The Lonely Planet guidebook had us thinking this place was both really unique and really distinctive as a place of retreat (it was "Top Rated"). Perhaps we set our expectations too high. It is located in a very nice setting, the original "Casa Grande" restaurant/lobby area is distinctive, and the pool is nice, but beyond that it seemed pretty average. The actual quad-plex style cabins are well-maintained, but rather 1970s in style and don't really take full advantage of the views offerd. The restaurant is good and the staff are very friendly, but the menu is generally limited, and extremely limited for vegetarians. Vegans should bring their own supplies.
Overall, Casa Grande seemed more like a "resort" than a "retreat". I've lived at and worked at Tassajara Zen Retreat Center and Green Gulch Farm Zen Center (in California) and though everyone's got their own definition of these words, aside from the fact that Casa Grande offers a morning yoga class, I'm not sure what distinguishes it as a "retreat" rather than your typical "lodging in a beautiful place." If you're looking for a truly unique place with some real character in a nearby and similar (but even more beautiful) setting, check out my review for TJ Ranch.
- 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