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“absolutely perfect” 5 of 5 stars
Review of El Silencio Lodge & Spa

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El Silencio Lodge & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Valverde Vega, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bajos del Toro
Neptune Beach, Florida
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“absolutely perfect”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

el silencio is amazing in every way from the tree planting, local sustainability, flower petal welcomes in the rooms, waterfalls, delicious local food, eco-design, private soaking tubs, hikes, everything was superb and sets a high bar for anywhere stayed after! (they even went and bought soy milk especially for us, and we of course didn't ask or anything, because they only had cows milk and they wanted us to have milk for our coffee!! and we don't even drink coffee!!! they are soooo thoughtful and considerate!)

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, March 21, 2014
Dear Kelly -Wonderful to hear from you. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with the Trip Advisor community. Our staff is generously attentive and will certainly go above and beyond to help guests feel comfortable and pampered. Warmest regards!
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327 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (93)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Dundas, Canada
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2014

An oasis in the cloud forest, this lodge exceeded our expectations in every way. Our cabin, nestled in the mountain, was exceptionally clean, spacious, well appointed and comfortable, with its own outdoor jacuzzi and breathtaking view of the forest and sky. Evenings were cool (I could have used a fleece lined jacket) so the jacuzzi, portable heater and water bottle (lovely surprise when tucking into bed) were most welcome. The food was outstanding: organic, local, delicious and very reasonably priced. We enjoyed a romantic, private dinner in front of the fireplace one evening. The service, ambiance, food quality, wine and music were impeccable! We felt entirely indulged. The couples aromatherapy session was reasonably priced and the service was excellent. Our personal guide, Emilio, was highly skilled, knowledgable, articulate, accommodating and friendly in every way for each activity we enjoyed: hiking, horseback riding, cultural tour. Unexpected bonuses like complimentary hot chocolate and cookies in the afternoon, a plate of home made chips and salsa (no charge) served with an afternoon beer and a small bottle of aromatic oil given after the aromatherapy were delightful surprises. We were highly impressed by the 5 leaf eco rating attained by the lodge especially since we felt we received great value for our money in every way, and many such places use the eco-friendly concept as an excuse to charge a premium. We highly recommend the lodge and all of the people on staff for the outstanding experience we enjoyed.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, March 21, 2014
Greetings and thank you so much for your thoughtful review and colorful description of your stay and the little surprises that made it special. Your highlighting of our staff's amazing hospitality is much appreciated. Please do return to our outstanding oasis very soon!
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Manhattan
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2014

My wife and I traveled to the cloud forest at Bajos del Toro Amarillo and the El Silencio Lodge as our second stop on a two-week trip to Costa Rica. We arrived at the El Silencio Lodge on March 1st, and stayed three nights. It was my wife’s first trip to Costa Rica and my fourth. We also stayed at Hotel Manatus, Hotel Punta Islita, and Hotel Grano Del Oro, all of which I have also reviewed.

El Silencio is managed by Grupo Islita and is one of their two sister properties. Grupo Islita is dedicated to giving back to the communities where their hotels are located, and hotel management companies worldwide could and should look at them as an example of how to put Sociology, Ecology, and Profitability into proper perspective. It works absolutely perfectly at El Silencio. The entire experience there was STUPENDOUS! It has become one of our favorite three lifetime vacation destinations, and we are now thinking of building a second home there!

We flew into San Jose from Tortuguero and were then transferred to El Silencio by private car in a trip that lasted approximately 2.5 hours because one of the roads that would have shaved an hour off the trip was being modernized. This didn’t bother us at all because we knew that travel by car in Costa Rica can be daunting at times. (The ride back to San Jose was only 1.5 hours because we left early in the morning to catch a flight to Punta Islita, and we were able to use the new road before it closed to traffic at 6 am.)

Most of the hotel employees are locals from the community, and it was a great pleasure taking the time to speak with each one of them. Our eco concierge, Orlando, was fabulous even though he was relatively new to his position having worked his way up at the hotel. We enjoyed him taking us on the medicinal plants tour, the night melody tour, an early morning bird watching tour, and an extended guided hike to the three beautiful waterfalls found on the property’s miles of hiking trails. I also thoroughly enjoyed learning all about and tasting Costa Rican coffee with Benny. It was great!

The hotel property is completely self-sustaining, with trout/tilapia farming, chicken farming (for the eggs!), and all organic produce grown on site. This contributed greatly to the food being amazing! Also contributing to the experience was the expert wait staff at the restaurant. There was no request that was too difficult, and Martin (the motor cycle bandito!) and Francisco always welcomed us warmly. They anticipated our every need without ever being intrusive. Just wonderful! We also were served by one other individual, but sadly I have forgotten his name, might it have been Carlos? He suggested a final evening dinner next to the fireplace, and he was as knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of Costa Rica as any of the guides I have met in the country. Bravo!

A brief note about the menu and how responsive Groupo Islita is to suggestions. I read many reviews about the prix fixe menu being expensive and “forcing” too much food on you. This was completely corrected during our stay. You could pay $35 for a complete meal, or pay $10 for an appetizer, $20 for a main course, and $5 for a dessert. You could mix and match as you pleased and eat as little or as much as you liked. My wife and I enjoyed ordering multiple appetizers for lunch one day, splitting each one. We found the pricing of the food to be an excellent value considering the quality.

I must mention the hotel manager Arnay, since he is running such a tight ship. I think what makes this possible is his attention to detail and willingness to learn about any problems or hear any suggestions that might make a stay at the property more enjoyable. Without fail, Arnay would ask us if there was anything that could be improved upon. In all honestly, neither my wife nor I could come up with anything to improve. Well, maybe one thing. It is a cloud forest after all, and it does get cool, especially at night. If you are sensitive to cold at all, be sure to pack a fleece or warm sweater. It will help keep you warm when you are strolling around the grounds. The portable heaters, the hot water bottles at night, and lovely hot tub are probably all you will need as far as staying warm in your room. Speaking of the room, it was the perfect size and perfectly maintained. Don’t forget to call down for hot chocolate in the afternoon! It was so lovely to sit on our porch sipping hot chocolate while gazing at the clouds descending the mountain while hummingbirds flitted from flower to flower. Again, just stupendous!

Onto the Spa! Wow! It was great. My wife did a facial and I had a mani, pedi on the first day. Perfecto! So perfect in fact that we both had massages the next day. And the next day. Best Thai massage ever! Thank you also to the young lady who did my manicure. She told me about the pejibaye palm (peach palm) and said it was her favorite food. I made a mental note to try it one day and sure enough, there was pejibaye soup on the menu for lunch the next day. It was so delicious, I had it again in Punta Islita and San Jose. Truly wonderful and indescribable!

What else can I say? A special thank you to Maria of Groupo Islita for suggesting that we stay at El Silencio! We will definitely be back and can’t recommend the property highly enough.

Thank you again to all!

Roberto and Juanita

Room Tip: Rooms are lovely. We stayed in room #1 which was close to everything.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, March 19, 2014
Dear Roberto and Juanita! It is wonderful to see your thoughtful post on this forum. Thank you for your honest and insightful account of your experience at El Silencio Lodge & Spa. I am genuinely delighted that your stay was superlative and full of special moments that capture life's feel-good intensity. I certainly hope you "join the neighborhood" in the near future. Orlando was your Eco-Concierge and he fully enjoyed guiding you through our magical cloud forest. Our warmest regards!
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Chicago, Illinois, United States
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
66 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

This property is why one visits Costa Rica! You will stay in the rain forest and have beautiful hikes to waterfalls. The rooms are VERY spacious and you will enjoy the outdoor hot tub on your private deck. Comfortable accommodations and hot water bottles in your bed at turn down if it's chilly. They grow a lot of their own produce and herbs, which makes for some excellent cuisine. We really enjoyed the menu. They put together an impromptu wine dinner to educate us on South American wines....we really enjoyed that.
Definitely do some of the local visits that are offered. Also note that any day trips by vehicle should be accompanied by motion sickness meds......transit in rural areas / countryside can definitely be bumpy and full of turns.
I did not care for the fluorescent lighting in the room at night, however, I know they are trying to be 'eco friendly'. I just think it kind of takes away from any earthiness. The hotel is very nice, but know that this isn't a luxury resort, it's simple, clean and well above average accommodations in the rain forest. Limit your expectations and you'll be very happy. I definitely recommend it.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, March 5, 2014
Great to hear from you Shelane! Thank you so much for your wonderful review and for giving us insights to help us improve our guests' experience. I wlll add your suggestion to bring motion sickness pills to our recommendations flyer. Costa Rica's countryside roads feature gorgeous scenery and some hairpin turns. I am thrilled that you had a full chance to enjoy not only our facilities and services but the wonderful adventures and experiences that characterize our surroundings. Gracias!
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Glen Cove, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

If you seek a place apart from the noise of this world you will find it here. Accessible only by a long, bumpy drive (scary at night with dense fog shrouded mountains) and nestled deep in the Cloud Forest you are welcomed by the most friendly people we found in all of Costa Rica and this says something as we found everyone friendly in Costa Rica. The separate cabins are nicely designed for maximum privacy – even in #16 which is closest to the lodge but still felt completely private with the sound of the rushing river so close by.

We wanted luxury and found some in the luxurious towels, robes and bed linens but found it missing in the quality of the lighting, wood floors, lack of hooks and places to put your stuff. We weren’t well enough prepared for the very cool and damp weather and the in room heaters only took the edge off. Some will be happier with an extra heater. The hot tub was wonderful in that you can make it as hot as you like but designed in a way that you can’t get completely comfortable in there and it takes at least 2 hours to get it up to temperature.

The water is as pure as you’ll find anywhere in the world for drinking and as hot as you need. They put hot water bottles in our bed at night and that was wonderful. No TV in room (which is great) and no Internet in room (which is great). You can download all your junk mail and get a TV fix in the lodge. The food is fresh as they have their own greenhouse (see it) and their own chickens (for eggs only) and their own trout farm. The menu is the same every day. Not great but very good.

Day trips are a little expensive because of the remote locations. But just hike around the area and see the waterfalls and stunning foliage everywhere. The guides are knowledgeable and careful to give you space and private time. Keep in mind what I didn’t, which is that this is the ‘Cloud Forest’ so don’t expect warm, sunny weather although the daily but brief morning sun felt so good. Most of all just breathe in the freshness of this place, the sense of separateness, and you will be left feeling as I do now, which is that El Silencio is very special with warm welcoming people and a truly good heart.

Room Tip: We loved #16 because it was so close to lodge but felt so private. Most of all loved the sound of t...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, March 5, 2014
Warm greetings Jerry! Learning that we succeeded in providing a complete natural immersion and relaxation experience to best enjoy Costa Rica's mesmerizing cloud forest is a wonderful way to start the day. Thank you so much for your visit and your thoughtful review!
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Virginia Beach, Virginia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2014

Thank goodness we only spent one night at this hotel. I will say the setting is just amazingly beautiful; however, the accommodations were an awful experience. We had a suite with a fairly large sitting area/sleeping area and then a large bathroom. The room has no central heating or air and they provide this little portable plug-in heater. Given the size of the room and the very low temperatures, we were freezing. Also, since the temperature is not controlled in the room and it's in the cloud forest, everything was damp - everything....the towels, robes, etc. There was visible mold growing on the blinds. Also, the jacuzzi on the deck was filled in on one half with concrete (I guess to conserve water); however, this made it very uncomfortable to attempt to use. A little too eco-friendly for me.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, March 1, 2014
Greetings Dana and thank you for taking the time to write a review. We are thankful for constructive feedback in hopes of addressing any shortcomings. I regret that cold weather had such an undue impact on your one-night experience and sincerely apologize for the mold you spotted on your Suite's blinds. I also thank you for highlighting the beauty of our surroundings! Preserving the pristine beauty of this magical cloud forest is what inspires our sustainability policies. If there are any suggestions you would like to make to improve the experience for future guests please feel free to contact me at: outreach@grupoislita.com Best regards and many happy travels!
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2014

My husband and I visited El Silencio for our honeymoon as part of a larger package we booked through the hotel management (Grupo Islita) and they did not disappoint.

The property is nestled in a valley between 2 national parks. To say that the area and environment around you is absolutely stunning is an understatement. Besides that, the hotel staff is so welcoming and helpful, they will put you at ease from the moment you get there.

We had an amazing time and are looking forward to going back again. I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking for an enjoyable, relaxing, and picturesque vacation.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, March 1, 2014
Saludos! And heartfelt thanks for your wonderful words about El Silencio Lodge & Spa and your experience in our gorgeous surroundings. Giving our guests a chance to experience the cloud forest and signature examples of Costa Rican hospitality is our driving mantra. Muchas gracias!
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Additional Information about El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Address: Valverde Vega, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Bajos del Toro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bajos del Toro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — El Silencio Lodge & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Silencio Lodge & Spa is a planet-friendly luxury hotel in Costa Rica. Set in the cloud forest mountains of the central volcanic region, it combines upscale comforts with an intense natural immersion experience. Features farm-to-table cuisine, a wellness spa, an adventure park, and many authentic cultural experiences to enjoy the best of luxury Costa Rica. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Silencio Hotel Bajos Del Toro
El Silencio Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/Bajos Del Toro

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