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“Beautiful setting, basic rooms” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Casa Grande Mountain Retreat

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Casa Grande Mountain Retreat
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Utuado
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
State College, PA
Level Contributor
65 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
“Beautiful setting, basic rooms”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2013

This is a very special property that will appeal to lovers of nature who want to be in the middle of the rain forest and don't mind a bit of physical discomfort. The rooms are absolutely basic. I would call it only a step above camping, and the price a bit steep given the basic nature of the accommodations. But the setting is spectacular. There are easy walks to great views, and tons of wildlife. The pool area is very nice. I was underwhelmed by the yoga, which was very basic, and it irritated me that the yoga studio was locked unless there was a class going on (it would have been nice to have access to the space for meditation and personal practice). And the food is quite frankly terrible, which is a problem given how hard it is to drive anywhere else. I wouldn't say this is a particularly child-friendly property- my kids were the only kids there, and they were charged for sharing the room, but there is a lot for kids to see, and some games to play when its raining. I think my family needs a bit more physical comfort, particularly given that it rained most of the time we were there, and a couple of members of my family broke out in mysterious rashes from the tropical environs. But the staff was wonderful, and we enjoyed meeting other guests, who are a diverse and interesting bunch.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank PSU_travel_mom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
proprietor44, Owner at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, responded to this review, March 16, 2013
Each guest room has a private balcony with hammock and two arm chairs. Inside there's a ceiling fan, either one queen or two full size beds,a wall cabinet for storage and a clothes pole and shelf. The bathroom has a walk-in shower and a European style sink and vanity. All the wood furniture and accessories were handcrafted by local artisans. There are two large framed photos of the various plants, flowers and trees that adorn the bedroom wall. There's also a framed poster celebratng the local festival held in each municipality from time to time.

The $125 room rate is on par with other properties offering similar services and amenities.

"El Templo", the yoga facility, is available for the personal use of the guests when class is not in session. The front desk manager is pleased to provide the key for access to the space.

The large majority of our guests find the quality of the food in our restaurant to be well above the competition..
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489 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (81)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York, NY
Level Contributor
66 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2013

I recently stayed at this secret little gem of a hotel: The Casa Grande Mountain Retreat in Utuado, Puerto Rico. A very dear friend and colleague had stayed there previously and recommended it. I immediately began reading the mixed reviews and was even somewhat skeptical however I knew that I could trust this dear friend and colleague and he was so right. I was only there for two nights and I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated when I returned home that I truly felt I was away for at least one week. First of all the drive there is spectacular especially if one takes the routes as suggested by Steve the owner or Jose the Bartender/Waiter/Hiking Guide/Fisherman and all around local expert. So I highly suggested that one follows the directions on the Website and do not use your GPS as the local roads are not always tracked. The setting and location offer spectacular views of the lush tropical forest and mountains all around. The Cabins are simple but very spacious and tasteful; the colors all blend into the environment. Do not expect luxury; this is a simple Mountain Hacienda Retreat nestled in a little crevice between mountains with lovely Cabin/Cottages cascading down hillsides. All Cabins include an outside balcony with sitting area/chairs and a lovely hammock to daydream and relax. Some Cabins have better views than others and I would suggest asking for the end units which face the moments primarily Cabins #4, 5, 8, and any of the lower Cabins which are at the end facing the mountains. Do not worry if the Cabin faces the road; remember you are in the middle of a little country mountain village you might hear traffic but its minimal and not city traffic by any means. Also please remember that to experience Casa Grande is to be with nature; you are surrounded by natural flora and fauna which means the lovely sounds of wildlife night and day! Its peaceful, serene, there is an abundance of things to do and see if you wish or you can certainly take Yoga each day and relax. The staff are like family; they are friendly and warm and full of smiles. The food is served buffet style and is very tasty and locally prepared. Do not expect your cell phone to work here and do not expect your internet connection to be 100% but that's the beauty of disconnecting and being with nature. If one really has to make a call; the staff will offer you their house cell phone. If you really need full internet you can drive into the village a few miles away. The other most wonderful aspect of this little hidden gem of a hotel is that it is very affordable; the cabins are only $125USD per night plus taxes. Meals are optional and also very affordable; as are the various activities such as Yoga and Hiking!! I cannot wait to return!!!

Room Tip: Ask for an end Cabin facing the mountains!! I had Cabin #5 which had a spectacular view from the b...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Italexplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
proprietor44, Owner at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, responded to this review, March 10, 2013
It's truly gratifying to receive such a marvelous review. Although the food was served buffet style during the reviewer's stay, we typically offer a menu and table service.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

We stayed at Casa Grande Mountian Retreat for three nights from February 21-23. The drive to get there is challenging but well worth the effort. The Lodge itself is comfortable with rocking chairs and tables over looking the mogotes (limestone hillocks). The pool is inviting and grounds are beautifully kept.
Dinner is served by reservation on a patio overlooking the pool. While the menu is somewhat limited, the meals are very plentiful and flavorful. Our favorite cocktails could be purchased at a reasonable rate.
The nights are the most interesting. The sounds of the jungle emerge as twilight begins and continue through the night. Sometime during the night all the lights outside are turned off and the view of the night sky is remarkable. The stars are so close you feel you can touch them.
In the morning, the birds awaken and begin their flight through the valley to their daytime destination. We added several life birds to our list including a Puerto Rican Tody.
The rooms are as described. They are rustic with little sound proofing but adequate. The beds were comfortable, the walk-in shower was clean and the water was hot, only the lighting left something to be desired. If you read at night bring a head lamp and the problem is solved.
Breakfast begins at 8:00. For we early risers, this was a problem since coffee isn't available until the dining room opens. Breakfast, like dinner, is very good with fresh fruit, yogurt and eggs being prepared to order.
We had a great time and would highly recommend it for people who like the outdoors and enjoy the magical sounds and sights of the jungle.

Room Tip: All rooms are alike. You might ask for one overlooking the valley.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LakeErie302
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
116 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2013

I had high expectations of this resort after reading many wonderful things about it. The grounds are simply beautiful. After the hustle and bustle of urban Puerto Rico this seemed like a little piece of paradise.

First, I was a bit taken back on the 15% service charge that was added to the food and drink no matter if the tap was $4 or $40. It's not about money, it's about the principle. I would understand if I were part of a party of 6 or more but, for one or two people? I am a seasoned traveler and have never had this happen to me.

Second, i was perplex with the breakfast choices or should i say lack of. Considering that there are no other breakfast options around one is forced to stay on the grounds of the resort. Being that the resort presents itself as an eco friendly facility (yoga, massage, no smoking in the grounds, silence hours, etc) I was expecting some sort of breakfast buffet with local fresh fruit, yogurt, fresh juices etc..Instead i found myself in a sort of diner atmosphere. I had half a cup of coffee and i left speachIess. I thought that contrast the spirit of the place.

Nevertheless the resort tries to portray itself as an eco-lodge it is merely a very plain hotel in a beautiful location.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ZoeRM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
proprietor44, Owner at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, responded to this review, February 24, 2013
The 15% service charge is stated at the bottom of the menu and is optional. It can be eliminated, reduced or increased as the guest sees fit for the service provided. Although not served buffet style, our menu always includes fresh seasonal fruits, yogurt and homemade granola besides a variety of other options including eggs, scrambled tofu, french toast and apple pancakes.. We also offer fresh juice in season from our own orange tress. The meals are served al fresco on a veranda offering a stunning mountain view across the valley.
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Marin, California
Level Contributor
43 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 11, 2013

Our family of four (husband, wife, 11 yo & 9 yo) stayed two nights over Christmas break. We stayed in a room off the pool area, which I was worried about at first, but it worked out just fine. We enjoyed adventures during the day, then returned to the hotel in the afternoon for a swim and relaxation. We ate dinner each night at the hotel. The food was good, and it was wonderful to eat outside and listen to the coquis. The staff were friendly. We would definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: If you don't want to hear people at the pool, request a room away from the pool.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank explorista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Takoma Park, MD
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2013

Spent four nights at Casa Grande Mountain Resort at the end of January 2013. All four of us had a delightful time and fell in love with the place. We had rooms 20 and 21, each with a small front porch and hammock, but since the space actually opened up into the pool area, we really had a 50- foot front porch ,but very quiet with the mountains in the background and a morning cloud show you usually only see at very high altitudes. The staff was very pleasant and helpful, the breakfasts and dinners were not only good but on the healthy side. The grounds were beautiful with many fruit trees and plants from around the world. And if you enjoy scrabble, the onsite owner/ manager is more than happy to host a game or two after dinner .

Room Tip: All rooms are the same but 20 and 21 give you a different vista from the porch
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank roadskolar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Brighton MN
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2013

It is obvious that this owner takes great care and pride in his hotel. As my husband said as we were leaving, what you think of the place depends on your expectations. The web site states, "Casa Grande Mountain Retreat is an oasis of peace and tranquility. The former coffee plantation, now exquisitely landscaped, has 20 rooms scattered up the mountainside, each with private bath, balcony, and hammock."

Each room is not scattered up the mountainside. Each room is a four plex, in a cluster of four-plexes. The rooms are unfortunately, as others have said, very thin walled. We woke up twice one night thinking we were having an earthquake, as we have experienced these temblors in other countries. We soon realized, however, that the room was shaking because first one couple that had a shared wall with us, and then another an hour later were "being romantic," shall we say. It was even worse when the men in one of the situations was quite vociferous.

As for peace and tranquility, other than above, our room hung out over the highway. When the school bus goes by he honks his horn at either every curve or every stop. We heard all the traffic. And the dogs and the roosters. Also, if one family is yelling across the grounds to "hurry up, we'll be late," or anything else, you can really hear it.

It got really cold at night, and no extra blanket was provided. I was up putting on extra clothes all night.

The food is so-so, there is a local cook, so you get what she makes, and many of the things on the menu they were out of, like fruit, granola, and yogurt, although everything else on the menu was heavy and way too much. You are kind of captive there, since it is remote, and unless you want to drive, you get the food there. Yes, you can order them to hold you a sandwich for lunch, but that is your only choice.

In the afternoon we hoped for coffee or tea, but the front desk person did not know how to operate the coffee machine, and there was nothing else available.

Service is mostly excellent, but one staff person in particular was not interested in being friendly or even nice to us.

Be aware that internet and phone service is spotty.

The grounds are impeccable, and the rooms are clean.

He really is trying and wants a nice place. I would insulate the rooms, add a coffee pot all day, let people know they share common walls with other people, and make smaller food options available.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Eliason S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
proprietor44, Owner at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, responded to this review, February 6, 2013
The walls are thin between the rooms and we have considered insulating them but each room has five large screened windows (no glass) so sound would not be contained within the room regardless. We recently purchased large signs for all guests to see that read "Quiet Please 10 pm - 8 am" that we hope will bring more awareness to the noise issue. When guests come to the front desk complaining about noisy neighbors we do take action to remedy the situation. This week I asked two couples who were disturbing their neighbors to vacate their rooms and when they did so I refunded their money.

Choices for lunch include several types of sandwiches and three salads.

Extra blankets are available at the front desk upon request.

In Utuado, about 25 minutes away, is Joel's bakery with good coffee and a wide selection of pastries and other baked items. .
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Grande Mountain Retreat

Property: Casa Grande Mountain Retreat
Address: Road 612, Km. 0.3 | Barrio Caonillas, Utuado 00641, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Utuado
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Utuado
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Casa Grande Mountain Retreat 2.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in a valley in Puerto Rico's central mountains, Casa Grande is an oasis of peace and tranquility. 20 rooms scattered up the mountainside, each with private bath, balcony and hammock. Freshwater pool, restaurant and bar. The Café serves comida criolla, contemporary dishes and vegetarian options. Fully equipped yoga facility offering morning class, birder's paradise, botanical gardens and woodland hiking trail. Near Camuy Caves, Arecibo Observatory, Caguana Ceremonial Park, Toro Negro and Rio Abajo Forests. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Casa Grande Mountain Retreat Hotel Utuado
Casa Grande Mountain Retreat Puerto Rico/Utuado

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