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“Wonderful and relaxing!” 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
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Wonderful and relaxing!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

We stayed here for two nights at the end of our visit to Costa Rica. The villas were really gorgeous and offered wonderful views. The grounds are amazing. The pool is small (and there's no shallow end for kiddos), but the plants and flowers everywhere create an idyllic atmosphere.

We did a day tour to Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall gardens with one of the hotel guides. I thought the price of the tour would include the price of admission to these two attractions but it did not. So it made for a much more expensive day than we had planned. But we had a great guide - Coco. He took us to the best lunch spot on the way back to the hotel and was such a friendly guy. And the drive to/from the attractions is flat out stunning.

The restaurant was ok. Nothing extravagant. But the portions are huge and they have quite a variety of offerings so you'll find something you like. We had a super early flight in the a.m. and the hotel did pack us a breakfast to go, which was a nice treat at 4 o'clock in the morning.

I'd definitely stay here again. It's the perfect spot to start or end your trip to Costa Rica.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 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.
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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 (55)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

We had been in CR for a week and staying on the pacific coast, but had an early flight out and needed something in close proximity to the airport. We found Hotel Buena vista to be clean, very nice and the staff went above and beyond to make sure we enjoyed our last couple days. We took the drive (an easy drive) up to Poas volcano as well. Our flight was at 6:00 am so the hotel arranged for their shuttle to pick us up early, and even made us breakfast to take with us on the way to the airport. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for more. Bonus...if you have rented a vehicle in SJO they will usually allow you to return the car and then shuttle you to the hotel for an early flight.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 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.
San Jose, California
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

Nice hotel in the mountains just north of Alajuela. They have a main hotel with a few rooms on the second floor and a few cottages out back. The name is quite literal - From the balconies on the second floor rooms you have a lovely view of the mountainside and the view from the cottages and on the back patio is a spectacular view of San Jose. It's a bit isolated which unfortunately limits dining options, but it's also closer to some attractions up in the mountains. So there is a trade-off to be made, depending on how you plan to spend your time.

We stayed for two nights in a normal room with a king bed. Overall it was a very pleasant, short visit. The room was spacious and clean. Transport to/from the airport and to nearby Doka Estate (for the coffee tour) are available at no extra charge. The hotel restaurant is pretty good quality and reasonably priced. And the service at the front desk was very helpful.

We did not have problems with bugs here, however upon arrival the room sort of stank of bug spray. That sort of subsided after a while with the ceiling fan on and doors open. Also there was no screen door for the balcony, only a glass door. This is unfortunate since it means you risk letting in a lot of insects if you want to get fresh air. The tiny bathroom window has a screen, so at least you don't get bugs in while showering.

My only complaint about the room is that water pressure is pretty low, which I hear is a problem in the mountains, and that made washing hair take a long time. This was made worse by the hotel's use of a big fancy shower head with probably 40-50 holes in it, thus making what little water flowed out the pipe even weaker. I think this could be largely resolved by using a smaller shower heads to concentrate more water in fewer streams.

I had to deduct a point in my rating because the ordering process is old and insecure. They even send the receipt with the full credit card number and expiration date in plaintext e-mail which is a colossal security blunder. A lot of other businesses in Costa Rica use old credit card processing and authorization (carbon copies, etc), so be careful with which card you use and plan ahead to get a new number (ie, don't use the same card you use to auto-pay your bills) or use a virtual account number if your credit card company offers them.

  • Stayed February 2014, 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
    • 5 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, March 7, 2014
Thank you staying with us and writing a review. While this post was being written we were in the process of modernizing our credit card security. Last month we changed our web hosting and domain registrar to Go Daddy and opened a new email address, info@hotelbuenavistacr.com. We paid 5 years in advance for a secure reservation form page (an SSL certificate). If you are on our reservations page, the address bar now includes SSL which means "Secure Sockets Layer Encryption". You will also see the "Verified and Secured" logo with a padlock icon. This means our reservation page and all credit card info is protected by 256 bit encryption. You can click on the padlock and read about the SSL certificate. We no longer email CC info back to any guests. As this writer points out, we do not have screens on the second floor, balcony French doors. Screens would diminish the views in our opinion. The main corridors here have open arches so lots of fresh mountain air inside the main building. This hotel is close to a mile above sea level near the "Poas" volcano. The insect population here is a tiny fraction of the insects to be found in the low country/tropical jungle. The late night temperature is about 65 degrees. We have virtually no mosquitos, gnats, biting flies etc. There is patio furniture around the pool and in the back yard facing the valley. You can enjoy the outdoors at night with no insects to speak of.. The water pressure in Costa Rica is a little lower than U.S.A. We have the "Rainforest" Kohler shower heads which are intended to be low velocity. The hotel is completely remodeled, all new rooms, bathrooms and common areas. Please visit again.
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london
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2014 via mobile

After a long flight to be whisked off to a cool beer in the garden overlooking the twinkling lights of San Jose was sheer bliss. The beds were comfortable, the room cooled by a fan. Excellent coffee and lovely breakfast followed in the morning a stroll in the gardens whilst we waited for our car. Lovely service and a great start to our trip

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2014

Lee Pratt has more or less taken over management of the Buena Vista Hotel in Alajuela, Costa Rica, from his father and has made some stunning improvements to it in recent years. He has added several modern casitas on the hillside and completely renovated all the rooms in the main part of the hotel. Mostly, it is his eye for detail that has made all the difference: the bathrooms all have new appliances with some quirky delights like the spectacular granite sink splashes from quarries in Brazil—he used to be in the stone business—that make each of the bathrooms unique. He has replaced all the kitschy art with some very good decorative stuff that lends a lot of sophistication to the rooms and common areas. The bedrooms have new, very comfortable, beds and look like like 5-star hotel rooms with beautiful covers and decorative pillows.

The dining room is also vastly improved: the menu has been enlarged and the cooking is very tasty, while the prices remain moderate. Service is impeccable. And I must make special note of bartender/waiter Jonathan, who makes the best green marguarita in Latin America.

The Buena Vista is a great hotel to stay at either as a transit convenience to the airport or a place for an extended stay in the San Jose area.

And then, of course, there is the "buena vista" of the entire city which is indescribable.

  • Stayed February 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
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, March 7, 2014
Thanks for the great review! It is great to be finished remodeling the entire hotel. I hope your trip back to Canada went well. Both of you were so nice to get to know, fantastic guests! Please put Buena Vista on your travel plans again soon! Thanks so much, Lee
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Halifax, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

This hotel is a great choice close to the airport with character and a great view. The villas are very large and comfortable with balconies overlooking San Jose. Included breakfast was very good. Staff were helpful, particularly Randal who provided recommendations on nearby attractions.

Room Tip: Ask for a villa
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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
    • 4 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.
Syracuse, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2014

This is a perfect hotel for the beginning or end of a Costa Rican vacation. It is close to the San Jose airport (free transfers), but when you pull into the drive you think you've entered another world. The grounds are beautiful with gorgeous flowers and flowering trees. We stayed in one of the villas. It was (or seemed to be) brand new. The beds were comfy and there was plenty of room to accommodate a family. The bathroom was beautiful with an ornate wooden door, double sinks and a huge tiled shower. The sliding glass door in the living room led to a large patio with stunning views of San Jose (particularly nice at night when the city is lit up). Breakfast is free. We had it by the pool with a good cup of Costa Rican coffee. It was the perfect way to start the day. The staff was very accommodating and most speak pretty good English (which was helpful since my Spanish skills are lacking).

The only minor disappointment at this property was the noise from cars and trucks on the road below. It isn't a heavily traveled highway, so it wasn't enough to keep me awake, but a light sleeper might want to consider staying in one of the rooms, which are further away from the road than the villas.

The hotel is a little pricey compared to other airport hotels, but it was well worth it. I would stay here again and again and again!

  • Stayed January 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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 Family Hotel in Alajuela
#5 Romantic 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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