My husband and I were scheduled to stay at Princesa de la Luna for two nights in January. We were definitely caught off-guard by the remoteness of the place and by the extreme poor condition of the road going up. When we arrived, Jonathan was asleep in his room and we didn't know where we needed to check in, so we entered the nearest structure and called out "hello?" We were greeted by a groggy man, dressed in filthy clothes, who had clearly been caught off guard by our arrival. A supposed explanation for his unpreparedness, he placed the blame on me for not emailing him our arrival time. He showed us to our room, which was nice enough; very large (overly so, with a lot of empty space), and then took us on a tour of the property. Everything, from the furniture to the building itself, seemed to be in a state of squalor or decay, and when we got to the kitchen that state of squalor was disgustingly apparent in dirty dishes and pans, insects co-mingling with rotting fruits on the counter, and stray cats on dirty countertops(I assume they are strays because when I asked Jonathan what the name was of one of the animals, he replied, "cat" before aggressively pushing it off the counter.)
I wouldn't have minded as much if the dirtiness had been confined to furniture and other common areas, but to see it in the kitchen was overwhelmingly off-putting. Paying over $100/night, you should not have to be confronted with your worst nightmare of a college boy bachelor pad gone awry (I indeed saw kitchens like this in college, but at least those were small-scale and I wasn't paying to eat food made in them.) When Jonathan asked us what we would be eating for dinner that night, I replied that I didn't have anything planned and I hadn't anticipated such a rough drive into town. Jonathan then told me that I should have let him know if we would be having meals at Princesa, re. an email that had been exchanged months prior that I hadn't replied to at the time. Jonathan, when you are running a business, sometimes you need to follow up. A week before our arrival, you could have checked in with us. I know it is annoying when people don't respond to the first email, but a follow-up is standard and necessary in these instances if you haven't heard back within an appropriate timeframe.
My husband and I took a short walk through the property, which is beautiful, and we spent some time on the deck overlooking (in the far distance) Arenal volcano. After reviewing our options, we decided that, as we were on our honeymoon, we would be upfront with situations that weren't satisfactory to us and would move on to another place. We told Jonathan, trying not to be offensive in explaining our reasoning for wanting to leave, as he is a nice enough man who just seems to be clueless on running a business in the thriving tourism industry of Costa Rica. My husband ended up saying, vaguely, "this place doesn't really have amenities we were looking for on our honeymoon." More honestly, we were both disgusted by the dirtiness- not "outdoor" induced dirtiness, as another reviewer said, but human-caused dirtiness that comes from neglect and not taking proper care of your property- that we encountered at nearly every turn at Princesa de la Luna.
The property has so much potential; the rainforest flora is spectacular, and the layout of the place is really unique and beautiful. My impression, however, is that Jonathan built the lodge and doesn't have the money to keep it up. Also, that he himself finds his surrounding state of squalor normal and acceptable, and he can't understand why other people do not feel the same. Upon us leaving, Jonathan said that he couldn't understand why; that this had never happened to him before. Reading other negative reviews of this place, I see that it has indeed happened with other guests. Reading the positive reviews, these travelers seem mostly to have been traveling in large groups; I can see how this would be fun, if approached like jungle camp for grownups, as long as travelers overlook the kitchen completely and justify the dirtiness as "rustic".
One positive: Jonathan did refund our deposit completely, for which I give him a lot of credit. Other proprietors we encountered on our trip would not have done this. Again, Jonathan is a nice and interesting person, but his lodge needs some major updates, cleaning, and he needs to learn how to interact with clients who are giving him their money with the expectation that they will in turn find lodgings that meet the standards of basic cleanliness, comfort, and professionalism.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.