Lomas de Tzununa is a spectacularly sited hotel, high above the shores of Lake Atitlan and directly opposite the San Pedro volcano. I highly recommend it, though with some considerable caveats.
Primary among these is what makes the hotel so memorable. The hotel’s location is in an isolated cove near Tzununa, 420 steps above a private dock. These steps are steep, curved, un-handrailed, and quite slippery when wet—the resulting walk is rigorous going up, and often treacherous going down. . .As well, these are unlit; packing a flashlight if you plan to arrive after 6p is a great idea. When guests arrive, a call on the hotel’s intercom will send an employee down to water’s edge to assist with luggage, but as far as I can tell, there is no alternative to the climb. Guests who are not in the best of physical shape may want to consider other places to stay--i.e. not a place to take elderly parents or small kids.
Once you have climbed that far, the temptation to stay put is great, and together with the hotel’s secluded perch, Lomas de Tzununa can feel a bit isolated. In addition to the hotel’s 10 rooms, there is a pool and dining area—all sharing the same breathtaking views as the accommodations.
Each of the rooms has a sizable balcony framing views of the lake and surrounding volcanoes and mountainsides. No photo does these panoramas justice, and guests might enjoy spending hours on the Adirondack chairs surveying the landscape. The rooms themselves are pleasant and modern, if somewhat spare—there is no TV, radio, or clock. The bathrooms are similarly outfitted, with large showers, and only public restroom-style liquid soap dispensers in lieu of any other amenities both in the basin and the shower. Hot water is good, but sometimes takes a bit to get running. There is no room service, and eating/drinking in the rooms is discouraged. In all, the ambience is akin to that of a nicely assembled national park lodge. Housekeeping appears to be excellent throughout the property, and the plantings around the grounds smell lovely, particularly after the rain from the night before.
The hotel’s restaurant has a pleasant alpine ambience—stone, beams, local textiles—and great views; in better weather, there are tables outside on the terrace. The food is surprisingly good, and reasonably priced, though considerably more expensive than the restaurants in Panajachel. Even the continental breakfast that is included with the room rate—toast, coffee, juice—is tasty, with great bread. Spaghetti with pesto was served al dente, and the pesto was more than capable. Overall, the service throughout the hotel is gracious and helpful.
Given that the last boat (una lancha, en Espanol) from Panajachel arrives at about 7p, guests at Lomas de Tzununa will likely dine at the hotel. A second caveat to a stay at Lomas is reliance on the lanchas for any transportation. Some of the lancheros do not know where the hotel’s dock is. . .landing at the town dock at Tzununa will not suffice. Catching a lancha in Panajachel or any of the other towns surrounding the lake can be quite easy, but during slow times of the day, or slow seasons, departures can be far and few between. In Panajachel, local touts approach people walking towards the piers and may try to serve as an intermediary for the trip. Politely refuse, and board the lancha directly on the pier—it should be about 15 quetzales, or about $2 US—for the trip from Panajachel to Lomas. The lanchas can be a pleasant ride, but during the rain, the boats can be crowded, stuffy, and really uncomfortable. (Note on rain at Atitlan--every day seems to have the same pattern: mornings are lovely and calm, usually sunny. About 12:30, the clouds will roll in, and by 1:30, it begins to rain with wind and chop, and may do so all evening. If you are on the water, take a light jacket, even if the morning starts sunny. . .)The hotel has a private boat, but it is considerably more expensive. . .$28 vs. $2 to Panajachel, for example.
The hotel’s pool can be very nice, and there are kayaks and other diversions should you choose to remain at the hotel. If not, there is a daily boat tour from Panajachel to three towns at lakeside—San Pedro, Santiago, and San Antonio—that leaves in front of the Porta del Lago hotel and is run by Naviera Santa Fe. It is about 75 Quetzales or $10 for a full day of transport between these four towns.
It is a mild irritation that the hotel charges to replenish your drinking water after you have finished your first pint, and the internet is also fee based—given the isolation of the hotel, there is little else to do. These nickel-and-diming tactics, together with signs prohibiting food and drink brought in from outside (from where??) are a bit less than friendly, in my opinion.
Great hotel and great value—if you can handle the climb to your room and navigating the lanchas—there is a lot to recommend the hotel. Of course, it would be hard to surpass the view, and the service is typically warm and helpful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lomas de Tzununa is located in Tzununa (Municipalily of Santa Cruz La Laguna), Lake Atitlan. The Hotel has 10 rooms all with wonderful views on the Lake Atitlan and its villages, private bathrooms and a private balcony. Lomas de Tzununa has a restaurant (national and international food), wi fi internet connection in public areas, swimming pool and access to the Lake Atitlan. We also rent kayaks and have a private boat for trips arround the Lake.There are eleven Tuc Tuc (moto Taxi) available at Tzununa's main pier to come up (they charge Q 15 per person). We have a permaculture project above the hotel were we produce some of the vegetables, herbs and all the eggs we serve at the hotel. We have a new big room that we just built we can host workshops (Yoga, Qi Gong, Meditation), planing meetings for businesses, Conferences, Courses, small weddings, and so on! Come and enjoy spectacular views and wonderful hospitality! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lomas De Tzununa Hotel Santa Cruz La Laguna
- Lomas De Tzununa Guatemala/Lake Atitlan