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Verana
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Reviews (195)
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Reviewed March 27, 2013

Perched on a hillside with a jaw-dropping view of Yelapa Bay, which itself opens onto the magnificent Banderas Bay, Verana is paradise…for the adventurer who really wants it. Accessible almost exclusively by boat, the resort is surrounded by lush, Jalisco jungle and comprised (at the time of this review) of only ten individual and mostly open-air palapas. Each “house” is unique, but all were designed with a careful eye to the hillside geography for intimacy and perfectly framed panoramas.

The staff – a mix of expats, Yelapan locals, and big city Mexicans – seems at once urbane international and low-key local. Verana is their second home and they treat each guest with true hospitality: joking around, offering information, and enjoying conversation in equally fluid Spanish and English. Given an honorary spot on payroll are the téjon, also known as coatimundi, relatives of the badger that roam the grounds and take special pleasure in stealing your coffee sugar if you’re too sleepy-eyed first thing in the morning.

Each day starts with the chorus of jungle birds and the splendor of sunrise over the bay, followed by coffee and pastries, which are delivered to your doorstep around 8 am. Once the view and coffee have soaked in, you meander down (or up!) to the main patio, which includes the hostess desk, bar, restaurant, kitchen, and firepit, to enjoy a hearty breakfast. The day is then in your hands and many guests choose to relax by the pool, chill in their palapa, walk the twenty minute path to Yelapa (or ten minutes further to the bay’s sandy beach), or head out on a grander excursion by foot or by boat. If you stick around, lunch is served just below the pool and always includes the option of fresh ceviche, guacamole, and the catch of the day (red snapper, amberjack, octopus…). The bar opens at 3 although most guests don’t congregate at the watering hole until about 5, ready for Joel to serve up some seriously strong and delightful cocktails. Dinner, usually a hearty and inspired take on more traditional Mexican cuisine, is served just after nightfall and concludes with conversation at the firepit.

But the true glory of Verana is the space between dusk and dawn. As you snuggle between the sheets, ensconced in an expertly tucked mosquito net, the crickets are already deep into song and, if you listen closely, you’ll distinguish dozens of different tunes. In the wee hours, even the insects are quiet and the bay is perfectly tranquil for a short while before the jungle birds begin their daybreak cacophony against the drum of the ocean surf.

Other pros: Wifi at the main patio means you don’t feel completely cut-off…just far enough away to ignore what you don’t want to deal with! We can’t praise the staff enough; they were amazing, genuine, affable, and discreet. The kitchen, too, served up truly scrumptious fare and catered to any dietary allergy. The cleaning staff managed to make our room seem fresh daily, despite the fact that we were completely open to the jungle. And the boat skipper who ferried us to Boca de Tomatlán: wow. With serious swells, he turned boating into an art to get us to Verana safe and dry.

Other cons: As mentioned, you have to want this adventure. The jungle location means there are scorpions (rare), spiders (medium rare), and mosquitoes (prevalent). A téjon will visit your room in the middle of the night, but by the second time you ignore him. Verana itself is working to get heaters on all pools and that will be very welcome when next we return since they were a bit chilly on this trip. The spa and activities didn’t awe us, but neither were they major disappointments.

Verdict: Imagine boutique, six-star service without the pretention of walls. Plus good food. And amazing cocktails. Overlooking the most beautiful bay you’ve ever seen. Yeah, something like that…

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank destroubadours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013

i love verana! i've been twice. once just with my wife and the second time i was there for a surprise 40th bday party she threw with a bunch of friends. all the casitas are unique, we love the studio because it feels like you're in ny in the middle of the jungle. the food is amazing and the drinks are incredible. ask manny to try ricia ( spelling?) it's a local tequila moonshine and is oh so yummy. oh and get a massage, wicked good.

Room Tip: we like the studio, but all rooms, even those without walls are private.
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Luis P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 18, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I were there for 4 nights and I wish we stayed there longer. These 4 nights were the most relaxing vacation ever.

Everything about this hotel is great, from the unique style of the bungalows to the amazing service.

Every morning before breakfast, we would get a tray with coffee, tea and cakes at our door. Then we would head for breakfast and get an a la carte menu.
In the afternoon, we could choose from chilling out in the great swimming pool; getting a spa treatment; going trekking in the surroundings or just hanging out in our bungalow, enjoying the great views in our hammock or daybed.

Every day, we were pleasantly surprised with great food at the different restaurants. The food is to die for and the spa is a amazing treat.

I warmly recommend anyone to go to Verana! Best place ever!!!!

  • Stayed: April 2012
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2  Thank neilou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2013

We arrived after a two day journey from the UK, to climb up to the most beautiful jungle retreat that you can imagine. Verana is perfection - it has been conceived by a couple with great vision and taste. They have thought of everything, and if you truly want to relax and recover from a stressful lifestyle, this is the place.
Superb food, amazing views, wonderful massage, great library, charming staff.
Lovely walk to local village, waterfall and great beach.

Room Tip: Casa de Piedra is you want walls: cosier at night
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank PookieWestSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 28, 2013

Verana is a truly unique place in this world. Perched high up on a mountain top with views across the Pacific ocean it is hard to beat for a hotel location. Because of our love for this property and for Mexico we decided to have our wedding at Verana in December last year. This meant dragging 45 of our closest family & friends all the way from Australia to experience Verana and the Mexican jungle first hand. We were a little nervous before everyone arrived because Verana does not normally deal in these sort of numbers but we shouldn't have been. The staff went above and beyond to try to ensure that everyone was having a good time and in the end all our expectations were completely surpassed.

I read some negative comments on the property and I think that it mainly reflects on the people writing the reviews rather than the property, because all I know is that every single one of our guests had an amazing time and absolutely loved their experience in this hotel. I think when visiting Verana the important factor is to have perspective as to where you are going- the Mexican Jungle. If you don't like the idea of living in the jungle then Verana is probably not going to be the place for you. Don't get me wrong the rooms are spectacular and very comfortable and the staff do everything that they can to ensure you have an amazing experience but you still are in the jungle. For most people this hotel is extremely special as you have such luxury and yet you are in such a remote location in the wilderness. It is a place you can just completely step out of this world and forget all your worries in your fast paced life back at home.

Verana is stunning & beautiful but also an adventure. The food is fantastic, the views are sensational and the staff are some of the warmest people you will ever meet. I wish it could be our little secret but it has already been discovered by many who love it as we do.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Georgia131212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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