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“Surpasses All Expectations” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Verana

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Verana
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Calle Zaragoza No 404, Yelapa 48304, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Yelapa
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
“Surpasses All Expectations”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2011

We returned last night from five days at Verana. In many ways, words fail to describe our time there. But here goes. First, the getting there--to a place where time just about stops. You leave smoggy, jammed-up Puerto Vallarta in a taxi that takes about 45 minutes to the end of the road: a pleasant-enough, not much developed place called Boca de Tomatlan. The Verana panga (a smallish out-board motorboat) takes you another 45 minutes along the lush coastline to Yelapa, once a hippie haven but now definitely "discovered" by mostly budget travelers. OK beach, out-of-the-way feel, popular with daytrippers from PV.

From Verana's small dock, steps climb up, up, up. (Mules carry your bags, and you--upon request.) We were met--at a different landing place since the tide was unsuitable for the usual spot--by Kent, the affable resident manager, who guided us chattily along with stops to catch my 70-some-year-old breath. At reception or rather the bar, a few steps further along, Bernie, the new and enterprising barman, greeted us with cold towels, fresh lime-onade, and a variety of excellent salsas. (Bear in mind that nearly everything here is open, all or in most part, to the green and glorious landscape and the astonishing views. Doors are few. That's a major contribution to what makes Verana unique in our widely-travelled experience.)

Kent showed us up to our "room," the Jungle Suite, at the top of the hill (more steps!). It's more of an extensive, slightly Bauhaus-styled pavilion with 15-foot ceilings, an 18-foot glass wall facing the jungle,and another, equally long open wall into the great outdoors that our mosquito-net draped bed faced. Elegant proportion is everything--not surprising since the co-owner, Heinz Legler, is a skilled and deeply inventive architect. A large private terrace overlooks the sea, Yelapa, and the mountainous distances, and another terrace gives onto the green view of the jungle. (Note: Verana's website offers plenty of images of the landscape and the building-scape. They convey, absolutely, the feel of the place, and if anything understate the spirit and appeal of Verana.)

We visited several of the other eight houses. Each is unique in design, placement, and character. Each is delightful in its own individual manner. Heinz's wife, Veronique Lievre, is responsible for design and decorative elements, all restrained, evocative and perfectly suited to each location. No cookie-cutter, mass-produced, pseudo-luxurious stuff here, as in so many multi-starred resorts all over the world. Heinz and Veronique have created, literally from a steep jungle hillside, an "escape" that is definitely Mexican in feel, but with a sophisticated, semi-European flavor that avoids the fancy-pants, impersonal glamour of many Mexican resorts. Warmth, solicitude, attention to guests' wishes are ever-present but never intrusive.

Well, this is going on far too long. Guests can have as much privacy as they wish or be more social if so inclined. We enjoyed cocktail hour at the bar with others (we were the most ancient--other guests included a honeymoon couple from London, another from Dallas, young couples enjoying a break from their twins [two couples], an engaging, athletic pair from Santa Barbara, a guest from Russia.) Major plus: Heinz and Veronique were in residence, attending to details and playing the delightful hosts--as they are, for sure. The feeling was rather like that of a relaxed house-party.

Oh, and the food. All good. Coffee or tea and warm muffins brought to the suite each morn at 8. Ample, inventive breakfasts, good lunches at the spa, and chef Fabian provided fine dinners at the romantic terrace: terrific tuna tartare, huachinango grilled with chipotle sauce, a chile relleno with nut sauce, and so on. Candles everywhere. (We counted 24 in our suite each night, welcoming us to bed.)

Verana is much more than you may have heard, or read--even here. Not many get-aways can equal it. None can surpass it.

  • Stayed March 2011, 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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146 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
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English first
Manhattan
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2011

I read about Verana a year or so ago and it has been on my "places to go" list since. Our trip was sort of last minute, and a little more expensive than what we were originally planning. However knowing what I know now I would have paid more. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, we were taken care of truly felt like we were on vacation. The staff is not always at your side, but this is not a place where you want that. They are where they need to be when they need to be, and all extremely nice people. We stayed in the V-House, which there are not too many pictures of or reviews on. It was very secluded from the other houses and dining area, which we enjoyed. The food is spectacular, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Every night we looked forward to before dinner drinks with Manny. I would highly advise trying some of his margaritas (and you only need a few!).

WHAT WE ENJOYED: Great service, seclusion, watching the sunrise from our bed every morning, 8am coffee & tea, watching whales breach (on our islands trip), cooking class with Eddy (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED), relaxing in the hammocks, watching the moonrise while having dinner (in the same place where the sun rose), paragliding off of Yelapa Tapa, breakfast tacos, very fresh fruit, a variety of fresh juices, and simply relaxing

We are already talking about when we can go back. We have traveled Europe, and much of the U.S., this was probably our best vacation yet.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Corvallis, Oregon
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2011

I have been meaning to go to Verana for a while and finally decided to reserve a full week to escape Oregon December gloom (the minimum stay is seven days, I believe, during Christmas holidays). After polling a friend who'd been a couple of years ago, I picked Tea House as our room (during her stay, it seemed to be the guests' consensus choice as best house).

I'll try to keep this short because there is already so much (very accurate) praise for Verana here.

The entire place is so beautifully put together that your eye doesn't ever need to rest on anything unsightly. This is not an over the top luxury hotel, though, but instead a tastefully done hillside retreat with extremely comfortable furnishings. I felt like it was designed just for me, and I think that the owners put so much thought into how the place is decorated, that that is the feeling they want you to have.

The service is attentive and thoughtful, but not at all what you might expect if you are accustomed to luxury hotels. Rather, it's a careful attitude to ensure that you get what you want and need, but that the service gets out of your way as quickly as possible so you can enjoy who you are traveling with and the place itself.

The houses are very private (for the most part) and you feel completely at peace and separated from the other guests whenever you want to be (especially if you have one of the rooms with its own plunge pool and lounge area).

The food is really, really exceptional—again, not overly fancy or overwrought, just simply prepared with excellent ingredients, and made with care. (Lunch edged out breakfast and dinner as the best meal each day, served at the simple but brilliant restaurant by the spa, but all the meals were great.) We don't have special dietary needs, thank goodness, so I can't speak for those situations, but I have a strong feeling they would do well for vegetarians etc.

Overall I have traveled a lot of places and seen a lot of great things, mostly in Europe. I'm convinced this is one of the best places on earth, especially because it's so simple a process to enjoy it. You basically just arrive and forget your troubles for the duration of your stay.

The very few things that might bother some people (did not bother us at all, really):
• The steps from the spa back up to Verana are fairly brutal unless you are in quite good shape. We wound up enjoying the hike up the hill each day but it did leave us breathless
• There is a fairly serious need to carefully choose how you want to interact with the other guests; either prepare to be gregarious or commit to being ostracized a bit if you don't. It's a great place to be private but it can be a little awkward seeing the same faces at each meal if you are not fully committed to friendly banter
• You will probably have various wildlife traipsing through your room (most of which are open to the jungle or the hillside) during the night. This we found charming, even when a coati ate a power bar out of my girlfriend's purse, but some people might be weirded out by being in nature to this extent. (Again let me stress we thought this was just part of the fun.)
• The boat ride, which we thought was awesome, might bruise the tailbones and rattle the stomachs of the less hardy


The weather in December was perfect for almost the entire week…sunny and warm during the day (79-84 degrees, or so) and with just a bit of a chill in the air in the evening so that outdoor dining might require a light sweater, nothing more.

In all we have no regrets about the extremely beautiful and peaceful week we spent at Verana. It's not really like being in Mexico, though. More like being on a magical hillside where you escape from all worries except perhaps whether your afternoon nap will rob you of a proper night's sleep hours later.

Can't heap enough praise; we returned thinking everyone should go at least once.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2011

My boyfriend and I decided not to stay at Verana in Yelapa - we wanted to be closer to the beach and the cost was a bit higher than we prefer. But we did want to stay somewhere small and intimate when we returned back to Puerto Vallarta.

I noticed that Verana has a small guest house in the old part of PV (near Elizabeth Taylor's old place) so I asked if they had any availability. Usually they only rent the place to people staying at Verana, but it was the off season so they were able to squeeze us in.

The house was amazing - clean, spacious, and beautifully decorated (sort of a relaxed retro look). Since we were the only ones there, we got to chat with the lovely caretaker who made us delicious breakfast in the morning. She gave us great recommendations on where to go in PV, so we didn't have to plan anything. I was really impressed with her ability to figure out exactly what we'd want to do and see!

The day we were supposed to leave, my boyfriend realized his card was cut off so we had no way to get cash. They actually loaned us the money to hire a cab to get to the airport! They just said to pay them via the website when I got back. When I did, they even emailed me to ask what the $20 was for, as they wanted to make sure it wasn't a mistake.

This place is perfect in every way - away from the crowds, personal, quaint, and incredibly caring and considerate staff. I can't recommend it highly enough!

  • Stayed July 2010, 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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Sacramento, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2010

So we just got back from our Verana stay and we are almost brought to tears when we left that paradise and think about our amazing experience there. There is no other place like it. We stayed in the Bungalow and it was private and had incredible views. The staff was absolutely incredible (Ryan, Sarah, Lalo, Kris, Manny, Gaby. Conejo and countless others) and worked tirelessly behind the scenes. The food (as others have stated) was very, very good. Everything was *perfect*. No complaints, only high marks. If you are unsure about going, just message me and I will answer your questions. Just book it- you will not regret it!

  • Stayed December 2010, 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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New Jersey
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2010

This review is a little overdue...my husband and I stayed at Verana in May of 2010. We usually try to stay at smaller, more intimate and non-touristy/unique places...Verana hit the nail right on the head. In general, we had a nice stay but were somewhat disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the setting is truly amazing...love the concept of the different rooms/different layout on the property...love the uniqueness and remoteness of the place....the beautiful views....and thought the food was excellent...just thought the service really fell short and took away from the rest, and didn't live up to expectations. I wouldn't discourage anyone from visiting Verana as I have noted some really great features above...I just think they should step up the service to match the rest.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Novato, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2010

This is one of the most romantic places I have ever stayed. The casas have different themes, so if you want to stay in a tree house or a jungle house it is up to you. They are all very private, and beautifully decorated. The view is magnificnat. The service fantastic and the food is out of this world. The grounds are so beautiful you don't want to go anywhere else. Although, they have many excursions that you can do, and a beautiful spa and pool. We went on a trip to some special islands to see birds, whales and we also went snorkeling. They provided us with a fantastic lunch on the beach. You must be able to hike up a big hill though.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Verana

Address: Calle Zaragoza No 404, Yelapa 48304, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Costalegre > Yelapa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Yelapa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located 30-miles south of Puerto Vallarta floating above the Bay of Banderas, embraced by the mountains of the Valle de la Sierra Oriental, carved out of lush Mexican jungle on a hillside rests Verana. It is as unusual as it is remote. Unique design that is rustic yet sophisticated. Designed for travelers with a sense of adventure and appreciation of tranquility and natural beauty. An indoor/outdoor Spa adds to the amenities of a luxurious getaway. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Verana Hotel Yelapa
Verana Yelapa

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