I will preface my review by saying that I have worked in service and hospitality for 16 years, 7 of which for the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, and traveled extensively through North America and Europe. Sabine and Marko are two of the sweetest most professional hosts that I have ever stayed with. They have the wonderful ability of being both familiar and professional at the same time. Their entire staff is warm and friendly and you can tell they have been chosen to be there for a reason. Sabine and Marko take great pride in what they do and how they present themselves and genuinely want all of their guests to have a wonderful visit.
My wife and I arrived around 10PM after a long day of travel and were the only guests staying at the property that night. Marko greeted us warmly and gave us a quick tour of the facilities as well as turning on the pool lights so we could go for a swim before going to bed. Each morning we went upstairs to the open air dining room for breakfast, which was always wonderful. Sabine and Marko are both multi-talented and one of Sabine's are her skills with baking. We were given fresh baked bread each day with a wonderful assortment of fruit, yogurt, cheeses and great coffee.
Marko and Sabine also gave us wonderful guidance during our visit as to where to eat, great beaches to visit and other activities. Sabine recommended a wonderful little shop in Tamarindo where my wife picked out a great, locally made bikini that she put to good use during our stay. Even though Cantarana offers a full service dining room for dinner they didn't press us to eat there each night. They were happy to guide us to other venues so that we didn't feel obligated to eat in the hotel each night. When we finally ate in the dining room on the last night of our visit, it was excellent.
Playa Grande, where the hotel is located, is peaceful and felt very safe. This was our first trip to Costa Rica and I had heard stories of "sticky fingers", but we had no problems with that where we were. When we walked in the neighborhood we rarely saw anyone at all. Playa Grande is what I imagine Key West might have been like in Hemingway's day. Gravel roads, quaint and picturesque with a wonderful laid back spirit. The beach was just a quick 5 minute walk from the hotel and seemed to always be deserted. Walking down the beach 20 minutes you'll find water taxis that will zip you across the estuary into Tamarindo for car rentals, restaurants, etc. In short, Playa Grande is like staying in the country with quick access to the "city". After weeks of research there were a few towns that I had considered, but Playa Grande was the only one that delivered everything I wanted.
At the end of it all, on our day of departure, Marko and Sabine made a point of seeing us off with warm hugs and big smiles. I couldn't imagine staying anywhere else if I have the chance to return to Costa Rica. They are absolutely wonderful people and it truly shows.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our small Boutique Hotel is situated in the Northwest of Guanacaste on a peninsula bordering directly on Marino Las Baulas National Park. We are 100m from the almost deserted endless beach of Playa Grande. In our beautiful double rooms & tropical garden you will find tranquility & relaxation in soothing seclusion. Our atmospheric restaurant invites you to tasty culinary excursions for your eyes and taste. Our experienced team looks after you with great care, doing their very best to make your holiday a pleasantly unforgettable one. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Cantarana Hotel Playa Grande