This place almost has it all. I stayed for one night in the Standard room with my girlfriend on her birthday in Feb 2012. There was one small issue we had with the stay, but in no way would I ever discourage anyone to stay at this wonderful spot. What stood out the most for me was the design and layout of the buildings and area. It was very apparent that a lot of thought and creativity was put into how the place was designed. The view from the Papaya restaurant is absolutely stunning. The restaurant is excellent, and the bartender is extremely friendly and welcoming. The room was very clean and had everything we needed.
The only issue we had was with the personality of the owner. 'Issue' is probably an overstatement, but you can judge for yourself. When we arrived Aiden rushed us through the check in process and never took a second to greet us properly. No big deal, everyone can have stressful days. I then expressed that it was my girlfriends birthday, and rather than wish her a happy birthday Aiden said how it was his birthday the next day (which is valentines day) and proceeded to complain about how growing up all his birthday money would always be spent the same day on his girlfriend at the time. Boo hoo! If he read this comment he would probably argue that he said it as a joke, but regardless of the intent he never made us feel welcomed and certainly did nothing to make it feel like it was my girlfriend's birthday. Of course I didn't expect anything special, but we always felt that since we only stayed one night in the least expensive room that we were less important guests to him than anyone else.
To further this point, we initially had very lousy service in the restaurant for dinner (due to the server, not the bartender), and after a 15+ minute wait (with only one other table of 4 people there - which he visited at least 3 times before he came to us) he asked us to show our room key as if we weren't staying at the lodge. Once he understood that we were ordering a full meal and a bottle of wine, he made sure to give us good service. Again, this has no reflection of the service of the bartender, who was really great with everyone. I again got the feeling of being valued differently depending on how much money we spent. Granted, we did only stay for one night, and we did only stay in the Standard room, but this is certainly no excuse to treat one guest with mediocre service relative to others.
We also booked a surfing lesson through Aiden, but would only return half an hour after check out time. We inquired if we could use the shower real quick before we set off on our long drive to La Fortuna. He said we couldn't because a guest from another room was moving into our room so it wouldn't be available but we could use the rinse off shower by the pool. Once again we felt he put the needs of those who will be generating him more money ahead of others. This wasn't a big deal at all for us and it worked out fine, but it's another thing where Aiden just didn't really try to accommodate us. He would likely point to the rules, and explain the perspective of the hotel manager and he has in detail across several pages in each rooms' guest book, but honestly I could care less about that when I'm on vacation.
So in summary, the location, design, pool, room, food and view are all phenomenal - it really is an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone, but I would suggest that you get a suite and stay for more than one night to get the full experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Moana is a small private luxury ocean view hotel. Located in the magnificent tranquil region of Mal PaÌs Beach on the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. During your vacation with us you'll encounter high quality modern hotel suites and rooms that blend comfort with style leaving you with an unforgettable personal experience. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Moana Hotel Mal Pais