News & Reviews

royal palm hotel press releaseOctober 2015

Review by Paris Match, France

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October 2015

Royal Palm benefits from further investment
The Royal Palm, one of Santa Cruz’s most exclusive hotels, is carrying out further improvements to its property and private estate in time for high season. The older Casita bathrooms are being upgraded with modern, open-shower wet-rooms. “Water conservation plays a significant role in the hotels sustainability and recycling program”, says GM, Daniel Contag, “our new wet rooms will contribute greatly to this whilst providing stylish en-suites for our guests.”

Going with the flow, the hotel’s large swimming pool will be heated for the first time in its life! Although not essential in the hot months, it will extend the use of the pool year round.

And due to popular demand, the Royal Palm Spa is getting a face-lift! A revitalized Spa menu is planned, continuing the theme of natural, holistic treatments in addition to our popular volcanic mud facial and chocolate oil massage! The fitness center next door will also benefit from “a new look” with additional exercise equipment.

The Royal Palm is custodian to 190 hectares (480 acres) of private land, located adjacent to the Galapagos National Park; most of the estate is lush Miconia tree, fruit-rich highland forest, a favourite food of the resident birds including Darwin Finches, Galapagos Fly Catchers and Yellow Crowned Warblers. The estate also boasts one of the longest and most accessible lava tunnels on the Island, just a few minutes from reception! Combined with crater walks, geological sites and nature trails, these unique experiences are included in the Royal Palm’s new nature tour package which comes with a map of the walking paths and jogging tracks which wind along well-maintained, sign-posted routes. This is as close to nature as you can get!


May 2015

Seeing - & Being Seen - In the Galapagos Islands
Review by

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royal palm hotel press releaseApril 2015

Review by Atlas & Boots

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royal palm hotel press releaseMarch 2015

Review by Vogue, Germany

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February 2015

Review by

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Geared to customers who want to spend some time on land rather than just on the water, Royal Palm is a luxurious hideaway in the cool and misty highlands of Santa Cruz Island, between the airport and the Darwin Research Center.

If you spend the usual five to eight days on a ship exploring the Galapagos Islands, you'll see a lot of parched surfaces, lava fields, and scraggly vegetation. Royal Palm Hotel offers a different view. Here the landscape is lush, it rains lightly for half the year, and giant tortoises munch their way across grassy fields nearby. The management here says the perfect mix would be four nights on a boat and then three nights here, trading a small ship's cabin for oversized rooms and villas for the second part.

The first impression here is an odd one, especially if you're expecting an island near the equator to be covered with coconut palms and rainforest plants. Banana and citrus trees are dotted around the property, but the vegetation is dominated by short endemic trees, ferns, and wild impatiens. The resort is part of a coalition trying to eradicate invasive species (like blackberries) and return the island to its natural balance.

The buildings are all hidden from the highway and after climbing a road from the entrance you see villas scattered around with plenty of space between them. At the top of the hill are a set of eight bungalow rooms (meant to accommodate the usual ship capacity of 16) and all the public area buildings. The villas cascade down the hill, giving all of them a view from their walls of glass.

You check in at the lobby after the hotel transfers you and your bags from the airport or the ship port, your luggage going ahead to your room. One of the bilingual staffers escorts you there and shows you around.

The villas, each named after a historic British sailor, are like cozy houses minus the kitchen. Plank hardwood floors run throughout and each of the four rooms is large. Living space is divided between a regular living room and a sunroom. The first has a fireplace, dining table, desk, and sofa. The sunroom has a full Jacuzzi for two--which you may feel guilty using on an island where rain supplies the only fresh water--and a white wicker sitting area. Windows run from the ceiling almost to the floor and the units are angled to allow views down to the ocean. Spacious baths have rain showers, separate WCs, and plenty of closet and drawer space. Bedrooms come with satellite TVs, DVD players, and stereos. All the expected amenities are in place, including minibars and complimentary wired Internet access.

The Presidential Suite and Royal Suite trade the sunroom for a large outdoor terrace with hot tub and the slightly larger Royal Suite has a sauna. The top choice is the Prince of Wales Suite, renamed after his majesty and family who stayed here while on vacation. It has two full bedrooms, a sauna, two separate entrances with a car drop-off point, a roof deck, and two baths. Each bedroom (one with king, one with two queens) has its own furnished terrace area with hot tub, separated from outside sight lines by latticework and shrubs.

The verandah rooms near the restaurant are priced the lowest, but at 839 square feet they're certainly not cramped. There is plenty of space to move around the king beds and the baths are almost as large as those in the villas, with a whirlpool tub, dressing area, and separate w/c.

An attractive swimming pool with cushioned metal lounge chairs is popular in the dry season, deserted the rest of the year. Two tennis courts are also not used much from October through March. A spa has a massage room, sauna, whirlpool, and so-so gym with aerobic and weight equipment. The conference and business center offers satellite Internet access and printing.

The restaurant is an attractive circular space with custom furniture made on the island and an open fireplace lit on cool nights. Indoor and outdoor tables are covered by a huge palapa that will soon give way to a more standard roof---thatch and heavy humidity are not working well together. The talented chef delights in personal touches and experimentation, serving up an impressive five-course digestion dinner on request. With imports to the islands seriously restricted (no lamb chops, duck, fresh raspberries, or imported beef for instance), the kitchen still manages to offer a wide variety of choices for each meal. A well-stocked bar off to the side is a comfortable space with sofas.

The staff routinely sets up excursions catered to individual tastes and it would be possible to get a "Galapagos light" experience from here without ever sleeping on the water. You don't have access to places where red-footed boobies or waved albatross birds reside, but day trips can take you to beaches and rocky outcrops filled with sea lions, marine iguanas, and sea turtles. Giant tortoises are a few minutes away in the highlands. Adventure activities available include snorkeling, mountain biking, and kayaking. This arrangement is especially popular with families as they can split up and do different things rather than being herded in a group.

While this humid, sometimes rainy resort may not fit everyone's idea of the perfect Galapagos vacation, it's a nice alternative to rocking through the night in a ship cabin. Royal Palm is clearly the most luxurious hotel in the region and the surprisingly fluent staff is poised and confident.


royal palm hotel press releaseMay 2014

La exclusividad y el lujo en medio de una isla
Mariela – Mayo 2014

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30 April 2014

The Royal Palm appoints Kartagener Associates Inc. (KAI)

The Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos has appointed New Yorkbased sales representation and marketing agency, KAI to boost small group sales in North America. KAI will be targeting their extensive tour operator client-base to promote the hotel and the benefits of land-based holidays in the Galapagos.

“The Royal Palm receives guests from all over the world, but the North American market is core to our growth” says Director of Sales and Marketing, Sue Bertram. “KAI have extensive experience in marketing niche products and experiential travel packages.”

The hotel is launching more adventure packages including scuba diving (The Galapagos has some of the best dive locations in the world), horse-riding at the Magic Ranch Riding Centre and they are upgrading their increasingly popular honeymoon offering.

“The Royal Palm and the Galapagos are a perfect complement to our portfolio. We look forward to working with the many operators who have supported us over the past 20 years in bringing new and imaginative programs to this wondrous destination” adds Henry Kartagener, President of KAI.

The Royal Palm team also manage and market the privately owned Villa Escalesia, an exclusive oceanfront residence, located in Puerto Ayora. The modern, three bedroom villa is one of only a few private homes available for up-market holiday rentals on Santa Cruz. Villa Escalesia can sleep up to 12 adults and children and offers the ultimate in in-door/out-door living plus an infinity pool, whirlpool, steam room, a sun deck and bar with views of Academy Bay. The Diamond package includes an in-home chef, housekeeper, Maître d´ and a personal concierge.

About KAI
Since 1995, KAI has been creating marketing strategies for a diverse portfolio of properties and destination management companies.

Tel: 800.524.7979 -


January 2014

Galapagos Islands wins 'Best Bucket List Trip' at

The beautiful Galapagos Islands took top honors in the latest awards for the 'Best Bucket List Trip'. This award is chosen by readers of USA TODAY and


September 2013
Royal Palm Hotel Galapagos launches new Adventure Packages

The Royal Palm, the Galapagos Islands’ only 5* hotel, located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, has recently benefitted from $1 million investment.

As part of this the hotel has launched its own exciting new adventure packages including yacht expeditions and improved guest services with its dedicated Adventure Designer team.

The Royal Palm Hotel packages offer a wealth of activities designed to provide close encounters with the Islands’ friendly and exotic creatures, including the marine iguana, blue footed boobies, sea lions and giant tortoises, some of which are endemic to the Galapagos.  Tailored-made programmes allow families and individuals to choose activities to suit their interests and create bespoke holidays.

Daniel Contag, The Royal Palm’s new General Manager said,

“The Royal Palm now offers the best value for money for a land-based holiday in the Galapagos. Our guests can now choose from a range of Explore, Relax or Active packages which offer everything from snorkelling and kayaking, to spa and wellness treatments; from yacht expeditions to arranging your personal chef to prepare your very own beach BBQ and then sleep under the stars; The Royal Palm Hotel offers the ultimate Galapagos experience.”

In addition to the refurbishment of the hotel and the launch of new packages, the Royal Palm’s sustainability program is also progressing with the recent addition of a rainwater reservoir, an organic kitchen garden as well as the plant a tree program.

The Royal Palm’s accommodation includes 10 Highland Villas, two specifically designed for families. Each Highland Villa sits individually in the grounds of the estate, enjoying quiet seclusion.  All accommodation including the 8 Casitas has been updated. The property has been entirely refurbished and furniture re-upholstered to reflect the colours of the surrounding natural environment, combining elegant colonial style with traditional island design.

All Highland Villas have open fires and Jacuzzi rooms, wireless internet service, LCD flat screen televisions, small fridges, tea and coffee making facilities.

The Royal Palm’s Prince of Wales Villa comprises two en suite bedrooms – one with a king size bed and the other with two queen size beds. Both rooms share a living and dining room and a front garden and terrace. The master bedroom has its own sauna. The Villa also features a dressing area, a fireplace in the living room, a garden Jacuzzi and a roof-top terrace. The other two deluxe Villas are the Presidential and Royal Villas which also have their own outdoor garden Jacuzzis.

For those who prefer to have their own private residence in the Galapagos, The Royal Palm offers an exclusive oceanfront residence, Villa Escalesia, located in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island. With modern architecture, three ocean view bedrooms, infinity pool, whirlpool, steam room, a sea front sun deck and bar with views of Academy Bay and Santa Fe Island, Escalesia will cater to the most discerning traveller. The exclusive service provided includes an in-home chef, housekeeper, Maître d´ and a personal concierge to take care of any special requests.

The Royal Palm Hotel is located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, at the heart of the Archipelago, on a 190 hectare private estate which adjoins the Galapagos National Park.

The Galapagos Islands, a province of Ecuador in South America, sits astride the equator 600 miles or 1000 Km off the coast of mainland Ecuador. Officially named the Archipelago de Colon, these remote oceanic islands were originally brought to the world’s attention by to Charles Darwin through his theory of evolution.

About The Royal Palm Hotel

The Royal Palm is a family-owned boutique hotel set in its own 190 hectare (480 acres) private estate in the lush Miconia forest Highlands of Santa Cruz. Combining elegant colonial style with traditional island design, the property complements the natural environment, creating privacy, space and quiet seclusion for its residents. Opening in 2001, the accommodations were extended in 2008 to include 4 more Casitas in addition to the existing accommodation of 4 Casitas, 3 luxury villas and 10 highland villas, including 2 Highland Family Villas; the largest luxury villa is named in honour of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales who stayed in 2009. The Royal Palm has a relaxed and informal charm about it, making it the perfect base for both land and sea exploration of these Enchanted Islands.

About Villa Escalesia –

The Royal Palm team also manages Villa Escalesia located in Puerto Ayora and one of very few private homes available for exclusive hire. This is a spacious, locally-designed villa with all the creature comforts of home; a stunning base for a Galapagos holiday and the layout lends itself perfectly to groups of friends or extended families looking for an alternative to a hotel; it is also a magnificent location for weddings and special occasions. Located on the waterfront overlooking Pelican Bay, the villa accommodates up to 8 guests with a further 4 guests in the annexe, ideal for children sharing. The villa enjoys its own private walled garden at the front and to the rear, a pool-side bar, infinity pool, whirlpool, steam bath and sun deck giving the freedom of indoor / outdoor living.

For further press information please contact:
Sue Bertram
Royal Palm Galapagos
Tel: +44 1753 681468