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“Great view but Spartan and perhaps dangerous”

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El Hotelito at the Rainforest Experience Farm
Certificate of Excellence
Tarpon Springs, Florida
Level Contributor
144 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
“Great view but Spartan and perhaps dangerous”
Reviewed April 17, 2014

Having lived off grid in Hawaii we know all about using rain water, solar, wind and hydro power. Yes the views are great but for the money this place is Spartan. We arrived before sunset and left before sunrise in order to catch the ferry to Culebra. The trip downhill in the dark, to put it mildly was "exciting". The road to and from the hotel is exciting to drive, we were glad we had a rental and not our own vehicle! Don't plan on doing any reading in your room at night as there was only one light bulb in the middle of the tall ceiling which did not produce enough light for any activity. With the bathroom set up in our room it was impossible to take a shower without getting water over most of the bathroom floor. Plugs in the room did not work so to plug anything in (phone, computer, e-reader hair dryer was impossible. There was a charging station downstairs for guests to use, but they were all in use. Our biggest concern about this hotel is the staircase. My husband has been a contractor for 25 years and he has never seen such a poorly designed staircase. The step depth was narrow, irregularly placed and completely unlighted. We were asked to shut the lights off when we were not in the room, but when we left in the dark the only light we had to navigate the stairs was the none too bright room light and our uncharged cell phone. The manager invited us to dinner at an extra charge but we declined since we had eaten shortly before arriving. The windows were open all night since there was not air, which was fine, but the guests talked loudly and smoked which drifted up to our room. The room did have a comfy bed and we enjoyed hearing the coqui frogs and the view outside our room. We are not room snobs and usually do not stay at 4 star hotels, but for the money $130 for the night we expected a light we could use in the bedroom and safe passage down the steps. The stairs are a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Room Tip: Bring a flashlight if you are leaving before sunrise.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Holly K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jrbenitez, General Manager at El Hotelito at the Rainforest Experience Farm, responded to this review, April 30, 2014
Hi there "Holly K",

I want to thank you so much for staying with us and for taking the time to review our property. As much as it pains me to see a negative review associated with our Hotelito we always appreciate honest feedback and we always use it to better ourselves and with that make more and more happy guests.

Reading your review, you describe El Hotelito as "Spartan", I believe El Hotelito is a simple place as the adjective suggests however it is certainly not lacking in comfort. As you suggest yourself, we do have comfy beds all made up with 500 thread count sheets and brand new memory foam mattresses so I think calling us "Spartan" is not being very fair knowing what we offer in all our rooms and public areas.

The road up to our hotel can be a little "exciting" to drive and it's part of the "Rainforest Experience" listed in our name, we always suggest daytime arrival and check in should be done by 6pm the latest to make sure you don't have a hard time seeing signs and so you can enjoy the gorgeous views up the drive! I understand that the eco-friendly LED lights we use in our rooms might have not provided enough light for your reading, I am very sorry about this, we might look into reading lights that attach to our beds, if we knew this was an issue while you were on property I could have certainly brought an extra light so you could read without issues.
The showers in our rooms are all open, it is part of the building design and for the most part guests don't have issues with that, we have added bathroom mats to all rooms to control the water splashing from the shower.

Being that we are 100% self sufficient and we 100% solar and wind power means that we have to make some concessions in order to have all the comforts of home up here inside the Rainforest, one being the charging station for all phones and electronics. The house runs on car batteries charged from the sun and wind and in order to have 110 volt power that you need we use power inverters and only have those going to certain parts of the house, it is not that the plugs in the room don't work, its that they only run on 12 volts and that's not enough to run modern day electronics. I am very sorry if this was inconvenient to you, most guests have their phone charging while they hang out downstairs, while having dinner or simply lounging around.

I see that you mention our staircase in your review (I want to clarify for all of you potential travelers that we have 3 downstairs rooms if any guest don't want to walk up) saying that the steps are irregularly placed might be a bit subjective, not sure what regularly placed steps vs irregularly placed steps look like however I do want to clarify that we have a bright LED light at top of the stairs with a wall switch right next to it, another guest might have shut it off on their way to bed and you might have possibly missed the switch when you went down that early morning when heading out to Culebra but believe me that you certainly don't need a flashlight to go downstairs.

I do apologize about the smoke entering your room, there's a few cement walls between the restaurant area and all the rooms and I don't see how this is possible, we have never received a complaint about smoke coming upstairs. Quiet hours are after 10pm every night, we normally serve dinner around 7:30pm and normally by 9:30-10:00pm everyone is in bed, I understand that you folks went straight to bed and didn't come down at any point after checking in so the noise you heard must have been before the 10pm quiet time mark.

All in all I am very sorry that you didn't enjoy your stay as much as I want all my guests to enjoy. Honestly I don't think you spent enough time on property to be swayed by our Hotelito's and our staff's charm, in the future come down to see the rest of the Hotelito and our grounds, hang out with everyone, have dinner, share with other guests, disconnect the electronics and enjoy the simple things in life that sometimes in our day to day hustle we miss or forget about, you will surely love El Hotelito then!

Warm Regards,

Rafael Benitez

P.S. For all the interested readers I will update a few pictures of our stairs in our website which you can find up top, just as a visual aid.
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Rating summary
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English first
Jacksonville Beach, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 15, 2014

My husband and i went to Puerto Rico for our honeymoon, making a stop in the rain forest for a couple of nights. this place was AMAZING!!! Both Rafeal and his son, raffie, were very friendly and accommodating. Everything about the hotel is incredible and is JUST what we wanted. The whole rainforest experience, eco resort, small, family owned, non super touristy and beautiful was the experience Joe and i wanted for the mountain portion of our trip. The views were amongst the best I had seen on the island. Rafael made us and a few other people staying there the best burgers i had ever eaten. Not a traditional PR meal, but with the PR twist, it was perfect. The ONLY complaint I have would be the lack of hot water showers, but really, what do you expect from an eco resort? therefor, that being said, i wasn't upset. we will absolutely go back!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank tiffers2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jersey
Level Contributor
39 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2014 via mobile

Run on rain water and solar power, this place is beautiful. Open space set up. They fed us breakfast and dinner and had a nice little bar. There are no tv's and we lived by candlelight and the sun. We could use a charging station for our phones but other than that, the entertainment is up to you. There is a nice hiking trail on the property that holds the mos beautiful foliage. There are three dogs on site. Super friendly. Don't be surprised if the lizards and frogs come to visit at night. They sing you to sleep.

  • Stayed April 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank elaterra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilmington, Delaware
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2014 via mobile

I can't say enough great things about this place. Beautiful setting, accommodating hosts, clean and comfortable rooms... It was the highlight of our trip. Unfortunately we only spent one night but I will be back. I travel often and have pretty high standards, and I rarely ever write reviews so you know they are doing something right!

Stayed March 2014
Helpful?
Thank Katielzx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Budapest, Hungary
Level Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2014

The location just can't be better. It is in the heart of the Jungel, at the top a mountain, with an amaizing vue to the Ocean, to Culebra and Vieques Ilands. If you would like to feel yourself sourrounded with nature, plantation and bird singing, this is just the right place to be. As it is an Eco Village, don't be nervous, if you have to wait for the water sometimes, it is not serious. The rooms has amaizing vue, the hause has a calm, fliendly atmosphere, so you can jus relax, calm yourself. The owner is taking care of you, He is cooking amaizingly, so to order a dinner from Him is highly recomended! The rooms are large, clean and beautifully furnished. All in all this was one of the most romantic place I have ever been.

Room Tip: Try to choose rooms on the floor.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Marietta F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 11, 2014

I can't really add much to what others have said in favorable reviews of this hotel, but it was by far the highlight of my time in Puerto Rico. I'll be staying there again.

Regarding the unpaved road to the top of the mountain, our taxi driver (driving a large van) was originally hesitant about making the full climb, but did so anyway for a bit more money (from Fajardo it was $40; El Hotelito->Rio Grande was $60 the next day, though I get the feeling I could have bargained him down a bit for that second trip). If you do not rent a car, be prepared to pay slightly more to get dropped off at the top than you would for other destinations of equal distance, though your mileage may vary.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ECZ-NYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2014

The location offers breath taking views and the guest house is beautifully designed so there is no space in the house with out a view. The staff, and even the dogs are friendly and welcoming. Staying here felt more, like visiting friends than staying in a hotel. Definitely hope to return. Rooms are very comfortable and clean. It is a bit of a steep drive to get to, but worth it and, provided you arrive before dark not really a problem.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank flg8rot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Hotelito at the Rainforest Experience Farm

Property: El Hotelito at the Rainforest Experience Farm
Address: Flower Farm Rout 984 km. 3.1 Mundo Tropical | Barrio Naranjo, Fajardo 00738, Puerto Rico
Location: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Fajardo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Fajardo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — El Hotelito at the Rainforest Experience Farm 3*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The main house consists of seven spacious rooms, a dining room with bar, a living room, and a library. All open out onto to the lawn and swimming pool. Relax in peace and quiet while enjoying the sound of the wind in the trees on one of the chaise lounges or swaying in a hammock in this tranquil retreat. Our Hotel has been planned and designed for the enjoyment of individuals with a strong ecological interest and a need for peaceful coexistence with nature. ALL our electricity is solar, the water comes from the rain and a well, and the entire farm is completely organic and always has been! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Hotelito At The Rainforest Experience Farm Puerto Rico/Fajardo

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