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“Secluded and wonderful!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Cantarana

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Hotel Cantarana
Palm Beach Estates | 50308 Cabo Velas, Playa Grande, Costa Rica   |  
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Ranked #1 of 7 Hotels in Playa Grande
Certificate of Excellence 2014
New Orleans, Louisiana
1 review
“Secluded and wonderful!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2013

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.

  • Stayed June 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
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178 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
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English first
Halifax, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

We just returned from Costa Rica where we stayed at Hotel Catarana. The hotel was very clean, had a great pool and was steps away from a gorgeous beach that was great for surfing at high tide. The hotels location and the beauty of the area were awesome but it was the hotel's staff and owners that really made our stay exceptional. Marco and Sabina, the hotels owners, are wonderful people and they made us some very delicious meals and were superb in ensuring that our stay in Costa Rica was memorable by helping us book reliable transportation and great activities - zip lining, horseback riding and even a spa day. Needless to say they turned our time in Costa Rica from good to great. We would recommend this hotel to anyone.

  • Stayed June 2013, 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.
United States
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

1. INITIAL GREETING: warm, friendly, helpful = Martha;
2. ROOM CLEANLINESS: spotlessly cleaned each day, very thorough maid service;
3. AMENITIES: pool always clean and kept at an inviting temperature; free WiFi; no hair dryer in the room so bring yours if you can't live without one; no shampoo, conditioner or alarm clock in the room;
4. BREAKFAST: Wonderful! Cereals & milks, coffee & tea, orange or mango juice, fruit or natural yogurt, a beautiful plate of fruit, granola, meats & breads, followed by eggs cooked to order; (the best coffee I have ever tasted!).
5. DINNER: Spectacular! The chef at Hotel Catarana is amazing. Artful presentations, and delicious. The price is commensurate. Be prepared to pay over $40 per person.
6. OWNERS: Marko and Sabine go above and beyond for each of their guests; I personally feel that I've made new friends.
7. BEACH: the equivalent of 3 to 4 city blocks from the hotel;
8. NIGHT LIFE: no live entertainment on property; the equivalent of 3 blocks has entertainment on Friday nights; otherwise there is entertainment in Tamarindo, which is a 40 minute drive away by night, and a 15 minute walk and shuttle boat by day;
9. LOCAL DINING: great brick oven pizza at El Huerto's

* Driving to and from Tamarindo at night is horrific! There is no "shoulder", and there are no street lights. There are so many people walking on the sides of the roads, pushing strollers, and riding bikes.

Packing: light weight fabrics, dresses, thin rayon, bug repellant, sunscreen at least 50 spf, aloe lotion, benadryl lotion

  • Stayed May 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.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2013

My girlfriend and I spent three nights here in May, and we absolutely loved it. Our hosts were completely charming and went way out of their way to help us enjoy our stay. They even made us feel at home after we accidentally set off an alarm in the middle of the night, and when my girlfriend got sick they made us chamomile tea, and actually set us up with the water heater and a basket of tea. We stayed at the Caribbean, Arenal, and Playa Grande, but this is without a doubt my favorite place that we stayed.

  • Stayed May 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 5, 2013

My husband and I stayed here for 3 nights and loved every minute of it. Thank you Marcos and Sabine for an opportunity to see the real Costa Rica- in a beautiful and clean boutique hotel that is small enough to feel remote but big in what it offers. We had the best meals here- you have to try the shrimp brochettes!! Amazing! I would not recommend spending any money at Bula Bula- another restaurant down the street, no value for your money there. For those new to CR: there is 23% tax in restaurants so be aware, good news is beer is cheaper than the water. The owl that sleeps in the tree beside our breakfast spot, the howler monkeys, the beautiful iguanas, the hammock, the pool, the service... All amazing. Hope to come back during rainy season and see what a CR winter is :)

Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Alberni
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

My wife and I stayed at Hotel Cantarana in early April. With only ten days in Costa Rica we originally booked for 5 nights thinking that we may want to move to another location. After a couple of nights we knew that the Hotel and the location was just what we were looking for to unwind after a long Canadian winter, and spent our ertire vacation at the Cantarana. With the beach a short walk away, many times we were the only ones for miles. Marko and Sabine were very friendly and flexible with an excellent breakfast as we showed up for breakfast anywhere from 7 - 10 am. Martha their assistant was also very friendly and helpful. The ocean was a short walk away (2 minutes) and could be heard from the hotel. We were treated to monkeys, birds, iguanas, geckos and the singing frog "Cantarana"! The meals in the restaurant were excellent! The location was an excellent base for exploring the beaches in Gauncaste. We would definately stay at Hotel Cantarana again and hope to go back soon!

Room Tip: The first 5 nights we stayed in the "Honeymoon room" and then moved to the "Conchal R...
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  • Stayed April 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ma
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

We (party of 3 including my 11 year old grandson) spent 3 nights at Hotel Cantarana. This was our first time to Playa Grande. Marcus and Sabine were more than accommodating greeting us later than their normal check-in due to a late flight from the States. They even arranged for transportation to their hotel as we did not want to try to find it so late on our own.
The Hotel is small and quiet, well kept and more than comfortable. Room was clean and spacious, air conditioning worked very well. Or grandson loved the pool which we had to ourselves most of the day. The beach was just a short walk away.
Breakfast was wonderful with fresh fruits, breads and eggs made to order not to mention the great CR coffee!
Marcus made sure to point out some local critters including a scorpion for my grandson as well as assisted in arranging for a turtle watch tour where we witnessed a pacific green back make her nest and lay her eggs. What a great opportunity!
After seeing Tamarindo, we are happy we made the choice to stay in Playa Grande with Marcus and Sabine.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Hotel Cantarana

Address: Palm Beach Estates | 50308 Cabo Velas, Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Grande
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Playa Grande
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Grande
#2 Family Hotel in Playa Grande
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 5
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

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