News & Reviews
Seeing - & Being Seen - In the Galapagos Islands
Review by GetRealLuxury.com
Review by Atlas & Boots
Review by Vogue, Germany
Review by LuxuryLatinAmerica.com
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.
La exclusividad y el lujo en medio de una isla
Mariela – Mayo 2014
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 The Royal Palm Hotel
The Royal Palm is a private family-owned hotel set in its own 190 hectare estate in the lush Miconia Highland Forests of Santa Cruz adjacent to the Galapagos National Park. Built in 2002, it is the island’s first and only five-star hotel. The buildings have been authentically constructed from local materials with the teak wood furniture handcrafted in its own workshop. In 2008 the 8 Casitas were added to the existing accommodation of 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 at the hotel in 2009. The hotel has the relaxed and informal charm of an Ecuadorian estate offering a unique sense of space. The Hotel is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and is the perfect location for both land and sea exploration of the Galapagos Islands.
Since 1995, KAI has been creating marketing strategies for a diverse portfolio of properties and destination management companies.
Tel: 800.524.7979 - www.kainyc.com
Galapagos Islands wins 'Best Bucket List Trip' at 10Best.com
The beautiful Galapagos Islands took top honors in the latest 10Best.com awards for the 'Best Bucket List Trip'. This award is chosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best.com.
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.
For further press information please contact:
Royal Palm Galapagos
Tel: +44 1753 681468