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“A Very Nice Hotel in the Clouds of Santa Cruz Island”

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Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos
Ranked #11 of 24 Hotels in Santa Cruz
Livermore, California
Level Contributor
66 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 467 helpful votes
“A Very Nice Hotel in the Clouds of Santa Cruz Island”
Reviewed April 30, 2014

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.

Room Tip: Choose one of the newer rooms as these often have less problems with the humidity build-up!
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank PSchicke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
decontagg, General Manager at Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comment; we are delighted that you enjoyed our service and we were able to make you feel at home.

Yes we are located on the Highlands of Santa Cruz which is equidistant from the airport and Puerto Ayora and a 10/15 minute drive to many of the land-based day excursions. People visit the Galapagos for its nature and wildlife, so staying at the Royal Palm allows you to experience the different species in their natural environments on the island. The coastal lowlands can be very hot and the elevated forests – a little cooler. Many guests look forward to coming home to the fresher air and tranquility of the Highlands to enjoy great accommodation, food and service. It is true that we do get more rainfall than the coast and if you check our website and pre-travel information, we do advise our guests about the different micro-climates and weather patterns; the Garua mists are merely seasonal. Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback.

Warm Regards from the Galapagos Highlands,

Daniel Contag, General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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175 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
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Bogota, Colombia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 14, 2014 via mobile

Is the best hotel to stay at the galapagos.the people at the hotel get a 11 out of 10,they treat you like a king and they plan you everyting they really plan good stuff,the only problem is that they take lots of time to cook but is worth it
STAY At this hotel Is EPIC

Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank lgcg2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
decontagg, General Manager at Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comment, we are really happy that you enjoyed your stay with us and that we were able to make you feel at home. We have re-engineered our menu in order to minimalize the times for food to be served.
We hope that you will return to us one day, to at least try out our new dishes!

Warm Regards from the Galapagos highlands,

The Royal Palm Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas
Level Contributor
49 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2014

We stayed here for 3 nights during a visit to Galapagos. The location has two advantages. First, it's up high and cooler than in town. Second, of you're doing activities out of the north side of the island, you will be the last one picked up and the first one dropped off. The lava tubes are also a treat.
We had one of the casita rooms, which had a large room, large bathroom, plenty of storage and a nice porch in front. I loved the hand made iron key for the door.
The staff was friendly and made us feel very welcome. Breakfast was a combination buffet and hot food to,order and lunch and dinner were menu based. It was interesting to see how the menu would evolve based on the guests.
If we had to do it again, I would have gotten a private transfer from the airport. It's a bit of a trek ( bus, tender, bus) and we had a to wait 45 minutes at the airport for the rest of our "group" to be transferred to the hotel.
We had a couple of hiccups with limited hot water for evening showers and a missed room service delivery at 5:30. On the hot water, the thermostat was turned up and the staff quickly delivered something for breakfast before our morning dive.
Overalls, we had a really nice experience and would recommend the property.

Room Tip: The walls are a bit thin if you're in the casitas. Try to get one with a outside wall.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank 2Texas_Travellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
decontagg, General Manager at Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comment; we are very happy that we were able to make you feel at home.
Due to the regulations of the Galapagos National Park and the limited number of operating permits, sometimes normal, everyday things become complicated and hard to achieve which has affected our VIP services on Baltra airport to date. The good news is that we have just secured a permit to provide our own private transport for guest transfers between the airport and the hotel. We apologize for any inconveniences during your stay and hope to see you again in the near future,

Warm Regards from the Galapagos Highlands,

Daniel Contag, General Manager
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Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviewed February 24, 2014

we spent 4 nights at the Royal Palm Resort in Galapgos.
This is a beautiful place, located 20 minutes ride from Baltra airport.
The room was great - we stayed at the Royal Villa,
Outstanding staff - provided with anything we asked for and much more.

Room Tip: leave time to enjoy the facilities!
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Eli S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
decontagg, General Manager at Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comment; we are delighted that we were able to make you feel at home.
We hope to see you in a near future,

Warm Regards from the Galapagos Highlands,

The Royal Palm Team.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed February 19, 2014

Due to an over-booking situation at our hotel in Puerto Ayero we were sent for a night to the Royal Palm Resort which is about a half hour drive up into the highlands from town. We stayed in room #1 located near the entrance in a common building ( not a villa ) and found it to be spacious and well kept except for some cosmetic wear and tear in the bathroom. The staff were very attentive and accomodated special meal requests for the temporarily sick members of our group. Sure, we saw some run down areas around the pool and BBQ as noted by other reviewers but crews were working at repairs. Most of the villas look out over the expansive highlands and would likely be worth the expense. On the site map we were given we noted a cryptic note marked 'lava tunnels' at the edge and indeed found a slightly concealed cave entrance off the gravel road that leads up to the hotel proper. Look for a three foot or so high stone column on either side of the road and a short foot path at this point to the cave entrance. Now I'm not sure if visitors are allowed into the cave ( the staff never mentioned one way or the other ) but armed with flashlights we were able to explore several hundred feet into the cave system ( keep to the upper right in from the entrance ). This lava tunnel is far superior for the active adventurer than the one near the tortoise ranch that people are usually sheparded to see. And its free! This was an unexpected bonus with our stay at the Royal Palm. We greatly enjoyed our all too brief stay at the Royal Palm Resort and if we could do it over we would have booked several nights here.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank mittens44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
decontagg, General Manager at Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for your comment; we are happy that even with your brief stay at Royal Palm we were able to make you and your family to feel at home.
Thanks for your description of our unique lava tunnel, and yes this adventure is free to our guests and open to external visitors who book in advance. We charge a nominal fee just to help maintain its beauty and safe accessibility.
We hope to see you again in a near future,

Warm Regards from the Galapagos Highlands,

The Royal Palm Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tel Aviv, Israel
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2014

The Royal Palm hotel is different than any other hotel; its specious villas are situated in the middle of nature, with nothing but quietness and relaxation.
The rooms are modern, large and gorgeous, the food in the restaurant was excellent and the staff very friendly.
Our vacation began weeks before we arrived with two friendly “adventure consultants” helping coordinate and personalize our package and activities.
All was above our expectations.
A great hotel for a great vacation in the Galapagos.
Highly recommended.

Room Tip: The best rooms are the villas
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank benny E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
decontagg, General Manager at Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comment, we are delighted that we went above your expectations and made you feel at home.

We hope to see you in a near future,

Warm Regards from the Galapagos Highlands,

The Royal Palm Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
42 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2014

My boyfriend and I spent 7 wonderful nights at the Royal Palm while adventuring in the Galapagos. We ate at the hotel almost every night because town takes a lil while to get to and after a day out on the ocean/diving/hiking we just wanted to stay in. The breakfasts were wonderful and the dinners were great and they did very well at letting you customize dishes since most do decide to eat at the hotel every single night.

The negative reviews you are seeing I understand, but I don't think people realize where they were traveling. This is the Galapagos people, not St. Barths. The hotel is definitely under a lot of strict regulations which I'm thankful for, and know ahead of time you are located in the Highlands (which on arrival I was bumbed out because it was so cloudy up there, but after an entire day in the sun... it's nice to come home to.)

The landscaping is beautiful, but the pool is freezing and basically unusable because it's so cold... solar heating or something definitely should be done because it's such a waste. The gym is also pretty sad... no free weights? No treadmill? No elliptical? Those 3 staples should definitely be added. Also Higher fences on the Tennis court is necessary, who wants to chase balls into lava tunnels? lol

The on-grounds vegetable garden was wonderful to see. We might've snuck a leaf or two of the ingredients for or dinner one night =-.)

All of the excursions we went on were wonderful! We took a day trip to Bartholome/Santiago Islands and it was wonderul. Dolphins swimming alongside the boat and giving us a show in the wake, snorkeling with penguins and sea lions while on Santiago and feeling like your in untouched land.... surreal. Scuba Iguana's dive at Gordon Rocks was the Highlight of the trip though. Schools of Hammerheads, Eagle Rays, White Tips, Sea Lions, and Sea Turtles... the vast amount of wildlife in one day of diving... words cannot express how amazing it was.

The Royal Palm Staff is incredibly friendly and do their best to help you in every way they can. There were some people staying at the hotel that were nightmares even when out at the tortoise reserves. Why did you come to the Galapagos for New Years if you are not fascinated by wildlife??? If standing next to Gigantic Tortoises and one does not have any sort of enlightenment or sense of awe... maybe you should just stay in Europe. I actually witnessed the wench of a lady go behind the front desk basically yelling and trying to get her way with transportation to a beach that you can't drive to... idiot. I wish I would've said something like I normally would, but I had just arrived and was trying to stay in a positive mood.

We stay in two different rooms at the Royal Palm over the 7 Nights. First we were in the Royal Suite. The in room sauna was great. The outdoor jacuzzi never got hot. The furnishing were good, just very bare. A few touches to the decor would put the place over the top. If you have shelves, have something on them or simply cover them up with wood in a decorative fashion. The Royal Suite was entirely too big for the two of us though lol. The Presidential Suite was Perfection. The outdoor Jacuzzi worked well in that room and having a more compact space made us feel more at home.

I had a Wonderful stay at the Royal Palm and definitely recommend it to other when visiting the Galapagos.

Room Tip: The Presidential Suite was perfect for 2.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RyFy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
decontagg, General Manager at Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos, responded to this review, July 8, 2014
Dear Guest,

Thank you for your comment; we are delighted that you felt at home at the Royal Palm.
Thank you for understanding that Galapagos is a unique exploration destination, this always helps guests and visitors to understand what Royal Palm has to offer, a great experience in the Highlands of one of the World’s largest and most beautiful nature reserves.

We hope to see you again in the near future,

Warm Regards from the Galapagos Highlands,

The Royal Palm Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #11 of 24 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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