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“Dirty and overpriced hotel”

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Hotel San Buenaventura de Atitlan
Ranked #12 of 29 Hotels in Panajachel
Atlanta
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Dirty and overpriced hotel”
Reviewed 14 April 2013

This place is dirty and old, terribly overpriced and not worth your time. We were the only ones there so it was quite creepy, every other nearby hotel was full. Rooms are basic and dated like a 1970's roadside motel, and they reek of mildew. Location is just far enough out of town that walking is not possible or safe, so you have to drive and then pay for parking. Stay elsewhere and sac your money.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank nurseladyAtlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Riveradellago, Manager at Hotel San Buenaventura de Atitlan, responded to this review, 9 June 2013
It is unfortunate for all parties when a dissatisfied guest does not elevate a problem or misunderstanding. to the attention of management at the time it arises. It may be that the employee at the reception desk didn´t do everything possible to rectify a legitimate problem. But, we had no opportunity to react and we have no way to investigate this complaint as to where any real fault might lie because it only came to us through a Tripadvisor report, and we don´t know the details of the guest´s time of arrival or room assignment. Our hotel is committed to customer satisfaction. If we had known of dirty conditions, we would have corrected these immediately. Our policy is that all rooms are preinspected for cleanliness and appearance before occupied. Management only learned of this dissatisfaction much beyond the fact. Our standards do not permit mold or dirt on rooms to be occupied. Our prices are in line with services offered (swimming pool, private beach, sauna, restaurant, private hiking trails adjacent to the Nature Reserve, etc.). Our location is imcomparable, i.e., lakeside on the edge of a coffee plantation. The modest distance to town is a logical trade-off for this. We cooperate with neighboring hotels. If we cannot satisfy a client, we will recommend an alternative in the same price range. There are always available in April. It is low season!
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82 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
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English first
Venice, CA
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2012

My parents an I stayed for 3 nights in February 2012 at the Hotel San Buenaventura in Panajachelo, Guatemala. AFTER checking in, we found out the hotel policy is that as soon as you check in, none of the days you have booked are refundable. If you cancel your reservation PRIOR to checking in, you are only held accountable for the one night. We quickly realized why this was their policy.
From a first quick glance, the hotel grounds are luscious, charming, and awe inspiring with gorgeous views of the lake and surrounding volcanos. However, after we were shown our room and left to look around our suite, the wind was very quickly let out of our sails. While the structures themselves that house the suites are amazing...furnishings are horrribly outdated, old and beaten up. The beds felt like box springs. There is no sleeping on them. The couch/beds are in the living room/ upstairs areas of the suites are far and away the only possible way to catch any z's. However the couch/bed cushions looks 30 years old...and without a slip cover that is washable. The pillows that adorned the couch were likewise old and stained. I didnt feel entirely comfortable sitting on them, let alone sleeping on them. While I was grateful that they provided clean white linens, the blankets ( which are necessary at night ) also loook extremely old, pilly, and unclean. The dishes, kitchen cabinetry, fridgerator, stove, tiles and curtains all look 30 years old. If the structure was gutted and renovated with new furnishings and linen, I would have been very happy with the room. The arched brick roofs and floor to ceiling windows do a good job of drawing your eye away from the dirty bedding and couches. Im sure in 1981, this place was the premiere place to stay. However the room was not "afforable" as many options are in Panajachel....and my family and I felt $175 a night for 3 people should have given us a cleaner and more polished room. If you are an American used to getting Hilton & Marriot style cleanliness for $175 a night, do not book here. If a vista and charm are more important to you than cleanliness and not worrying about "Lord knows what happened on this couch in the last 30 years", then San Buenaventura is the place for you.
Another point worth making is there is not a lounge to speak of. I thought the pool grounds were nice. But the restaurant is not a place I would eat in. There was no communal lounge to sit in and read and meet other hotel patrons. We felt a bit robbed of the comradery we often have with fellow travellers in the same hotel. There is also no hotel computer for guests to use. The closest internet cafe is in the town of Panajachel a 25 minute walk away. However half of it is uphill...and it is not safe to walk at night.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank beau286
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Riveradellago, Gerente at Hotel San Buenaventura de Atitlan, responded to this review, 12 June 2013
Hotel San Buenaventura is at the edge of a heavily wooded coffee farm on the shore of Lake Atitlan. We are immediately adjacent to the San Buenaventura nature reserve. We have private wooded hiking trails, a private swimming pool, sauna, restaurant, private beach and a playground for kids. Our restaurant draws many accolades for its meals, although it may lack the elegance of a Hilton. Our ambience is unique and our prices are set to match all that we have just mentioned. But, we are clearly not a downtown Hilton or Marriot-style hotel.
The open brick face interiors of our rooms and interior fireplaces are part of the architectural design. Along with vaulted ceilings the design is intentionally rustic and doesn´t pretend to compete with the smooth flat interior appearance of modern-style chain hotel rooms.
While there is no “communal lounge,” the swimming pool area and outside covered dining area are well-furnished with tables, chairs, and lounge furniture.
Internet access (wifi signal) is available in common areas at no charge and can be provided to private rooms upon prior coordination at a reasonable additional prce..
While much of our furniture is the age of the hotel (27 years) it is well-maintained and is all quite serviceable. We regularly replace linen and are in the process of replacing all of our mattresses and blankets. We are in a continuous process of renovation and some units are further along in this process than others. Our commitment is to cleanliness and serviceability. If complaints on these matters are brought to the level of management they are immediately corrected.
We do have a policy of “balance due on arrival”. This is because rooms are taken off the market at the time of reservation for the full period of the reservation and clients sometimes decide, for a variety of reasons to include personal budget overreach, that they prefer to compromise on services and move to a cheaper place in town or on the other side of the Lake.
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new york, NY
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2012

I've been sitting at the hotel's restaurant for over 20 minutes enjoying the views of the lake. However, I had to go into the kitchen to ask for a cup of coffee that it just came!
I rated this hotel with a 3 based on the pool (that I really enjoyed yesterday,) the views, WiFi in the room and how nice the front desk people were with us. But, the room was a disaster. The beds were hard as rocks and the linens or mattress smelled of Raid. It was freezing cold in the middle of the night thanks to windows that were impossible to close, and not extra blankets were there to be found. I really felt like camping! If you want to enjoy your night reading, forget about it, the lighting was one of the worse I've ever seen. Another point to consider when choosing or not this hotel is how far it is from town. It takes a 10 minutes tuk-tuk ride to get to Santander St......a very long walk otherwise. The hotel doesn't offer dinner and the only place nearby to eat is the restaurant at the hotel Atitlan.
I wouldn't recommend this place at all!!!

  • Stayed February 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Icventure
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CR
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2012

I spent one night in this hotel, staying in a 2 bedroom casita with friends with kids. There was plenty of space available for four people, and we probably could have fit more in the living room. The sleeping rooms are comfortable and have cable tv, but are also fairly simple--don't expect high-count sheets or Egyptian cotton towels. They were also fairly quiet (but couldn't block out the requisite weekend fireworks) and have heavy curtains so you can sleep in. The living/dining room was roomy, with comfortable couches, cable tv, and wifi. We didn't use the kitchen, but it looked like it was equipped with basic kitchen equipment. I doubt you could pull off a gourmet meal, but it would be fine for making spaghetti or something basic.

I found the staff to be very helpful. They helped us book a private boat to go on a half-day tour around the lake, visiting San Pedro, San Juan and Sandiego di Atitlan. The tour was great, picking us up and dropping us off right at the hotel dock and the lancha driver helped us find a tour guide with tuktuk in each village.

The hotel is about a five minute drive from Panajachel, so would not be a great location for those looking for nightlife, but was quiet and peaceful for us.

As others have mentioned, this is not a five-star experience, but is a quiet and roomy place, nice for families, or a small group of friends.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Katya008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2012

We stayed in a two-bedroom house with a sloping lawn that meandered down to the lake. The house was quite large -- two bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen, dining area, and a step down into a full livingroom with pull-out sofa and fireplace. Good internet and cable TV. As soon as we checked in, around noon, we arranged through reception for a private boat to take us across the lake for lunch and to visit a couple of towns. Within 20 minutes the boat was at the dock, and we were on our way. The boat captain/driver was excellent, and it was a great way to start our stay at the San Buenaventura (and much cheaper than similar boat tours we had previously organized through other hotels).

Breakfast was served in the lawn overlooking the small pool and lake. There is a playground as well, so we were able to relax with the lake as our backdrop while the kids played to their hearts' content. The staff was very helpful and professional.

The Atitlan Nature Reserve is right across the street and worth a visit (at least half a day). The Hotel Atitlan is right next door for a relaxing dinner. The full kitchen in the house and a grill in the yard mean that if you bring your own groceries, there is no need to go elsewhere after a busy day.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank CISWanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2012

My wife and I shared one of the two houses (kind of like side-by-side townhouses with a Guatemalan twist) with another couple over the New Year holiday. We found it to be perfect for what we needed - comfortable and safe. The house had two full bedrooms, each with own bath, a living room with fireplace (it gets quite cool at elevation) and a fully functional kitchen. The rooms were clean, the staff were very nice and the grounds were beautiful. We cooked dinner over the grill out back and in the kitchen. It has all needed equipment, although basic (a few pots, plates, etc.). It had a four burner gas range and a full size refrigerator. The staff brought us firewood and even brought our dinner to the house one night when we decided we would rather not be in the restaurant. We found everyone to be polite and professional. They even brought cardboard to our room so we could pack up some purchases from Antigua. We booked by telephone and email and had good communication with Natalia throughout, which was re-assuring. We booked a private boat day trip through the hotel which was cheaper than available on previous trips from Pana and it left from our front door, so no need to drive to town and find parking. They have a wonderful old fashioned sauna with a wood stove and a bucket of water. It is rustic, but certainly works. A little bit of Siberia right in Guatemala!! As it was quite chilly, runs to the pool to cool off from the sauna were particularly refreshing. The pool was clean and did not smell of too much chlorine.

There were a few ants in the bathroom, but only a few. We kept the toiletries in our room and there were no problems. There were no other insects. We did not see safes in the room and the doors/locks seem flimsy, but we felt relatively comfortable leaving all our bags - and there were no problems.

The hotel is about a kilometer outside Pana and probably 2 kilometers to middle of town, so if one does not have a car it is a bit of a hike.

The Hotel Atitlan next door is a lovely, more expensive place, but also has pretty grounds and a giftshop. We went for lunch one day and sat on the colonial feeling covered veranda.

The highrise hotels next door certainly seem out of place in this part of Guatemala. Our house was immediately next door, but there is a fence and bit of jungle so it was no problem at all. Besides, you are always looking at the beautiful scenery - the lake and volcanoes - so you hardly notice the high rises.

As it was high season we paid about $300/night as it was high season - but that was for four people and included breakfast. Agree with other reviewers that it is probably a bit expensive for what one gets, but we were no unhapy to pay that amount for clean, safe, polite, helpful and beautiful. It is rustic and not the kind of place that will ever feel expensive, but that is par tof the charm. We would certainly stay again and will tell our friends.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank RLFloyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Redwood City, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 8 September 2011

If you don't require a 5-star experience, this place can offer a reasonably good experience for the price. In this area, you can spend a lot on a nice place or go dirt-cheap and fearing for your safety. Overall, our stay at this hotel was fine. But the manager/owner did rip us off when it came time to check out, charging us in local currency instead of dollars, raising the price and causing us to pay additional foreign exchange charges through our credit card. Other than that, the staff was friendly & helpful, the use of the kayaks was nice (they wouldn't let us borrow the bikes off the grounds, which means they were completely useless). Nice location, if you don't mind a very bumpy ride over the rock road. Oh...did I mention the ants? LOTS of them.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank JonK1967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel San Buenaventura de Atitlan

Property: Hotel San Buenaventura de Atitlan
Address: Finca San Buenaventura, Panajachel 07010, Guatemala
Region: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Panajachel
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#4 On the Beach Hotel in Panajachel
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel San Buenaventura de Atitlan 3*
Number of rooms: 20
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Also Known As:
Hotel San Buenaventura De Atitlan Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

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