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“Unique and special”

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El Hotelito at the Rainforest Experience Farm
Certificate of Excellence
San Juan, Puerto Rico
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Unique and special”
Reviewed July 1, 2014

This hotel has breathtaking views of El Yunque and Puerto Rico's north coast. A wonderful place to disconnect from your everyday worries. It is calm, quiet and relaxing. It feels amazing waking up windows wide open and so connected to nature. Rafi the owner is always around for a good conversation. Overall, great hotel, lovely experience and highly recommended.

Room Tip: Second floor rooms have better views and more privacy.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DannyBau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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221 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (55)
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English first
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
122 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed June 26, 2014

First things first, the owner is hands down the best host I’ve ever met. The hotel is a bit of a trek to get to (and we made the mistake of driving the last half mile in the dark) but once you arrive it is a beautiful sight! We were offered a warm meal upon arrival and quickly took him up on his offer. The open and airy design is wonderful and such a great asset for its location. As we dined on porkchops, rice and beans and plaintains we were surrounded by luxurious and tropical plants and listened to the sounds of the rainforest. There is a small library of books and some board games dispersed throughout the bottom floor along with some beautiful armchairs and tables. Great spots to chat with other guests or sit and watch the scenery.
Our Queen Room was sparsely decorated but exceeded expectations. The linens are beautiful and the vase with exotic flowers on the nightstand is an exquisite touch. The wooden slat windows can open out to allow ample air circulation and for you to truly experience the rainforest. We kept ours close because we were nervous about bugs. That being said, we didn’t encounter any bugs in our bedroom. The bathroom is small but clean and beautiful. The solar heated water and glass shower are quite nice as well. It took a bit for us to adjust to the sounds of the rainforest before bed but once we did we slept well.
There are no curtains so when the sun rises there is ample sunlight in your room. I woke up with the sun and ventured downstairs to experience the beautiful surroundings and soak in the experience. Breakfast isn’t homemade but it’s a nice selection of coffee, muffins, pastries, fruit and cereal, and the conversation is stimulating.
Overall, we were very sad to leave but enthusiastically recommend El Hotelito to any and everyone and sincerely look forward to returning.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank asiae2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
91 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed June 20, 2014

What a beautiful place on this earth El Hotelito is! Absolutely peaceful with great views, lovely plants and simple, but thoughtfully decorated rooms. (We stayed in room 3 and I looooved the little Dominican figurines). Rafi treated us to a drink on the porch in the evening and with some other travellers we had an interesting, lively and informative conversation while being entertained by the cacophony of a coqui orchestra. Rafi and Rafa (father and son) are amiable hosts, and I very much liked Rafis quick-witted remarks and humor ;-)

Do look around not only at nature but also at the wonderful little pieces of art around!
El Hotelito has a very individual touch to it and I loved it for that too.
The mattresses are very comfortable. Alas I would not have thought it possible to be so warm at night in the rainforest.....
Among my friend and me we had a little talk about the often mentioned road up to the lodge:
I think it is ok, just drive carefully and do arrive in daylight the first time you go up there.
We agreed upon its' probably being difficult to manoeuver after heavy rains.
As it was we went up on a dry day with a normal car with no problem.
The next morning coffee, fruit and a cake was enough to get us started, but do not expect a big breakfast. Rafi can tell you about excellent choices for a (second) breakfast in the area though (go to Las Vistas Cafe for example, it's just a 10 minute drive)
All in all, I am glad we came here. Next time I will take a good book and spend all day up there just reading, relaxing, taking a dip in the pool (which should be painted and refilled very soon) and listening to the coquis at night.
And if you feel more active: There is great trails and hikes along Rio Arriba, including a beautiful freshwater pool by some waterfalls......
Thank you, Rafi and Rafa!

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DidiJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed June 18, 2014

As a gift for Father’s Day and our daughter’s birthday, my husband made reservations at El Hotelito, for Friday through Sunday. We printed the directions provided on the website, which were relatively easy to follow. All was fine until we hit the road going to El Hotelito. It is a narrow, one-lane paved road, at least initially. As you go up the steep incline, it becomes an unlit dirt road, next to a ravine. It is uneven, quiet markedly in some areas, and the dirt is not packed tight but loose. The dirt road being wet, as it was that day, makes the trek up to El Hotelito that much more dangerous. Our car lost traction a few times on our way up. The entrance to El Hotelito is a fallen-over gate with a sign, stating the hotel’s name, resting against a post. The hotel website states free parking and the term parking is an overstatement. It is simply the area in front of the main building, where we were instructed, by the cleaning lady who greeted us-not the owner or even the owner’s son-, to park so as to leave space for an additional two cars. We were told that we had our pick of the rooms since we were the first to arrive at around 4 p.m. We decided to stay upstairs. The stairs are unevenly spaced; and my foot got stuck on the steps at one point, causing me to stumble. The room was basic: bed; night table; chair; and a tattered armchair that folded out into a twin sofa bed – this was to be our daughter’s bed. There was not lighting in the room, overhead or otherwise. The shower stall shared the same floor space as the rest of the bathroom and there was no bath mat, making me think the floor outside the stall would also get wet. The balcony railing was low, with wide gaps, dangerous for small children. The room had no key and the cleaning lady could not find it.
We went downstairs to explore the main area. The bar area was dirty and again basic in terms of stocking. The cleaning lady told us at that point that the owner did not like people eating downstairs, although there were tables and chairs there, and that we’d have to eat in our room. I found this odd. The pool was drained, dirty, and had the piping for pump; it has apparently been empty for over a year. The website has clearly not been updated since the pictures on said site show a very clean, very full swimming pool. We were disappointed. The grounds next to the pool are not appropriate for small children as they overlook a ravine and there is no fencing. This is understandable in keeping with the theme of El Hotelito, but parents of small children need to know this. The downstairs also smelled of cigarette smoke. My husband and daughter took a walk down the hill in front of the building and discovered a trash dump site. When we inquired about dinner, since it was around a quarter to five, the cleaning lady called the owner, who informed her that the other party had told him they were eating out prior to checking in so he was not cooking dinner. A courtesy call, text message, or e-mail informing us, the other guests, would’ve been appreciated. There is nothing to eat that we had access to at El Hotelito. At this point we were trapped since we had not eaten dinner prior to arriving and it had rained yet again while we were there. We decided to take our luggage with us as a preventive measure in case we couldn’t get back up the road, considering our car had already lost traction once on the way up. Our preventive measure turned out to be a sound one since we could not get back up. We had to find other lodging for the night. We did not return the following day as our experience had already been so unpleasant. On Sunday, my husband received a message from the owner, through airbnb, telling us that we should have told someone we were leaving and they didn’t know if something had happened to us. The owner did not call us at any point on Friday or Saturday or Sunday to check if we were alright. I can only imagine he did not call because people picking up and leaving or just not getting there must be a common occurrence, given the condition of the road leading to El Hotelito.
El Hotelito is not what it appears to be from the website so please do not disregard the negative reviews as they hit on key points, particularly the road. Beautiful views can only get you so far. To the owner, the road leading to El Hotelito has everything to do with your inn, sir. I’m sure you know this or else you would mention it on your website. On an aside, I find it curious that a self-sufficient eco lodge should depend on an in line gas water heater for hot water and not a solar water heater.
I anticipate the owner’s rude and arrogant response.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank Joy Lee D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jrbenitez, Owner at El Hotelito at the Rainforest Experience Farm, responded to this review, June 28, 2014
Tripadvisor should be for truthfull and realistic reviews.you lashed at El Hotelito with everything you could make up a week after our General Manager wrote a very professional but negative review about you on Airbb. Clearly you just wanted to damage our reputation.
The afternoon you arrived (which was very sunny and hot ) , my son had to drive me to My retina specialist, it took longer than anticipated so our Assistant Manager, Awilda ( which happens to have an MBA in Management, and you very disrecpecfully refer to her as "the cleaning lady ") greeted you. Your daughter, your husband and you , loved the room you chose, and were very impressed and happy with El Hotelito., So what happened ? How come you did not tell Awilda , or called me or my Son to let us know your unhappiness and grievances.
Nothing iof what you pointed out in your reviw is true and the real reason of you writting it ,comes out clearly.
We are not rude or arrogant , but having said that, we do not accept abusive reviews .
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
california
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed June 7, 2014

This place was great. The manager and owner were very nice. A little of there beaten path but sooooo worth the amazing sleep you get. I slept so well hearing all the sounds of the rainforest and periodic rain it was amazing. Very clean, and i loved their dogs too ;)

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jstace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed June 6, 2014

I booked this trip in advance and spoke with the owner over the phone. It sounded like a great place and I was very exciting to support an eco-hotel. I called the morning I planned to arrive to ensure I could check in early and the owner said it was fine and gave no information that his road was 1) dirt and very steep, 2) muddy, slippery and impassible without a 4-wheel drive after it rains. Unfortunately for us it had been raining on and off for the last couple of days and my girlfriend and I got stuck on the VERY STEEP and VERY MUDDY, DIRT ROAD. I tried to call to get help from the hotel but no one answered and I had to leave a message. Luckily, I am familiar with driving on dirt roads so I was able to stop the car once we started sliding down the hill because it was too muddy to get traction. This was extremely scary, to say the least, since the right side is a sheer drop off into the rainforest and trees, and the left side is a 3ft ditch that you wouldn't be able to get out of without a tow truck. After calming my girlfriend down and convincing her that I could get us down the road safely, I was able to back down the hill an inch at a time...seriously, an inch at a time. If I got too much speed the rental car, a Toyota corolla, would start sliding since it was a 45 degree hill and there was so much mud the tires would start slipping. It took over 20 minutes to back down to safe portion of the road where I could turn around. When I made it off the property and almost back down to town, I finally got a call back from Raphael. He didn't seem surprised, nor apologized for our tramatic experience. He actually said that we were going into the rainforest and should of expected that. I was offended for 3 reasons: 1) his detailed directions on the website NEVER mention a DIRT ROAD for the last 1/2 mile, 2) all the roads to the El Yunque rain forest are paved and we made it up those without any trouble, and 3) he put our lives, rental car and trip at risk. When I said I couldn't stay there because I couldn't make it up the road, he finally offered to give us a ride. Why didn't he offer that option when I called before even heading up the road? I told him I was not going to stay because we had no access in/out of the hotel, and had planned for a late bio bay tour. He would not budge on giving my deposit back and I don't think this was fair since I couldn't even reach the hotel. Overall, poor customer service and a hazardous road that is only passable when there is no rain, highly unlikely in a rainforest. Think about this before booking your trip.

Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
Helpful?
11 Thank Melissa C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brimfield, MA
Level Contributor
55 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed June 5, 2014

This is our fifth night on a nine day trip to PR and our favorite place so far. It is so nice to just get away from the hustle of city life and enjoy the tranquility of nature. After checking and and talking with the owners who are very friendly, we went for a long walk in the forest, so much plant life. Raphael made us a great dinner and joined us. The internet works great and Raphael gave us the run of the place. Would highly recommend this place

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Michael M
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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