As an aside, this is the first negative review that I have ever posted to a travel website. My significant other and I have spent a significant amount of time traveling through Costa Rica . . . and we know what to expect and we do not have unreasonably high standards. Despite negative reviews of this hotel, we decided to stay and see what the nicest boutique hotel in the area offered; unfortunately, we regret this decision.
We were staying at a nice boutique hotel in Manuel Antonio, and on a whim, we booked a room for three nights at Le Cameleon. Upon our arrival, we were advised that we needed to pay for the entire stay upon check-in. Despite our misgivings (i.e. the fact that we would be forced to stay for three nights whether we liked the hotel or not), we were tired from the long road trip and simply handed over a credit card.
We were shown to a room that had the odor of chemicals and mold. We requested a different room. Though the second room had less of an odor, the odor was still present.
The exterior of the hotel is beautiful, but the interior of the hotel is pretty horrible (and best described as "trying too hard to be hip"). Both rooms were decorated in white--the floors, the walls, the curtains, the ceilings, all of the furniture. Although this hotel was built within the past three or four years, the rooms look terribly aged and tired. White furnishings and fixtures do not age well, and some of the white leather furniture looks filthy (i.e. as if it has never seen a sponge). The door to the bathroom is see-through...which is a shockingly impractical design choice that ignores the fact that many people value privacy while in the restroom.
Our first evening in the room, the shower was ICE cold. We called the front desk and were advised that because it was 8pm on a Sunday evening, the maintenance man was unavailable.
The staff of the hotel canceled a reservation that we made OURSELVES, for a horseback riding tour on the beach, at sunset on our last day in Costa Rica. We did not discover that the hotel accidentally canceled the reservation until the tour company failed to pick us up. We spoke with both the front desk and management regarding the fact that our horseback adventure had been ruined-- and were met with a muttered apology and a shoulder shrug (the body language was, "Well, what can we do about it?").
We were told that the hotel has hired staff from the local area of Puerto Viejo, which is something that I applaud. However, the staff needs to be trained on the basics with regard to hotel management. I feel badly writing this, as the staff are extremely well intentioned. However, it is too big of a task for a hotel to be properly run by people with insufficient training. Our second and third night at the hotel, the front desk was manned in the evening by one woman, who spoke no english, and who (we were told later) was a trainee. She would leave the front desk completely unattended for long stretches of time. She was doing her best to manage everything but she was clearly overwhelmed. On our second evening, I had to wait 20 minutes for her to get me a towel (as the maid left only one clean towel in the room); on our third evening, I had to wait almost a half hour for her to get me a bar of soap (as the maid decided to leave no soap in the room).
Our last morning at the hotel, we asked why a trainee would be left on her own at the front desk and we commented that the hotel seemed terribly understaffed. One of the employees stated simply: "There is no money."
If you are interested in staying at this hotel, I would recommend booking a room for only one night (to provide yourself with the freedom to move to another hotel if you are not pleased).
On a positive note, the Beach Club (across the street) is breathtaking. You need not be a guest at the hotel to use the Beach Club, and so whether or not you choose to stay at the hotel, I highly recommend that you visit the Beach Club.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
August 1, 2012
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Thank you for your feedback regarding your stay at Le Cameleon Hotel.
Unfortunately, our reservation policy does not give refunds for rainy days, Our hotel offers many activities that include movie nights, tours, table games, private dinners at Le Cameleon Loft and other actvities when the weather is not sunny. This is part of the charm of the tropics and that is why the natural beauty in Costa Rica is abundant and diversed. Our commitment is to ensure top service with simple luxury atmosphere. We take pride in training our employees to personalize the service of each of our guests. For a future stay, please contact me directly to ensure an unforgetable experience at Le Cameleon Hotel.
Thank you for your comments.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.