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“Strange place, lovely environment, but beware...” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Resort Martino Hotel & Spa

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Resort Martino Hotel & Spa
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   In front of Zoo Ave | La Garita de Alajuela, Alajuela 2203, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #21 of 30 Hotels in Alajuela
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Strange place, lovely environment, but beware...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Whilst being the second city of Costa Rica, Alajuela (say Al-Ah-Whey-La) is not blessed with much in the way of upscale places to go for a drink/meal, etc at the time of writing & undoubtedly 'La Garita' some 4 miles or so away from the city is a gem of a place; we like it so much we live there! Location wise The Martino is great & we keep going back but beware... The place is normally quiet; for example the last time we visited on a Friday evening, there was us & another couple in a restaurant which can handle maybe 200 people! (Not untypical in Costa Rica by the way). Anyway the food is OK, the Al fresco dining area overlooking the pool & gardens is particularly nice but my main gripe is that they try to 'sting' you. Costa Rica is for the uninitiated expensive in terms of restaurant bills in any case with nearly 25% added in statutory service & taxes but do check your bill, even though we (hate ourselves for doing it) go fairly regularly & are 'known' there, they consistently try to overcharge us. Madness. We couldn't help but notice our fellow diners querying their bill & having it reduced, so were prepared for similar which we got. Not a fortune but maybe $10 on top of what it should have been & had to point this out to the waiter who rectified it of course, but no coincidence that both tables had to query & have bill amended. Dare to say standard practice. Most of their business comes from international tourists who are casual with their money & do not do the simple calculation of Dollars to Colones in any case (Basically 1000 Colones is about 2 US Dollars so not complicated) & so it appears 'policy' to add a bit here & there as most people will just pay it. So in summary, a nice place to be, (living in the same area we have not actually stayed in the rooms but friends have & gather the rooms are in need of refurbishment) upscale, food & drinks are good but beware.. Almost certainly they will try to inflate what are already high prices.

  • Stayed June 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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173 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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  • Russian first
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English first
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
20 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2015

We stayed here just for a night before leaving for the airport. It looks like a big fancy resorts but is a rather strange place. Perhaps it was grand and luxurious once, but is clearly in some sort of disrepair. The service is good, and staff very friendly. It is also literally 10 mins from the airport , so perfect for early am flights as we had. Great pool and gardens.
Cons: no elevator, and large grounds. Not easy to get around if you have trouble walking, though they do have golf carts. We were moved from one room, in the area by the pool to,another, in the area by the gym. The former room was dated but very charming, with detail and an open flat balcony. We only moved as it was very noisy due to a large party which they do host, so make sure you ask if you expect quiet! The room we were moved to was quiet, but it was also thoroughly charmless, I guess in the newer wing.

So all in all, fine for a one night base, but needs some TLC to become what it seems like it used to be once.

Room Tip: Rooms by pool are very charming, but can be noisy if the club is throwing a party or event. Rooms b...
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Guatemala City, Guatemala
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2015

We stayed here for two days for a course with more than 150 people and the service was amazing, the food good, and the facilities are great. Loved the pool and the rooms are very spacious and amazing,

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Copenhagen, Denmark
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2015

After having backpacked and staying at Hostels for about one month in Costa Rica I decided to treat myself for 4 nights at this 5 star hotel. My expectation to the place was quiet and nice surroundings, spafacilities, gym, good restaurent, soaking in a bathtop and going on tours to a volcano and a coffee farm. And off course I aspected good service.

Check in time is at 2 pm and I arrived early, maybe 12 o'clock and allready got my room which was a great service.

The rooms are nice and clean and I have never sleept in a bed that big and comfortable. You get your room cleaned every day if you wish so. There is an old-fashion tv, but no DVD as written in the description on booking.com.

Also there is no mini-bar as written in the description at booking.com, only an empty fridge, which annoyed me one day as I had the cravings for chocolate and chips. You can not buy this at the hotel either.

Small things like conditioner-holder was empty and when i got it filled up I seemes old and with lumps. The sink didn't work properly, the clock was not at the right time. Small things but still I think they should be mentioned.

The place have a gym and I felt like going there one morning. But I was disapponited to find out that apparently the gym is only opened from 6 pm to 9 pm. 3 hours a day. The reason for this the staff told me, is because the spa is opened doing the day. And they can not be opened at the same time. I didn't look further at the facility and types of gym.

I didn't try the spafacilities when I saw the prices for the treatments. I had gotten a massage one other time in Costa Rica, and this was like triple price. I could get a massage in Denmark for less and be sure about the quality, professionalism and certification, which I didn't feel like taking a chance on here, as I was scared of another disappointment.

The pool is nice, big and clean and you have it mostly to yourself. There are lots of tanningsbeds available, as there was not a lot of other guests while I stayed at the Hotel.

The breakfast which is included is not 5-stars standard. 2 kinds of dry breed you can toast, with butter, one kind of cheese, 2 kinds of jam, coffee, juice, fresh fruit, but one of the days I could tell that the fruits was from the day before and dried out. You get to choise your eggs as you want them, and one day the eggs came with rice and beans other days it didn't- seemes random. Not a breakfast that suits a 5 star hotel after my opinion.

Communication with staff:
I had specifically asked for a room with a bathtop through my booking with booking.com and also wished for it, at the lady at the reception who said yes yes. When I arrived to my room I was disappointed to see that there was no bathtop. Also my booking said that I have garden and poolview, which I didn't have. I didn't do more about this.

One morning I wanted to get a taxi later on the day and I went to the reception to order one for 2.30 that same afternoon. The lady told me to call her when I wanted the taxi. I asked again to get one at 2.30 as I knew the time and wanted to order it at that point so that it was taiking care off. She finally agreed. Then I asked for a taxi that accepts VISAcard, as this was the end of my stay in Costa Rica and I didn't have much cash left. She said no first, but then she would ask the taxi company. She never got back to me and I had to call the reception to confirm if it was possible – which it luckily was and I should not worry. That is good – but maybe just let me know!!!

I decided to plan my own coffeetour and had e-mailed and called around to different companies. At the recpetion the lady tells me that somebody called about the Arena volcano tour. I asked for the name, phonenumber and when the person had called. The lady didn't know when the person had called, had not received any name or phonenumber, so I could call the company back. So she just left it to me finding out, which I felt was VERY BAD service.

The guards at the hotel were really nice and serviceminded. I needed a scissor at one point and the guard lent it too me without any problems. Also the wake-up call and the taxi when I left early in the morning was done my the guards and with no problem.

The hotel is located in nice and quiet surroundings where it is possible to relax.

I wanted to book a tour to Poas and a coffee plantation and the staff is nice and helpful and called around. The problem was that you don't get picked up by any of the tours at the Hotel, apparently it is off the way. Only hotels in San Jose you will be icked up at the hotel. So the pick up point is 20 dollars ekstra each way in taxi. I would not recommend this hotel if you do not have your own car or are willing to pay a lot of money for getting around with taxis. The tour was 22 dollars and my transportation would be 57 dollars, which a lady at the tour company could see was unreasonable so decided to skip the collective transportation so that I only payed the taxi.
This coffeetrip at Britts was very nice, lots of informative with the coffeehistory, farming, production and the guides were positive, smiling, serviceminded and you get to smell and taste a lot of coffee. I can deffinately recommend it. I bought too much coffee at the shop to fit in my suitcase.

On the other side of the street is the zoo ave located, which was a really great experince. This place helps animals that are hurt or can't take care of them selves for any reason. It's worth a visit.

When I checked out from the hotel there was an ekstra 52 dollars in tax, which is not included at the price showed at booking.com. This came as a surprice for me, as all other places I have stayed in, in Costa Rica I got the exact amount oplyst. Just be aware of that, there is an additional tax on 13 %.

I think there are a lot of the descriptions from booking.com that wasn't true. F.eks. Bathtop, minibar and poolview. I recommend that the hotel and booking.com get these facts corrected so that guesst don't expect things they don't get.

My overall experience of this place is not good. I'm sad to say that I was happy to leave this place and I left with an unsatisfied feeling, having spent a lot of money with not that facilties, service and communication that i had expected. Dont expect 5 star after european standards. I felt many things were disappointting and a lot of things were uneasy. I can not reccommend this hotel and I would not stay at this hotel again.

I am sorry that I didn't read other peoples reviews on tripadvisor before booking.
Sorry for the long review. I really needed to get this off my chest.

  • Stayed March 2015, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 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.
Clarkston, Michigan
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2015

We stayed at Resort Martino for 3 nights in January. The stay got of to a rocky start, as the hotel did not pick up us from the airport as arranged, so we had to take a taxi. On arrival, we had to switch rooms because the A/C did not work. In our new room, the toilet got clogged, and the TV remote never worked. On the plus side, the pool was fantastic, and we often had it to ourselves because there were few other guests. The restaurant's food was good, although the morning breakfast was limited

  • Stayed January 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Burlington, Vermont
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2014

Food is good, rooms are ok, pool is nice. Grounds are unkempt. Good location if you need to be close to the airport. Service doesn't exist, the few Ticos that work here are good people, a bit clueless with barely any customer service training. Every single thing in the hotel is dated, there's even the replica of David's Statue by the pool has its pipi broken! I mean put a new one on the guy please...

  • Stayed December 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Vermont
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2014 via mobile

We were the only guests at the hotel during our stay. The room was nice and big for our family. The room however was not fully clean- the pillows under the cases were yellowed and sweat stains and there was pubic hair in the shower. There was no shampoo in the shower. There are barely any staff at the hotel but they are friendly. The gym is awful- one piece of cardio equipment and it was broken! Probably for years. The food is not tasty at all. I would not return to this hotel.

Stayed December 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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Additional Information about Resort Martino Hotel & Spa

Address: In front of Zoo Ave | La Garita de Alajuela, Alajuela 2203, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Spa Hotel in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Resort Martino Hotel & Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 56
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ten minutes from the airport and Central America's biggest Casino, this resort is located in the central valley of Costa Rica, known for having one of the three best climates in the world. European style pervades guestrooms with Italian tile and fine wood furnishings; balconies, minibars, cable TV, and wireless Internet access. Surrounded by jungle, the property is within proximity of volcanoes, rainforests, and more. On-site amenities include a spa, modern gym, casino, pool, and restaurant. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Resort Martino Hotel And Spa
Resort Martino Hotel Alajuela
Martino Luxury Hotel
Martino Luxury Resort
Resort Martino Hotel & Spa Costa Rica/Alajuela

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