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“Hotel and villas” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Buena Vista

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Hotel Buena Vista
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Across from catholic church, Pilas, Alajuela, Alajuela 4050, Costa Rica   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 30 hotels in Alajuela
Denver, Colorado
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Hotel and villas”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

We stayed at this hotel on 3 different occasions during our 10 day trip. All the rooms were very nice (we had 3 different rooms) but be forewarned, none of them had air conditioning instead they had ceiling fans. This isn't a problem during the day as you can leave the windows open but at night it becomes a problem because the screens on the windows have some holes in them allowing for bugs/mosquitos to get in if you leave the window open for extra ventilation. Also, the doors to the balcony don't have a screen door so you're out of luck there as well.

We stayed at the hotel with our 5 month old, they gave us a Pack N' Play or play-yard for her to sleep in every night. We didn't use it the first time we stayed there because it was old and very dirty/dusty but the other two times we stayed there it was a different/newer/clean one that we did use.

Perks: The hotel is on the way to Volcan Poas so the views from it are lovely. They have nice outside spaces that the whole family can enjoy. The property is extremely safe and well-enclosed so you don't have random people wandering in off the street, they even have a security gate and guard. Most staff are nice, friendly and helpful. They offer good value tour packages that they can arrange for you. There is a tasty restaurant with a diverse menu on site so you don't have to leave if you don't want to (they'll even provide you with room service!). Free and secure parking for your rental car included, plus coffee, water and juice available all day for free in the restaurant area.

Cons: no air conditioning, no fridges in the rooms (although they will happily store something for you in the kitchen fridge but this is inconvenient when traveling with small children), no elevator (if you have a ton of stuff, but staff will help you), and no safe deposit boxes in the rooms. Also, if you are leaving very early or in the middle of the night (say 3:30am or so), make sure to tell them beforehand or you'll find an empty front desk when you try to checkout.

The pool pictured on the website is a little deceiving because it's much smaller than it looks online. Also, they are remodeling it soon but until then the steps to get into the pool are EXTREMELY slippery, my husband slipped 3 times getting in and hurt himself trying to ensure that our child wasn't hurt when he slipped. Later that evening other guests went to use the pool and we warned them about the steps, they were amazed at how bad they were. We asked the owner to put a sign up letting people know until they get a chance to remodel it.

Room Tip: Room 25 has the best view!
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BuenaVistaAlajuela, Owner at Hotel Buena Vista, responded to this review, April 28, 2013
We are happy this guest rated us as 4 star (very good). I would like to respond to some of these observations. Yes, we do not have air conditioning. We are at 4400 feet elevation on the way up to the Poas Volcano. The nightly temperature is in the 60's or low 70's and chances are you will use the light blanket on the bed. The day temperatures are from 70's to mid 80's. We do not want to install screen doors on the glass french doors opening onto the balconies, to do so would diminish the very nice views. I am sorry if there was a hole in a screen. We take maintenance very seriously and fix these items as quickly as we can identify them. Due to the altitude mosquitos are virtually unheard of here, very infrequent. We DO have mini refridgerators in our largest rooms (the villas) because the villas have some tables. We have expensive bedding (from Macy's) new carpet and furniture etc. so we removed the refridgerators from the smaller rooms. There were to many coke spills, chocolate in the bed spreads etc. Sorry but we took the refridgerators out of the smaller rooms. We have two infant cribs, one is new, one is not. I looked at the older one and I would not describe it as dirty, perhaps some dust, we may have not used it recently? At any rate, we washed it completely. Yes, we have no elevator. The building is 2 floors with two staircases and we have employees willing to help carry anything you have. Yes, reception is not open all night. You can check out the night before if you are leaving very early, this is really easy. By the way, we do have all night security. I agree with the comment that the pool looks bigger on the website. All our website pictures were taken by a professional photographer and not altered to make things look larger, it just happens. Most pools in Costa Rica are built of tile. Tile is more slippery than the pool plasters in U.S.A. such as Pebble Tek, Diamond Brite, Marcite etc. Our plan is to resurface the inside of the pool with Pebble Tek for a very slip resistant finish. Thanks very much for staying with us and for your comments on Trip Advisor,
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (56)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Orlando, Florida
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

This hotel was a breath of fresh air...a little 27 room gem with a beautiful view! I stayed in one of the newly renovated standard rooms with a lovely view of the pool and gardens (modern accents, well appointed, comfy beds and bedding). This hotel could not be cleaner; it is apparent that the owner takes great pride in providing an excellent product...never mind the price value. A fruit platter of pineapple, papaya, banana and melon accompanied by fresh baked breakfast breads was a nice, fresh way to start my day!

The staff treated me like family and went out of their way to make my stay memorable. I was quite please and being that I had booked my stay there both the first and last evening of my trip it was especially nice to have the comfort of knowing my last night in Costa Rica would be an enjoyable one. In hind sight I wish I had stayed another night while visiting Arenal and Poas.

I had 4 meals in all and found the food to be well prepared and well presented, the owner must want his guests to be well fed too; portions are generous. Service is not fast but comfortable, I found that to be the case throughout the country...we're gently reminded to relax and enjoy. Hotel transportation was prompt and courteous.

All in all I can quite honestly recommend The Buena Vista. If there was a less than 4 out of 5 element I certainly did not experience it during my stay. My background is hotel catering so you can imagine how fussy I am.

Enjoy

Room Tip: I was in room #22 with a balcony overlooking the pool area...quiet and a beautiful view of the garde...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Calgary, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

As others have noted, this is a smallish hotel located atop a hill with beautiful views of the city. Free airport pickup was handy. The property includes a short 'coffee trail' walking trail which afforded lovely views of the surrounding area. We utilized their shuttle service to visit nearby Doka Coffee Plantation and also Zoo Ave. Our trip to Zoo Ave was kindly accommodated at short notice and the pleasant driver Darwin visited it with us! Our standard room was nicely furnished with a lovely spotless bathroom. Restaurant meals were good and provision of very early morning breakfast was appreciated.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Cortlandt Manor, New York
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

This is a cute hotel overlooking the city of Alajeula, but the one thing that detracted from our experience was the terrible food. I am not overly picky at all, but I found it inedible. My husband said it was like college food. Also, the service in the restaurant was poor.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BuenaVistaAlajuela, Owner at Hotel Buena Vista, responded to this review, April 15, 2013
I am very sorry these guests did not enjoy our restaurant. We would have gladly replaced these meals no questions asked had we been asked. I am at a loss to explain what happened. Normally our guests enjoy the food we prepare. We get many food and beverage compliments on Trip Advisor, also in our suggestion box, and written in our guest book. I have to conclude that everything that could go wrong with a meal did, in this instance. Describing the food as similar to "college" implies what I call " institutional food" that found in schools, hospitals etc. In reality, we prepare everything fresh. Our vegetables are from the farmers market, never frozen or canned. We bake our own dinner bread and the 2 breakfast pastries. We mash real potatoes. Nothing is more important than the restaurant in a hotel. The quality of our food is VERY important to us. Two of our chefs have been to culinary school. We buy our meat and fish from the most expensive supplier in Costa Rica, the same supplier as the Marriott Four seasons uses. Last week we flew in a food and beverage expert, a consultant from Florida, USA. She reviewed all our restaurant procedures and is now back in Florida writing new recipes, new directives, and creating a completely new menu. This food and beverage expert is scheduled to come back here May 10 to further our efforts to serve excellent food. To summarize, we work hard here. We take the restaurant/dining experience here very seriously. The ladies in the kitchen try very hard to create, fresh, healthy, flavorful cuisine. I can tell you that on rare occasion everything can go wrong for one guest or one table and it seems that is what happened here. I sincerely hope these guests return so I can make amends.
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Minnesota City, Minnesota
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

Positives
Airport shuttle service
views of the city
Garden
Pool
Great breakfast fruits and bread (filling)
Rooms have beautiful carved wood doors and nice beds
15-20 minutes to airport
15-20 minutes to Poas (get up to Poas by 800 Opening if you hope to see the crater)

Negatives
Staff indicated we could get a shuttle at 445AM. Actual did not leave till 505AM. Made it rushed for a 700 flight
Rooms need screens. A few bugs and mosquitos got in a night. A mosquito kept me up one of the nights I stayed.
No air conditioning although it was not needed if the door was opened, but then then some bugs got in. Not a lot of them just a few.

Overall I would stay there again

Room Tip: Get a balcony room
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
BuenaVistaAlajuela, Owner at Hotel Buena Vista, responded to this review, April 8, 2013
I am very sorry that somehow our shuttle was late. I assure you this is not a frequent event. Our policy is for the driver and vehicle to be in our entrance 10 minutes before departure. On rare occasions something is going to go wrong and in this case obviously it did. On the subject of screens, temperature and insects I would like to clarify a couple things. Costa Rica has many insects but altitude has a LOT to do with it. We are at 4500 feet and the number of insects here is a small fraction of the tropical jungle areas at sea level. Also, the temperature here is considerably cooler than the lowlands, perhaps 15-20 degrees F (9 to 12 C) cooler. Typically you will need to use the light blanket on the bed as the temperature at night is in the low to mid 60's F. (approx 18 C.) There are no seasons in Costa Rica so the temperature is constant year round. This guest mentions we need screens. You can be sure Hotel Buena Vista has screens on EVERY window in the hotel. This guest is referring to a lack of screen doors from your room onto the outside balcony. Our balcony doors are wood with glass panes and glass sidelights in an arch shape(basically French doors). We do not want to add screen doors because the screens will obstruct the amazing views from your room to the valley, mountains, the gardens, the pool etc. We do not want to compromise the views from the rooms with screen doors onto the balconies. Mosquitoes are almost unheard of here because of our altitude and the breeze. I have owned this hotel for 3 years and honestly I have never seen a mosquito yet. Our guests dine outside on the pool deck with no mosquitoes or biting insects. I also live in Florida where mosquitoes bites are very common. I am not saying we did not have a mosquito just that it is very uncommon, practically zero. Please visit us, you will not need insect repellent spray. I want to thank these guests for staying with us and I personally invite them back. Again, I apologize for the late shuttle.
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Northampton, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

The room when you walk is a delight, two big beds, a clean bathroom, nice shower, it's a good hotel. Outside there's a pool, a garden, a coffee walk, great views, it really is a good hotel and frankly could be a 3 1/2 star. We were let down by the food, being veggies we had a breakfast served with ham, even though we'd both had the veggie burger (same staff) for dinner. The waiter then very pointedly tried to find the reference to ham in the menu item (huevos rancheros) which was offensive on top of the 20 minute delay and their mistake. We didn't fancy what would follow so left. You should also bear in mind the food was the most expensive we found in Costa Rica, by a distance but then we avoided the big resort hotels, my guess is that was the Buena Vista's price point. It was telling as on the drive there (on a Sunday lunchtime) all the restaurants we passed were completely rammed) yet on arrival at the Buena Vista the restaurant was empty.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 3 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.
BuenaVistaAlajuela, Owner at Hotel Buena Vista, responded to this review, April 8, 2013
I'm sorry this guest was dissatisfied with our restaurant. Apparently he had a vegetarian dish at night and expected the waiters to remember this in the morning. This is really not a reasonable expectation. The hotel is full a lot and even with only 30 rooms we often serve 40 to 90 dinners (plus the bar and poolside guests). The waiters rotate shifts so chances are your waiter in the morning is not the same individual as the prior evening (but could be). We serve Juevos Rancheros with or without ham and a simple mistake was made by accidently serving this vegetarian guest ham. I am not sure of the ensuing conversation with the waiter but our policy with a food problem is to do whatever the guest wants, such as replace their meal etc. We don't argue with a guests about food or hopefully anything else. If this guest feels his service was not acceptable, I apologize. As to our restaurant being expensive, I do not agree. I am not sure where this guest ate which was so much cheaper? Costa Rica is by far the best country to visit in Central America but it is not cheap. Prices here are comparable to U.S.A. and Europe. Our dinner entrees run from $10 for Spaghetti Pomodoro to $20 for Filet Migon. Our side salads for example are not the usual iceberg lettuce with one stale crouton. A side salad here consists of lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, heart of palm, onion, carrot, cucumber etc. Also, we buy our meat and seafood from the MOST expensive provider in Costa Rica, the same company which supplies Marriot Four Seasons. I can get meat for a third the price we currently pay. We serve premium Gouda cheese at breakfast, four times the price of the local cheese. This guest complained that the breakfast bread was to sweet. He referred to it as "American bread". Well, I'm American so he is probably correct. The breakfast breads he did not care for are fresh baked Banana Bread, homemade Cinnamon Raisin buns and wheat toast. No place has more (or better) pastries than Europe so I am not sure what this guest is looking for? Lastly, the writer mentions we are not busy at lunch. This is correct but not due to price or quality. We are on top of a mountain off the main road. Our restaurant is not really public, more for guests of the hotel. We are in the vicinity of the famous "Poas" volcano also La Paz Waterfall Park, the Canopy (zip line) tours etc. Our guests do not typically stay around the hotel during the day. This is a very active area for sight seeing so almost all our guests leave the hotel for the entire day. Most of the popular attractions are about 40 minutes away with many restaurants right there, (even within the various parks). To drive back to the hotel would waste an hour and a half in the middle of the day plus gas, very inconvenient. We are packed for dinner and breakfast but are not convenient for lunch if you are touring the most popular attractions. I regret we did not satisfy this guest and hope he will return and try us again. We always strive to improve.
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Medford, Oregon, United States
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

We stayed here one night on a stopover from Puerto Jiminez. The hotel was recommended by Lyn of Casa Bambu Resort in the Osa Peninsula. The hotel was clean and beautiful. We stayed in the most expensive room (a villa) because everything else was booked. The room was so fantastic so I didn't mind the price.
We arrived late and left very early. I am bummed we didn't get to spend more time there. We did have dinner in the restaurant, and it was quite excellent.
We had to leave very early in the morning, before they served a continental breakfast for other guests. Hotel staff knew we had to leave prior and were kind enough to set out our very own continental breakfast complete with everything, fruit, pastries, OJ and coffee. It was such a nice touch and very thoughtful.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Buena Vista

Address: Across from catholic church, Pilas, Alajuela, Alajuela 4050, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Romantic Hotel in Alajuela
#5 Family Hotel in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Buena Vista 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The comment ofter heard in this hotel is, "We feel like we are at home." This is exactly the impression the management and staff of the Buena Vista strive to create. We are high on the summit of a mountain with a climate of eternal spring yet only fifteen minutes drive from the International Airport below. We will pick you up there and show you the wonders of this exotic country. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Buena Vista Hotel
Buena Vista Alajuela
Hotel Buena Vista Costa Rica/Alajuela

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