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“Incredible location, unique design, great restaurant.”
Review of Hotel Moana

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Hotel Moana
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Mal Pais
Reviewed 22 February 2012

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.

Room Tip: I suggest staying more than one night, and reserving in advance to get a room better than the Standa...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jeff S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
moanamanager, Owner at Hotel Moana, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2012

I'm glad you enjoyed your stay here with us and my apologies if you didn't get my humor. The joke I made, did not meant to have a sense of bitterness towards my birth date. I was reflecting on the fact that being male and having your birthday on Valentines day when your a kid was a double edged sword. Id wake up and open my birthday cards and finally have some money in my pocket and then that night Id have to take my girlfriend out for dinner and Id be broke again! It was a case of irony that maybe didn't translate, but I was just trying to be personable.
The page in our book that you refer to 'What it is to be a Hotel Manager' is not there to offend. Its simply a humorous piece that a former guest sent me and I and many others thought it was funny hence I decided to put it in there so people could have a little laugh during their stay. This is a quote from it so you can decide if its funny or not. 'A Hotel Manager must be a diplomat, a democrat, an autocrat, an acrobat and a doormat. He must have the facility to entertain prime ministers, princes of industry, pickpockets, gamblers, bookmakers, pirates, philanthropists, popsies and prudes. He must be on both sides of the "political fence" and must be able to jump or sit on that fence'.

Regarding the late check out, we try to give guests some swing time on rooms when we can but unfortunately it wasn't possible during your stay as we were full and had guests waiting for the room. I had explained to you at the time that those guests were already staying in the hotel and wanted to move to your room early so in your case I couldnt let you have the room longer than promised. That was the only reason I couldn't let you back into the room for a shower. Sometimes my hands are tied and I simply cant give every guest everything they ask for but I assure you it was not a case of you being a lower paying guest.

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183 - 187 of 425 reviews

Reviewed 20 February 2012

We headed to Mal Pais for two nights coming from Tamarindo. We were invited to stay at a friend's shack on the beach and when we arrived we decided it was two rustic for us. We were lucky to get a suite at Moana and found it to be a wonderful haven in a dusty, fun surfing village.

The room was large and well thought out with a separate living room. The bathroom was enormous with an out door shower. Attention to detail was evident everywhere.

Yes there are stairs but the view is worth it !

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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Thank bobbaer1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 February 2012

My husband and I happened upon this gem after we spent one night at another place that had great people but not the greatest accommodations. Initially we only booked one night because we were unsure of our plans, but we quickly fell in love with this place and stayed for three more nights. The room was perfect - everything was extremely clean, the bed was comfortable, the AC worked great, the shower was perfect after a day at the beach, and the setting is a true jungle - with monkeys who visit on occasion! But what really makes this place is the restaurant. For starters, the view is breathtaking. It is a magnificent place to see nearly the entire Malpais/Santa Teresa coastline. We planned our days around going to this restaurant - I couldn't believe the huge delicious breakfast selections were included in the room rate that was already very reasonable! And then there is no better place to view the sunset with a cocktail in hand! And the cocktails are terrific - don't miss the Mojitos, Caprihina's, and I forget the name of the delicious Tropical version of the Mojito, but you don't want to miss that either (though you might not remember its name afterward either)! Dinner was delicious as well - a unique tapas menu that will not disappoint. And we thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate fondu on our last night. The hotel staff were also lovely. I really enjoyed the bartender - he's great, and the lady owner was so sweet! It was nice to stay at a place with an actual Costa Rican owner!

I really have nothing bad to say about the Moana Lodge. It was truly perfect for us. I have read other reviews about the stairs - yes, there are stairs, but, seriously. If you are not physically impaired (in which case I imagine the lodge could accommodate you in some way), a few steps through the beautiful jungle-gounds is quite pleasant. The lodge is also a short distance outside of downtown, which makes for a beautiful beach-walk or a not so pleasant dust-walk into town (or a quick drive). The road is dusty and has some bumps, but the longer we stayed the more I realized that the road is a necessary part of Malpais' wonderful character. I miss it - enjoy your time in Malpais!

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Kate8000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2012

Great little hotel away from the center of Mal Pais. Great staff, interesting rooms, good value. But beware there are many (94) steps to the top of the hotel where the ocean view rooms and the restaurant are located. Not for anyone with physical limitations.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank pjl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 February 2012

Im 31 yrs old, male. Canadian from Toronto, Canada. We spent 3 nights at Moana Lodge for my honeymoon recently Feb 2012. We had one of the Junior Suites (The Toucan) The room was mind boggling. Very clean. A beautiful lounge/couch area next to bedroom, both having unreal sunset views over the trees, perched on the mountainside. The Junior Suite had high ceilings. Cool African inspiried art pieces. White washed walls. Solid hardwood floors. Nice flat screen. Amazing bathroom with secluded outdoor shower. Great service. Very quiet. Lots of stairs to tackle from the Parking, but well worth it. The room was very hot during the day, but the air conditioning powered through it.

It was a 15-20 hike along dusty dirt road into the main town/beach area for Playa el Carmen/Santa Teresa if you dont have a car or ATV. A good 5 minute drive on bumpy road, but that's standard in the south.

Nice quiet secluded pool, with more than enough seating/chez lounges. Didnt hit the jacuzzi, or use the poolside bar, but they do a cool honour system with cold beer fridge near the pool.

The Papaya lounge (restaurant part of and perched above the individual units) was even higher with even more spectacular views over the pacific - great tapas style dinner menu, again great Staff. Super clean and modern decor and couch areas for drinks. Unreal breakfasts included in cost of room. Fresh juice each day. Great Gaillo Pinto, eggs, sweet options etc.

Room Tip: Junior Suite. See comments above.
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Andrew_reeves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Moana

Address: 1.5 kilometers to the south, Playa Carmen, Mal Pais 60111, Costa Rica
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Mal Pais
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Mal Pais
#4 Romantic Hotel in Mal Pais
Price Range: RM288 - RM610 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Moana 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
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

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