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“I couldn't wait to leave” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Tzam Poc Resort

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Tzam Poc Resort
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“I couldn't wait to leave”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2014

After not seeing each other for a week, I decided this hotel would be a great spot for my boyfriend and me to see each other again as a starting point for our quick 8 day trip through Guatemala and Honduras. I was enticed by the though of a sunset view from pool, the pictures of the lake out the door, and the good reviews. I noticed other, negative reviews, but decided I probably wouldn't be impacted. I'm not sure if anyone has written about what I'm writing here, so maybe this will be a new thought for this hotel.

Pros:

- The views are even better than the pictures show, and the gardens are really lovely. I really enjoyed eating our breakfast while looking out over the lake.

- The staff is very friendly, and breakfast was excellent.

- Peaceful, quiet

- Room was enormous and spotlessly clean

The cons:

- When we first arrived, our van couldn't make it up the steep hill to the hotel, so we had to walk with our luggage up a very, very steep hill. After getting to the top of the hill, there were really no signs for the reception, and after 10 minutes of looking for someone, we found the lobby- which was locked, dark, and empty. Finally, someone from a hotel across the street saw us and wen to look for the guy who would check us in. That guy came, finally, and showed us to our room. The lack of staff became a theme for the duration of our stay.

- The pool was freezing cold and the pool chairs around it are horribly dirty. The combination quickly turned my long-anticipated sunset beer in the pool dream to a "blegh. well...why don't we just go watch this thing from town?"

- The hotel is very far from any restaurants for dinner, and the hotel did not serve any food, so we had to make our way to the closest town with a restaurant (Panajachel, which requires a 10 minute walk to the boat, haggling over the price of a boat ride, and a 10 minute boat ride to Panajachel).

- On the way back from Panajachel, we had to take a tuk tuk to the hotel (~6km) along a dark, desolate road that we found particularly scary at 10 pm. Then, when we arrived to the gate- you guessed it - we had to walk up the steep hill by ourselves in the dark.

- In the morning, when we woke up, we wanted to take a boat ride around the lake (not a private one, just a regular one with real people)- so we had to first walk to Santa Catarina Palopo (10 minutes), then take a boat to Panajachel, and then go from there. The secretary wasn't at work yet and the staff was aflutter as we really wanted to get going to see the lake (we had one day), and there was nobody to charge us. We kept getting the "10 minutes" refrain. An hour and a half later, we were able to depart.

- The price was the the final knife in the stomach. After being scared in the dark, hungry, and not having anyone attending to us for most of our stay, as well as having our time taken from us by complete inefficiency, the hotel had the gall to charge us $170 (with tax) for our one night stay. I did know this price when I made the reservation, but when I saw it printed out, after reflecting on just how much I hated our experience, I was just angry. How could this hotel charge SO MUCH compared to all other hotels in the area, and deliver so so little? I honestly could have booked a private room in a hostel and gotten a much, much better value.

In all, this was an extremely disappointing experience.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank SkiScubaNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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44 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2014

Very bad hotel for nights of silence ! Barking excessively ! Constant barking is a nuisance to their guests. it's impossible to sleep with owner's dogs. And this hotel is dirty and the owner is not very accessible.

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank kate g
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antigua, Guatemala
Level Contributor
46 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 24, 2013

The place is simply gorgeous. The gardens are meticulously taken care of. And the views of the lake underneath are sublime. Its owner, Lucio Mamberto, will do everything he can to make you feel at home. You feel being treated like a personal guest.
This is a place for people who enjoy staying at a place with a personal touch, away from the anonymity and sterility of so many luxury hotels that I have seen all over the World.
We stayed in room number 3, which is a magnificent suite, with a living room and a kitchen, and with gorgeous terraces overlooking the lake.
The hotel has an infinity swimming pool with sweeping views of Lake Atitlan and the 3 volcanoes that surround it, and next to the pool is a jacuzzi which also overlooks the lake.
Since the hotel is high above a hill, the views of the lake underneath are simply sublime. They get particularly spectacular during the early morning hours and during the sunset.
A delicious breakfast is served in a beautiful terrace overlooking the lake, with flowers and hummingbirds all around. Dinner is served on request with an additional (reasonable) fee, and it is really good !!
Being high on a hill overlooking the lake means that the driveway is quite steep and not all cars can make it all the way to the top. But there is a parking spot near the entrance where you can park your car, and the hotel staff will pick you (and your luggage) up in a pick up truck and take you to the hotel. Otherwise, it is a pleasant walk uphill to reach paradise !!!
I have been to Lake Atitlan more than 50 times, and Tzam Poc is by far the best place to stay to appreciate the beauty of the lake.

Room Tip: Choose a room with a terrace overlooking the lake. Ours was number 3 and it had a gorgeous terrace.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank rafaelnovielli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Level Contributor
79 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 21, 2013

This house/hotel is the kind of place you want to be to have a great view of Atitlan lake, have an excellent service and relax all you want... The owner is such a nice, smart and interesting guy, he and his staff will make you feel like home. Tzam Poc is located in a really high hill, if you are driving be sure your car is 4x4, otherwise it will be difficult to get to the top. I really recommend the breakfast, a lot of delicious fresh fruit, honey, milk, coffee, eggs, beans, cheese and home marmalade... Expect to be delighted by the sunset and sunrise from the terrace or infinity pool!!! Can't wait to be back!!! :)

Room Tip: Reserve room # 3... a mini house room
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AxelRene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SF
Level Contributor
42 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2012

gorgeously designed by Italian builder architect Luciano. The gardens are a dream. the pool with the view is even better than the photos. Tucked away in Santa Catarina de Polpolo, views of the lake are superb. Heidi even helped us arrange a lake boating tour. Watch out for the crazy driveway!

Room Tip: love the breakfast and Luciano is wonderful
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank medanichangs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 17, 2012

My husband and I visited Tzam Poc in February 2012 and we were enchanted by it. It is the most beautiful, unique hotel I have ever visited and the service was impeccable. We were in a gorgeous villa with a kitchen and the chef delivered our dinner every afternoon for us to warm when we were ready to eat. The food was incredible. The grounds are meticulously kept by a very kind groundskeeper. Every aspect of the hotel was designed by its proprietor, Lucio and the place is dripping with style and beauty. The infinity pool overlooking Lake Atitlan, accompanied by the hot tub which also overlooks the lake is perhaps the most incredible aspect of the hotel. Additionally special is breakfast-- set at a large outdoor table overlooking the lake, with a lattice dripping with gorgeous flowers and hummingbirds overhead. Lucio was very helpful in helping us decide which adventures we wanted to explore around Lake Atitlan. The setting of Lake Atitlan itself is a thing of breathtaking beauty, but having spent 5 weeks at various locations around the Lake, Tzam Poc was my favorite place by far.

Having read one of the other reviews for this hotel, I think it is important to stress that this is not a typical hotel. The driveway is extremely steep, and our taxi had to stop half way up. So it is best to plan to walk your baggage up the driveway. This is actually true for many places around Lake Atitlan-- it is built on the slopes of volcanoes, so easily portable bags are recommended (I learned this the hard way!) and being in good shape is a plus. Tzam Poc is not the kind of hotel where you are waited on hand and foot throughout the day, as you might find at an all-inclusive resort-- it is more of a bed and breakfast. You are left on your own throughout the day, but the groundskeeper or Lucio is always available for help. However, at breakfast, your every need is anticipated, and dinner is delicious. I believe that for bigger groups, group dinners can be arranged that would be more typical of a restaurant-type dinner.

I highly recommend this hotel for anyone with a sense of adventure and an appreciation of natural beauty and incredible style. Among my world travels, Tzam Poc might be my favorite place to stay. We cannot wait to go back and hope to bring friends next time!

Room Tip: There are some villas with kitchens and some rooms. I don't think the difference in price is mu...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Peggy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
39 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 6, 2012

My girlfriend was born in Guatemala, and the occasion of a pair of family weddings called us there. In between the weddings, we traveled to three locations outside of the capital city, including the beautiful and mysterious Lake Atitlan. We chose Tzam Poc at Atitlan based on the photos of what looked like a dramatic view of the lake and the volcanoes beyond. The view was all that and more, but it is only part of what makes Tzam Poc special.

Tzam Poc is more accurately described as a bed and breakfast, not a resort. They'll cook dinner on request (for a small extra charge) too, but you have to let them know early in the day so they can get fresh ingredients from the market. It's perched on a hill just beyond and above the village of Santa Catarina. (Hint: when entering the grounds via a very steep access road, DON'T STOP. Better yet, rent a 4X4!). It consists of a series of small buildings, each containing no more than 2 units (on different levels), and the main house where the owner lives. Thus, it takes ramps and stairs to get from one place to another, but also provides a feeling of total privacy in each unit.

It is very much the product of the somewhat eccentric imagination of its owner, Lucio Mamberto, who is an architect. Imagine a Mediterranean villa (the owner was born in Italy) crossed with a bit of Antoni Gaudi and Dr. Seuss. If that's not your cup of tea, I understand. And the quirkiness can lead to a few things not being particularly efficient or logical. No matter. It's magic. Lucio is a charming host with a lifetime of interesting and somewhat mysterious stories, and you are treated like a personal guest in his home.

Home cooked breakfast is served on the terrace (dinner in the dining room of the main house). There is a patio with a swimming pool, jacuzzi, and wood-fired sauna. This patio provides some of the most spectacular vistas I have ever seen, multiplied tenfold by the optical illusion of the pool hanging directly over the lake. At night, the sounds of the village float up the mountain, sounds of musical instruments and parties.

Lucio is a local now, having lived there for many years. He employes a handful of residents as cooks and maintenance people, and it very much feels like a family operation. So, when we decided to take a boat ride across the lake to one or more of the surrounding villages (there are 12), arrangements were quickly made with a pilot who was a friend of someone on staff. This proved to be a huge bonus, as we were spared having to negotiate with the many boat captains that gather at the dock in the village. We got a ride down in the back of a pickup, introductions were made, and off we went. Enrique, our pilot, knew who was who in the villages as well, and would call ahead on his cell to make sure the right tuk-tuk (a kind of three wheeled mini-taxi) driver was waiting for us. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that we were guided to an inside view of local culture by locals, and I'm pretty sure we owe it to our decision to stay at Tzam Poc.

If you are looking for orderliness, anonymity, and typical luxury, Tzam Poc my not be for you. If you are seeking something truly unique, you'll find it there. Given how magical Lake Atitlan itself is, that seems entirely appropriate

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank DonQ_55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tzam Poc Resort

Property: Tzam Poc Resort
Address: Via Rural Santa Catarina Km. 6.5 | Carretera a San Antonio Palopo, Santa Catarina Palopo 07011, Guatemala
Location: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Santa Catarina Palopo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Kitchenette Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Santa Catarina Palopo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Tzam Poc Resort 2.5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Offering an outdoor pool, Tzampoc Resort is located in Santa Catarina Palopo, right on Atitlan Lake. It features free daily breakfast, plus free Wi-Fi and parking. Each room here boasts bright traditional decor and has a small seating area and a private bathroom. All rooms include stunning views of the lake. At Tzampoc Resort you will find a sauna, jacuzzi and a garden. Restaurants and shops can be found in the neighbouring town of Panajachal, situated 6.5 Km away and accessible by boat. The property can also arrange for a private chef. Guatemala City Centre, where you will find La Aurora International Airport, can be reached in 3 by car. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tzam Poc Hotel Santa Catarina Palopo
Tzam Poc Resort Guatemala/Santa Catarina Palopo, Lake Atitlan

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