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Utopia Eco Hotel
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Reviews (439)
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Reviewed December 15, 2013

We chose Utopia because we did not want to stay at the party hostel Zephyr. We did not know of any other propertys in the area and Utopia sounded like a great option. When we arrived our Coffee Cabana had been booked and we were offered an 'upgrade' to the Nook room. Only it was not an updgrade,it was the opposite. It is in the dorm area, except is has walls to make it private but you are above the kitchen and next to the dorm and we really wanted to be away from it all and hear the sounds of nature not people. I am not sure why the nook is more expensive than the separate and private cabana. Anyways, this was resolved very quickly and we were put in a bigger cabana with a discount. The room itself was a good size, however it was not completely sealed so bugs/scorpions etc came in and there ants in our bed. Being out in nature I do not have a problem with these little critters, however there should be mosquito nets over all beds to keep out the critters, as they can give you nasty bites, especially scorpions. The rooms were not cleaned daily and for the price they should. The bar/lounge area has beautiful views, however there is room for improvement. Some hammocks would be great to relax on. The food was definitely overpriced. Some of the food was not cooked and it was served cold. The price of the food should be lowered or the quality improved. I do like the family style meals though. The showers and toilets were dark, which was fine with me, but they were not very clean and again, for the price they should be. The water pipe broke one night we were there, and no one was told, and we only found out because we wanted to use the tap and toilet...it would have been better to inform all of the guests of this issue. The WiFi is slow, however you are in the middle of nowhere, so I wasn't expecited WiFi at all and this was no issue for me. I would suggest boking tours/bus tickets elsewhere because they are extremely overpriced. The bus to Flores was going to cost 200Q but we booked it elsewhere for 120Q. I am not sure why there is such a high markup, so be aware of this. We did the Semuc Champy tour ourselves...if you do not want to visit the caves, it is nice to take your time to see the area and not feel rushed with a group. It is only 50Q per person for entry fee. It is a little over an hour to walk there from Uptopia and it is a nice walk there and back. Make sure you stop at El Portal for lunch. They have a wonderful and great priced menu and big meals. The view is spectacular over the river and I didn't see inside their cabanas, but they looked beautiful.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ilovetravel098
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John h, Owner at Utopia Eco Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 28, 2013

You keep talking about us being over priced and for the price we charge we should be better, bigger, cleaner, faster etc.....you only paid 18.00 a night for your room and 3.50-6.50 for meals assuming you ate here honestly what were you wanting for those prices? being remote does not mean free.
The reason the Nooks are more money is they have full power. In fact we have only just started to add a small amount of power to the coffee cabanas so up till mid November coffee cabanas had zero electricity. Plus the coffee cabanas are outside of the mail lodge so if its raining and you need to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night you may get a little wet. So thats whey we charge less for them. As for the Ants we only have a problem with that when people bring food and leave it laying around in their rooms. As for mosquito nets well....In my opinion mosquito nets are dirty and really don't keep many things other than mosquito's out. They tend to get ripped down very easy and people get tangled up in them. If a scorpion wants in they will find a way in and then you have all the netting to deal with. HOWEVER We do sell Mosquito nets here if a person feels they must have one but as I have said many other times Mosquitos are NOT a problem here. 99% of our guests are just amazed that bug spray just is not needed here. You mention the need for Hammocks, did you REALLY miss the entire area full of hammocks??? I believe we have 8 hammocks available for any one to relax in can't believe you missed them since they are located on the same floor as the nooks.
As for food I honestly don't understand where your coming from. Uncooked food? Served Cold? was it a salad your referring too? Must be since thats the only way you would have gotten uncooked cold food here. Over priced???? I don't think so... We offer breakfast for 25Q that is 3.25 US I don't know where you live in the world but that is cheap and our meals are BIG. Lunch is 30Q which is 4.00 packed lunch again is 25Q you can't buy anything in a gas station for a snack for that price. I know you think because your in Guatemala that every thing should be nearly free BUT problem is trying offer any sort of service this remote is very costly as we have to go a very long way to purchase everything we serve. You talked about El portal..... I know for a fact that their lunch STARTS at 45Q which is 2.00 usd more then we are. Which means their lunch starts at only 5 Q less then what we charge for dinner, and their dinner again STARTS at 65Q and does not include a dessert. Our beers are 15Q El portals cheapest price for beer is 19Q and is the same brand that we serve. So how can you possibly say we are expensive and you say you ate there?? I think you are intentionally trying to miss lead people with false facts.
Transport costs.......again Please read some of the other trip advisor comments LOL there are a lot. I do not own the bus companies there is nothing I can do about the prices quoted me and what I must pay. I also do not use the cheapest company I use the best that I can find. The ones that actually run no matter what, that do not over load their bus's if the max capacity is 12 then they haul no more then 12 not squeeze in 16 or allow locals to ride on the roof. I use companies that actually invest money back in to maintenance on their vehicles and are not noted for running on bald tires. To me my life is worth more then the few Q you may save by booking with the lower rate bus's and I assume most of my quests feel the same way. Clearly there are some that want to save every penny possible and thats just fine but I can not run the risk of using and promoting inferior, unsafe transports. If you want to use them then by all means go ahead but I won't suggesting those companies.
Any way sorry you didn't enjoy your time with us we did try.... even gave you the larger cabana but some times its not possible to please a person once their mind is made up to be unhappy. I am glad that you did at least enjoy the view while here .
Have safe travels and Happy Holidays

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Reviewed December 13, 2013

The building, location and people are outstanding. There's only two things I found were keeping this place from perfect. 1. The breakfast/lunch options were poor. With no close surrounding options this is pretty much your only option and not very good value for money. Dinner portions were a good size and good quality but breakfast and lunch (in particular packed lunch) were less than average. The other thing was the fact that the dorm beds are right above the bar (noise not a problem at all) but the fact you could smoke in the bar and have it drift up to where others were sleeping was a little off putting. I woke twice to the taste of cigarettes. Apart from these easily fixed things it's incredible here

  • Stayed: December 2013
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Thank Belinda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John h, Owner at Utopia Eco Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 17, 2013

I'm not really sure what you would have wanted for breakfast especially for the price of 25Q we offer a good size breakfast every day. Each day its a different choice but normal choices are pancakes and eggs or typical breakfast of eggs, beans, plantains and toast or biscuits and gravy or Fried potatoes and eggs with toast or you can choice toast and fruit or you can opt for the yogurt and granola or if your not really hungry you can always pick the toast and coffee combo so I'm not really sure what your talking about there. Then for packed lunch we ALWAYS tell you before hand what is in the lunch and I will tell every one again here for packed lunch you get a tortilla with beans and cheese in it, a bag of chips, a homemade brownie and a box of juice. The reason we choose these foods is they keep well through out the day this is not a meal but a simple packed lunch for 25Q
As for the smell of smoke I am sorry that has never been a problem before since the place is wide open to air, it must have just been the way the wind was blowing that night. So sorry it bothered you. other than that though I'm glad that you enjoyed your stay with us.

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Reviewed December 13, 2013

Utopia is situated in an amazing location. Arriving late at night down 10km of dirt track in a pickup truck from Lanquin, once you enter the bar area you breathe a sigh of relief. Atmosphere is friendly, relaxed and the staff are superb. They really go out of their way to ensure you are well looked after. John the owner can be heard at all times of day helping inbound travelers with their travel...before they even start their stay.

The bar/dining area is a huge open (but roofed) deck looking over the jungle and river. You can sit for hours watching the scenery. A short walk up the hill and you can see an even more impressive panorama.

The dorms are situated on a mezzanine above, with the private rooms off to the sides of the dorms. The private rooms are basic but comfortable and we slept well.

The shared bathroom facilities downstairs are fine, a little dark at night since candles are used but they're kept clean and well stocked (TP).

Breakfast in the morning gives the first chance to see the amazing views and they are worth it!

The communal dinner is fun, a chance to meet others and tasty. Again the staff really try to cater to everyone with veggy and even more specific requirements.

So, any grumbles?
- There are no AC points in the rooms which makes it a pain to charge phones etc. You can use the one in the bar and I guess they promote a disconnect from the world ethos...but still it's a pain.
- Wi-Fi is slow but that is forgivable. This is really the middle of nowhere and it is satellite, lucky to have it at all.
- Charging for pure water refills is not on... in my book.

All meals etc are done on a tab system so costs may escalate faster than you expect by the time you do a tour, have a few drinks, eat dinner, refill water, pack lunch for the tour, pay transport back to Lanquin etc. The cost for many of these things is somewhat higher than what you might find elsewhere -- and if you want to eat or drink, you have no other nearby alternatives -- so budget for it.

If you want to see Semuc Champey but not do the more extreme cave tours, do it yourself. We took a "guide" but it's really not required and the cost was high: same as a much more activity-packed cave and pools tour. We were refunded some of the cost, but given the chance over we'd go it alone.

Would we go back, of course. The pros outweigh the cons but this relatively new and fabulous place still has room for improvement to become world class. Definitely worth a visit!

Room Tip: The "Nooks" are small private rooms next to the main dorm. They are basically walled off from the main dorm under the sloping roof space and have additional mosquito protection. Let them know you're coming, you need transport from Lanquin to the lodge and if they know in advance they can ensure it's available and smooth. I imagine a few people arrive by shuttle in Lanquin only to find they have no idea how to get the remaining distance. If it's late and raining that could be a pain.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank twohermitcrabs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2013

Stayed at Utopia about 2 months ago. Really enjoyed this peacefull and beautifull place.Homemade veggie food was excellent and plates where huge. Good alternative if you dont look for a party hostel. Good place to rest on the hamac, big open air dorm with nice view on the forest. I think this hostel is the only one to propose a chocolate class from the bean to eat. They also are the only one (I think) that propose extreme tubing as extra on the way back from the big day in Semuc Champey (Caving with candels, jumping, hiking, swimming in natural pools). Extreme is a big word but it was quite funny. The river is really close so you can go for a swim and will want to extend your stay there. Staff was really friendly. Everything is in English tough...so if you wish to be immerse, this is not the place to practice spanish. Still recommand this place to every travelers that are on there way there. Quite a long trip to reach this paradise. But worth it for sure!

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled solo
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Thank LikeJamaika
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John h, Owner at Utopia Eco Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

I so glad that you enjoyed your stay with us and that you tried our chocolate tour. We really enjoyed having you here.

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Reviewed December 4, 2013

This is a beautiful hostel, in a beautiful location, facing the river and immersed in nature, but I have mixed feelings about it. It wasn't our first choice in terms of hostel, because of its location which is not in Lanquin (making it difficult to go there for food options other than the meals served at the hostel, which does not offer a kitchen nor laundry service ) nor in Semuc Champey. The setting is beautiful, and I must say I slept really well, the beds are comfortable, but the atmosphere was a bit edgy, the shower freezing cold (and it was cold outside when I was there) and the bill more expensive than I expected, especially with the fact that they do offer a free ride to get there, but guests have to pay 25 Quetzales to go back to Lanquin when checking out - which we were told only when we checked out. Watch out for the prices - a beer is 20 Q, but you have to add 10% to this for the tips, meaning that it gets to 22 which is a lot by Guatemalan standards. Go there, it is lovely if you want to see Semuc Champey, but spend 2 nights at most unless all you want is reading and silence. It would help if some hooks where added to the bunk beds so people could hang their clothes, and if lockers were added (there was a case of theft while I was there!).

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank taffani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
John h, Owner at Utopia Eco Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2013

First we want to Thank you for choosing Utopia. We're glad that you had a decent time with us, I do wish you'd had a better time though. We are still working daily to improve things here at Utopia I only purchased the raw land 2 years ago. I decided it was better to go ahead and open knowing there are still things I want and need to get done rather than try to have everything completed 100% before opening this way I can listen to guests input and learn from them.
I would like to respond to a few things.
1, yes there was a case of theft but everything was returned, the locals do not take well to stealing so they found out who took the stuff and everything was returned but we are going to be putting in lockers for the guests in the near future. We do provide a safe to lock up valuables and even after lockers are in place it would still be wise to bring valuables to the safe.
As for the cold showers, we do have warm showers available but they are for the river front cabins, as we have explained before we try not to waste the water any more than necessary. All our water comes from a small spring not from the river so we have a limited amount we can pull from each day and then we have to pump it all up the hill to our storage tanks, so we need to be mindful of how much water is consumed each day. At this time the average shower is 5 minutes long, if we were to have hot showers for every guest they would then be around 15 min long if not more. We do have solar shower bags for rent if a person feels they really need warm water. Perhaps we should post that better so everyone knows they have an option.
As for the transport again we have this posted on our web site as well as talking about it several places here on trip advisor and its also on our flyer in Lanquin. We are not trying to be sneaky or hiding the costs of anything if a person miss's it theres not much we can do about that. We pay dearly to transport our guests out here. Its a small fee that we pass on, we are not located in the middle of town where the shuttles just drop you off at the door to your hostel. So for us our expenses are far greater than other hostels located in a town but we wanted to appeal to people looking for something different more remote and quiet not just another party hostel. It seams to us there are plenty of them already.
Beer and other prices, All I can say is we are not a store so our prices are more than buying drinks off the shelf in a grocery. We try very hard to keep all our prices as reasonable as possible and still pay our bills. We have normal 16 oz beer for 15Q and that same beer sells at nearly all other hostels in this area for 25Q and our 20 oz beer does sell for 20Q but it sells for 30Q in other hostels around us, so we are actually CHEAP in that aspect. Unless your buying off the shelf in a store and then you have a find a place to cool it.
When you travel to such remote places things you think of as normal just cost more. Unless your wanting to just stay in a wood shack and eat off a fire. For us EVERY service that we offer costs more since it is brought in specially by us for our guests so we pay more for Water, transports, food, internet, electricity you name it and its expensive. I run this hostel because I love it hear but I do need to make enough to pay the bills

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