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“Ideal for some, but not for us”
Review of Rainforest Inn

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Rainforest Inn
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed November 20, 2011

To be fair to the owners, Bill and Laurie Humphrey, we are not B&B people. We always thought they would be charming and tranquil and better to put money into the local economy than give it to the big hotel chains. After many, many mediocre to downright unpleasant experiences, we have come to realize that the sterile but professional big hotel chain has its merits. For instance - no geese named Martha and George, biting the guests and pooping everywhere. No mountains of potpourri that trigger bronchitis. No cloying, annoying cutesy decor. No host getting pissed off because you prefer oatmeal to a fancy, heavy breakfast. Or snapping at you when reporting back that a restaurant that he recommended was truly dreadful - as we later learned from reading Trip Advisor. Our comment was not criticism, but so he would know not to recommend it in the future.

So it was our mistake to book here in the first place, and I acknowledge that.

And also to be fair to Bill and Laurie, we'd had a truly horrible vacation up to that point so we arrived defeated and just wanting to go home.

With those disclaimers, I will try my best to be fair and accurate in my descriptions. If you read the other reviews, you will see dozens of glowing reports and fewer than a half-dozen negative reports, so we are clearly in the minority. My goal here is to describe what bothered us so that others who have similar tastes can get the information they need to decide if this is the right place for them.

You will love this place IF you like a new-agey, Zen-centric, practically an ashram atmosphere. If this is not your style, stay far, far away. Seriously. When I saw the Buddha in the driveway, I just wanted to flee. Guarded by not one but two large gates, the grounds are beautiful. The accommodations are attractive but in need of a bit of upkeep (i.e., a very badly rusted fan in the bathroom). However, I would not call the accommodations comfortable. For instance, the seating in the living area was covered with white slipcovers (not shown in the website photos). Not conducive to kicking back with a glass of wine. Maybe white wine. Because who wants to worry about spills on white furniture while on vacation? And you are right to worry. A sign - one of several, each with 3 or more rules - warns that if you stain the upholstery, you will be charged for the cleaning. I assume that if they can't get the stain out, you will be charged for replacement costs. Guess how often we sat on that furniture? Not once. We are not slobs by any means. My home is extremely clean and I take very good care of my things. But accidents do happen and even ordinary dirt will show on white furniture. We made do with the metal chairs in the kitchen and the uncomfortable folding chairs on the deck. Nightstands? No. Two tiny little ledges on either side of the bed - just large enough for your glasses or your alarm clock. If you want to read in bed (as an alternative to sitting in the uncomfortable chairs) you have to get up to put the book away or just drop it on the floor, I suppose. The lights are tap-on-tap-off and they come on the middle of the night even if you haven't touched them. Maybe from the breeze? It is a lovely breeze, but if it turns a light on over my head at 2:30 in the morning...not so much.

There are no hammocks. Huh? A tropical lodge with no hammocks? The ultimate in relaxation. Not one hammock anywhere.

And this is the crux of the thing. You are expected to relax the way the owners think one should relax. Loll around until 9 a.m., when breakfast is served. And no coffee. You can make your own coffee in the kitchen, but they will not serve coffee at breakfast. I'm paying $160/night and I have to make my own coffee? Seriously? Because why? Apparently, they don't think coffee is appropriate to their idea of relaxation. Only someone who has never lingered over an amazing cup of coffee in the morning could see it that way.

And if you are the type who likes to get up early and get your day started, your choice is to skip the breakfast, but of course there is no price break for not having breakfast. I think the place hasn't been around long enough to have amassed a large number of leave-behind books, so the reading choices are sparse. Though there is a hiking trail on the property, we felt strongly discouraged by Bill's description. I didn't mind signing a liability waiver. That seemed a smart thing to do on his part. But then he went on to describe it as what sounded like a form of torture and so we decided to pass. When he asked why we hadn't gone on the hike, I made an excuse about having had an unpleasant trip (true) and not wanting to risk making it any worse. A few reviews back, Bill responded that when it has been very rainy (when is it not very rainy in a rainforest?) he recommends the oxcart trail as an alternative. He never mentioned this to us.

We also found it odd that they call themselves an ecolodge. Apparently, this is because they do not have air conditioning (it isn't needed - in fact it gets very cool at night). But I dragged home a bag full of recycling because there wasn't even a recycling bin. And yes, I did see curbside recycling in PR, so I don't know why they don't have a recycling bin. They don't have a water filtration system so you have to buy bottled water. Oddly enough, the Inn's website claims to have a filtration system, but when we asked, Bill specifically said that he advised against drinking the tap water.

Finally, the one other thing that really ticked us off was his refusal to let us book for only two nights. He insisted that we had to book for three nights or none.

For birders, there are many bird species on the property, including PR Lizard Cuckoo, Antillean Euphonia, PR Screech Owl, Spindalis, and Loggerhead Kingbird. You can chill out on the patio and see most if not all the bird species on the property.

Reading the older reviews, I am stunned to see that the owners say that they never do any construction while guests are on the property. Several other people reported that they were disturbed by construction and indeed, there was construction on Saturday morning (not too early) including hammering and the delivery of wood for the floor for their yoga room.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank FlightDelayed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rainforestinn, Owner at Rainforest Inn, responded to this reviewResponded December 1, 2011

Hi Potential Guests,

Laurie and I thought we better write a response to this review right away. We remember these guests, very knowledgeable birders, so we know they stayed here. But the first paragraph is about some other place. We don’t have any geese (or roosters or ducks or parrots, nor fowl of any kind) and we wouldn’t have named them George & Martha – perhaps Jorge & Carmona? There has never been any potpourri in our rooms, and definitely not mountains of the stuff (we would have noticed). We have a book of menus from the nearby restaurants that we recommend, based on our guests reported experience and our own. There are many fine restaurants nearby and the Luquillo kioskos offer a treat of selections. It is true that we have a sign about how to use the safe and one warning about smoking in the room but we will remove the one about hiking mud stains on the furniture as it was never our intention that guests choose not to be comfortable because of that sign. Our porch hammocks were taken down during the hurricane season, of course we are your concierge and your hosts when you stay here and just a hint about anything missing and we’ll do our best to furnish it. And, in advance, we apologize about our peaceful little garden Buddha beside the driveway – please ignore it. We do have a yoga room for our guests use and a private section with a massage table – no ashram though, sorry.

- Bill & Laurie

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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255 - 261 of 407 reviews

Reviewed October 8, 2011

This place was heavenly! From the beautiful view outside the villa's terrace to the delectable breakfasts to the exquisite waterfall and natural pool the Rainforest Inn exceeded all our expectations. We stayed for 3 nights and none of our other lodgings in PR compared. Bill had sage advice that led us to delicious restaurants (Tapas 13), and beautiful hikes (Governer's beach). We can't wait to return!

Room Tip: Villa is awesome, jungle room when complete will be spectacular.
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank skubdubdu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2011

if you are looking for a genuine rainforest experience and you what to do that in style and comfort without driving too long from San Juan go to Rainforest Inn. My kids and I had a great Indiana Jones/retreat adventure in August 2011. We were able to explore the rainforest right from the Inn's backyard and then relax in the most comfortable beds and chairs in our rooms or on the covered terrace outside during the frequent refreshing rain. One of the best beaches is 10 min. drive away. Oh, and they have the best fresh gourmet breakfast served outdoor. I had to take a camera with me every morning to take a picture of the food. We had a great time here and will recommend this place greatly. if you need a $20/day car from San Juan use the Allied car rental-nothing too fancy and a bit slow, but it works and cars are clean. You can pick a car from airport and return it to their other office near Caribe Hilton Hotel: http://www.alliedcarrentalpr.com/en/about.html.

Bon Voyage!

Irena B. , Boston

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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Thank irena69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2011

A beautiful country retreat, but not too far from urban amenities. Located near the edge of the El Yunque National Forest, beautiful plants and animals abounded. Breakfast was always good.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank kevin p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2011

What a beautiful place to get away from it all! We spent 4 nights here in July 2011 and wish we could have stayed longer. The coqui sounds were so peaceful to sleep to as well as the frequent showers. The private hike was an experience like we've never had...beware...if you are unfit (like we were) you may be sore for days! Bill and Laurie were very gracious hosts and Mya (the dog) was indeed in the driveway to greet us on arrival, even in the rain! Breakfasts were delicious and the foliage on the grounds...so tropical! We loved everything about it!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank PWRamirez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2011

Our family of 5 stayed at the Rainforest Inn before a cruise out of San Juan. After the cruise, we realized we could have just stayed here for the week. The RFI is just on the edge of the El Yunque rainforest, with waterfalls you can hike to or just drive to. It was also a short drive to beaches and the bio-bay kayaking. The flora was amazing. The hosts were wonderful to talk to. We would definitely like to go back and stay longer.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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Thank TNgang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2011

My family loved the Rainforest Inn.From the amazing hike to a private waterfall to the nightly serenades from the Coqui-it was absolutely breath-taking! Bill and Laurie are very friendly and make you feel right at home. They will feed you gourmet breakfasts and will give you plenty of ideas of things to try around town...although, honestly, I would have been fine just staying there! After we left the Rainforest Inn, we went on a 7-day cruise. And, even though we went to the most beautiful Caribbean islands, we all agreed the rain forest was our most favorite experience. We all hope to go back!

Room Tip: We looked at the other room for a future trip because we definitely want to go back. All rooms have...
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Mary T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rainforest Inn

Address: PR 186 Km 22. 1 | Rio Grande, PR, El Yunque National Forest 00745, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > El Yunque National Forest
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in El Yunque National Forest
Price Range: $160 - $165 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Stay in the El Yunque rain forest of Puerto Rico. We have hikes to secluded swimming holes and mountainside waterfalls right in our backyard. We have no air conditioning, radios, or TV but we do offer quilts on the beds (it's cool up here in the mountains). If you are a nature lover you will love staying here. Two bedroom chalet and villas with baths and complete kitchen. There is a tremendous view from your window. Close to Luquillo Beach. Only forty minutes from the airport. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rainforest Hotel El Yunque National Forest
Rainforest Inn Puerto Rico/El Yunque National Forest

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