LA LANCHA: A HIDEAWAY ON THE BANKS OF LAKE PETÉN, GUATEMALA
Down a long bumpy dirt track, behind big wooden shields on the banks of Lake Petén Itzá is the beautiful boutique hideaway known as La Lancha. It’s tucked high into the rain forest above Guatemala’s third largest Lake Petén Itzá, located an hours drive from the Belize border.
If you’re like me, you’re fans of the movie classics such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the epic Godfather trilogy then you will be delighted to hear that their director, the legend that is, Mr Francis Ford Coppola owns this property along with his entourage of three other hideaways! Unfortunately he was not in residence, however I can say one thing, if I was a movie star then this is where I would stay 100% because it really is a hideaway in every sense of the word.
Set in the rain forest high above the shores of Lago Petén Itzá is La Lancha, a quaint, ten room lodge decorated with furniture, fabrics and carvings from Guatemala, personally selected by the Coppola family. Nearby is Tikal, the epicentre of Maya spirituality. Buried deep within the rain forest, the ruins include more than 3,000 structures where moss clings to the steps of ancient temples and plazas. I will uncover the great ancient city of Tikal in an upcoming post!
You enter this secret location hideaway either by boat onto its private jetty and then ride up to reception via a private funicular or as we did via the dirt track and through big wooden gates.
Friendly faces await you as you step into this haven and as you obliviously take a seat sipping on a strawberry and rum welcome drink, all your luggage and check in information is dealt with swiftly.
Just next to the reception and the top of the property is the open air restaurant with stunning views of Lake Petén and the stunning gardens and lush jungle that surrounds La Lancha.
RESTAURANT & BAR
The open air restaurant and bar serves meals three times a day and is open for snack and drinks throughout the day. They serve locally sourced and traditional Guatemala dishes where each evening a variety of fresh fish or meat can be cooked on the barbecue.
Breakfast as well as snacks 24 hours a day can be enjoyed in your Casita if you should wish as I we did on one morning. A continental breakfast of tea or coffee, fresh fruit juice, fruit platter and some breads and pastries is included in room rates but additionally an a lá carte menu is available.
Sip on your morning coffee with the singing of parakeets in the background or the calls of the Howler monkeys, which come down to your verandas.
The Bar makes some of the best Rum based cocktails I have ever tasted but one of my favourites were the All spice Mojitos and Margheritas, which contained a dash of local special spice mix of cinnamon and cloves.
Unfortunately, there are no photos of the delicious dinners due to the minimal romnatic lighting in the open-air restaurant after dark.
CIGAR LOUNGE & ROOFTOP BAR
Above the dining area of the restaurant is the Cigar lounge, where one can choose from a selection of fine rolled cigars and the bar can provide the perfect tipple for your smoke companion, should you wish. Spirits and shorts galore to see the night through.
There is also a small gift shop above the restaurant, which sells local Guatemalan arts and crafts made in the nearby communities.
Just a short walk down from the reception area is the hotel’s very exclusive Mirador. This is essentially a private lookout where hotel guests can hangout and relax, enjoy a romantic meal or lie on the cabanas with sun downers. The most beautiful sun rises from the left to the most dreamy sunsets on the right can be observed here and the bar staff are always on hand to provide you with a drink or two.
Our waiter, Oscar was the perfect Margarita maker come photographer for Dr C and I
There are ten abodes at La Lancha Hideaway, there are Rainforest Casitas, Rainforest Junior Suites and two Rain forest Lake view Suites. Dr C and I were lucky enough to be gifted the Lakeview Suites by La Lancha during our three night stay.
The Lake view Suite is truly exquisite in every sense of the word. Its rustic, with traditional artefacts, furniture and linens and is a short trek from the main part of the hotel. It is buried deep into the rain forest and has the most stunning view of the lake.
The suite encompassed two rooms adjoined by a walkway of master bathroom and an additional bathroom. There are beautiful sofas and scatter cushions giving a laid back feel and the French doors allowed plenty of light to flood in with viewing of wildlife and the lake possible.
The suite had all the amenities that you would require, including a rain shower, handmade local toiletries, Espresso machine, water, fridge, safe and it was fully air conditioned. A turn down service, which included the place being kitted out for mosquito protection overnight as well as stocked up with robes, water and fluffy towels.
The large wood floored decks are quite the hub for wildlife and have some beautifully upholstered bamboo furniture as well as a hammock to relax on those balmy days in the rain forest. Panoramic views of Lake Petén ingests you from every side of the deck providing the perfect spot for private rain forest luxury.
The jetty at the bottom of the resort, which gives access to the lake can be reached by the resorts private funicular.
You can swim in the lake, take some canoes out or simply sit and relax and have a drink at the lakeside bar.
There is also a sauna at the bottom of the resort, which can be booked by guests.
Many activities can be organised from La Lancha Hideaway included trips to the Mayan ruins such as Tikal or boat rides on the lake, the nearby town of Flores as well as Spanish classes or horseback riding or even a suspension bridge sky walk at Ixpanpajul via boat.
Your stay at La Lancha Hideaway can be as active or as relaxing as you’d like and that is the beauty of this little rustic boutique style hideaway.
There is also a massage service to help you relax and ease your way into the surroundings, which can be booked via the hideaway reception.
If you prefer to swim in a pool, then the hotel has a fully manned pool just below the restaurant and main communal areas where you get fantastic lake views and can relax after a days sight seeing or jungle trekking.
I was pleased to see La Lancha had a fantastic sustainability policy, which included a water purification system on-site therefore water could be drunk directly from the taps. They endeavour to recycle almost everything and as many vegetable as possible are bought over from their other Hideaway property in Belize, which has a vegetable garden. Additionally, La Lancha gives employment opportunities to the locals in this area, which enables them to work on a shift basis and gives jobs to the community and sustains the surrounding towns.
Pure Unadulterated Perfection for
Honeymoons, special occasions, anniversaries, small weddings, families, and
celebrities of course!
Disclaimer: We were gifted the Lakeview Suite in exchange for this review however all opinions, views and photography are my own and remain a copyright of be-lavie.
La Lancha Hideaway
Lake Petén Itzá
Peten District, Guatemala
Tel. +502 3045 0817
You can book directly via La Lancha’s website here: https://www.thefamilycoppolahideaways.com/en/la-lancha
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