This is a lovely, clean hotel in a pretty good location in Coban. There is a beautiful courtyard and the rooms are nice and pretty spacious. Coban itself is nothing to write home about: there's nothing especially remarkable about the city except its function as a way station for tourists going to Semuc Champey. Skip the hotel restaurant, which I would describe as mediocre at best (if anything, eat breakfast there for the convenience only).
And now for the bad parts. I found the desk staff to be indifferent and inert (except for one very young woman who looked barely out of her teens). The front desk is staffed only certain hours of the day -- mornings til about noon and then 2:00 or 3:00 pm until 6:00 or 7:00). Otherwise the door of the hotel is locked and you have to call and wait for someone to come out and let you in. This doesn't seem like a big deal, but there were times when I came back at night (usually at 10:00 pm, give or take) and stood outside for too long (Coban is not as safe a city as, say, Antigua). The overnight guy seemed annoyed every time he had to open the door.
My first night at the hotel I witnessed the woman in the next room have a mini-meltdown because she came back to the hotel after a day of sightseeing and found that housekeeping had neglected to lock her door after cleaning it. She was a bit strident, so I kind of dismissed it as a one-off. But apparently it is conventional there. At least twice during my weekend stay I returned to find my room clean but my door unlocked (there was also a window that looked out into the courtyard that had been opened wide by housekeeping). I found this particularly troubling given the fact that the front desk is unstaffed for hours during the day and evening. A Guatemalan friend urged me to hide my iPhone, laptop, and Kindle, which I did -- most of the time. Alas, I left my iPhone on the bedside table the day before I checked out and came back to find it gone from my room. I will take part of the blame for this because I left it out on the bedside table, but it was still demoralizing.
When I realized it was gone I started pulling the room apart. When I ripped back the spread I gulped because I saw a collection of brown specks on one of the pillows. Insect eggs? Or the dreaded bedbug??? (I had seen similar specks the night before, but -- exhausted after a long day of hiking -- had just brushed them to the ground and fell into bed). It was about 10:30 at night, so I called my surly friend the night watchman and asked him to come to my room (so I could show him the specks and tell him about the missing iPhone). "Why?" he asked dryly. I explained in my medicore Spanish, and he trudged to the room dragging his feet like a two-year-old. He stood in the courtyard looking put-out. "Could you please come in here so I can show you this?" I asked. He entered the room and, thankfully, explained that it was something like sawdust or pollen that fell from the wood ceiling (yeah: but how did it get onto a pillow that was UNDER the bedspread?). "Thank you," I said. "But I'm telling you this because I think it's important that management know because this is the type of thing that makes people panic and you will lose business." He looked at me without expression and said "Then just sleep in the other bed" (the room was a double).
As for the missing iPhone, he asked me what time I had left the hotel that morning. I said it was late -- about 10:00 am. He said, "I was already gone by then." Again I said, "Right. But I think it's important that management is aware that housekeeping does not lock the doors after cleaning rooms here. This is going to be a continuing problem for your hotel and you will lose business." "Talk to the day staff tomorrow," he said, "I'm just an employee; I'm not in charge." And that was that.
The staff I spoke to this morning appeared more concerned. I explained that I do not expect to get my phone back and that I'm not looking to be reimbursed, but I hope the hotel will create a new policy that requires housekeeping to lock all doors after cleaning.
So if I had such a bad experience, why aren't I giving this place one star -- or zero??? Well, because I believe that, unfortunately, there is probably no better hotel to stay at in Coban. I passed more than a few (from the outside) as I walked around the city and saw nothing that impressed me. Casa Duranta is cosmetically very nice and also very clean. There is hot water, which is a big plus since Coban can get see-your-breath cold at night.
I don't know if I will be returning to Coban again in the future, but if I do, I would probably have to grudgingly consider staying here again (but lock up EVERYTHING each time I left). I don't know if that make me an idiot, a masochist, or just pragmatic...
Avoid room number 1, which is right next to the reception desk and close to some noisy street traffi...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.