The Royal Palm is one of the best hotels on Santa Cruz Island and Puerto Ayora in terms of accommodations, food and service. While much of the archipelago offers a coastal climate that is marine desert, this 5 star hotel is found in the lush, green Santa Cruz highlands, home to the famed Galapagos giant tortoise. Our stay here was wonderful and we felt well taken care of while at the hotel. We saw on one of the walls that Prince Charles had stayed here when he visited the Galapagos in 2012, which reassured us that this was one of the best properties in the islands.
The only problem we found with the hotel, which actually isn't really a problem of the hotel itself but rather of its location, is the constant moisture and fog. The highlands of Santa Cruz Island are known for receiving two or three times more rain than the lowlands and they are constantly dressed by a thin fog. It is a completely different climate from the coastline, and you can definitely tell by the type of vegetation that grows on the highlands vs the lowlands. It really felt like we were in a cloud forest. This constant humidity makes the maintenance of the hotel very difficult as mold grows quickly everywhere, to the point that the tennis court is no longer usable as it is cover in mold and moss. The pool is also not that usable since it is often cold outside.
Keep in mind that it is roughly a half hour drive to Puerto Ayora on the southern coast of Santa Cruz Island and a little less to get to the Itabacca channel to the north, across which is Baltra Island and its airport. I would recommend this hotel for anyone who wishes to rest and relax a couple of days and is not a big fan of the strong equatorial sun. But if its the equatorial sun and its warm climate that you are after, then you are better off staying at one of the luxury hotels along the coastline.
- 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