My husband and I stayed at Verana in the Studio House for 5 nights in February 2010. Here are our overall impressions:
LOCATION: We were met promptly at Boca de Tomatlan by the Verana boat and after a 30 min. ride, we were there. It is very remote high up on the hillside with amazing views of jungle, rolling hills, the Bay of Banderas, and the town of Yelapa. If you want to ‘get away from it all’...this is the spot! The small, traditional town of Yelapa is a 15 min. walk from Verana. There are about 250 steep stairs from the boat dock to the host desk so make sure you’re up for it! (Chris will kindly offer you a cold cloth and fresh juice upon arrival). Mules carry your bags so be kind and pack light!
SERVICE: The service that we received from all of the staff at Verana was exceptional! From the moment that you are met at Boca to the moment that you depart, your every need is met without question; (if not exceeded)! Chris is an excellent host and ensures that all activities, spa treatments, and food restrictions are communicated between the guest and the staff. It is the attention to detail that really impressed us; from the cute clay pots filled with shampoo/conditioner/body scrub and lotion; (the best toiletries I’ve every used at any hotel), to the fresh flowers in the room and the candles lit every night throughout the grounds and in each room. We really appreciated the activity and spa treatment reminders left on our pillow at night too!
DINING: I was nervous about the food because I don’t like seafood or fish. However, my tastes were accommodated at every meal without even asking! Seating in the outdoor dining areas have breathtaking views and are very romantic. Mornings began with your choice of coffee or selection of teas and a pastry quietly delivered outside your house at around 6:30 am. It was great enjoying your first cup of coffee at your convenience on your private patio without getting dressed first. Breakfast included coffee or tea and freshly squeezed O.J. and a hot entree from a list of about 8 selections. Lunch included fresh juice which changed daily, a selection from about 5 appetizers and 5 entrees and a light dessert. Dinner included a ‘bar bite’, an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. There are no choices at dinner. The food was very tasty, plentiful, fresh and healthy. Julian is an excellent chef, Alfredo is a gracious waiter, and Kiki is a fun bartender. Our only criticisms are that it would be nice to have a selection at dinner, we craved carbs; (there are no buns or bread served with any meal), selections at breakfast and lunch were frequently unavailable, and as someone with a sweet tooth the desserts were too small; (probably for the best)!
POOL: The pool area, like everywhere at Verana has amazing views. The pool is beautiful, large and spring water fed; (very cold water but refreshing)! There are lots of lounge chairs available with umbrellas positioned at different levels around the pool. You can always sunbathe in privacy!
SPA: The spa is conveniently located, private and beautiful. We had a great couples massage and enjoyed the starlight aromatherapy bath which is very beautiful, relaxing and romantic. It is a must when you stay at Verana!
ACTIVITIES: The Marietas island trip was a lot of fun. Coco, the guide was great. We saw humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, tropical fish, and blue footed boobies; (birds). Unfortunately, the water was rough...it was a really bumpy 1 hour ride there, difficult to snorkel, and a rocky 1 hour ride back. My husband felt seasick despite wearing the motion sickness patch. We went horseback riding to the waterfall. It is a total of two hours on horseback; (ouch!) through town. It isn’t great terrain for it...the horses walk on pavement up and down steep hills, up and down stairs, and really rocky paths. My horse tripped down a flight of stairs and I almost fell off! I’m not sure how well the horses are kept either; mine was skinny, old, and had a matted mane. The local guide tried to get us to pay him even though Verana already had. I would recommend that you walk to the falls instead; it takes about the same time and is a lot safer We were unable to do the bird watching trip along the El Tuito river since the guide was already booked and our paradise picnic was cancelled due to rough water. We were disappointed but Chris promptly offered us spa treatments instead which we really enjoyed!
HOUSES: Unfortunately Verana was fully booked so we didn’t get to see the other houses. From what we saw, they each appear beautiful, distinctive, and private. If you are adventurous, the Tea House, Palapa, and Mayan house are the most open. Casa Amor and Stone House are the most enclosed, and the Jungle Suite, Bungalow and Studio have a nice ratio of both. Both the Studio and the Stone House have A/C and internet access which was nice for staying in touch with family. We stayed in the Studio and highly recommend it! It has a full roof and 4 walls with a front door that can be locked and a rear doorway without a door. Two of the walls have full length and width windows with stunning views of the bay. It is open and modern with tasteful furnishings. The toilet is enclosed, the sink is open and the shower is mostly enclosed; (2 walls and a roof). There is a small front patio with unobscured views of the bay and a rear patio with views of the jungle; (great for bird watching). There is a staff path beyond the rear patio, some noise from the kitchen during breakfast and dinner, and a common path near the front patio. It was a little less private than I expected but it wasn’t a concern for us. Our only critiques are that the chairs aren’t as comfortable as they are attractive, the shower stall is cavelike and a bit too rustic for my liking with tiles frequently coming up on the floor and falling off the walls, and the toilet clogged twice during our 5 night stay. When we mentioned these issues to Chris he said that bathroom upgrades were planned for the Studio this summer.
We have travelled to many 5 star destinations in Central America. Verana is the only one that we agreed we’d like to return to. When we originally made our reservation, I thought that the cost was overly expensive. After staying at Verana, I can say that the value is definitely there! Considering there are only 8 rooms, there are probably more staff than there are guests!
- Also Known As:
- Verana Hotel
- Verana Hotel Yelapa
- Verana Yelapa
- 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