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Kaalpul Atitlan Eco Hotel & Spa
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Reviews (99)
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Reviewed 2 March 2017

The setting: We wanted a hotel as close as possible to the capital, so that we could overnight on the lake without investing too much time. You are a 3-3.5 hour car ride from Guatemala City to San Lucas Toliman, the small lakeside town, from which a 10 minute boat ride will take you to the hotel. The drive will provide context for Guatemala as you drive threw some countryside as well as smaller towns. The short boat ride is a nice introduction to the lake. You will be met by the friendly. Bilingual hotel staff on the hotel’s dock. The boat operator will help bring your luggage to your room and you will be led to the hotel’s patio, overlooking the lake, where each guest is welcomed with a complimentary 20 minute foot massage and a tasty welcome drink. After a wonderful welcome, you are given a tour of the restaurant and grounds and let up to your room. All rooms are up a steep climb up the mountain into which the hotel is built. The rooms closest to the restaurant and patio, and the least strenuous climb are the Maya Suite and the Dome Suite. As it happens the Maya Suite is the least expensive option. Be mindful of the elevation the lake is found at, making climbing a flight doubly strenuous.
The room: My Maya Suite was a cozy room with a gorgeous view of the lake. The room had a comfortable queen size bed, a small table, and a vanity with a sink outside of the toilet/shower room. Next to the vanity was a hot plate with a kettle and nearby was a shelf with plates, cups and glasses, as well as coffee and tea. The Wi-Fi worked well in the room and in the public areas of the hotel. The shower was the weak point. It took an unusually long while to get hot water flowing, and once it does it goes in and out, and the flow is more of a strong trickle. If you have long hair, showering will be frustrating.
The food: Your stay includes all meals and it’s a good value, although the full board options are not well described on the hotel’s site. This is a vegetarian kitchen, but if you email ahead, you can arrange fish or shrimp to be procured for your meal. The dinner started with fresh and delicious guacamole followed by a tasty salad with slices of orange. We were expecting an entrée to match the deliciousness and quality of the appetizer and salad, but it decreased in quality instead. We had a piece of fried fish and boring boiled vegetables as an entrée. The dessert was a cake made from a mix and frosting from a can. Juice was not fresh squeezed, rather from a mix, but the coffee was excellent. Breakfast was nice. Eggs, refried beans, yogurt, fruit, juice and coffee were all wonderful. Service was very attentive.
Massage: We opted for 75 minute massages on the night of arrival, and we were glad we did. The hotel offers a Swedish style oil massage, and it was very relaxing. The massage therapist is also the cook and probably helps with cleaning. She was well trained at massage but her hands are slightly calloused and this was felt as slight scratching during the massage. This was the only negative.
Excursions: The lovely couple from Belize who run the hotel are very knowledgeable about what to do in the vicinity of the lake and are bilingual English-Spanish, making communication a breeze. We wanted to avoid visiting the hippie/yoga heavens around the lake, so we opted for a boat ride during the sunny morning, to experience the beautiful scenery.
All in all, if you are looking for an idyllic, secluded location with easy access to a port town, this is a wonderful place. My take was that people come and stay a while and use this hotel as their base to commune with nature and relax. There is a Mayan ritual site above the hotel suites as well as a temazcal, a Mayan steam room. I could see how a few days here, cut off from the noise of modernity, could be a wonderful escape.

Room Tip: Opt for either the Maya Suite or the Zen Dome Suite and avoid a grueling climb to the higher rooms.
  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank Brooklynite_Abroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2016

I had a massage with Rosa given to me as a Mother's Day gift last year. I didn't write a review at that time as I thought it pointless but, on reading the defenses of critiques posted, have reconsidered. Yes, it is a nice view. Period. No wonder they keep changing owners, it is a very pretentious place which misrepresents itself. Rosa didn't ask anything about what I wanted, sensitive areas, and I do speak Spanish. She was sweet but the massage was pitiful. My daughter paid $90 for a one hour massage, U.S. prices.
Rosa goes through the motions but it was very disappointing! Absolutely not a spa massage! I hope people don't assume that Tosa is representative of other establishments at the lake (I live here year round!)

Stayed: September 2015, travelled solo
2  Thank Amroof
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kaalpul, Owner at Kaalpul Atitlan Eco Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 17 October 2016

We would like all of our guests to have an ideal experience during their visit to our hotel and spa. We are sorry to hear that you were not satisfied. We are even sorrier to hear that you waited over a year to say anything about it. Had you brought this to the attention of staff and/or management at the time, this could have been easily corrected, on the spot. We could have substituted other spa services, offered a meal, or perhaps even provided a refund if we could not find a satisfactory solution for you. Instead, hearing about this over a year later, we cannot offer any constructive feedback to our staff because no one now recalls the incident nor can we make it right with you. Most guests love Rosa’s spa services and that includes even in comparison to services received in the U.S. so we do believe your experience was an anomaly. We would love the opportunity to have another chance to redeem ourselves. Please feel free to contact us and we will arrange free transportation, massage, and even a meal if desired to demonstrate to you that our service is truly impeccable and that something was merely "off" that day for some inexplicable reason.

As far as attacking us for defending ourselves, we will always try to set the record straight or give our side of things when reviews are overly negative because most really bad reviews have another side worth being heard. Also, to clarify, there have only been two owners ever (though ownership had changed only 3 months before your visit).

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Reviewed 19 April 2016

This is a beautiful space with a SINCERE loving, compassionate staff that added a special touch to this unique & mystical place. From the moment we arrived, we were greeted by the warmth of their smiles and hearts. It was as though they had been waiting for us for months, we big eyes and arms open to welcome us to our home, certainly felt like a temporary home. They worked diligently to make us feel comfortable & welcomed. I was extremely impressed with the level of rapidness they worked haughling our bags to our rooms and resetting our rooms daily with everything turned over before breakfast daily. It's as if they worked with wings, flying swiftly from room to room, without notice! By the time we were done with morning yoga they had fluffed our pillows & made our beds, soo sweet & magical! The food was delicious, and colorful with personalizations along the way. A nice menu with delicious wine options available I was excited to pair new foods with the wines in house. With years of catering background, I was happy to see the choices provided. The stairs on property allowed us to work off any extra calories taken in on a daily basis & with mild water sport options available, I felt peaceful and energized at the same time. The weather was cool while visited so I didn't spend as much time anticipated in the water, but was nice to know water sport gear on hand if wanted/ needed. I look forward to visiting Tosa again, was truly a beautiful, authentic, unique experience, one which I'd encourage adventure lovers to partake in. The ride to the lake was eventful in itself, and with locals on site to visit, it made the journey to Tosa even more magical! A must experience :) Thank you Tosa

  • Stayed: March 2016, travelled on business
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank internalpeacenow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kaalpul, Owner at Kaalpul Atitlan Eco Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 19 October 2016

Thank you for very kind comments about our hotel, location, services, and especially our staff. We hope to welcome you again in the future.

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Reviewed 14 April 2016

Everything at TOSA - the dome structures, the kind-hearted staff, the nourishing food - created a wonderful sense of being in harmony with the rhythm of nature. The Mountain Dome offered the perfect opportunity to tap into this rhythm with morning meditation on the terrace, afternoons in the hammock and evenings spent star gazing. I also loved the walks to/from the Mountain Dome up/down the 400 steps, another opportunity to be mindful and connect with the natural surrounding and my own body - I loved it all and am forever grateful for the opportunity to have experienced it. Thank you TOSA :)

  • Stayed: March 2016, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank TH-Bozeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kaalpul, Owner at Kaalpul Atitlan Eco Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 19 October 2016

Thank you so much for your kind words of appreciation. We, too, believe that the journey up and down the steps to the Sacred Mountain Dome is unparalleled and worth every last step. :)

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Reviewed 11 April 2016

I delighted in each day spent at Tosa. The lake is beautiful to gaze across from the resort stairway lookouts in the morning and evening light. The daytime kayak glides on the frequently still water of this serene lake surrounded by high hills and tall volcanoes were my solo meditations of the day. The walk up the mountain trail to the village in the coffee plantation above was stimulating. I met several Guatemalans there happy to attempt communication with a non Spanish speaker walking alone through their village. Their big smiles were gifts to me and their laughing was nectar to my ears and my soul. The Mayan purification ceremony performed by Thomas, a local Mayan shaman, felt like a knowledge transmission from a thousand years ago and not in any way tailored to any gringos' preconceptions. A reading of my life based on my birthday in the Mayan calender was fascinating. I learned that my central energy is that of the monkey with other spirit energies as well from the snake, the butterfly, and the turtle. Ah, and the food! Every meal prepared by Imelda and her smiling helpers in the kitchen was a wonderful dining experience in a beautiful dining room overlooking the lake through large windows. I slept in a very comfortable bed in a beautiful little room for one or two with lots of space. From it I had more wonderful views of the lake and the volcanoes to the north and east. Will I go back? I sincerely intend to and hopefully that will be soon. Before this trip my foreign travels had all been in the Himalayas and in SE Asia. I have loved all these experiences but none more than Tosa at Lake Atitlan.

Room Tip: The Mayan was fabulous.
  • Stayed: March 2016, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank howardchristiansen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kaalpul, Owner at Kaalpul Atitlan Eco Hotel & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 19 October 2016

Thank you so much for your stay and for your review. We love that you appreciated and highlighted in your review some of the "extras" that are available during your stay, such as an authentic Mayan ceremony with our local shaman, the hike to the coffee fields and village straight up our mountain, and the high quality of the vegetarian meals. We'd love to welcome you back anytime for another visit!

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