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“Sll I can say is tranquillity”

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Casa Grande Mountain Retreat
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Utuado
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 26 August 2013 via mobile

If you want peace, relaxation and forget your troubles this is the place. Very nice location surrounded by nature you will hear occasionally a car go by the road down. Food was surprisingly pleasant and the location of the dinning area makes the experience even better.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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Thank TRL614
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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165 - 171 of 503 reviews

Reviewed 22 August 2013

Casa Grande is a mountain retreat offering peace and tranquility. A great getaway and away from tourists and the hustle and bustle of the city. Definitely worth a visit. The owner, Steve, is from New York and has relocated to Puerto Rico to run Casa Grande. He can give you many tips about the area and what to do.

  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank LenKap70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2013

Upon check in to Casa Grande, we were told that if we decided to leave early, we would still be charged for the full reservation-- perfect foreshadowing for our stay at the retreat.

I'll start by saying that the grounds at Casa Grande are absolutely beautiful and the place has enormous potential but it is far from met. It bills itself as an eco-friendly retreat and it is somewhat eco-friendly in the sense that it is extremely spartan (no AC/TV/etc. lowers energy consumption); however, bleach and Fabuloso are used for cleaning/laundering so I suspect the eco theme is more of a cost saving measure than genuine philosophy. Also, many non-native plants on the grounds are labeled but no natives-- again, just doesn't jive with the eco theme.

When we got to our room, we found that 1. we were given a room with no view despite being one of four families staying at the fairly large retreat and 2. there was no smoke detector in the room (wooden structure). When I alerted the front desk that there was no smoke detector, I was told that "smoking is not allowed at the property." Uhhhh.....? I told her I needed a room with a smoke detector and she said she would check if any of the other doubles had one. They did not. At dinner, the owner, Steven, came to our table to discuss the smoke detector and he told me (quite condescendingly) smoking was not allowed on the property and that they hadn't had a fire in 25 years but he provided us with his cell phone number in case one started (no cell service up there though, and the hotel phone is locked up at night- thanks). Fortunately, they did not have a fire in 25 years and one day- we survived the night and a detector was installed the next morning. Smoke detectors need to be installed immediately in all rooms, though- this is extremely unsafe, illegal in PR, and Steven needs to understand that cigarette smoking is not the only cause of fires.

Beyond this, we were extremely disappointed with:
1. Low quality, springy/creaky beds (the kind on which you roll to the middle) that need to be upgraded/updated
2. Signs everywhere telling you what not to do (quiet hours, don't lean back in chairs, don't use too much toilet paper, TV's prohibited-- come on, who is going to bring a plasma on vacation?). Very controlling atmosphere.
3. Cloudy pool (filter is on a timer and needs to be run more) that closes at 6pm
4. Ridiculous reading library- nothing regional, intellectual, or entertaining
5. No suggested tours/activities in the area and barely functioning wifi in the lobby so no ability to do internet research on your own.
6. Really mediocre and slightly overpriced food (we ate dinner the first night and were turned off to it for the rest of the stay).
7. NO COFFEE BEFORE 8am. Seriously. There are no coffee/hot water pots in the room and the kitchen is locked up so you can't have coffee until the restaurant opens and then you have to pay for it.
8. Liquid soap dispensers were the only toiletries- from a yoga/eco retreat, I was expecting cute, eco-friendly hippie soaps and lotions.
9. No check-out before 8am. We could not wait to get out of there but we had to. I'm sure we probably could have arranged something the night before but we should not have had to. Again with the control.

Really, we would have been delighted with this place if we had planned for a camping cabin in a State Park- brought a grill and some food, prepped more in advance for stuff to do during the day, etc. For $150/night (including tax), however, much more comfort, safety, fun, COFFEE, and hospitality, and much less control should be provided. This place could be an awesome destination but it was really an unfortunate low point in our otherwise great vacation.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank geoem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
proprietor44, Owner at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 24 August 2013

We're glad you appreciated the grounds and landscaping at Casa Grande.

1. Standard hotel policy worldwide requires payment for all nights reserved once a guest checks in, even if the guest curtails the stay. Of course, we make exceptions for emergencies and other extenuating circumstances.
2. All guest comments about our plant signage have been very positive. They enjoy learning the names and origins of the large variety of plants, flowers and trees.
3. Our rooms have lovely views of the mountains that surround the river valley that is home to Casa Grande.
4. Our beds are high quality commercial grade and are checked regularly by our housekeeping department. When necessary we purchase new beds and donate the old ones to needy community members.
5. We use signage to enhance the guest experience, not to control them. We're concerned about their safety and want to provide the most peaceful stay possible.
6. We have an informal library exchange for guests to leave and take books during their travels.
7. Our front desk managers are knowledgeable and glad to assist our guests interested in tours and nearby activities.
8. Internet service is via satellite and is the fastest speed available in this somewhat remote area.
9. The large majority of our guests are quite pleased with the restaurant experience and find the prices fair and reasonable.
10. Unless we're serving buffet style, we do charge for coffee and tea.
11. We eliminated wrapped soap bars and plastic containers and replaced them with liquid dispensers. The one at the sink contains hand soap and the one in the shower has a combined body wash/shampoo. By making this choice we've eliminated a lot of unnecessary waste.
12. If guests let us know they're leaving before the office opens in the morning, we're pleased to check them out the night before.

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Reviewed 18 July 2013

My wife, son, his girlfriend, and I had just spent the day at Arecibo Radio Observatory (great!) and the Camuy Caves (massive!) and we relished a relaxing evening. Casa Grande fulfilled that dream. We had called earlier that morning and the friendly staff immediately had reserved our 2 rooms. Please note: all the guidebooks we found have the wrong phone number; it is now 888-343-2272 or 787-894-3939, or cell 787-894-3900. The guidebooks, such as Lonely Planet, missed another thing - they do serve dinner. Our room was along a set of walkways, with just 4 rooms to a cluster, the cluster being set amid tropical vegetation. No radios, no TV - bliss! Only the sound of coqui frogs calling and some other native species joining in. The grounds have many plants nicely arranged and identified, offering a fine stroll after breakfast. Breakfast is on a terrace, where one looks out over the forest. We watched the clumps of tall bamboo among the trees waving elegantly in the breeze. Alas, we had only one day, as we were moving on to Ponce, another great place to be.

Room Tip: All the rooms are set in small clusters amid the forest along walkways. I don't think one can g...
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank vince35nations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
proprietor44, Owner at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 19 July 2013

Thanks for taking the time to share your Casa Grande experience with the Tripadvisor community, Need I say we're thrilled with your feedback? We have no toll free number any longer. Our landlines are 787-894-3939 and 787-894-3900. Our cellphone number is 939-717-0333.

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Reviewed 16 July 2013

What a special place to stay at. We only stayed 1 night and loved every last minute of it. Nice staff, beautiful grounds, great view and good food too. If you need cell phone service, A/C, television and music this is not the place for you, although there is free WiFi in the restaurant area.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank ajones0630
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2013

If you are looking for a secluded get-away spot, this is sooooo it. Beautiful scenery, peaceful surroundings, and nice accomodations. This is not luxury, this is Ahhhhhhh, relax. Rooms are comfortable, clean, free of bugs and other creepy crawlies. Hot water, and cieling fan. No TV, no radio, no AC, none needed. The pool is great and the food is wonderful. Also, there are great PR Cuisine rests., within a stone's throw away. Hiking trail on the property, and the Dos Bocas and Caonillas lakes a nearby, the former surrounded by great restaurants which you can get to by boat and enjoy the ride on the Dos Bocas lake. The staff is excellent, and fully bilingual. Cel phone reception is non existent, which makes it easier to truly disconnect. There is WiFi service at the main restaurant and reception area but it is slow and drops constantly, but again its great for the disconnect of everyday hustle and bustle. Definately recommend, and will visit again sooooooon!!!! This sleepless beachcomber was truly at peace with this place.

Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
Thank sleeplessbeachcomber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2013

I hosted a yoga retreat here Memorial Day weekend and everything was absolutely fantastic.

To start, Steven, the owner of the resort, was incredibly patient with me the months beforehand as we planned the retreat. I must have sent him a thousand questions and he was always beyond helpful. He helped us plan the entire thing, recommended transportation, worked with our schedule, organized our outside activities and even made it a point to accommodate my groups multiple dietary restrictions which was no easy task.

The resort is immaculately maintained and beautiful. The rooms were exactly as expected for a retreat center, plain, simple, clean and beautifully peaceful. I particularly loved the hammocks outside. I spent time reading in my hammock every day while we were there. The yoga room is large and serene, decorated in iron work and antique wood. We practiced every day with doors open, enjoying the breeze. There is even a special room for massage up the hill that is a really magical space in the rain.

The food was fantastic. They gave us vegan and gluten free choices for every meal with meat options on the side for those so inclined. They have a bar, but also offered tea at night, and some of the best coffee ever. I think everyone in my group brought coffee home.

Steven and his staff were just as accommodating while we were there. We brought a 72 year old woman with us on the waterfall hike (which I HIGHLY recommend) and Jose helped her along the entire way. She made it to the waterfall! We were gone so long that Steven got concerned and came looking for us. The next day, he spent 3 + hours of his day off helping us in a very special mission we decided to take on.

One of my primary concerns was that it would be hot at the end of May, but it was never hot at all. There was always a really sweet mountain breeze. The evenings were even cool enough for blankets and long sleeves!

I can not possibly recommend Casa Grande, Steven and his staff highly enough. Go here. Its a very special place.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank jeninstpete
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Casa Grande Mountain Retreat

Address: Road 612, Km. 0.3 | Barrio Caonillas, Utuado 00641, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Utuado
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Utuado
Price Range: £85 - £92 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Casa Grande Mountain Retreat 2.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in a valley in Puerto Rico's central mountains, Casa Grande is an oasis of peace and tranquility. 20 rooms scattered up the mountainside, each with private bath, balcony and hammock. Freshwater pool, restaurant and bar. The Café serves comida criolla, contemporary dishes and vegetarian options. Fully equipped yoga facility offering morning class, birder's paradise, botanical gardens and woodland hiking trail. Near Camuy Caves, Arecibo Observatory, Caguana Ceremonial Park, Toro Negro and Rio Abajo Forests. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Casa Grande Mountain Retreat Hotel Utuado
Casa Grande Mountain Retreat Puerto Rico/Utuado

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