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La Mansion del Pajaro Serpiente
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Reviews (34)
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Reviewed 28 January 2013

First, I'd like to explain how we decided to stay in El Remate, over Flores and Tikal, and the pros/cons of that decision. Overall, I do think that El Remate offers the best mix of convenience and services when compared to staying in Flores or Tikal. El Remate is right on the lake, so the views and access to docks from which one can swim are great. The Biotopo Cerro Cahui reserve is a short, safe, 20 minute walk from town, along the beautiful road that rings the lake. The reserve has hiking trails, though we mainly took advantage of the beautiful beach area, laying out on the dock and swimming-- just gorgeous. Flores has beautiful views, too, but staying in El Remate cuts the travel time to Tikal down by roughly half (about 45 minutes). While Flores has more options for dining, El Remate does have a couple of good restaurants, reviewed separately (see: La Casa de Don David and Las Orquideas). Unlike Tikal, many of the accommodations in El Remate offer A/C, which was necessary for heat-intolerant people like ourselves. Even if you can get by with a fan at night, in Tikal the generators shut off at 10pm, after which there is no electricity to power a fan, which would have killed all hope of sleep for someone like me. So, in summary, you get convenience by staying in Tikal. You get a broader array of services by staying in Flores. But you get great access to lake activities, a couple of nice restaurants, and reasonable access to Tikal by staying in El Remate.

Now, on to La Mansion...the grounds are absolutely beautiful, set up on the hill, in a terraced fashion, above the road. The views from our room were killer. The pool area had the feel of a garden oasis and was quite relaxing after hiking around the lake and Tikal (though the pool itself needs to be maintained better-- there was a fair amount of plant matter floating around throughout our 3-night stay).

Unfortunately, we did not have the same lovely experience with the hotel owners and staff that other reviewers seem to have had. The general vibe we got was, "You can stay at our place if you want, but please just don't mess it up or break anything." I am not quoting them, of course, but that is how we were made to feel. When we arrived, other than being introduced to the owner's daughter, Roxy (a guide who took us on a very nice tour of Tikal), we were basically just shown our room and that was it. They said nothing about breakfast or the hotel restaurant, nothing about being happy to help us arrange tours, transportation, restaurant recommendations, or anything else. The sense I got from the owner and her husband was they were going through the motions of trying their best to be hospitable, but it seemed to take all their energy to do so. Overall, it did not make me feel welcome. I should make clear that they were not unfriendly at all; they just weren't as welcoming as what we have come to expect from people in the bed and breakfast business.

One day, I mentioned that our toilet was draining very slowly and might need to be plunged. The owner's husband began what felt like an interrogation regarding whether we had thrown toilet paper into the toilet instead of the wastebasket. I assured him that we read the sign next to the toilet and were in compliance. He was persistent in his questioning, however, which started to irritate me, frankly. We are the sort of guests you WANT in your house, as we will treat your house better than we treat our own. So I was offended. But it didn't stop there. We asked to use the phone to set up transportation, and again, the husband launched into an interrogation about whether we had made a long distance call the day before (we had not). What we had done was obtain permission from one of the workers to use the phone to call the company that runs the zip line right outside Tikal (a local call). As an aside, the zip line experience was a blast. We had never zip lined before, so I can't compare it to anything else. At one point, we were surrounded by howler monkeys howling at us, up in the canopy. Very cool.

Our room was very basic, but comfortable, and the view of course was amazing. Our room had the best view on the property, though, so be aware of that if you book here (I forget the room number, but it is the one underneath the owners' home). The linens need to be replaced; ours were stained, ripped in places, and thinning. While this is often par for the course when traveling through the countryside in Central America, it still doesn't feel that nice to get in bed at the end of the day when the sheets are threadbare. We ate breakfast at the hotel's restaurant once. There are no choices; you eat what you are served. The food was a typical Guatemalan-style breakfast, nothing special but fine. It was $6 US, which is just slightly overpriced.

One of the saving graces was the pool. We actually chose this hotel because of the pool. While El Muelle, the hotel across the street, does have a lovely pool and easy dock access, the pool at La Mansion is in a singularly beautiful setting-- very private. The pool at El Muelle is directly adjacent to the restaurant, so all diners are basically staring in your direction as they look out on the pool and lake. When taking a break from exploring, the La Mansion pool was great. As mentioned earlier, though, it could have been cleaner. It also would have been nice if, when we asked for towels to take to the pool, the housekeeper gave them to us. Instead, she told us to use the bath towels from our room. Minor annoyance, I know.

Overall, I would recommend staying here if you are an independent type of traveler, who doesn't need much hand-holding when it comes to planning excursions/activities. If you need more assistance, I would consider staying at Hotel La Casa de Don David. While we did not see the rooms there, we ate there several times and the desk staff were always friendly and helpful in response to our questions.

The lasting impression I had of La Mansion is that the owners are coasting on the strength of their gorgeous property, without putting much effort into hospitality. Because of that, I would not return.

Room Tip: Ask for the room underneath the owners' home. It has the best view on the property.
  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank wdvl_traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2013

My stay was very brief, but as soon as we walked in we felt right at home. Mansion has the family atmosphere, and Nancy the owner is a sweetheart. All people who work there made us feel very comfortable and were very corteous, even the dogs, I remember one nice boxer greeted us. The food is very good, I remember having a hearty breakfast with lots of options. We stayed in a cabin, which was very comfortable and had nice wooden floors and privacy. In the morning, we could see Lake Peten from our doorsteps, which was an amazing sunrise. We took the van to Tikal right in front of the hotel. Will be back!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Elaine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 September 2012

My stay was brief, arriving at 9pm and leaving after breakfast the next morning. I slept well, enjoyed breakfast, enjoyed meeting the owner, Nancy, and was wowed by the lovely grounds. I was a little disappointed to leave before taking advantage of the beautiful pool but I had the best excuse ever: heading to Maya sites with Nancy's daughter, archaeologist/naturalist Roxy Ortiz.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank hopefulist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 September 2012

We stayed for three nights and used it as a jumping off point for Tikal. The good: amazing view of the lake, really close to the public docks to take a dip in the lake, air conditioning in the honeymoon suite, big pool (although it was not a filtered pool from what we could tell and there was lots of sentiment floating around), helpful staff, very clean. However, the hotel could use a little refresh with the decor and furnishings. Especially the bed, which was really uncomfortable and you could feel all the springs. I would skip the restaurant altogether. The food was more expensive and not very good as compared to the hotel across the street.
I would not stay here again, and would most likely try the hotel across the street which had a nicer pool, right on the the lake and restaurant was good.

  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
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Thank MJBNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 July 2012

My family spent three nights with the wonderful family of La Mansion this past June. Nancy and her son helped us make our travel plans in advance so crossing the boarder was no problem. The mini van even took us striaght to their front door. We we're greeted by two friendly guard dogs who instinctively knew we we're guests as we watched them bark and growl at any one else who did not belong. We felt perfectly safe and well cared for. Maria made us lovely meals. Our villa was extraordinaly. And waking up to the heavenly view of Lago de Peten Itza we felt we we're in paradise. Roxy gave us a private tour of Tikal which was also arranged through Nancy, the owner. We felt very lucky to be given the tour by someone with her knowledge and passion. We found plenty to do and see in El Remate and the people warm and friendly. Our stay at La Mansion was such a great value and very inexpensive. It was the highlight of our 18 day tour of Guatemala and Belize.

Room Tip: We we're pleased to be able to use US dollars which Nancy also exchanged at a very good rate for use in the village but did not know in advance that their bank preferred only bills in near perfect shape. One bill I had planned to use had a small tear which meant it was not acceptable.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank lobsterlady36382
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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