Honeymooners mingle with diplomats and eco warriors at Laguna Lodge Eco Resort, which is perched on the northern shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
The owners – a couple from Australia and New Zealand – opened the resort in 2009, and regularly attend eco-tourism conferences to boost its green credentials.
The lodge was built from local materials such as adobe, volcanic stone, bamboo and slate. Rainwater is collected, drinking water is filtered (not bottled) and shower water is heated by 180 solar panels. Only naturally fallen wood is used in the fireplaces, organic toiletries and cleaning products are used in the bathrooms while guests are encouraged to plants trees and sponsor a local child or family. All staff are indigenous and dress in traditional clothing.
The Laguna Lodge resort is only accessible by boat, and with just seven suites and one villa, you may well have it yourself.
The duplex villa, which has a thatched roof made from palm leaves, is named after the Mayan god Kucumatz, while the suites are named after local flora and fauna such as the jaguar, ceiba tree and quetzal, Guatemala’s national bird. All of the rooms are spacious, with king-size beds and walk-in showers, while four have large balconies with incredible lake views.
Communal areas are decorated with paintings, hand-carved furniture, masks and fabric woven on backstrap and pedal looms all made by locals. The lodge also displays Mayan antiques, some of which were found during its construction.
If you just want to relax, there are sun loungers on a deck by a small cold pool and a heated Jacuzzi, or a hammock made for two on the rooftop lounge, which hosts yoga, Pilates and meditations sessions. You can also enjoy essential oil massages in the Hummingbird Spa, a naturally lit leafy space with rock walls.
More active guests can borrow kayaks or hike the resort’s private reserve. A network of well-marked trails zig zag across 100 acres up to 1,963m – with views of the lake most of the way. Allow at least two hours to explore and wear hiking boots if you have them.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, dine at the resort’s only restaurant, Zotz, which serves vegetarian and vegan dishes.
I had an incredible four-course dinner of carrot, coriander and ginger soup; salad with blue cheese, honey and flowers; a roast vegetable and blue cheese filo pastry wrap in red pepper sauce and banana cheesecake. The bananas, along with the papaya, coffee beans, herbs and avocados, are grown in the garden, which you can visit. At night the restaurant glows with candlelight and a roaring fire in winter. If you’re not already here on your honeymoon, you’ll no doubt return for it.
Laguna Lodge Eco-Resort and Nature Reserve, 1 Tzantizotz, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Solola, Guatemala.
Tel: +(502) 4066 8135
Call ahead to arrange complimentary boat collection from Panajachel, which is 15 minutes’ away.
Type of Hotel: 4-Star Hotel and Nature Reserve
Number of Rooms: Seven double rooms and one villa, including free Wi-Fi.
Price Band: Medium with Doubles costing from £157 to £675 + 22% tax. Prices include a return boat to Panajachel, breakfast, the nature reserve, kayak rental and a cocktail.
Insider Tip: Look out for a statue of the Mayan God Maximon, complete with his trademark cigarettes and alcohol, in the lounge.
Reviewer’s Rating: 10/10
Sarah Riches is a London-based journalist. You can follow her on twitter @healthy_holiday and Instagram @healthy_holiday_
Photographs by Sarah Riches
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