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“beautiful, relaxing and tasty”
Review of Hotel IslaVerde

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Hotel IslaVerde
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed March 20, 2013

This is a wonderful spot on the Lake. I highly recommend it for all the reasons mentioned by others. It is the best food in Santa Cruz. You have a gorgeous view from your bed, an outdoor shower and toilet filled with flowers. Heavenly. And the adventure of getting there just made it better (or ask the boat to drop you at their private dock)

Room Tip: Getting there takes some effort. Make sure you can climb, most rooms are uphill.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jmanderbach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EcoChicHotel, Manager at Hotel IslaVerde, responded to this reviewResponded April 2, 2013

Hi Client,

Thanks very much for your review about our hotel! We're happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us, and wish you safe travels......come back and see us again soon :)

Sincerely,

Isla Verde Staff

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121 - 127 of 257 reviews

Reviewed February 14, 2013

This place advertises itself as “a short 10 minute walk from the ferry dock”, but this is misleading. The "walk" is actually a balancing act over about a quarter-mile of wet narrow boards elevated about 8 feet above the crashing surf, with no handrails for most of the trip. Got rolling luggage? Forget it. We glad we had backpack-style bags.

The cabin/room was cute, no complaints there. It was a very steep climb up to it, but we are very fit and didn't mind the exercise. Anyone much older than us or with any kind of health issues would be very unhappy with this however.

The restaurant? This was a horrible experience. We visited it twice during our stay, once for “happy hour” and again the next day at breakfast time. We were the only guests there.

The first indication of trouble was the staff’s attitude when we walked in – sullen unsmiling faces. Waited about 10 minutes at a table and no one came out, so finally went in and asked for our drinks, which were supposed to each come with a free tapas. The drinks were brought and we smiled and said “gracias” but got only a blank look in response. The tapas item took so long to arrive that we’d already shrugged and given upon it by the time it finally came. The tapas itself was quite good – bruchetta topped with roasted pepper. The scenario was repeated with the second (and last) round of drinks – we had to go find the server ourselves, ask for the drinks, deal with the same bizarrely surly attitude and this time wait twice as long for the tapas to be unsmilingly delivered.

The next morning we made the mistake of giving the place a second chance and attempting to have breakfast there. Once again there were no other guests and once again we encountered the same sullen attitude when trying to get some coffee. No menu or silverware were ever brought out, and our cups were never refilled. We finally decided to just forget breakfast. We left the restaurant to grab our bags from our room and check out. Unfortunately, I left my hat sitting next to our table. 15 minutes later when I went to retrieve it, our table had been cleared and the hat was gone. The restaurant staff denied knowing anything about it but it had obviously been taken – either stolen or just dumped in the trash. The manager didn’t really seem to care at all and we walked all the way back to the ferry dock across the wet swaying narrow boards with stomachs rumbling, and me squinting under the hot bright sun with no sunhat.

One other note: it was only as we were leaving that we read the signs in the bathrooms that said that the place filters the water from the toilets and uses it to water the vegetable garden – then serves these vegetables in the restaurant. Not even sure if I’d be comfortable with this in a first-word country with rigorous sanitation standards. Certainly not in a primitive rural area of Guatemala.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank MicroSim7686
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EcoChicHotel, Manager at Hotel IslaVerde, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

Dear Client,

Thank you so much for your feedback and for staying with us. We greatly appreciate any comments that our clientele provide for us. With this information we can improve the hotel experience for our guests in the future. We deeply apologize for any negative experiences that you had during your stay at Isla Verde.

We would, however, like to clarify a few things that you mentioned in your review. When we receive reservation requests, our first email response contains information about how our clients can arrive to the hotel directly at our private dock, therefore avoiding the 10-minute walk from the public dock.

We also make sure to let people know in our first email response that since we are located on the side of a ridge in the highlands of Guatemala, our hotel is built on a slope. We inform our guests know ahead of time (in our first response email) that there is some stair climbing and that if they feel like they need to be lower on the hill for health reasons or other reasons, we’re more than happy to oblige. Often, our guests don’t mind the walk once they reach their room and take in the view that all of our rooms offer, which is a beautiful view of Lake Atitlan.

In regards to the service you received while in the restaurant, we want to apologize if you didn’t feel like you were warmly welcomed. As we mentioned in our private email correspondence with you, we understand that sometimes there are cultural misunderstandings between our employees, who are Native Mayan’s from the village of Santa Cruz, and our clients. We know that this does not excuse any rude or unfriendly behavior, so we hope that you can accept our apologies and understand that the situations has been duly noted and the incident has been brought to the attention of all of our employees. We also want to reiterate to you (as we did in our private email), that we have hired our employees with full knowledge of their integrity and honesty. Most of them have worked for us for years without incident, including the employee that you encountered while at the restaurant.

Finally, lots of research and planning about eco-friendly practices and facilities was done before building the hotel, to ensure a minimal impact on the land we use, while simultaneously having a comfortable, chic hotel alongside the lake. With that being said, the water from the toilets, showers and sinks in the bathrooms goes through a bio-digestive system, therefore ridding it of bacteria, before it is used in the ORNAMENTAL GARDENS ONLY. The ornamental gardens only serve as decoration on the grounds of the hotel. Therefore, in NO WAY do we use water from toilets, showers and sinks in our vegetable garden. In addition to using clean water in our vegetable garden, we ensure the cleanliness of our vegetables and fruits by sanitizing all of them before use. If you read any of our other reviews, you will note that a good majority of them are very positive and absolutely NONE of them mention anything about getting sick from the food in our restaurant.
We do apologize for your unpleasant experience in Santa Cruz and we wish you safe and happy travels in the future.

Sincerely,
Isla Verde Staff

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Reviewed February 13, 2013

We stayed here for 2 nights to give us time to draw breath, relax and plan. It is the perfect place. Our hut was high up on the hillside in a private position and with wonderful views of the lake. We watched the sunrise from our bed each morning. Remember being high up means you have a steep climb from the restaurant - worth every step!

There are opportunities to walk, kayak, do yoga but we did none - just relaxed! There is a beautiful new 'yoga platform' complete with chairs, mattresses, even swings. Hard to describe - go and see for yourself!

The food was good, 3 course set dinner for 100Q good value, eco credentials excellent, staff very helpful when needed. There are no roads. The only way to get there is by boat from Pana. The boatmen can try to overcharge Gingos. We paid 20 q which seems reasonable. Be prepared to barter.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank ageing-hippie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EcoChicHotel, Manager at Hotel IslaVerde, responded to this reviewResponded February 19, 2013

Dear Client,

Thank you so much for your positive words about our hotel. We try hard to please every one that walks through our doors and we're happy to hear that you enjoyed yourself. Come back and see us again soon!

~Isla Verde Staff

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Reviewed January 10, 2013

My daughter and I stayed for a week at Isla Verde. It was simply a wonderful experience. Lago Atitlan is indescribable! Truly! The grounds of the hotel are beautiful. I woke up to the most spectacular view of the lake each morning just by sitting up in my bed. The staff were very pleasant and the food was great! What more can I say!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Melinda G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EcoChicHotel, Manager at Hotel IslaVerde, responded to this reviewResponded January 22, 2013

Melinda,

Thanks so much for your kind words!! It was great having you and your daughter stay with us. I'm glad we got a chance to chat and that you enjoyed your visit with us. Thanks again and come back soon! :)

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Reviewed December 31, 2012

Although we didn't stay overnight at Isla Verde, we would hike (or took a boat) from our lodge to enjoy their restaurant. Isla Verde nourishes the soul with delicious fresh, home made, pure food. From the moment you set foot on the grounds, you can't help but feel peaceful and relaxed. The restaurant is set in a whitewashed curved room with a large white couch, a table and chairs, leading out into a picturesque deck overlooking the breathtaking views of lake Atitlan. Adorned with hanging vines this deck is the perfect setting to enjoy, breakfast, lunch or dinner. We ordered the stuffed avocado, & sesame encrusted falafel wrap with fresh salad with nuts and berries. The large nachos & guacamole platter was very delicious.
Both the cold lemonade and milkshake were a fair size and really yummy. This restaurant is one of our favourite on the lake, not only for its amazing fresh food & service, but for the setting and atmosphere. Well done!

We're just sad we didn't have the chance to stay here overnight. There's no place like it!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank KatiaRodrigues
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EcoChicHotel, Manager at Hotel IslaVerde, responded to this reviewResponded January 22, 2013

Katia,

Thanks very much for joining us for a meal. We try our hardest to make sure that our food is fresh and delicious, so we're happy to know that people appreciate it! Come back again soon and stay with us if you'd like! We wish you all the best in your travels!

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Reviewed December 14, 2012

At first we thought we were mad to book this place, since it is wooden cabuns in the middle of the woods it ahs something a bit different from what we call as a "hotel".
HOWEVER, after the first night you totally get used to take a shower in the open bathrooms and see all the animals around you. we were planning to stay for 2 nughts and evenutally booked a week :))

the hotel is quite, peacefull and has amazing local-western restaurant.
don´t miss breakfast- espically the ESPANOL one, try all crazy smoothies, book a dinner every day (even of share it, this is totally worth it) and most important relax... (:

we also recommend to try the hotel offers such as: the sauna, massages, salsa classes. it is really uniqe and good.

finally, if you are spontanious like us, ask the staff for their recommandations for exploring the lake, you will be surprised how much they know about secret places, restaurants, and hikes.

This is the place for us to also say to the hotel staff a huge thank you all for a wonderful week and a perfect ending to our vacation. Your hotel is amazing and all staff employees are super nice!!

Room Tip: if you have trouble to climb a bit ask rooms 1 to 4. if you really want to enjoy the veiw take room...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Aviv0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EcoChicHotel, Manager at Hotel IslaVerde, responded to this reviewResponded January 22, 2013

Aviv0,

Thank you so much for staying with us!! We really do take your thoughts into consideration, so it's nice to hear what you have to say about your stay here at Isla Verde. We put a lot of our efforts into creating a relaxing environment for our guests, with the sauna, hot tub and of course, salsa lessons!!

We're very grateful for your input and we hope to see you again soon! Muchas gracias por todo!

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Reviewed October 16, 2012

I don’t think I’ve ever had a hotel experience that felt more “me” than my stay at Hotel Isla Verde. I care about the earth, about nature, animals, what have you. It’s so encouraging to know that there are hotels in the world that care about the earth as much as I do. You can tell that Isla Verde cares about the environment from the first moment that you walk in. The windows are open, they use bamboo and other natural materials to build their structures and, of course, they have their adorable pets hanging around.
The staff didn’t hesitate to explain to us about their solar panel system, water purification system and other features that they had used to help protect the environment around them. They really knew their stuff!! The other thing that I loved was that they encourage any suggestions from their guests about new projects and additional ideas to make the hotel more “green.”
Our hotel stay was amazing at Hotel Isla Verde, not just because of the beautiful setting, but because it also accomplishes a higher goal in addition to being a lovely, romantic getaway.

Room Tip: The higher the room, the better the view! We stayed in Room #7 and it was spacious and quiet.
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Michelle F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
EcoChicHotel, Manager at Hotel IslaVerde, responded to this reviewResponded January 22, 2013

Dear guest,

Thanks very much for your stay at our hotel! It makes us glad to know that there are like-minded people in the world that care so much about the earth and the environment. Whether it be using energy through solar panels, filtering our own water or recycling our waste, we try to make every decision with Mother Nature in mind. We think it's very important to work together for a more eco-friendly world and we DO really appreciate your feedback! All the best!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel IslaVerde

Address: Zona 0, Santa Cruz La Laguna 07014, Guatemala
Phone Number:
Location: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Santa Cruz La Laguna
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 5 Hotels in Santa Cruz La Laguna
Price Range: $64 - $160 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel IslaVerde 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Islaverde is the hotel where you can reconnect with nature, where you will live without the constriction of time, enjoying a simple, organic and eco life-style, knowing every single detail will be carefully arranged for you; gourmet cooking, beautiful decoration, gorgeous surroundings, breathtaking gardens, artwork, and technical comforts…A place to disconnect, laze, and enjoy the beauty of Lake Atitlan. Let us BE your vacation, we will book cultural, adventure or spa services for you…from our own garden you will be able to hop on a boat to explore the rest of the lake, knowing on your return our little paradise will be awaiting you. And if you don´t feel like moving just enjoy our lavish gardens; sunbathe, swim, kayak, take yoga, salsa or Spanish lessons, have a massage, a sauna or an open-air hot tub, enjoy our library and restaurant, bird watch, explore the trails around us or dive with our neighbors…We offer nine independent wooden cabins and two brand new apartments for families or groups. All are set on a hill, which ensures every one of them has a breathtaking view of Lake Atitlan, while being hidden and private from the rest of the hotel. Our rooms are decorated in a simple yet hip style, with Mayan woven materials and naïf paintings.Sunrise, sunset, midday or midnight, our lakeside lounge is the perfect place to sunbathe, go swimming, sip on a cocktail or a fresh fruit smoothie or just take in the majestic beauty of Lake Atitlan. Prefer a more secluded, private spot? You´ll find hammocks and loungers tucked into lush nooks all throughout our beautiful tropical gardens, and a wonderful yoga studio overlooking the lake which is free for our guests to enjoy.The patio below our slow-food restaurant is the ultimate spot to feast your eyes and your senses; come and enjoy what according to many— Rough Guide amongst others—is some of the best food you can find in Guatemala. Dine with the ultimate view, or just chill out and read a book. If you feel like lying around the patio next to the restaurant is stocked with pillows and cushions. Make yourself at home! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel IslaVerde Guatemala/Lake Atitlan

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