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“Incredible resort”

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Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos
Ranked #12 of 25 Hotels in Santa Cruz
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
93 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Incredible resort”
Reviewed September 12, 2011

Stayed in a bungalow-like house complete with massive windows overlooking the cloud forest and water below, jacuzzi tub, etc. The staff was outstanding and the food at the restaurant was to die for. Would return in a minute, no question.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MrVarmint
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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178 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
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English first
Paris, France
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2011

When we booked this hotel, our expectations were high due to the small leading hotel of the world label. Well...
You cannot deny that the place must have had a certain grandeur in the past, with large rooms, and many facilities. But:
- the rooms are run-down (bathroom cracked, floors old, tired furniture)
- the facilities are very gloomy: forget about the 'spa' (nobody there, a few cabins looking decrepit), the tennis courts cannot often be used due to the rain/humidity, the restaurant is very average (not too say surprinsignly disppointing)
- the staff is very irregular: the people at arrival are extremely nice and helpful, the lady at reception who welcomed us was barely polite (and did not even accompagny us to our room), another lady working shifts with her was very helpful and nice
- the hotel is located on the highlands, do expect rain and humidity most of the time even if it is sunny and dry on other parts of Santa Cruz.
On the other hand, they do arrange tours (with other groups though) and can arrange for guides and taxis.
All in all, it is not that bad if you like the resort type hotels, but just very disappointing when you expect the charm and sould that most of small leading hotels of the world have.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank karine r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
268 reviews
266 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 400 helpful votes
Reviewed July 27, 2011

The hotel is excellent as far as its facilities are concerned. Our room was almost as big as tennis court. Great wooden floors, huge king size bed, large bathroom with a jacuzzi, a dressing room, and internet available at no extra charge (free internet is a norm in South America, as it should be). There is a big flat screen TV but, surprisingly, a very poor selection of channels. I couldn't even get free to air local networks, just films and the odd news channel like CNN.

Breakfast is served in a beautiful setting (it is included in the rate) and iit's reasonably good. There is a nice swimming pool.

Staff service was outstanding on all counts. However, please beware of the tour boat trips suggested by the hotel reception which I found were seriously overpriced compared to the rates you can get by yourself in Puerto Ayoras.

The issue with this property is its location. It is a cooler area, on top a hill at Santa Cruz Island, about a 15 minute drive to the town of Puerto Ayoras where the ''action'' is. You will have to take a taxi to get there and back (the fare is very cheap, about USD$7 one way).

Rates are quite steep but that is, regrettably, the norm for Galapagos. A top tourist destination with very basic infrastructure despite the hefty prices charged for them. We got this property at about $275.00 per night which is not below their standard rate of $375.00. Still, it isn't cheap by any means.

I would recommend the hotel for its romantic setting, which is quite beautiful. However, please be aware that its location may put some people off, although that shouldn't be the case.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank EZT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Avalon, New Jersey
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 18, 2011

We stayed in cute individual cottages that were rustic but very nice. The food was very good. The tours set up through the hotel using chartered yachts with our own knowledgeable guide were fantastic and for our family of eight were worth the steep price each day.
We didn't expect the wet weather each day at the hotel, but this proved to be only on the mountain top as it was always warm, sunny and pleasant at lower levels and on all our tours.
The hotel staff were very nice and helpful and the vacation planner we worked with from the hotel (in Quito) was excellent and answered all our questions about getting to and from the Galapagos, what to expect at every turn, and particularly in planning our daily excursions.
Be prepared for a strenuous trip. Getting off the boats into dingys and off onto rocky shores or beaches then climbing up rocky grades is not for everyone. But it was great for our kids and grandkids and we managed better than expected. Don't be afraid of the snorkeling and visit the local town for lunch.
We also recommend taking an extra day for time to tour Quito and the equator museum.

Room Tip: Stay close to the lobby and restaurant if you want less walking
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tkurlak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed May 15, 2011

We stayed here for one day before we headed to our boat and a tour of the Galapagos Islands. After looking at the website of the hotel I was very excited to stay at this hotel, but was suprised at how run down it was. Although the rooms were very spacious, the bathroom tub was all chipped. Also it was very difficult to get in and out of the whirlpool tub to take a shower.

I do have to say the staff was wonderful. We had some issues with the air conditioner and they were right there to help. Also when they didn't have the wine we were looking for they invited us into the cellar to pick out a wine they did have.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CADream1n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level 6 Contributor
107 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed May 2, 2011

We were really looking forward for this trip we made for Easter week and it started nicely by sipping sparkling while the staff of the hotel took care of our suitcases and immigration. We had booked the prince of wales suite, but must say I was not impressed about it. It is a bit run down and the living room was strange trying to imitate a boat cabin, I guess, and why is there a kitchenette but not even a coffee pot? The bedrooms are nice size as are the outside terraces. Additionally, the bathrooms were plenty big with separate showers and toilets, and there were sufficient closet space for everyone. The staff was very polite and helpful, and the hotel premises as such are quite nice, if you dont count the gym and the library. I guess the high humidity takes its toll.
But there were several issues that makes me hard to understand that this hotel belongs to the small leading hotels group. The food in the hotel is quite poor. The breakfast is very basic and average quality. We dined at the hotel at the first night, and that was very disappointing experience; our ceviche tasted weard, and my husband was served still partially raw lobster! We gave the restaurant another chance one night after long daytrip and it did not get any better, the tuna we ordered was still frozen in the middle!! A hotel like this cannot afford such a bad cook for long...Anyway, we chose to take a taxi down to Puerto Ayora most of the nights for dinners, and found one excellent fish restaurant a short water taxi ride away!
Another problem is that the quality of day tours do not match with the hotel clientele. Our first snorkling tour was made in a poor boat with half broken life jackets. The guide who was supposed to give us some snorkling instructions, decided instead to lead a group of more advanced snorklers and left some of us on our own!! (the captain of the boat saved the situation, though) And on our return, hit by a rain, while all of the passangers did not even have a seat under the roof, the guide takes a nap in the front cabin... Our second tour was arranged with the Hotel Finch guests and we arrived to a very nice boat with plenty room for everyone, with spacy and clean facilities, snorkling equipment in a perfect shape and clean, decent sit down lunch, cold white wine, and very good guide. My recommendation, if you can, book tours made with Sea Lion boat, it makes a big difference on your day tour. Next day we had the following shock, again tour booked by our hotel takes us to a boat we first thought was a joke. Unfortunately it wasn´t. We were 13 persons plus staff cramped in a small boat, which in my opinion would have been comfortable for four. And one couple even declined the trip after seeing the boat, and I dont blame them. If it would have not been our last day and our sons looking forward for the trip to Bartholome island, I would have done the same. But I was furious about the quality/price of this trip, because it just was not right. Additionally, the snorkling equipment was in pretty poor shape and dirty. The landscape and the actual snorkling experience saved the day, otherwise the boat was for suffering.
Adding to this disappointment, one occation when we on our arrival to the hotel at one afternoon had asked the staff to put our jacuzzis on by four, found our hotel room floors not cleaned, the bathroom floors seriously filthy after someones muddy shoes, and guess what, the jacuzzis cold, I must say that I would not expect all this within a week from such a hotel. We were compensated by these inconveniences by the manager with nice bottle of red wine and taking care of our restaurant bills, but sincerely, I rather pay for a wonderful experience than be compensated for unnecessary frustations. When I booked this hotel, I was ready to pay for a perfect holiday with my family, but unfortunately the hotel was not able to meet my expectations.
Despite of this all, we had a nice stay; We visited the Island mainly ourselves with a nice taxi driver accompanying us when needed. We speak good spanish, so getting around ourselves was no problem and is more what we like. The hotel arranged us a nice private visit to their lavatunnels and a taxi that took us to see the turtles in wild. The location of the hotel in the highlands did not bother us, since most of the days you are out in tours anyway, and it often cleared for the afternoon for our return. The trip to town is around 20 minutes one way and the hotel would arrange a taxi at the time one needed, so it would not inhibit dining in town. Would I recommed this hotel further? Depends. If you prefer nice rooms with nice facilities, this is your option in the island, but if you dont mind simple accomodation but better food and better tours, I think I would choose Hotel Finch Bay. It is a pity, that one cant get it both ways in the island!

Room Tip: For a family of four, the prince of wales suite!
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank expataecl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Royalpalmgps, General Manager at Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos, responded to this review, June 22, 2011
One of the biggest challenges of hotels operating in the Galapagos Islands is organizing day trips. Since 97% of the Galapagos Islands is National Park area visiting sights, and the amount of tour operators are restricted. There are few licenses for operating day trips, and few yachts at a standard our guests deserve. Also, each boat has a fixed itinerary which restricts the islands they can visit each day. Because of this, we always ask our guests to try to organize their visits with some time in advance, especially in the high seasons like Easter Week.
Regarding this particular booking it´s important to mention it was the Royal Palm that organized the trip with the Sea Lion yacht. In addition, the guests wished to visit Bartolome Island, and due to the itinerary imposed by the National Park, the hotel offered the trip on the only boat that was doing this tour on the available day. The hotel agents are always prepared to inform about the differences that exist in quality of the yachts and their prices, and we always mention that the superior yachts are the Sea Lion and Sea Finch. The hotel had also offered the option of a tour to Seymour Island during their stay on the Sea Lion yacht, but the guests decided not to take that offer.
The guest mentions in the remark that two guests decided to return to the hotel once they saw the boat, and creates the impression that the decision to return was due to the quality of the yacht. However this is a false impression, the Brazilian couple who decided to return to the hotel did so because one of them was not feeling well. The manager of the hotel met with them and made sure this was the case.
As previously mentioned, when organizing trips to Galapagos, it´s always best to pre book your day trips with a couple of months in advance, especially for high season.
In regards with the food, the hotel´s restaurant usually has good remarks, however this time that was not the case. The hotel apologized for the inconveniences that occurred, and voided all restaurant fees as well as any additional incidental charges that were made.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2011

We hated leaving this wonderful resort in the Galapagos. WE are a large family of 6 people including 2 people in their 80's. The Royal Palm staff could not have been more helpful in arranging tours, accomodating my elderly and handicapped parents, and just being helpful. The rooms are large, very nice, and the bathrooms were very pretty and well designed with the largest jacuzzi tub. Andrew and Patty did such a wonderful job tending to our varied requirements. I think the best way to do the Galapagos is to stay here in the Island and then take day trips. It is cheaper than the cruises and much more luxurious. Patty was able to get us tours that were unavailable elsewhere and I would recommend using her for all tours other than diving.. I would recommend that if you are a diver that you arrange diving with Sub Aqua (excellent) directly.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank eyemdatlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos

Property: Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos
Address: Km. 18 Via Puerto Ayora | Baltra Isla Santa Cruz, Ecuador (Formerly Royal Palm Resort Hotel)
Location: Ecuador > Galapagos Islands > Santa Cruz
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 25 Hotels in Santa Cruz
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos 4*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Royal Palm Hotel is a private family-owned hotel enjoying the quiet seclusion of its own 190 hectare estate in the lush Miconia Highland Forests of Santa Cruz. Located adjacent to the Galapagos National Park, the Royal Palm was built in 2002 and combines elegant colonial style with traditional island design. This boutique estate comprises 21 Casitas and Villas including family accommodation; the largest villa is named in honor of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales who stayed at the hotel in 2009. The hotel has the relaxed and informal charm of an Ecuadorian Hacienda offering a unique sense of natural space. The Hotel is a member of Leading Hotels of the World and is the perfect location for both land and sea exploration of the Galapagos Islands. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Palm Hotel Santa Cruz
Royal Palm Santa Cruz
Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz, Ecuador

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