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“More hostel than hotel, and more hostile than hostel. . .”

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La Casa del Mundo Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Jaibalito
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
College Park, Georgia
Level Contributor
163 reviews
95 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 511 helpful votes
“More hostel than hotel, and more hostile than hostel. . .”
Reviewed 5 December 2011

La Casa del Mundo occupies an enviable slopeside site between Jaibalito and Santa Cruz, with noteworthy views of the lake and volcanoes. And the food coming out of the dining room is very good--even more amazing on a morning when the hotel lost power, and the hot items. . .French Toast, coffee, etc. all came out wonderfully.

So why the scathing review, along with a recommendation that if you are considering a stay here that you think about your other choices?

Hospitality comes from a special place when practiced well--and it is not merely about the most recent transaction. La Casa del Mundo has lost sight of that.

The hotel decided that the interchange charges credit cards were assessing the hotel were too high, and decided to discontinue taking any credit cards. Fair enough--although I’d argue a cost of doing business. But they made the change in the autumn, and I’d made my reservation in early July. . .and no one bothered to share this change with me via e-mail or any other means prior to my arrival. (A special consideration--I’d suggest--when the nearest ATM is a boat ride away. . .) While the owner finally agreed to have me pay for the stay with my AMEX card, I had several unsuccessful conversations with one of the managers on the staff, who was unbudging. Oh, and even after I got them to accept my AMEX card for payment, I got hit with an additional 3% surcharge for using the card. (Nowhere on the website could I find that credit card use enjoyed such a surcharge.)

The second issue was worse. Road construction and other factors convinced me that I’d not easily be able to sleep in the hotel and get back to GUA for a 130p flight, so I notified the hotel to check out early. The hotel--same manager who was difficult on the credit card front--was adamant that I should be charged for the room, with the most interesting logic. Was told that since it was high season, I’d reserved a room that they likely wouldn’t fill--thus lost revenue. (I could hear a flipside argument if I’d notified them of my desire to leave a night early during low season--we can’t get anyone to fill the room you’ve reserved. . . Oh well).

Ended up negotiating with the owner to pay for all three nights, and he took $20 off the bill. Begrudgingly. As if I was doing him a favor. And frankly, I came to such a lovely setting to get away from worries, not to battle with a transactional hotel owner.

I hope the hotel invests in additional marketing the extra money from the credit card surcharge and the night I paid for but didn’t use.

For, however wonderful the setting and good the food, I can’t return to a hotel that shows such disregard for me as a visitor--and I can’t recommend it to others. Managing those situations better would have resulted in my having good things to say about the hotel, and prompted return visits (this was my second trip to Lake Atitlan in four years). Instead, I get to share with readers here my frustrations with the hotel, and look for a different hotel for my next stay in the Lake Atitlan area. . .

So while I won’t be staying here again, or recommending this hotel to others, a few things about the place:

The views here come with a noteworthy climb. . .was 173 steps from the dock to my room. If you are not built for such cardio, consider other places to stay. That said, if you do like the hike and were to stay here--don't miss the rather spectacular walk/hike from the top of the hotel property to Santa Cruz La Laguna. . .the walk showcases one stupendous view after another.

There are a variety of rooms here. . .everything from very nice rooms with private baths and terraces, to small rooms with shared baths. It was staying in one of the latter that lead to the “hostel” characterization. . .Small, clean, firm bed.

There were a few more bugs here than I might like. (note: when a room comes with its own fly swatter, you may have to use it. . .) And while spiders are a great counter to those bugs, if you don’t like spiders, you will like this hotel even less. Spiders and scorpions are everywhere.

The food here is really good. Good thing too, as you are in for the night after about 6p (the last lancha run). Even there, though, the lack of forethought and communications the hotel displays was apparent. The hotel asks that you order dinner before you arrive--and I reserved dinner for my arrival. But it was Thanksgiving the evening I arrived, so instead of the 630p dinner at 90Q it was a special feast at 500p for 120Q. This is not a big hotel, and for those of us arriving that Thursday, an e-mail beforehand explaining the change would have been thoughtful and appropriate. There was no such e-mail or any explanation of the change when I checked in. . .had to sort of figure it out once I arrived.

My photos of the property and the views here came out quite nicely. What a shame that with such a spectacular setting the hospitality is inferior.

Room Tip: There are great views all over the property. Room 15 has an epic balcony, while others scattered ov...
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled solo
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4 Thank TravelBeard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Arequipa, Peru
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 December 2011

I was unfortunate enough to only be passing through CdM for one night at the end of an organized trip...but what a one night it was.

Stunning rooms, incredible views, friendly and attentive staff, AMAZING food, I really could go on. As a long term Guatemala resident, my only regret is not coming here sooner. A simply incredible hotel to go with the even more incredible Lago de Atitlan. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Number 12. It's worth the climb :-)
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank Stu100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Antigua, Guatemala
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 November 2011

This was our third time back in Casa Del Mundo. My wive and I got a romantic weekend as a gift for our wedding last year. We stayed in room number 13 - highly recommended for the great views and the little balcony from where you can enjoy a sunset drink with some tasty nachos...
I really enjoyed the breakfasts- the home made bread was a delight!
The staff is also very friendly and helpful. thanks guys for making this gateway weekend such a pleasure!

Room Tip: room number 13!!! come one- its WORTH a couple Q more!!!
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank zoomclaro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 November 2011

I continue to dream of our time at La Casa del Mundo. My wife and I spent three nights in February 2010 (TripAdvisor only had the option of 2011). We chose one of the more expensive rooms on this property which is beautifully carved into the cliffside. I can't remember the room number, but you go up the stairs through dining room and around to the right. The room had a private bath and a balcony looking out onto the lake. Absolutely stunning. Meals are delicious and filling for both lunch and breakfast, but the communal dinners were a highlight (make sure to do this at least once, or all nights as we did). Dining room tables are pushed together and all visitors eat family-style from either a vegetarian or meat menu. We met people from the Netherlands, Panama, D.C., Tampa, and, of course NYC. Make sure to take advantage of the hot tub. One guest had reserved the hot tub for herself the first night we were there. After a few glasses of wine and great conversation, about 10 of us decided to share the cost of the hot tub together! We sat outside with a few Gallos and watched the stars. La Casa del Mundo easily connects to neighboring villages via a hiking trail at the top of the cliff. Make sure to visit Pedro at Amigos de Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz la Laguna for some authentic textiles. Jaibalito is a tiny but cute town with a few services as well. You're a short boat ride from Panajachel and all other lakeside villages. The only drawbacks I can think of: LCDM doesn't take credit cards and further, there's no ATM anywhere on the lake except a single one we found in Panajachel. I'd highly suggest you get...wait for it...traveler's checks! We payed our bill at the hotel in traveler's checks and then cashed what we had leftover once we returned to Antigua. You'll need cash for all street vendors (plus the public boat) in lakeside towns, so a traveler's wallet is a good idea. Crime is not a problem in Atitlan, but pickpocketing isn't unheard of. Make sure to check in with Ivan or Sebastian about any recent crime problems. They were extremely helpful and put us at ease after some online stories we read prior to our visit. Oh! One last thing. Make sure you swim in the lake! Best option: jump off the balcony on the left side of the hotel. I can't wait to do this again!

Room Tip: anything facing the lake, but you can't go wrong here.
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  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank urfman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2011

If you are looking for a beautiful view of Lake Atitlan, peace and quiet, lovely surroundings (no TV) gracious hosts, good food, and unforgettable memories, stay here. It was my 4th trip and each time it has been memorable.
Caveat: avoid rainy season, be prepared to climb alot of steps up the cliff to this property.

Room Tip: Closest to kitchen/dining room. Avoid the two top cabins unless you want to hike at altitude.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank JillieH66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, California
Level Contributor
66 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2011

We spent two nights here and enjoyed the atmosphere. The room we had turned out to be a little too cozy as we had two afternoons of rain. The view was beautiful in the morning, but by afternoon the rain made it impossible to be outside our room. There was ankle deep water trying to get from our room to the dining room. Did eat one night in the dining room. Food was good. Second day, we almost did not make it back to the hotel as we went out in the morning and the weather was great. By early afternoon, we realized we had to get back. Rain lashed the boat & they almost missed our hotel stop. After two nights, we moved onto town.

Room Tip: Ask for a room that is nearer the main rooms in rainy season.
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Linda55555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
105 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 September 2011

Serenity, peaceful, magical... just magnificent!!! I had suite #10 for my 6 day stay and it was exactly what I needed! My suite was comfortably quaint, with a wonderful view of Lago de Atitlan facing towards the lagoon of Santiago Atitlan! A tropical piece of heaven on the volcano side! Beware...there are no TV's, but the wifi was pretty reliable. There's plenty to do from just exploring the grounds, relaxing in the hot tub, or kayaking which I tried for the first time and loved it so much... it was worth a repeat! There's plenty of stairs around to get your exercise on, and if that isn't enough, explore some of the surrounding towns on the lake or go for one of the volcano hikes that are quite popular!!! A true slice of Heaven!!!

Room Tip: Every room enjoys a heavenly view, but there are lots of stairs, so the higher the # the more stairs...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank DJDJ5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about La Casa del Mundo Hotel

Property: La Casa del Mundo Hotel
Address: El Jaibalito | Accesible Solo en Lancha, Jaibalito 07014, Guatemala
Region: Guatemala > Western Highlands > Solola Department > Lake Atitlan > Jaibalito
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Jaibalito
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2.5 star — La Casa del Mundo Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Guatemala's most magical hotel - Lonely Planet. 19 Rooms built upon a Jaibalito cliffside pleasantly house travelers from all over the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel La Casa Del Mundo
La Casa Del Mundo Hotel Guatemala/Lake Atitlan - Jaibalito

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