The Selva Negra, while very charming, and having a very old European feel, has some issues. I don't speak Spanish, so I can only comment on experiences of the room, and the grounds not directly on the friendliness of the service...only indirectly through what my girlfriend experienced (she lives in Venezuela).
The grounds are quite nice. The Selva Negra itself lies near the bottom of the main part of town (below the church), so be prepared for climbing a steep hill. Breathtaking views, and we were offered a choice of rooms. One was next to the pool (yikes, too noisy!) and the other up higher overlooking everything with a great view.
The hotel itself, again, has its charm. You walk in a creaky old wooden door into a very dark room. In fact, most rooms are dark. We had to wander around through what seems to be mostly dining areas, lots of them, to find reception hidden away in the middle. Kind of different. Not a complaint. Again, it's very dark. Gives the feel of old world castles and inns. A very musty smell, so if that bothers you (asthmatics) be forewarned. I liked its charm personally.
The charm was lost in the rooms...though, they are nice at first glance, the linens weren't washed after our first night, and I suspect they weren't washed prior to arrival. They are very old and well weathered. (Cloth is pilled quite a bit with much wear and tear).
The bed, OMG, the bed was SO uncomfortable! I woke up all night having to switch positions from my left side hurting, then my back, then the right. Ufffff!
The shower at first glance looks nice, but then, when you go to actually use it, you notice the shower head points towards the door. Not so nice when trying to warm th water. Also, it has VERY limited range of motion. I am tall, especially considering many Venezuelans are not, and its lowest setting hit me in the neck. Water gets everywhere on the tile floor (dangerously slippery). No phones, so you can't contact the front desk without walking down there. Again, I didn't care, but you might.
Service: The porter was kind enough, and made several trips at our request. In order to have the remote for the TV, we had to lay down a 50 bolivar deposit. Strange, but no big deal, we didn't even care about the TV anyhow (9 stations). After he returned with the remote, we pointed out a burned out bulb in the bathroom (so it was quite dark in there). He returned promptly to fix it and was quite a happy looking fellow. (This is not typical in Venezuelan service culture, at least in my experience in two trips there)
Restaurant, we didn't eat there, so I can not comment...though it looked like a nice place to dine.
Room Service: I don't believe there was any, considering there is no phone to order.
Swimming Pool: We didn't use it, as it was a little cool for swimming, but the pool was small and looked either dirty or in need of paint/simple maintenance.
The charm is there. The views are great, but the rooms and especially linens....I can't recommend it. I knew they didn't wash the sheets after the first night because of a small hole in the corner of the fitted sheet. It was still there. When I showed my girlfriend, she cringed. We checked out and went to another hotel up the hill. If I can remember the name, I will review that as well.
Selva Negra has potential. If they made very easy, simple changes this would be an awesome place to stay.
As for Colonia Tovar itself...well, if you happen to be in Venezuela, it is a beautiful area. Probably one of the safer areas of the country besides Sandiego, Valencia, for blue-eyed "gringos" like me, since many residents are in fact German. You blend a little more.
The town is very cool, and there are tons of restaurants and little shops. The weekends it gets quite busy. The only downside of the town is, it seems to be THE place to go for the residents that are bored, so they just keep driving around the two block town with their noisy smelly motorcycles, dirt bikes, and old black smoke spewing vehicles. But it is a small matter...definitely worth visiting, for sure!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Selva Negra is full of tradition in our town, we are pleased to offer our distinguisched guest's a number of fine suites, cabins and rooms with all the necessary accomodations, the resort has to offer beatifull garden areas, exclusive parking lot, as well as a Spa Room for treatments, the bar-restaurant offers Award winning International Cuisine for all the seasons. ... more less