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“Great beach, horrible hotel” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Playa Grande Inn

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Playa Grande Inn
250 Meters South of Minae, Playa Grande Santa Cruz, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 7 Playa Grande B&B and Inns
Kelowna, Canada
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Great beach, horrible hotel”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

Playa Grande has got to be one of the best beaches I have ever seen. It's huge, clean, and beautiful. The waves are great for surfing. There are volcanic rock formations down the beach that just look amazing. Playa Grande had a lot of wildlife, and we saw various species of birds, geckos, iguanas and monkeys.

Playa Grande doesn't have much going on, so if you like to just relax in the evening then this is the place for you. If you want nightlife, then you may want to stay in Tamarindo.

Playa Grande Inn had beautiful grounds, and the staff were great. Lynn at the smoothie bar was awesome, and so was Justen and Johnny. Everyone was so friendly. The cleaning staff were friendly. The hotel is a 2 minute walk from the beach, and the hotel has a restaurant for breakfast and dinner. We had breakfast our last day there and it was delicious. Dinner menu consists of pizza, wings and nachos.

Now for the negatives:
Because there is not too much competition for restaurants in the area, everything here is more expensive.

Our room was really bad. I try not to be a room snob while I am traveling for a long period of time, but this room was way over priced for its condition. The walls looked like plywood. There was a table but no shelves and no safe. There wasn't even any pictures on the wall. I noticed a hole in the wall that was filled with some paper. The floors were so creaky, and so was the bed. We kept waking each other up because the bed creaked so much. Our 2nd night there I actually was scared that the bed would collapse. Plus it was very uncomfortable. The sink in the bathroom moved when I leaned against it and there was no hot water the 3 days I stayed here. The air conditioner only cooled the room down at night. There was a huge gap under the door so I had to put a towel down just on case a night visitor wanted to make their way in.

The part that got to me the most was the awful night bartender. Not only was he loud and swore lots with the locals, he scams people. We asked for 2 bottles of imperial beer our first night there, and he said it was warm and convinced us to buy a different kind of beer. My husband specifically asked how much the beer was, and the bartender said $2. When the bill came, he charged us $3 per beer. My husband went to talk to him about this and the bartender argued with my husband in front of all the guests at the bar about the price. My husband paid the $3 for the beers but ended up refusing to pay the mandatory tip. I let management know about this. The manager said he would speak to him about this and make this up to us. He never did and not sure if the bartender was spoken to.

2 nights later, we witnessed the bartender do the same thing to a couple who were there with their children. The bartender originally told them their bill was $65, and when the couple went to leave, he chased them and told them the bill was $10 more than he originally quoted. So basically he ripped them off.

Another thing that was worry-some is that this hotel promotes themselves as family-friendly, but everyday that we were there, the local dealer was in trying to sell his pot. He was talking openly about this at the bar for everyone to hear. This made me uncomfortable, especially when he ended up getting into a heated argument with one of the guys at the bar and they were all swearing loudly to each other. The dealer left in a huff and yelled from the street.

Because the Playa Grande Inn has one of the only bars in town, it becomes the local hangout for the surfers and the people that live there.

I will never stay here again.

Room Tip: Just don't stay here. PB surf right next door is the same price and has kitchens
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
playagrandeinn, Manager at Playa Grande Inn, responded to this review, February 15, 2013
Thank you for your feedback on our hotel. We are glad you appreciated the friendliness of the staff here and stunning natural beauty Playa Grande has to offer.

You also made several negative points in your review that we would like to address.

As many other reviewers have noted our rooms are not luxurious but they are clean, comfortable and great value for our location. Most of our guests don't spend much time in their rooms opting rather to enjoy being outside in a tropical paradise.

In regards to our bartender 'scamming people' there seems to have been a misunderstanding for which we apologized. He told you the price of a beer was $2 but as those ones were not cold he served you the $3 option. Sorry about that, the difference was $2. Our beer and food prices are possibly the least expensive in Playa Grande and the ten percent service charge for the staff to share is standard in all of Costa Rica.

You also claimed that we have a "local dealer trying to sell his pot" at our property. The person to which you are referring is a long term guest of nearby hotel who owns property in town and happens to be an eccentric lawyer, not a pot dealer. Funnily enough I was there working everyday during your stay and I never once heard him or anyone else talk about pot. Playa Grande has a colorful cast of characters and that's part of what makes it special.

We do understand that Playa Grande Inn may not be for everyone and we want our guests to be happy. What we don't understand why a person such as yourself did not just check out and stay somewhere more to your liking as you suggested in your room tip. We would have taken no offense and you could have enjoyed your vacation instead of stewing for three day in a "horrible" hotel and then writing negative things intended to hurt our business on the internet.
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98 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 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 (15)
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English first
Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

Playa Grande Inn is an awesome place to stay, we are currently staying here and extended our stay cause we loved it. Rooms are very clean, fast wifi and great working A/C. Beds are comfy and bar restaurant downstairs good food & drinks. Smoothies bar is delicious, granola bars are to die for. Good pool and 1 minute walk to the beach. Beach is beautiful, you can even walk to Tamarindo. Staff are lovely and very helpful, I would highly recommend. Rooms are great value for your money.

  • Stayed February 2013, 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.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

We stayed here twice on our trip. Two days in the middle and back again for four days at the end. It was the place we wanted to return to, even after all the other great places we'd been (Tamarindo, Santa Teresa/Mal Pais, Manuel Antonio, La Fortuna) Our first impression was one of the staff, Johnny greeting us with nice big glasses of cold water...perfect after a hot dusty ride/walk. He was very helpful and kind. Justin was really great. Laid back and very helpful, he was able to take care of getting us larger room and getting travel arrangements taken care off. There's a good surf shop in the back that he runs too. We really liked the warm, old wood and funky tropical surfer/beach vibe this place had. Rooms, as have been described before are very basic and clean (no TV, radio, clock) with beautifully worn and patinaed old wood walls and floor. Bathrooms are nicely tiled and the AC and ceiling fans work just fine. Hot water was a bit elusive, but not really necessary when it's 80+F. True, that the walls are a bit thin, but most everyone goes to sleep early, to get up early and get out on the beach to run, surf, chill. The pool is small but clean and a good place to relax in/around and the WiFi signal is good and reaches throughout. (All in all, one of the best "deals" that we ran across in Costa Rica, a more expensive country than say Honduras, Nicaragua or Guatemala.)
Lynne, who runs the RAW juice bar is great and makes terrific smoothies and nut/seed/fruit bars. The Chamba Chai Latte with banana and a chocolate peanut bar were my favorites. I can't vouch for the restaurant as it was just starting a new chef when we were there, but I've heard that they make some great brick oven pizzas.
There are only about 4 other places along the dusty gravel road that the PGI is on. The MarBar (at the funky tropical Marejada Inn next door, has some great drinks (dark and stormy - home made ginger beer and For de Cana, Nicaraguan rum!) tasty food and very nice people running it. The tuna tacos are awesome. The RipJack Inn, a few doors down, has some great food as well.
Playa Grande itself (the beach) is just a hundred yards down a small sandy path through the woods. A long beautiful strip with practically nothing built on or near it. Miles of wide soft sandy beach, with few people, great waves to surf (careful of the riptides if you're swimming), lots of great seashells and terrific sunsets. Nice and clean. There are Howler monkeys in the trees, lots of local birds and one of the best things of all is that it is all with the boundaries of Las Baulas National Marine Park...where protected Leatherback and Ridley turtles come onshore to lay their eggs at certain times of the year.
Easy to get to (Liberia airport is an hour away and about US $25 o/w per person by van/shuttle) If you're really up for a hike, take the shuttle to the top of Tamarindo, near the estuary, hire a boat to take you across (US $3) and then walk the mile and half north to the PGI)

Definitely a place we will come back to whenever we are in CR.
Check them out!

Room Tip: For US $10 more, get the big room on the upstairs end for more than one person. Lots of space, nice...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2013

We began our trip to Costa Rica in Playa Grande and stayed at the Playa Grande Inn. Justin and his crew made us feel right at home. We stayed in luxury hotels in other parts of the country and as nice as they were, they did not compare to the warm welcome we received at PGI. Even the interaction we had with the locals felt more "authentic" than that we had with the service personnel at high-end establishments. As an absolute novice surfer, I was never made to feel like the goober I was and the beach at Playa Grande was large enough that I never felt like I had to worry about getting in the way of the more advanced surfers. Justin was very accommodating in guiding me towards the right board and the right break. When I return to Costa Rica, I won't stay in another city or another hotel, PGI is where its at. From the yummy breakfast burritos to the frozen "Painkillers" I just can't recommend PGI enough.

Room Tip: Take ear plugs. There are loud birds that sound off before sunrise and the sun comes up early on th...
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  • Stayed November 2012, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2013

This is the spot if you're looking for a good value near the beach. I think it's an ideal spot for surf trips. The rooms are definitely on the minimalist side, so I would recommend looking somewhere else if you need a little more amenities in the room. Full disclosure: a couple bummers were we didn't have a coffee maker setup in the room (which everywhere else we stayed in CR did), the shower water didn't get very warm, and the walls are pretty thin in terms of being able to hear other guests on the property (I wore earplugs and slept fine). On the plus side, they have a pretty good selection of surfboards for rent and Justen is a cool guy and hooked us up with a larger room. Bottom line, even though you might be compromising on amenities, it's a great value for the location.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Austin
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

Room was very clean, comfortable and quiet. Playa Grande Inn is a great value and a great place to stay to leatherback turtles laying eggs. We didn't eat at their restaurant, but we would definitely stay here again!

  • Stayed January 2012, 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.
San Francisco, California, United States
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 13, 2012

We loved the pool, proximity to the beach, the restaurant at the hotel, the ping pong table, the staff (Justen was very helpful, thank you) and the cleanliness and size of the room. Thanks PGI for a great vacation, we'll be back.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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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Additional Information about Playa Grande Inn

Address: 250 Meters South of Minae, Playa Grande Santa Cruz, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Grande
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Playa Grande
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Playa Grande Inn is an 8 room hotel situated across from the National Marine Park. We offer advanced bookings for the turtle tours. If you are a surfer there is no better place to stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Playa Grande Hotel Playa Grande
Hotel Playa Grande

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