Where to start? We booked to stay here as a treat as we were backpacking and fancied a bit of luxury. The rooms were beautiful and clean and the layout of the place is amazing. The breakfasts are great.
But that's where it ends. We paid extra to have meals included but on the first night we were given toast as part of our meal because they had only registered that one of us was vegetarian, not two (that's about $20 for toast). Also note that no drinks, not even soft drinks, are included in the 'all inclusive menu' - we weren't told this, even when invited to a 'welcome drink' of coca tea.
We booked a trip with them to see the salt flats. We wanted to learn about the landscape and discover what the salt is used for. We were driven around with a group of Japanese tourists and simply dropped off in a couple of similar locations to take photos while the 'tour guide' sat and chatted to his mates. He didn't tell us anything about the flats (this tour cost nearly $30 US per person).
And then we tried to check out. We asked the guys at reception if they would call a hostel in town to see if it was available. They told us their phone wasn't working, even though we saw them using it for other calls, then they told us there was no answer. We needed the loo shortly after we checked out - they told us there were no public toilets at the hotel and we couldn't use the one in our room because it had been cleaned and reallocated to someone else (it hadn't, it was on the ground floor so I popped my head through the window and it was just as we left it). We asked what time the bus left and they told us it didn't have a timetable. Basically we were being lied to constantly - it felt very much because this was because there was no further money to be made out of us.
The worst thing was the taxi. We asked them to book one for us to take us back to Uyuni. The cost was 200 bolivianos (£20), which was a bit steep but we had no choice (given that the bus had 'no timetable' - with hindsight we realise they told us this so they could make money out of us on the taxi). The taxi turned up and had brought a delivery of food for the hotel - a bit cheeky, we thought. Then the guys started loading our taxi up with more stuff to be taken into town [2 photos posted to prove this], including a gas canister (10 tourists were killed in uyuni in 2008 when two cars carrying gas canisters collided). They were using our taxi to ferry their goods, without asking us. We objected to this and suggested they pay towards our fare, seeing as they were using it. One man said yes, but another man got aggressive and said no we had to pay the full fare, which suddenly shot up to 280 bolivianos (£28). The man behind the desk then lied and said he'd never told us that the fare would be 200 in the first place.
We had a nightmare arguing that this was our taxi. The men were rude and intimidating, and accused us of lying. It took a long time but we eventually got the cab for the original price without any gas cannisters in the boot, but it left us exhausted and angry. I can't recommend this place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A modern building constructed entirely with blocks of salt extracted from the salt flats.Our 27 double, triple and family rooms, all in suite have hot water and heating all day long, which distinguishes our quality.If you're planing to visit Bolivia, you must come to Uyuni and enjoy the amazing experience of sleeping under the stars by the side of the salt flats. ... more less
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