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“$50 Hotel Room, Priceless View.”
Review of Lomas de Tzununa

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Lomas de Tzununa
Certificate of Excellence
College Park, Georgia
Level Contributor
163 reviews
95 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 511 helpful votes
“$50 Hotel Room, Priceless View.”
Reviewed October 5, 2007

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.

  • Liked — Stunning views, good food, nice balcony, friendly attentive staff, Lake Atitlan location
  • Disliked — 420 steps up the hill, charges for drinking water and internet, feeling of isolation, reliance on lanchas to leave property, cost of hotel boat, no bathroom amenities save wall mounted liquid soap dispenser.
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank TravelBeard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
Date | Rating
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English first
Louisiana
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 2, 2007

My wife, my 18 year old daughter and I spent three days at Lomas de Tzununa this past July, and it felt as if we were at our own private resort. The accomodations, food, service, views, etc were all superb!! With the hotel only having 10 rooms spread thru out the property, and during the time we were there we only saw a few other guests. The hiking along the Mayan trails to Jalibilito and using the private launch to visit other villiges along the lake were well worth the effort or cost. Thierry, Maria & Lucas, along with their entire staff, made us feel very welcome. They spent a lot of time just chatting with us, giving us suggestions, arranging transportation, etc. Every request we made was met and usually exceeded our expectations. We feel like we were leaving good friends by the time we left. We would definitely go back again and recommend staying here to anyone. You do get used to the steps after a couple of days and it forces you to slow down and enjoy yourself, the views and your time at Lake Atitlan.

  • Liked — Value & view
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank JCtravelerLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 1, 2007

I have spent years traveling in Guatemala, and this is by far, the most special hotel I know of on the lake. The view from every room and every balcony of Lomas de Tzununa is spectacular. The rooms are a perfect blend of simplicity and luxury: the owners know precisely what to showcase, which is their incomparable view of the lake and the volcanoes. The owners are incredibly warm and welcoming. We engaged in rich conversation with them, and even stayed up late listening to the owner play classical guitar.
The local staff are impeccably polite. The food in their restaurant is delicious. I particularly recommend trying the different filets of local fish and their lasagnas.
It is a quiet, intimate environment at the hotel, a place to read, relax, and take in the breathtaking views. But when we wanted more activity, there was certainly enough to do. One morning, we took out kayaks for a few hours. Another day, we spent at the lovely hotel pool overlooking the lake.
I will absolutely return to this very special place every time I am in Guatemala. The hotel is breathtaking and characterized by simple elegance and good taste. I recommend it with great enthusiasm.

  • Liked — The VIEW
  • Disliked — the 380 stairs you climb to arrive there
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank lavoSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2007

We recently traveled to Guatemala with our 2 year old and despite endless research on Lake Atitlan, had difficulty getting a grasp of the feel on the area and where best to stay with our son. Based on the glowing reviews of Lomas de Tzununa we decided to stay there even though other hotels were high on our list. We weren't scared off by the 400+ stairs to the hotel and were excited to see that the owners, themselves, have a toddler so we thought the hotel would be somewhat kid-friendly. We were sadly disappointed in our stay.

- Yes, the rooms are clean and the view is most likely the best you'll get of the lake since the rooms are perched on top of it.
- It's nice to have the pool if you want a day to relax but the water is straight out of Lake Atitlan and smells bad. When we were there, there were crabs walking on the bottom.
- The food is good but after eating 3 meals a day there over 3 consective days you'll find the menu to be limited. Plus for a hotel that is so remote, it would be nice if they had more options available. There are signs dotting the hotel requesting that you do not bring outside food or drink to the hotel or pool area. While I understand they are trying to make a buck, they should offer more if they're going to have rules like this.
- The water at the hotel is also straight from the lake but they do give one free and *very* small pitcher of purified water in your room for drinking and teeth brushing. Subsequent pitchers must be purchased (!) for a small price.
- Maria and Thiery are very charming but while we were there (and we were the only guests there for much of our stay) they were completely absent. Traveling with our 2-year old we thought they would make more of an effort (besides offering a few toys, as they did) to have our son play with theirs. This did not happen and other than the first day of our arrival and our last day paying the bill we hardly saw the "hosts".
- The staff is local which is really wonderful. Their english is limited - which is fine, unless you need travel advice and don't speak spanish. We were really disappointed when one staff member was chatting on his cell phone while serving us breakfast. This was completely unprofessional and rude.
- The hotel is quite remote. In addition to being 400+ steps up from the lake it is about 20-30 minutes walk from Tzununa. (And Tzununa has little to offer). In the other direction around the lake is Jaibolito which is a charming little town which, in retrospect, we wish we had stayed at. There is a pleasant hotel there called Vulcano Lodge which we checked out and definitely should have stayed at instead - - seemed to be a good place for toddlers.

Despite our disappointing visit at Lomas de Tzununa I think this would be a great place to go for a people NOT traveling with young children who are more mobile than we were (nor limited by nap schedules). Much of our disappointed came from being so remote and dependent upon the hotel and its staff/hosts. The views really are spectacular...

  • Liked — The views of Lake Atitlan
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank ewmartin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2007

Having just returned from a wonderful trip to Costa Rica, I was surfing around the trip advisor web site in search of information about Central America in order to start to plan a trip for next summer (Yes, I am in denial that I am home and am trying to avoid reality by planning another trip!) I stumbled across a link to Lomas de Tzununa and began to read some of the reviews. Reading them brought back GREAT memories of our experience there last summer during our trip to Guatemala. Since I didn't know about trip advisor last summer, I never wrote a review of LDT but I feel inclined to do so now, simply because we had such a wonderful experience there.

Our experience at LDT was very similar to that of other reviewers. We had a wonderful time and were overwhelmingly impressed by the lovely views, comfortable rooms, hospitable owners, friendly staff and the overall sense of peace and tranquility. I am happy to see that the word is spreading about what a wonderful gem this place is. When we were there last July, we were the only people staying there for the first two nights. We were somewhat worried about whether or not it would survive. However, as we ultimately suspected, a treasure like LDT does not go undiscovered for long. I am happy to see so many positive reviews! There is no question that this is THE BEST place to stay at Lago de Atitlan. Go and enjoy!

  • Liked — the views
  • Disliked — some concern about safety on hiking trails near the property
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SSMDcouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 1, 2007

Lomas de Tzununa was magnificent! The property and rooms (all are private bungalows) are immaculate, spacious, extremely comfortable and beautiful. The views are breathtaking. Thierry and Maria, the owners, are extremely charming and friendly and were the highlights of our stay. We immediately felt like good friends from the first evening. The food is delicious and well priced. Must stay here! I look forward to returning.

  • Liked — Warm service, beautiful surroundings
  • Disliked — climbing 400 steps straight up!
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank TravelLisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SF Bay Area
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2007

My daughter and I spent three lovely nights savoring the views of the lake and surrounding volcanoes. Our hosts were very attentive and the food in the restaurant was very tasty and reasonabley priced. You get there on small lanchas for Panahachel and then climb the 400+ stairs to this hotel which is perched cliffside. You can arrange to be picked up at the town pier which we did not realize ahead of time. The place is very clean and attractive and all rooms have the amazing views of this glorious lake and surroundings. We arranged to have massages in our room, and that was pretty fabulous.Some details could have been better: for example softer and more absorbant bath towels, candles and matches in the rooms. We spent one morning kayaking and that was definitely a 'must'. All in all, I definitely recommend this place.

  • Liked — views
  • Stayed June 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank grannyD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lomas de Tzununa

Property: Lomas de Tzununa
Address: Punta Tzanchaj, Tzununa | Tzununa, Santa Cruz La Laguna 07014, Guatemala
Location: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Santa Cruz La Laguna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Santa Cruz La Laguna
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Lomas de Tzununa 3*
Number of rooms: 10
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

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