“Luxurious eco-lodge and private reserve perched above the jade waters of Atitlán, with stunning views, a spa and excellent vegetarian food”
The lodge’s 6 spacious rooms (all called suites) are arranged over 3 floors, all with large glass windows and terraces facing the lake. Mayah and Jeffro adhered to the strictest eco principles when creating the colourful décor. Walls mix homemade adobe and clay bricks (sometimes exposed, sometimes smoothed in Moroccan-style tadelakt), curtains are unbleached local cotton, and lampshades are made from maize paper. Beautiful touches include cypress wood tables, carved beds, antique desks, artisanal seats from Nahuala in southern Guatemala, ancient Maya ceramic ornaments, and framed Art Naïf paintings by artists from nearby San Juan La Laguna.
The ground-floor Deluxe Suites, Ceiba and Monja Blanca, are the most compact, but their layout means you can gaze at the water, framed by banana trees and coffee plants, from the comfort of your kingsize bed. Up stone steps on the second floor are the larger Superior Suites, Tecún and Pato Poc, which have small sitting areas with wicker chairs and one-way mirrors so you can see the lake from the bathroom; Pato Poc has 2 double beds and is ideal for friends travelling together. They share their interior layout with the top-floor Luxury Suites, Jaguar and Quetzal, but the latter have bigger balconies with wicker sofas shaded by thatch - perfect for an alfresco sundowner.
Beds in all rooms are comfortable and covered with intricately woven Maya textiles and cushions, while curtains are double-lined to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. The terracotta-tiled bathrooms, accented with bronze accessories, have green marble showers (no tubs), blue and white hand-painted ceramic twin sinks, botanical toiletries and cotton bathrobes.
With its candlelit dining room, fireplace and lakeside terrace, the restaurant, Zotz (meaning 'bat'), is one of the lodge’s star attractions. The set menu changes daily, but the focus is always vegetarian cuisine using local ingredients and foraged herbs.
Carnivores shouldn’t be put off: it’s mouthwatering stuff. Dinners might start with a delicate vegetable strudel with blue cheese, wild spinach and leafy chípílín (a native plant), while mains could be vegetable and mushroom stroganoff or a rich lasagna with pesto, tomato and ricotta. Puddings are sublime - perhaps banana mascarpone dusted with Guatemalan cocoa, a calorific sticky date pudding, or a light ricotta cheesecake with a blueberry and cardamom compote.
Breakfast is a tasty à la carte spread, with options such as scrambled eggs with refried beans and ranchero sauce, mushroom and cheese omelette, wholewheat pancakes with syrup and croissants with jam, accompanied by freshly ground coffee and orange juice. Lunch is a roster of healthy soups, salads and baguettes - we enjoyed a delicious black bean and ginger soup served with toasted wholemeal bread, and a panini stuffed with cheddar, onion, tomato and spicy rocket. This was followed by moreish carrot cake topped with a thick lick of cream cheese icing.
If you’re not out hiking you can tuck into complimentary muffins and tea at 5pm every day. Wines and cocktails are also available in the bar; the zingy ‘Molten Lava’ signature cocktail, made from pressed carrot, apple juice and Guatemalan rum, is a great way to kick-start your evening.
If you fancy trying somewhere different one day, take a short stroll to the flower-framed Villa Sumaya yoga retreat, whose restaurant serves up healthy cuisine and inventive juices. And a short boat ride away in Jaibalito is Ven Aca, which offers tasty international food in a colonial-style lakefront setting.
Laguna Lodge is not particularly child-friendly and doesn’t accept guests under the age of 13. That said, teens with an interest in nature will love it here, and the DVDs in the upstairs lounge will help to keep them entertained in the evenings. Superior and Luxury Suites can each accommodate an extra bed (charged for) and the restaurant is happy to prepare pastas and veggie-burgers for fussy eaters.
Teens (over 12)
Extra Beds Available