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“Great escape for the week end” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel

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Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Santiago, Chile
Level Contributor
28 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Great escape for the week end”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 January 2014

Excelent choice if you want to enjoy a peaceful week end. The environment is unique as being immerged in the jungle, great location as very closed to Tayrona national Park.
The only inconvenient is the lack of hospitality from the lodge administrador, Juan. Don t forget to enjoy the restaurant by the beach managed by the local fishermen that makes a unique experience.

Room Tip: Room 2 has a breathtaking panoramic view
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank tguerin-latam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this review, 18 January 2014
We really appreciate your review. We are trying to build something truly special with Villa Maria, and reviews like yours help us grow. I'm sorry to hear about Juan. He does a lot behind the scenes for Villa Maria, and he must have been having an off day. Thank you for that commentary, since if something is not right, we would much rather know about it so we can fix it right away. We hope to see you soon!
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478 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (101)
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2014

I wish we had stayed here longer. This hotel is the jungle paradise of your dreams. When you wake and when you go to bed, you look out onto beautiful foliage and gorgeous mountain vistas. This toasty jungle paradise even offers distant views of snow covered peaks. A complicated path goes to one of the most beautiful, and certainly the most private, Caribbean beech that could be imagined. Much of the food served in the hotel's restaurant comes from the fishermen who bring their little boats to shore on the hotel's beach. The chicken's patrolling the hotel's perimeters also lay eggs for the guest breakfast. As a result, the kitchen produces some of the freshest morsels one could imagine. The accommodations are well done and the people running it are about as accommodating and pleasant as could be. I've stayed in some of the best hotels in the world. Villa Maria put most of these better known places to shame.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lee F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this review, 18 January 2014
Thanks so much for this review. We are very excited about Villa Maria as an addition to Kali Hotels. Being so unique and secluded, yet luxurious, and actually quite near to the attractions of Tayrona Park and many other great activities, Villa Maria is the only place in the area of its style. I liked your description of waking up and going to bed. It really captures our "toasty" jungle paradise! Thanks again, and we hope to see you soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
81 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 January 2014 via mobile

Awesome location above the jungle treetops, just a 10 min walk to your private beach, very friendly and helpful staff and owner, good food reasonably priced, perfect place to relax. And very close to parque tayrona. Just book it!! Best time of our colombia vacation!!

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank dd206cc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this review, 18 January 2014
Thanks for taking the time to review us. You could not have said it better. We are proud to offer this jungle retreat as a unique luxurious experience along this area of the coast. Thanks for putting up the pictures! We hope to see you again soon.
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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
65 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 January 2014

We loved our stay here. Our room, the grounds, and the pool were comfortable and beautiful. The staff was really friendly. The hotel is a 10-minute bus ride from Tayrona National Park. The food was good. The hotel is small, so book early.

My husband and I stayed in Grand View Lower Suite for two relaxing nights. It had sweeping views of the ocean and jungle.The room was comfortable, clean and well designed. Sunsets and sunrises were gorgeous. It was plenty spacious for two people. It had no TV or WiFi, so bring a book. It could have used a table.

Our room was a short walk from the large pool, which also has a great view of the jungle, and the main building with the dining room. The grounds are well maintained and have lights, but I benefited from bringing headlamp for the dark.

A note on the jungle: Yes, you are in it, in the tropics, so yes, there are large bugs. But there were no bugs in our room. We didn't need to use the mosquito net since we were careful about keeping the doors shut. But some very large flying things will stick to the outside of your room on the window screens. Think of it as a real-life scene from a David Attenborough episode.

We found the staff friendly and helpful. (And in the staff, I include the two big adorable dogs that greeted us at every meal.) They don't speak a lot of English, but likely some of the other guests can translate if you need it. Staff members walked us to the secluded beach, where you can swim, 10 minutes away, and they made sure we took the bus the right direction to the park. Since we stayed at Villa Maria's sister hotels in Santa Marta and Cartagena, the staff helped us arrange our transportation back and forth.

The meals are ample and tasty, but the menu is the same each day. It's chicken, fish (amazing fish!!), and meat each night. If i had one suggestion for the hotel, it's to vary the meal menu.

But otherwise, enjoy your stay. It's a luxurious way to enjoy Tayrona National Park and its surroundings. It's a good value by international standards.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LittleMySF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this review, 7 January 2014
This might be the most eloquent and accurate description of Villa Maria I have ever read. Thanks so much for your kind words. We have recently printed a new menu with 6 varying choices for lunch and dinner. We are planning to build a few more cabins with elevated terraces over the jungle in another section of Villa Maria, so we hope you return to see the new rooms!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Medellin, Colombia
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 January 2014

Casa de Maria, a Kali Hotel, is not only a hotel, but an out of the way, northern Colombia jungle retreat. If you get the top house, each morning when you arise, you are surrounded by vistas of forest and sea. This large property is ideally located a short walk from the sea, where you’ll find the most private beach I’ve ever seen in Colombia, and it is wide and long. You’ll not find any aggressive vendors, and in fact we were the only people there. Mother Nature is at her best on the well kept hotel grounds and refreshing swimmimg pool. Dining is in the lower house, it’s meant to be casual, and the staff are humble and are being themselves, (the best kind of staff!) The food was great, but make sure you try the restaurant on the beach for a rustic feeling away from all the typical tourist hassels.

Overall, a fantastic stay and conveniently located minutes from Tayrona National Park. This is the closest my wife and I will ever have of a Tarzan and Jane experience!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank NOprcline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this review, 3 January 2014
Thank you so much for this review. We are very proud to offer this unique property as a stand alone vacation destination, as well as part of a package with our other Kali hotels. As you mentioned, the beach is still pristine - you only share is with the local fisherman! Its great that you tried to lunch offered on the beach. The fisherman are very happy to cook you up the day's catch under shade of their cabana. Thanks again for your coming, and we hope to see you again soon!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 December 2013

Previous reviews have pretty much said it all about the location, it really is amazing; both where the hotel itself is and the stunning beaches nearby that you can have to yourself (unlikely to happen in the park itself). The pool is lovely with great views and, again, given there are only four rooms, this is virtually 'private' as well. Definitely worth getting there if you can although i suspect booking well in advance is going to be necessary in the not too distant future.
My only 'buts' are these:
The check out experience was bizarre. The manager (Juan Diego) just shows you a calculator with a number punched in and informs you that is what you have to pay. When i asked for a breakdown this seemed to cause him considerable irritation (not sure why, this must happen all the time, indeed we overheard the same thing happening with other guests earlier the same day). I obviously knew the room rate we had booked at but this needs to be confirmed and i didn't know how the final balance had been arrived at as the cost of food had never been mentioned (it should be discussed during check in). It also turned out that a 'propina' had been added which Juan Diego ,without waiting for me to agree, immediately assumed i would want removed and started to scribble out a receipt that excluded it. As it happened, once i understood what he had done, i was happy to include it (i sincerely hope it goes to the lovely natured staff) but the whole experience was unprofessional and disappointing. In addition he had an open wound on one finger which looked as if it was in need of urgent medical attention and should certainly have been covered up and not on view to guests. In terms of being helpful with regard to getting around the local area we had more luck with the guy in the local shop who gave us precise instructions and even stopped the bus for us and told the driver where to drop us. Juan Diegos advice boiled down to 'its about 15 minutes in that direction'. Not impressed with him at all and he lets the Villa Maria down.
Other reviews have mentioned the food and it seems it is what it is (simple but generally Ok although on the second night my girlfriends fish was virtually raw) but it seems a shame to have a good quality BBQ on the porch and never use it - would be an easy way to introduce some variety as would swapping rice for a baked potato occasionally for example.
Its such a special place i feel bad pointing these things out but they are important and they did have an impact on our overall enjoyment of our stay.

Room Tip: We were in room 1 which is the smallest and doesnt have a tv. The new rooms (3 and 4) probably have...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank icantfindanAm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this review, 20 December 2013
Thank you for your review. We are so happy to have accommodated you during your stay here on the Colombian coast. I'm glad you mentioned the pristine beach in front of Villa Maria. Part of the reason we are so passionate about our location is the fact that the beach compares to Tayrona Park in quality but is much less crowded with easier access.

I am so sorry about the "buts" you had during your experience. They are quality suggestions that we appreciate and have used them to improve Villa Maria. Here's how:

We have an online booking and property management system that we can access from our operations base in Santa Marta. Having recently installed a limited access mobile internet modem out there, we can now access our property management system directly from the computer at Villa Maria. This allows us to show detailed invoices at checkout, alter them accordingly, and even print them so you can take them with you. Our previous system was the best we could do without internet, but since your visit it has gotten much more sophisticated.

The propina is a completely voluntary add on to your bill. We try to accept all tips via the credit card charge so they can be fully shared among all employees. We used to calculate a 4% tip, but many guests had mentioned they felt it was too low, so we changed it to 5%.

In the future, if any employee (including the manager) has an open wound, we of course will be sure to have them treat the problem and have someone else handle the situation at hand.

Again, thank you so much for your feedback. We cannot see all things at all times and greatly appreciate it when shortcomings are pointed out so we can correct them as soon as possible.

We hope to see you again and blow you away with our service and quality!
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Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for 3 nights in room 1 and our friends stayed in room 4. The property was very rustic with chickens/roosters roaming around and lots of fruit trees. The pool was nicer than expected. They cooked breakfast and dinner for us every day.
Pros: great property in tayrona, friendly staff, relaxing, short ride to the park entrance, nice quiet beach in walking distance, can hear the ocean from your room, nice views - rooms 3 and 4 are the best on the property.
Cons: dont stay here if you don't like bugs - it's in the jungle and its to be expected but if you aren't looking for rustic this isn't the place for you. They don't speak any English so it was difficult to communicate. Other guests helped us translate so we got by. The dinners are basically the same food every day but good and simple (we loved the homemade picante sauce!) - costs about 50k for two people per dinner.

Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank PreilavTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacob_Schwarz, Owner at Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel, responded to this review, 15 December 2013
Thank you so much for the review. We are very proud to offer our jungle retreat by itself, or as an addition to your Santa Marta vacation. We try to offer the highest level of luxury possible for the rural location. We are in the process of developing a more complicated menu, so next time you come, we hope you will be pleasantly surprised!
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Additional Information about Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel

Property: Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel
Address: Troncal Del Caribe Km 34 | (3km on the Main Road From Entrance of Park), Tayrona National Park, Colombia
Region: Colombia > Magdalena Department > Santa Marta District > Tayrona National Park
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Tayrona National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Villa Maria Tayrona - a Kali Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Villa Maria combines natural beauty with the comfort of a luxurious resort and the intimacy of your personal country retreat. Surrounded by lush jungle overlooking the ocean, you relax in the shade next to your private swimming pool. Our staff will give you the best welcoming. As you walk the 5 minutes path on your way to the virgin, white sand beach, you will pick avocados, papayas, and bananas right off the tree. Attended by a 24-hour staff, Villa Maria provides daily cleaning, free breakfast, air conditioning, meals upon request, and of course, lots of fresh air. Just 45 minutes from the Old City of Santa Marta, you can expect the same superior quality of amenities and personal service as at all Kali hotels. At Villa Maria, you choose your own agenda. With our on-site staff, all of your needs will be anticipated and met. Drink juice directly from coconuts harvested 10 feet away, or eat fresh fish caught just in front of the local beach. Located 3 kilometres from the entrance to Tayrona National Park, the Villa keeps you close to the park's legendary beaches while giving you the privacy of your own home. Furthermore Villa Maria is the only hotel in the area offering hot water and a/c in the rooms. Local attractions of Quebrada Valencia, the trek to La Ciudad Perdida, and Orinoco can be reached with ease. Our network of hiking trails gives you the authentic sense of exploration felt by the area's first pioneers. Surfing, sunbathing, swimming in waterfalls, or simply walking the grounds will make you cherish every moment you spend at this slice of paradise. At the end of the day, satisfy all of your senses with a comfortable bed and the iconic aroma of the Ylang-Ylang flower, made famous by Chanel No. 5, growing on our gardens. ... more   less 
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