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“Blissful, relaxing, mountain retreat. A true rarity in Puerto Rico”

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Casa Grande Mountain Retreat
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Utuado
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 21 April 2012

Though many people come to Puerto Rico (and with good reason) to enjoy the island's beautiful beaches, to meander through the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, and to enjoy the great shopping, food, and nightlife, they often forego the option of a relaxing mountain retreat. This is unfortunate because Puerto Rico is, above all, a mountainous island, and some of the most beautiful towns and most breathtaking scenery can be found in the island's interior and along its winding rural byways. I have been going to Puerto Rico at least two time per year for more than 15 years and have spent many unforgettable days in the mountains -- driving (often getting lost), hiking, visiting small towns, touring coffee plantations, etc. However, until this year I had never really enjoyed a Puerto Rican mountain retreat -- that is, I hadn't gone to the mountains with the expressed purpose of doing nothing but relaxing. It was with this in mind that my wife and I decided to spend two nights at Casa Grande with out two children (ages 9 and 6) a couple of months ago. What a great experience. I agree with those who have noted that this amazing place is a bit hard to find, but if you follow the advice of the hotel staff and many of the reviewers on Trip Advisor and head out with plenty of time and an adventurous spirit, the trip there will be very rewarding. Take your time and don't stress out if you get a bit lost. You'll find it. Also, if you do your homework and ask for detailed directions, you should have no problem getting there from either San Juan or Ponce . . . from Utuado it is really quite easy, and the roads are not nearly as bad as some reviewers claim. Now, if you try to come at night or during a torrential downpour, expect a rather unpleasant and difficult journey.

The rooms at Casa Grande are simple, but extremely clean and quite spacious (see my pics). We stayed in room 11 and room 12 was unoccupied so we really enjoyed having a double balcony, so to speak. The balconies with hammocks and chairs are perfect places to sit and read a book, have a glass of wine, or to simply listen to the sounds of nature. The grounds are meticulously kept and are great fun for the kids to explore. Don't forget to bring a flashlight so you can find cuoquis (those cute little Puerto Rican frogs that you hear all the time but almost never see) nestled among the exuberant tropical vegetation. We also really loved the pool and spent a good amount of time sitting there and reading while our kids enjoyed a dip in the chilly water. The views from most of the rooms and all of the Hotel's common areas (especially the pool) are really quite incredible, so if you forget to bring a book, you can just stare off into the distance and breath in the fresh mountain air. I loved the fact that the rooms had no TVs. On the one hand this really cuts down on noise, but on the other it encourages guests to stay outside or to just relax -- something that most of us don't do enough these days.

We thoroughly enjoyed our dining experiences: two dinners and two breakfasts. Even though the service was a bit slow, as some of the more negative reviewers are quick to point out, this is not at all unusual in the Caribbean (and I don't mean this in a derogatory way). It is actually something I have grown to appreciate quite a bit. You are in the mountains and have nothing to do but relax . . . what's the big rush!? And besides, the food was very good over all and excellent in some cases, and always well worth the wait. Dining on the terrace at night with the impossibly clear, star-filled sky was just amazing, and eating breakfast there was truly delightful. Get up early and sit down before the sun comes over the mountains -- sip your coffee and enjoy nature at its finest: a cacophony of tropical birds, tree frogs, roosters, etc. announces the coming of every new day.

Casa Grande is a bit out of the way, to be sure, but its relative isolation adds so much to the place's charm. In any case, if you do want to use it as a base for your adventures, you can get almost anywhere on the island in a couple of hours, and there are many places much closer that are totally worth visiting. Just ask the hotel staff for suggestions. When I return (and I hope it is soon) I will do what I did last time -- sit around and relax.

Room Tip: Be sure to ask for a room with a view of the mountains
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank ViajeroIndiana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
proprietor44, Owner at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 24 April 2012

Thanks for what I can only refer to as a "dream review". We'll look forward to seeing you again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (503)
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255 - 259 of 503 reviews

Reviewed 15 April 2012

Great place. Very cozy, nice view, nice pool, great restaurant. Love the weather, tranquality, bird and nature sounds.
Hate the travel. Should have a few signs here and there.........

  • Stayed: April 2012
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Thank eldavid51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2012

We came thru Ponce, south of that area- I dont recommend this route unless you are very adventurous! anyway after feeling our way around, various roads ending at unmarked intersections, turn offs, etc- we finally arrived after dark very close to 8pm. Exhausted and tired we were met by a very stoic receptionist who did ask if we had eaten- they did apparently keep the kitchen open later for us, 830 late? the meal was fairly good, but the staff- oh boy- what a downer!
Dinner was served, drinks came after dinner service? why? dont you typically have a drink before dinner? No lemon in my vodka, but lime after I asked twice- So anyway we eat we drink had a very bad dessert-
not once were we asked if everything was ok, did we need anything- Oh well, no etiquette what so ever- I wouldnt care SO much but TIP is included! Now I get it- $78 for dinner!
Yikes-
It get worse-
Next morning we get up early, 8am to get Breakfast. Seated by 815- breakfast takes 45 minutes, two omelettes- thats it- we had 2 maybe 3 other tables, whom were AHEM Puerto Ricans, get their meals BEFORE us- Not once did our waiter asked us, do you need anything? your meal is coming-
So WFT?
I finally complained, we got served, ate and went to check out-
At the desk at different women checked us out and asked how everything was and I said OK-
then after several quiet minutes I suggested our meal took a long time- She got the owner who did apologize and gave me a bag of coffee!
wow a $5 bag of coffee, my lucky day-

I advise
1. bring your own food to this place
2. drive from San Juan during the day
3. expect lousy service( if u eat here) unless you are from Puerto Rico
4. take the drive thru the mountains and keep going

Room Tip: Beautiful place needs serious help- attitude adjustments for staff Lower your restaurant prices, fo...
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank david l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
proprietor44, Owner at Casa Grande Mountain Retreat, responded to this reviewResponded 14 April 2012

Thank you for writing the review. We benefit from all reviews, both positive and negative. I made a copy of this rone and gave it to the staff involved, suggesting ways to improve our service. The dinner bill lincluded two appetizers, two main courses, two desserts and three alcoholic drinks from the bar. It totaled $64.00 before sales tax and service charges were added. The guest always has the option of changing the amount of the tip or eliminating it altogether. We treat and serve all guests equally, with no priority nor preference given to anyone.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2012

We stayed two nights last week, and we really enjoyed the hotel, mountain views and sounds of the nearby river, birds, roosters and frogs. The pool was refreshing and invigorating after a day of mountain hiking and ziplining. It was extremely clean, and the water seemed to simply be nonclorinated fresh water. Rooms are clean and basic, but you don't stay in the rooms anyway. The grounds are beautiful with orange, plantain, coconut, and papaya trees and many flowering bushes. The restaurant was decent, some food outstanding other food just okay, but the views are gorgeous and the slow service very friendly. All staff was very friendly. The owner Steve lead yoga classes in the am, which were very centering and, to me, well worth attending. By the way, nearby Batey Zipline Adventures was really fun and run by some interesting, local farmers. I recommend Casa Grande to anyone wanting to spend some time in the mountains exploring the more remote areas of Puerto Rico.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank hhiwaterlover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2012

This was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city, but it is very, very basic. Location is awesome though-tucked out of the way, quiet, with the exception of the coqui frogs! It is an excellent place to relax and do some hiking. Hammock outside and great views of the lush mountains. Can even get to some of the coffee plantations (driving). The on-site restaurant is awesome-well prepared meals for a good price.

Basic is basic though-no tv, no a/c, no phone.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Todd J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Casa Grande Mountain Retreat

Address: Road 612, Km. 0.3 | Barrio Caonillas, Utuado 00641, Puerto Rico
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Puerto Rico > Utuado
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Utuado
Price Range: $144 - $157 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Casa Grande Mountain Retreat 2.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in a valley in Puerto Rico's central mountains, Casa Grande is an oasis of peace and tranquility. 20 rooms scattered up the mountainside, each with private bath, balcony and hammock. Freshwater pool, restaurant and bar. The Café serves comida criolla, contemporary dishes and vegetarian options. Fully equipped yoga facility offering morning class, birder's paradise, botanical gardens and woodland hiking trail. Near Camuy Caves, Arecibo Observatory, Caguana Ceremonial Park, Toro Negro and Rio Abajo Forests. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Casa Grande Mountain Retreat Hotel Utuado

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