we always had clean towels, our sheets were turned down at night and even our toiletries from home were rearranged neatly!

Our romantic dinner on Valentine's Day was spectacular! We were given a private candlelit table on a private balcony overlooking the lake. The table was even decorated with rose petals. We were given complimentary drinks called 'the love potion'; they were delicious and very pretty. The food was great...large portions and good selection. The dark chocolate creme broule that I had for dessert was amazing! We only ate here once for dinner because the menu was quite pricey but still reasonable given the quality of food, service, and ambience. Daily breakfasts were excellent too...a la carte menu, freshly squeezed O.J., homemade jam, good coffee, and beautiful scenery!

The hotel building and grounds were beautiful...very colorful, attention to detail, whimsical decor, beautiful flowers, and excellent use of the fantastic view! The plunge pool was small but very clean and pretty. We always seemed to be the only ones there! The only thing missing was a hot tub which would've been nice during the cool nights. I should caution anyone who doesn't like climbing stairs; the hotel is built on a steep incline. To walk the grounds you will either be walking down a steep hill or climbing a lot of stairs! At night, the place is lit up with hundreds of candles and the fireplace in the main sitting room is burning...very romantic!

We stayed in the Junior Suite...room 3. It is a good-size room decorated with rustic wood furniture, a king sized bed, huge sliding glass doors to the balcony and pretty mirrors and paintings. The bathroom is finished in hand-painted tiles with a large shower with a huge window that has a pretty view but still private. We had a private balcony that had comfortable lounge chairs, a cafe table and chairs under a candle chandelier. The view couldn't have been better of the lake and 3 volcanoes! It was our own little piece of paradise.

In terms of activities, there isn't much to do at the hotel but relax and enjoy the sun and scenery. We arranged to go paragliding with a Canadian guy named Roger Lapointe. I had found his internet site beforehand. This was our favorite experience during our trip! Roger is a fun guy who quickly puts you at ease. I jumped off a ledge overlooking Santa Catarina in a tandem harness while my husband drove Roger's old 4X4 down the mountainside to the landing site. I don't know what was more of a adrenalin rush...flying or driving in Guatemala! The experience lasted about 40 min each and was worth the $160 US. We also went horseback riding in Santiago with an American couple named Jim and Nancy Madison who we also found on the internet beforehand. They are a very interesting couple with a gorgeous ranch with lots of horses, cats, dogs, and even a deer. They served us a gourmet lunch (fillet mignon) in their dining room...the best meal during our entire trip. Again this 5 hour experience was well worth the $120 USD. We spent some time in Panajachel (very touristy...lots of street vendors and restaurants), San Marcos La Laguna (cute town with lots of hippies, massage parlors and yoga studios) and Santa Catarina (poor town...not much there).

Overall, this was the nicest hotel that we stayed at in Guatemala with the best service we'd ever had! We were sad to leave! Thanks to all of the hard-working staff at Casa Palopo.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2009

My aunt and I stayed four nights in Casa Palopo in a Deluxe Room (the only room with two twin beds), and we really loved this hotel. Because it's a long, twisting, bumpy and dusty ride from Guatemala City or Antigua, I wouldn't recommend staying less than two or three nights. For us, four nights felt ideal, but we could have easily stay more.

It's important to keep in mind the hotel is not in a town, so it's difficult to have dinner or drinks anywhere other than at the hotel. This wasn't a big problem for us, because we really enjoyed the hotel's restaurant! Lit up at night by countless candles on the tables, walls and chandeliers, it was supremely romantic. It's expensive by Guatemalan standards; prices were what you might find in a nice restaurant in Chicago. But you get what you pay for. The food was varied, elegantly presented and made good use of fresh, local ingredients when possible.

The large public terrace of the hotel was just magnificent, with charming, comfortable furniture and breathtaking views of three volcanoes across the lake. Watching the sun set behind their peaks was mesmerizing night after night, and each sunset seemed more beautiful than the last. Magnificent! I also enjoyed putting my feet up each night by the fire in the cozy, eclectic lounge as I read my book, accompanied by a glass of white wine. My only complaint was that I couldn't quite figure out a way to enjoy the fire and the lovely Botero painting on the far wall at the same time.

Our room was charming and had good character, attractively decorated with a Gutemalan painting, an antique-y armchair and various knickknacks. The bathroom was quite large (though the lighting was inadequate), with a lovely painted-tile vanity and a giant shower overlooking the lake. We had our own private terrace as well, with two comfy chairs, a table with two additional chairs, a cushioned platform for lying down, and candles a-plenty. It was a wonderful place to relax by myself.

Service was always very friendly and eager to help. The manager, Jennifer, was warm and welcoming, and she gave us excellent advice regarding day trips. Some of the staff - though always cheerful and very pleasant - speak very little English, so I was glad that my aunt spoke Spanish and that I knew enough to ask for what I needed.

Lake Atitlan is ringed by numerous charming towns, several of which are spectacularly scenic, on par with anything along the Amalfi Coast. The shopping in the markets was excellent (particularly in Santiago Atitlan and in Santa Caterina Palopo, where they weave electric blue huipils and table runners), and we had fun getting around in the back of the "pickups" (drivers are also available if you prefer to have a seatbelt, or for that matter, a roof).

All in all, a fantastic experience. I hope I can come back sometime soon!

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Palos Verdes Estates, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2009

From the beginning to the end, our stay at Casa Palopo was incredible.

The room was beautiful and they kept it clean constantly. There was always someone in there changing towels and giving us more shampoo. (Aveda products)

The view was incredible, from our room, and especially the restaurant. The food at the restaurant was delicious. We did not have a bad meal. Everything from the soup to the dessert was worth writing home about. Our fav was the artichoke dip. Unfortunately, they change the menu often so it might not be there next time we go back, which we will do, probably for a future anniversary.

Downside... weather was not what we expected. In late September, it was freezing and we caught a cold and there are no heaters or fireplaces in the rooms. Also, the lake is not as clean as we had heard. Even if it had been hotter, I would not have gotten in the water.

Oh, and be careful with your umbrellas. LOL Even if you have your name on it, the hotel staff will keep taking it. Happened to us twice and when we left, we realized it happened again. (Went home without our umbrella...)

  • Liked — the food
  • Disliked — stolen umbrella
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Florida, Florida
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
227 helpful votes 227 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2009

tripadvisor.com is our first stop when selecting a hotel…even if we are familiar with the city…we like to read the opinions and experiences of others and then factor in our own reality check.

Casa Palopo sounded intriguing….especially the opportunity to settle into a small luxury property and spend ten days or so exploring the lakeside and highland villages around Lake Atitlan.

What about some of those previously posted complaints from other visitors:

“cost of a taxi ride to the closest city.”

“dogs barking at night.”

“excessive cost of dining at the hotel restaurant.”

Nothing sounded insurmountable….maybe consider an alternative mode of transportation to the closest city…..ear plugs or an extra nightcap might help with sounds…..don’t take all meals at the hotel if the prices are too high…..all seemed like possible solutions!

Casa Palopo was our choice….no cheap hotels, posadas or backpacker hostels for us!

The first night we stayed in Antigua….about a 45 minute drive from GUA. That made the drive out to Panajachel a little easier the following morning…..still it’s approximately two and a half to three hours over some twisting and undulating secondary roads (as the Pan-American Highway is undergoing major reconstruction which can develop into hour long delays at some points)….let’s take the back roads instead.

At last we arrived in Panajachel, took a short stretch break and drove the last few miles to Santa Catarina Palopo and then up the hill to the entrance to Casa Palopo, located at 6.8 km, hence the name of their restaurant. After passing through the gated entrance and ascending the very steel drive, we were greeted at the entrance by several smiling faces to assist with our bags. We had to stop for a few moments and gaze across the lake at Volcano San Pedro…..what an imposing site to see it towering above the blue waters.

“Bienvenidos and welcome to Casa Palopo,” said a smiling Gael from Recepción. We were each handed a chilled and refreshing glass of jamaica hibiscus and sandia concoction and escorted on a brief tour of the hotel common areas, dining room/bar and small sun deck and pool. “We have Junior Suite #3 ready for your arrival,” said Gael, “and maybe you would like to finish your drink on your patio!”

While our bags were being placed in the suite, we opened the large sliding doors and once again found ourselves gazing across the lake at Volcano San Pedro. Junior Suite #3 is not the largest suite of the seven accommodations, but it does have plenty of space and comfortable king-sized bed and the largest patio with a superior view……we loved it!

We found Casa Palopo a perfectly situated hideaway for us. For us, it offered the ambiance and sophistication of a private villa and the services of an attentive but non-intrusive staff. During the eight nights we were in residence, guests from Australia, France, the UK, Germany and several states in the US as well as a number of locals from Guatemala City came and went.

There is the private villa of the owner further up the side of the hill, with three bedrooms, a large private swimming pool, two helicopter landing pads, and an exquisitely appointed living room. Suites or the entire villa is available for rent as well. Nice, but not the type of place we would have chosen to spend out time….the main building with all of the cozy common area, restaurants and extensive decks and patios was more to our liking.

For transportation we used “colectivos,” choosing to ride with local Mayans from village to village for about 3Q or 5Q….why take a taxi or Tuktuk?

A couple of days we hired a private boat pick us up at the Casa Palopo’s private dock (about one hundred steps down the side of the hill) and investigated other villages around Lake Atitlan….one stop included visiting Casa de Maximon in Santiago Atitlan….how can you possibly not be willing to pay only 10Q and take a photo of the saint of gamblers and drunkards with alleged aberrant sex thrown in the mix….worth the experience just meeting two members of the local cofrade!

Jennifer, the General Manger of Casa Palopo, was very helpful and most informative. She has been living in Central American for many years and spent time at other resorts around Lake Attitlan before accepting her present position. If you have a question, wants some ideas for a day off the beaten path, just ask her. She is a true asset to the property.

We had also exchanged emails and made a couple of telephone calls to Blanca from Recepción prior to arrival. She is a wonderful person and is also available to offer her local knowledge.

Lastly, Chef Mario and his experienced and creative cocina crew (especially Eduardo, Romero,Guillermo and Carlos) are more than willing to create interesting off-menu cuisine when requested…..if the ingredients can be located, they will make it happen....we're talking TV Food Network meets Michelin Guide!

Some other tripadvisor postings have complained about the prices of the meals and wine list.…..maybe they picked the wrong location…there are ample “cheap” hotels, posadas, and hostels around Lake Atitlan. There are a number of local bars in Pana observing “Happy Hour” and great deals on Guatemala’s Gallo Cerveza….so there are alternatives for inexpensive drinking!

If you feel good about yourself and the one you are with…..splurge and let yourself go....spend a little money….enjoy the food, the wine and most of all, soak up every nuance of this very special place and the people here to serve you!

If you feel otherwise about youself, take along a sleeping back, hitch a ride on a Chicken Bus and find a rock to rest your head at night!

Viva Casa Palopo!

  • Liked — Remote and simple life
  • Disliked — The fact we had to eventually check-out
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.

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Additional Information about Casa Palopo

Address: Carretera a San Antonio Palopo, km 6.8, Santa Catarina Palopo, Guatemala
Phone Number:
Location: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Santa Catarina Palopo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Santa Catarina Palopo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Casa Palopo 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Casa Palopó. Perched above spectacular Lake Atitlan with a view of three volcanoes and located in the Guatemalan Highlands, Casa Palopó offers two distinct brands of romantic relaxation for the sophisticated traveler. Choose from the charming and colorful accommodations in the main building, which features seven spacious rooms decorated with contemporary and indigenous artwork. A large living room with fireplace, gourmet restaurant, elegantly set tables are set in intimate clusters inside the relaxed dining room and on the glassed terrace, additional tables spread along the wide veranda, 6.8 Palopó is the place to catch an uninterrupted view of spectacular sunsets. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Palopo Hotel Santa Catarina Palopo
Casa Palopo Santa Catarina
Casa Palopo Guatemala/Santa Catarina Palopo, Lake Atitlan

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