on March 1, 2013
The Hotel Lake Atitlan was our residence for the next two nights and it, as its name suggests has a prime site at the side of the lake. We’d arrived at lunchtime (or that’s what my digestive system was suggesting) and were too early to check in. However, a rather off-handed receptionist allowed us to sign in and said he’d ensure our room was ready around two. We were not worried as we were planning to eat and having entrusted our luggage to the hotel porter we meandered through the hotel to the side of the swimming pool with a great view of the lake. Beers ordered we perused the menu and after discussion and several changes of mind we made our luncheon choices. The beer slipped down a treat and soon we were looking towards our second bottle of Moza, a local dark beer. When the meals were brought to the table we were stunned by the quantity – all portions could have been split between two of us and certainly if I lunched here again I’d take an option "to share". Despite the large portions we all polished them off, but it wasn’t too surprising that we only had the one course for our evening meal.But I race on in my review....Our rooms were adjacent and on the top floor (although it’s a low rise building) having a superb view from the room and the balcony of the gardens and Lake Atitlan. Two comfortable queen sized beds were sure to give us a good night’s sleep. Indeed after our visit to the nature reserve we managed a pre-dinner nap! The spacious room was light and airy but there wasn’t a safe in the room. We decided to just lock valuables in our cases as we felt the place was real secure. The bathroom was well set up with soaps, shower gel and shampoo but we were surprised that there was no complimentary bottled water. We later read that the water was safe to drink as the hotel pumped water from its own Artesian Well. Although initially unsure I decided to give it a whirl and I have to say I didn’t suffer as a result.In the guide books the hotel was highly recommended for its evening meal, which we enjoyed on our first night, but I have enjoyed better steaks elsewhere. It wasn’t overpriced and it was of reasonable quality, but the service was less than average. After a good night’s sleep and waking to the sun reflecting on the lake and the proud form of one of the four volcanoes surrounding caldera that is Lake Atitlan, we were ready for a good breakfast. We weren’t about to be disappointed.Breakfast was a running buffet and the choice was huge. You could start off with a range of cereals, although I opted to go straight for the cooked breakfast. I had fried eggs which were cooked to order, diced fried potatoes, cold ham, cheese and a cheesy topped bubble and squeak. All very tasty and well prepared. The fruit juice was fresh and nicely chilled and coffee was readily available. After my main cooked breakfast I enjoyed a freshly prepared pancake with maple syrup. There were so many options that on the second day I was able to experience a totally different breakfast experience.We’d intended not to eat at the hotel on our second night, but after a busy of sight-seeing around the lake we decided that we would not trek out in search of another restaurant, but have a snack evening meal. Once again the food was good but the surely attitude of the waitress really knocks down the rating of the hotel’s restaurant. She got the tip she deserved....I think that some of the staff could have much improved their "person skills" and realize that the customer they were with was the one that mattered. We did have the experience of the receptionist walking off mid-sentence to answer the phone and the waitress who could hardly manage a smile or eye contact. Still the grounds of the hotel were superb with a wide range of different plant and bright flowers. We did spot some real brightly coloured birds but they were a little too speedy to catch on camera. The grounds had tranquility about them and we enjoyed a restful experience at this hotel in its beautiful setting at the side of the lake.
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