We stayed at the Lost Iguana for one night during our trip. Our first choice, the Nayara was not available on our arrival day in La Fortuna. Unfortunately, we arrived at night and were not able to appreciate the grounds of the hotel as much as I would have liked.
On the plus side, the rooms are EXACTLY as advertised. We stayed in a luxury suite. There is no trick photography at all. The room was very spacious, as was the bath and deck. To say it was clean wouldn't do it justice. It was immaculate. Yes, I think there was a tiny gecko and maybe a fly in the bathroom, but, hey, this is Costa Rica. The view of the volcano the next morning was superb, and also precisely as advertised. We took a tour of the hanging bridges in the morning and then checked out to go to the Nayara in the afternoon. I really wish we could have enjoyed the other amenities of the hotel, but just didn't have time. Another plus was the rate – 40% off of rack rates!
Here's where they went wrong: After arrival we headed to the restaurant for dinner with the couple we were traveling with. We brought down our own bottle of wine they had bought in the duty free shop. The restaurant was fine with bringing our own bottle (and no corking fee – big kudos for this). During the dinner we finished our bottle, and ordered another. The waiter suggested a bottle of Pinot Noir. While I was going to order the Malbec, I decided to take the waiters suggestion. The waiter opens the bottle and hands me the cork. This should have been my first hint there was something wrong. I don't usually see wine stains half way up the cork. He poured a taste and I sniffed it. I very rarely get anything out of sniffing – the alcohol smell overpowers all the other aromas for me. When I smelled this sample, I knew something was wrong. I tasted it, and it just tasted bad. I gave the others the small glass of wine and we agreed it had turned, or the cork was bad. This is the very first time I have ever refused a bottle of wine at a restaurant. The waiter took the bottle away, and we continued our conversation. I then notice the waiter and manager (I assume he was in charge) a few tables away with the bad bottle of wine. The manager tastes the wine and then looks over at the table. He walks away, and then comes back to our table.
He said to me, “I have tasted the wine. It is fine. You will have to make another selection.”
Really??? Did he think I was trying to impress my friends and spouse by refusing to take a bottle of wine?
I chose a bottle of Malbec (which they were out of, and took the Malbec/Cabernet blend), and then I sat and stewed about his arrogance. I drink a fair amount of wine. I am not a wine snob, but I don't like vinegar as a drink, either. There were a few ways this could have been handled, and I believe this gentleman chose the worst way possible.
Looking back at it, perhaps this was just a difference in culture. And maybe I am over blowing a petty situation. But, at that time, I felt very much maligned. For a hotel that caters to a lot of people form the USA, I would expect a certain difference in decorum. This didn't ruin our stay at the hotel, but it knocked it down from being worth five stars on TA for me.
A few more observations:
The hotel is just like everyone describes. It is on a steep hillside and getting to or from your room can be an exertion. The paths can be slippery after a rain. The hotel has a person that will drive you to your room, but he didn't seem overly friendly.
The hotel is a good distance from town, but we knew that from reading other reviews. It did cost us an extra $30 to get to the hotel from our overnight rafting trip with Exploradores Outdoors (great review pending for them!). No big deal.
Check in was courteous, but not as welcoming as the Nayara. Again, not a big deal, but worth noting.
Overall, I thoroughly thought the hotel was worth the price we paid. I am not sure I would pay the full rack rate on another trip, but would probably go back (for the same price) when we return to Costa Rica. I will bring plenty of wine with me, though.
Bring your own wine.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.