We recently spent a peaceful week at Casa Lotus in the room closer to Villa Serena and were more than happy with our experience. This is surely the best choice for a relaxing and pleasant stay in Las Galeras.
Teresa and her property are a charming mix of Caribbean and European styles, both welcoming and formal in all the right ways. Because the guest house is so small, you can expect to be treated as a friend from the minute you arrive. Teresa was helpful in arranging taxi service for us (from the bus station in Samaná at the beginning of our stay and to El Catey airport at the end), making whale watching and dinner reservations for us as needed, and giving general advice about where to go and how much we should expect to pay. One morning she, along with her handyman/driver Orlando, even accompanied us on a short excursion to a whale-watch lookout point and a natural stone arch, after suggesting it at breakfast. Both were quiet, beautiful spots off the usual tourist circuit, and we were grateful for the opportunity to visit them.
Teresa’s assistant Lucy deserves special mention for preparing excellent breakfasts (eggs to order, homemade coconut bread, fresh fruit and juice, coffee, homemade lemongrass tea, pineapple jam, and honey) and keeping everything spotlessly clean. She has the biggest smiles and friendliest personality you could hope for, as well as an impressive ability to suppress amusement at my embarrassing Spanish.
The location could not be better, with all of the beauty and quiet of Villa Serena next door, but at decidedly lower prices. The only noises you hear at night are from the tree frogs and exotic tropical insect life, plus a bit of surf. The view of the small offshore island is magical. It’s a short walk (not much more than five minutes) to the main street in town, either along the road or along the waterfront, past Villa Serena and a couple of private properties. La Playita is a bit further in the other direction, through a different private residence development, but still not more than ten or fifteen minutes. Samaná can be reached by guagua (either a modified pickup or a large van) from the main road for 100 pesos per person. Other beaches can be reached by boat after you negotiate a price with the boat captains on the main beach in Las Galeras.
The property itself is lovely but showing its age a bit. The picnic tables and hammock on the grounds could probably use some repairs, and some details in the rooms could use an update, as well. There was nothing major wrong, though, and some repairs were already being undertaken during our stay, so nothing here would deter us from returning. The gardens are in great shape, well-tended but naturalistic in appearance, with flowering shrubs, banana trees, cacti, and many coconut palms. There are lots of shy little lizards and cute hermit crabs around, as well as mourning doves, orioles, and other birds. The rocky coast at the front of the property lets you get just close enough to the water to explore a bit without getting wet.
The rooms and public areas are decorated with small sculptures, lamps, paintings, and mobiles made, I believe, by Teresa herself, much of it of the driftwood/seashell/fan coral variety. It’s true that there are neither glass nor screens in the windows, and there were a few mosquitoes (as well as an unwelcome appearance by what appeared to be Gregor Samsa one evening), but nothing terrible, and using the mosquito nets over the beds prevented any serious blood donations to the local fauna. As befits the atmosphere, there are no TVs, radios, alarm clocks, or air conditioners, but there are sufficient power outlets and a working WiFi signal, as well as a powerful fan (not really needed, at least at this time of year) and decent lighting. Our room had two beds, one full and one single, but the full bed was really just a full mattress perched on a modified platform atop a single bed frame. The foam mattresses are a bit thin and might be nearing the end of their useful lives.
One thing to keep in mind is that Teresa spends only the winters in Las Galeras now; at other times of year you are unlikely to see her, but I have no doubts that Lucy runs a tight ship in her absence, so there should be no worries on that front. Another thing to keep in mind is that the property is currently for sale, so things could be changing soon. I can only hope that the new owners will be as friendly and professional as Teresa and her staff. In any case, we feel lucky to have met Teresa and to have stayed at Casa Lotus during her tenure there.
- Also Known As:
- Casa Lotus Samana, Dominican Republic