The surroundings are amazing, typical cloud forest at 5000 ft+ altitude, a bit as we experienced before in 2008 when visiting Monteverde Cloud Forest. Dramatic mountain views, misty hills and above all: very quiet. The welcome received upon arrival, after a long trip from the Caribbean, was very nice. We asked for a suite near the main facilities by e-mail, and this is exactly what we got. Muchisimas gracias Maria Barquero! Una pena que no podriamos encontrarte.
The suites are luxurious and very well equipped. Sitting outside on the deck and enjoying the view and the peace and quiet is indeed utmost relaxing. You're in the cloud forest at 1850m of altitude, so don't expect tropical temperatures! To us (February 2013), the heater provided was sufficient, the hot water bottles are a nice gesture. The hot tub is a gadget, rather than useful: you're freezing when you get out of the tub and you'll have to start it before going for diner. But it adds to the the feeling of luxury of course.
The food? Excellent, made of fresh ingredients that are growing and/or living on the premises.
Chef Marcela does not fail to come to your table to hear your comments. Very attentive!
We took the nature hike on the hotel's grounds, were accompanied by our personal guide, Andrej who was very knowledgeable and very attentive to point out all the interesting plants and creatures. Wildlife was a bit of a dissappointment, apart from some beetles and spiders, but hey, this is nature and monkeys and coati's just don't sit and pose for the camera. The waterfalls are worth the hike and we enjoyed this trip very much.
Now for the "but's"
Their "eco-thing" is far over the top. I agree on sensibilization of the average tourist but there's no need to slam through people's throats. After all, the hot tubs are not natural, they need fuel to burn up the kitchen stoves and so on. If you really care that much for the natural environment of that valley, don't build a hotel in it! But nowadays, eco-tourism is the magic word and very fashionable.
Prices: over the top! There's no alternative nearby, after dark, you think twice before leaving the premises, so if you want a drink, you'll have to pay what they ask you for it. And it's too much! Meals: we had a meal package but if you pay for the meal, the mandatory $35.00 is overrated, especially when there's no alternative available. And how do they dare to apply to guests paying that amount of money to order half portions if they're not hungry????I Not done people! As said earlier: meals are very good but overprized.
Before leaving, you're handed over a questionnaire to rate your stay. At the bottom, you're asked to leave a contribution to the nearby villagers?????? This did it for me: If you're really so concerned with keeping up good relations with the villagers, let them have a part of the extraordinary profits you make by overcharging meals and drinks and don't bother your guest with this.
And finally, as a European non-smoker, I am raised with tolerance towards people who do smoke, as long as they do not hinder other people. But if you forbid people to smoke even within the perimeter of the hotel grounds, even outside of the buildings, you should advertise this on beforehand and not let it come as a surprise when there's no way out any more. After all, people staying here are guests, well paying guests and too many rules and regulations easily turn a luxury hotel into a police state.
Would I visit again? No, for the above 3 negative issues.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warmest greetings from Costa Rica! Thank you so much for repeatedly choosing our country as your travel destination. It was an honor to help you a bit with your travel plans and I am sorry to not have had a chance to see you in person. Your comments are thoughtful and quite useful and I thank you for your candid impressions. I am thrilled to learn that your overall experience was so positive, letting you enjoy great cloud forest landscapes, excellent organic cuisine, and attentive service. Just in the interest of providing a little more information, the $35 prix fixe dinner rate includes an appetizer, a main entrée, and dessert from an a-la-carte menu.
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I would like to underscore that our commitment to sustainability is long-standing, tracing its roots to the inauguration of our sister property, Hotel Punta Islita in 1994, before green labels became ubiquitous. Our mantra is providing planet-friendly, people-positive programs that benefit the property, the community, and the guest. In the case of El Silencio, we have developed the property in strict adherence to carrying capacity, encouraging sound environmental stewardship and providing employment opportunities to the surrounding communities. Furthermore, we encourage patronizing local businesses and give ongoing support to the local school and complementary education initiatives. Many of our guests have expressed interest in supporting these efforts and we try to facilitate the process as much as possible. That said, I will review how this information is presented to avoid misunderstandings.
In terms of the non-smoking policy. Please know that Costa Rica recently enacted strict anti-tobacco laws that prohibit smoking in public places. This includes outdoor areas. We are updating our marketing material to ensure that all of our potential guests are fully aware of this new legislation.
Once again, I thank you for your detailed review and valuable insights. Please don’t hesitate to contact me via email if you would like to provide additional information. Muchos saludos!
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.