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“worthy of the drive”

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Casa Grande Mountain Retreat
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Utuado
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Aurora, Illinois
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“worthy of the drive”
Reviewed 30 May 2009

The location is breath taking...if you are looking for a relaxing retreat this is the place for you. The rooms are sparsely furnished-reminiscent of a summer camp which was fine with the exception there is no good place to set anything in the bathroom or really in the bedroom either. I found the bed and pillows in need of replacing (not much life left in them) but we spent very little time in our room/cabin. The outdoor views were breathtaking and I would definitely stay there again, but probably bringing my own pillow.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank querqus
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 review, 3 June 2009
We're in the process of upgrading the guest accommodations. We're installing a four basket closet organizer for easy storage of clothing and personal items in the bedroom. We're also replacing the very small wall mounted bathroom sink with an attractive European style overhang sink, cherrywood vanity and matching mirror. It has the effect of transforming the bathroom into a very attractive space. These changes will provide more areas for the guest's belongings.

We'll check on the pillows and beds as we haven't had a complaint in quite some time. The mattresses were replaced not many years ago . It's much easier to address issues like this when the guest tells us about it during the stay so we know which room is the subject of criticism. Nevertheless, we appreciate the feedback.
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497 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (83)
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Vermont
1 review
Reviewed 25 May 2009

My husband and I visited Casa Grande with our non-mobile 11 month old,a nd had a wonderful time. The drive was as expected, per others descriptions. We stopped in Utuado to stock up on a few baby supplies and snack items. They do not serve lunch at Casa Grande, and your options are quite limited if you are not touring the area.
We were a bit disappointed with the hiking options: there is only a written description for a 2 hr hike that basically stuck to paved roads through the local village. It was pretty, but not a woodsy hike that we were hoping for. There was no mention of a guided hike with Steve, although I heard you could pay extra for that. Not interested.
I did yoga one morning with Steve, which was great--the studio is fantastic and worth a peak.
The food was good--nothing incredibly exciting, but enjoyable sitting out on the terrace., and a nice bar.
As for traveling with a young child: the staff was very accomodating to us and our daughter, but she was also very well-behaved. She sat and played quietly during meals, was not yet crawling, so was content to just sit. She fell asleep quickly, and napped long and hard, and slept quietly all night, so I don't believe she disturbed the other guests at all. You can hear talking in the other rooms, and if she had been crying I would have been more worried. If she had been mobile I would have been much more nervous about her in our room, as the balconies are a big drop off to the ground. The pool was a little chilly for her, but she enjoyed it nonetheless.
The highlight for me was a hot-stones massage with Helene. I have had many massages, and this was the best massage ever. She is very talented and experienced, and it was incredible. I convinced my husband to get one as well, and he loved it.
All in all, very relaxing, lovely sweet little place.

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank EmmyBVermont
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florida
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 May 2009

My husband and I visited this property last year and I forgot to write a review at that time. However, after reading several negative "nit-picking" reviews, I feel that I must respond. This property is somewhat remote...several hours drive from San Juan, so our expectations were realistic regarding the accommodations...actually they exceeded our expectations. Cottages, each composed of 4 separate units, are situated among beautiful, meticulously maintained gardens, surrounded by a rainforest for as far as you can see. The rooms were small, but adequate with minimal but tasteful furnishings. There was some noise in the early evening hours from the road, however, at night it was dead quiet. Of course, if the place was loaded with party animals, the experience would be quite different but lets be realistic. The food and service at the restaurant was what you would expect from a country lodge, OK, but not 5 star. We found
the staff to be polite and accommodating. It is hard to believe that the complaints are justified. This is not a hotel...and to expect the same amenities as a hotel is naive to say the least. Book a room at El Convento, like we did after our stay at the Casa Grande. Then open up the discussion regarding value vs pricing.

  • Liked — The setting was absolutely beautiful
  • Disliked — The beds were a bit hard...a padded mattress pad or pillow top would make the bed more comfortable.
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
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Helpful?
1 Thank Catherine_Gerry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
boston
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 7 May 2009

The enduring image I have is of an exquisitely beautiful well-tended place nestled in a valley in the hills north of Utuado, Puerto Rico. It is incredibly quiet during the day, and as the night falls, the sounds of the night -- coquies ( tree frogs) crickets, a variety of nightbirds, fill the night. There can be a torrential afternoon or evening rain, then by morning a dazzling light pouring through the green scenery and through the carefully cultivated gardens of the grounds of this group of cabins.
Each unit is very modest, simple, and clean. No air conditioning, but an overhead fan – a hammock outside on the porch of each unit. This place suited me / us as a perfect place to leave the city, and crowded work schedules behind. No radio or TV here ...an abundance of nature; a walking trail through the thick woods and hills of the driveway, and a more substantial 3 hour hike to a secret waterfall.
Steve, the host and owner, has been there for many years, and has been prompt and responsive to ay of our inquiries or requests, and the restaurant waitstaff were equally responsive. Meals available were breakfast and supper, I found the menu to be varied, flavorful and well-cooked. Much of the fruit even came from the grounds of Casa Grande. Each morning before breakfast I had (beginners) yoga lessons with Steve, who is a certified Kipalu yoga instructor. The swimming pool was a refreshing change
to cool off after a hike…
I hope, selfishly, that the long and winding roads that eventually bring the visitor to Casa Grande do not get enhanced soon, so that the quiet privacy of this retreat is preserved. (Roadside bar-restaurants with fresh-grilled food and local jibaro music appear in the last stretch of road from Utuado to Casa Grande)
I have returned many times – and each time have found new qualities to appreciate -- a place where I read, wrote, meditated, hiked, rested… breathed… and it was not too far by car tlako drive to the nearby lake and towns to explore.
I highly recommend Casa Grande for individuals, couples, groups wishing to conduct a retreat – there is a meeting hall available. –“super tranquilo” is an adjective
I have heard other Puerto Rican residents use on several occasions to describe Casa Grande Mountain Retreat….

  • Stayed May 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank acuerdo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Juan
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2009

Casa Grande is a small mountain inn situated in a lovely valley among the Utuado mountains (central Puerto Rico). The inn is quite small - only about 20 rooms spread among 5 cottages. The best part is, if you travel in the "cool" time of year (Nov - April) the fact there's no A/C is wonderful. We stayed over Easter weekend and the temp at night would easily go down to 55deg. When you're surrounded by mountains and dense vegetation - it's wonderful!

The rooms: small, thin walls (speak low and mind the neighbors, and they'll return the favor), and a very basic bathroom. This Inn has been voted best "green" in numerous times, so the soap is eco-friendly and they don't provide shampoo. Likewise towels are thin, and no extra blankets provided. We live in San Juan, so I brought my nap blanket, which came very handy around 2am.

The balcony - so (wonderfully) deceptive! This simple balcony and hammock will take hold of you and you will find yourself napping quite a lot. It's great! We had cabin # 8, which is the most private. It has a lovely giant fern outside the balcony next to the hammock. Awesome.

Food was nice. Local cuisine. They don't serve lunch, so make sure to plan activities ahead of time. Morning yoga classes offered daily. When we were there a lovely young girl offered a number of spa treatments and massages, very nice when you're in such a relaxing location! We'll definitely return to Casa Grande.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank dcc524
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2009

It seems that some others on this site have already eluded to this but I want to also confirm that you will be nickel and dimed at this location. My friend and I paid almost $14.00 just for coffee one morning during a lesser busy day of our stay. I have never stayed anywhere where they literally charge you for every cup of coffee, especially when the cups are miniature size, so of course you are going to drink more than one cup. The next day we noticed a buffet with all you can drink coffee. When we confronted the front desk upon checkout about the coffee issue, no attempt was made whatsoever to remove or reduce the charges for coffee on our total bill. Since I am in the travel industry I stay all of the world in different types of habitats but I have never been charged $14.00 for my coffee consumption, especially in a locale that grows coffee. While the only dinner that we had on-site had great service, I cannot say the same for the breakfast. Their was one particular female server who obviously did not want to be there for whatever reason and it showed. The only words she said to me during the entire week was an inquiry about my laptop. Of course, I kept my laptop with me during the entire week out of fear it would disappear.

Then there's the phone service. There is absolutely no phone service available. Your cell phone won't work and they won't let you use the only landline available. They will however allow you to use an local cell phone which also seems to have the same lack of coverage but at a rate of 2.00 for the first minute and then an additional fee for each minute thereafter. Since this phone didn't have any better coverage than our own, we chose against it.

Then there's the wireless internet that is limited. When we booked this room, we were told that each room had wireless service. Upon arrival, we found that the only true location for wireless was the restaurant, lobby and pool area. This was very inconvenient, especially since there was no phone coverage. I'm not big on talking on the phone, but when you're trying to make appointments for outings such as fishing, boating, rock-climbing or any other local adventures, you need to have some sort of phone coverage.

The first night we were there, I noticed no hot water. So the next morning, we made sure we were the first to shower so that we weren't forced to take cold showers.

Overall, I found that there were indeed other hotels that we could have stayed but were not listed on travel sites, so I am taking every initiative to make sure these other locations are listed so no one feels that Casa Grande is their only option. We certainly felt this way when it came to the restaurant. We found numerous restaurants that offered much better service and a broader menu. One of our favorites was lakeside in Utuado called Rancho Marina which is run by Vivian and Harry. They offered great service and a very nice setting as well as a great menu.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sdunlap
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 review, 1 May 2009
Coffee is $1.75 per person with generous refills. Upon request we serve a large pot which makes about 6 cups for $5.25. The reviewer ordered coffee for two, then order a large pot and yet another order for two thereafter. The total was $12.25.

We recently contracted with Centennial for a cellphone exclusively available for the use of our guests. To offset our rental expense we charge $1.00 for the first two minutes and 20 cents for each minute thereafter.

We do not advertise wireless internet as its main function is operating our front office. The router provides coverage around the hacienda, not to the guest rooms. We would never tell anyone there is wireless service in each room.
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Draper, Utah
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2009

Disclaimer: My wife and I were put in a room right above the road, which means every 2-3 hours, when a car raced by, it was very noise. I imagine other rooms would yield a better experience than ours. If you stay here, try very much to get a room away from the road!
I think 3 1/2 stars is more accurate, but I'll have to settle for three. My wife and I are not too picky. We pretty much keep to ourselves and don't require much attention in terms of service and we certainly don't demand 'fancy' accommodations.
I really like the location of Casa Grande, it really is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by lush rain forest. The roads are extremely windy in the area, but I thought it was fun (in our rental car :) If you like to sit around and look at the rainforest and read a book, do yoga or maybe go on some hikes, then this place will be great for you. My wife and I stayed here two nights and went to Arecibo Observatory (which was cool) and Rio Camuy (which was also cool). Other than that there is nothing to do around here. The closest town, Utuado, is also small with nothing to do.
You can pretty much plan on eating at the restaurant in the hotel, unless you want to adventure to Utuado and dig something up (probably 20 or so minutes away by car). The service was slow and carefree (as they say in Fiji: "no hurries, no worries"). We thought the food was decent though, and slightly overpriced.
The room was basically like a Motel 6 (hey you're in the middle of the rainforest), but the windows aren't covered in glass, only a screen for insects and shutters that close to block light. That means if you are in the room next to the road, any cars driving by are VERY loud, and I'm a moderately heavy sleeper. Also the walls are super thin, so be prepared to hear everything that your neighbors are doing, as well as their screaming children. Maybe bring some Ambien.
In Sum:
I liked the location (I think rainforests are cool)
I would like the room if it was away from the road
The service was poor, but that's just a Puerto Rico thing, so deal with it

I would probably recommend it to a friend just for the one of a kind experience. Just get a room away from the road! Also be prepared with what you want to do all day in advance, you will need to entertain yourself here. Oh, did I mention get a room away from the road?

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank metamer6
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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