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“An Absolute GEM! The best location in Playa Hermosa” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel La Finisterra

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Hotel La Finisterra
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Al final de la primera entrada, Playa Hermosa 5000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 12 Hotels in Playa Hermosa
Seattle, WA
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“An Absolute GEM! The best location in Playa Hermosa”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2009

I find it difficult to write this review without sounding like an ad for the hotel. However, I couldn’t have been happier with my experience and wanted to share it with other TripAdvisor members considering hotels in the area.

The Hotel La Finisterra exceeded my expectations in almost every regard. I first visited the hotel in Fall of 2008 and stayed there one night after having visited approximately 30 hotels in the area between Tamarindo and points just North of Playa Panama. After that exhaustive search, I booked our entire wedding party (9 rooms) at La Finisterra for June 2009.

To be clear, I was looking for a clean, friendly hotel that was at least a 3-star location (as La Finisterra is billed) where I could get excellent service and host an elegant, 20-person wedding event for a group of mostly North Americans. I also wanted it to be reasonably close to a major airport. I don’t need marble bathrooms and 700-SF suites, but I do require impeccable cleanliness, good water pressure with consistent temperature in the showers, good toiletries and towels, and adequate amenities like a pool, restaurant/bar and room air conditioning that doesn’t sound like a B-17 bomber taking off.

La Finisterra did not disappoint.

Rooms:
Since my last visit, the bathrooms had been updated in many of the rooms to include nice glass shower enclosures and vessel or pedestal sinks. The beds were very comfortable with ample pillows and nice bedspreads. A granite-top table had replaced the dresser. Some rooms had new curtains to replace the roll-down wooden shade (although I admittedly like a little filtered light in the morning, so I prefer the shade). The views are gorgeous on either side of the hotel. Toiletries were simple, but up to North American standards and the water pressure and temperature were strong and consistent (a rarity in other places I visited in CR.) Air conditioning was relatively quiet and had an easily used remote control. The ceiling fan and reading lights were operated by a switch above the bed (so no one has to get up!). Rooms were good sized with either one queen or two double beds. No TVs or phones (very peaceful), and Wifi was available in some rooms and in the public areas.

Restaurant:
The open-air restaurant is very, very nice with tasteful yet simple ambience and the same incredible beach views. The staff prepared excellent meals to North American “fine dining” standards. Plated presentation was excellent. The chef also prepared the fish caught by our group several different ways, and all were outstanding. We found the Happy Hour from 4-6 to be a very popular gathering time for everyone in our group. The table setting for our reception dinner was beautiful, and every one of our guest made mention of how fabulous it was. The wine cellar selection was also very nice, with a broad variety of reasonably priced wines to complement all of our dinner selections. Breakfast was also included in our room rate and was filled with fresh fruit accompanying made-to-order meals of pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc.

Public Areas and Location:
For a small hotel, the pool and outdoor areas were more than adequate. We had enough deck chairs to go around, and the viewpoint just beyond the pool became a favorite location to sit in the dappled shade and enjoy the view. The shallow sitting pool was my favorite spot to cool off and enjoy a cold drink. The upstairs deck provided a great vista for the unreal sunsets, while the shaded sitting areas tucked just around the corner from the restaurant provided a quiet nook for reading or relaxing. A computer for Internet access was also available in the lobby.

Being somewhat steep, the hill climb is a bit of an issue if you are not up for a walk to the beach. However, the advantage is that you are relatively isolated from the throngs in town and feel safe and secure in the hotel. The hill top location provides million-dollar views that surpass any of the beachfront hotels. Security was also very good.

Hospitality:
Sheila and her husband George (proprietors) were excellent hosts. They arranged everything from fishing and tours to spa services and car rentals for our group – always going the extra mile to make sure everything was beyond our expectations. They took care of wedding-related planning like cake and flowers (bouquet, etc.), and helped to coordinate the boat we were using for the ceremony. The General Manager, Johnny, was also outstanding with help from Roger, Hernado, Manuel and Lydia in the restaurant and housekeeping departments. I could not have asked for a more helpful and friendly staff. Whatever we wanted, they did their best to provide. On a related note: although I speak some Spanish, it was extremely helpful to have fluent English speakers to assist us with all the details.

Summary:
I have seen many hotels in Costa Rica and La Finisterra is a GEM. I’ve stayed at the big resorts as well as other small hotels, and La Finisterra provides the right blend of outstanding service and personalized attention, with comfort and attention to the small things. If you want a large all-inclusive or 5-star ultra-luxury experience, this hotel may not be for you. However, if you are looking for very nice lodgings with outstanding food, English-speaking desk staff, gorgeous views, and a secure location, you cannot beat La Finisterra. Pura Vida!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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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173 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    111
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    13
    4
    4
See reviews for
29
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 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 (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Petaluma, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2009

I stayed at La Finisterra for my friend's adventure / destination wedding. As we were a smaller group of about 15 people, the size of La Finisterra meant we had the place to ourselves for much of the time. I recall the moment I walked up the steps and saw the large archways looking out to the pool and then to the ocean, as well as the elegance of the dining room and thought, "how perfect". My room was well equipped with air conditioning and screens that allowed me to hear the sound of ocean waves as I fell asleep and in my waking moments. The food was good quality and, over the course of the week, we noticed how personalized the service became. We got to know the servers, such as their names, and they got to know us, such as whether to use a little Spanish or not. The hotel owner catered to our adventuring needs, helping us set up tours with local operators and going beyond the norm. The wedding reception was beautiful: a single long table in the dining room with elegant place settings. We ate the fish some people from our group caught the day before. La Finisterra also offers a low rate land line to the US and Canada which was a real gift considering the high cost of cell phone calls from that area. So, to summarize the top 5 things I loved about this location (and have promised to take my loved ones there when we get the chance): 1) the building architecture, 2) the view and sounds of the ocean and nearby forest, 3) the friendly and considerate service of owner and staff, 4) the food, 5) the intimate setting.

  • Stayed June 2009
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
FL
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2009

Breathtaking view! Great food! Great people! The proprieters are friendly Canadians with a USA Flair.

Not to be missed. Spend a night even if just passing through!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
New York
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2009

On the advice of an acquaintance, we picked Playa Hermosa and Hotel La Finisterra as the first stop of our belated 20th anniversary vacation and could not have been more pleased! In fact, we enjoyed our first couple of days there so much, we decided to spend the last couple of days of our vacation there, too, as we decided it would be hard, if not impossible to do better!

As other reviewers have stated, the views are ripped from a post card stunning, the included breakfast outstanding, and the dinners some of the very best we've savored anywhere (for about $25.00 per person, excluding drinks, but taxes and tip included)!

Most important, however, owners Sheila and George, and their staff have created one of the most comfortable, low-key, relaxing experiences one could possible want. Yet, if you want to do more than relax, they can help arrange practically any activity you might want to enjoy - and can share tips for exploring the country (George says he visited every beach in Costa Rica before settling on building La Finisterra in Playa Hermosa)!

Regarding the hill to La Finisterra . . . . , it is steep - but, we're in our early 50's and made the trip up and down several times a day on the way to the beach, to go for a walk, etc. If you're in moderately good shape it should not be a difficult walk.

As to the gray sand beach that some reviewers have described as gritty - while we were there, it was outstanding. Pure, fine-grained gray sand, warm water with a moderate surf, absolutely no accumulation of washed up debris of any kind, and just firm enough at low tide to make for a challenging run - it's just a bit under a mile from one end to the other. And, if you're just out for a walk, there are several bars where you can stop for a drink.

Finally, a word about the roads and driving.

From what I had read and heard from others, I figured it would be best to rent the biggest, baddest four-wheel drive ever built. However, my frugal wife said we were going to rent the smallest, least expensive vehicle available - so a Nissan Sentra it was!

Wise choice - yes, the roads are not in great shape, full of curves, without shoulders, and passing with the smallest margin of error seems to be a hobby. However, we got everywhere we wanted to go, burned very little fuel in this delightful, ecotourism-oriented country, and saved enough money to cover several nights and meals at the absolutely outstanding Hotel La Finisterra!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, BC
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2009

On our second visit to La Finisterra (we were there last June 2008) we were pleasantly surprised to find the rooms had been re-decorated and the bathrooms were really classy with glass enclosed showers and new furniture in the rooms. We also got 20% off the room rate on a 5 day stay that still included a wonderful breakfast. There is now happy hour every day from 4-6 with 50% off drinks and we made a point of being there almost every day to watch the beautiful sunsets.
Still no TV's but that was OK as we spent little time in the room and didn't come to Costa Rica to watch TV.
As usual the food was top notch and the new chef "Fernando" from Argentina was up to scratch with a great menu. We tried another place for dinner but ended up going back to La finisterra as it was really without comparison for the quality and price.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LA, CA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2009

The reviews on Finisterra are accurate overall - great view, sparse rooms, big hill, etc.

The best part of the hotel is the personal attention. The service is not luxurious, but the owner and her staff are extremely nice, helpful, and conscientious. For instance, there are no phones in the room, but I received a number of calls to the front desk; each time they brought the portable phone to my room. Also, after we and another couple went fishing, we returned to the hotel with about 70 lbs of fish. With little notice the kitchen happily cleaned and prepared the fish for dinner for 8 people. I'm pretty sure this was a lot of work.

We didnt love the area, but this hotel and its staff were great.

  • Stayed January 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
saint louis
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2009

La Finisterra amazingly perches on the top of a STEEP hill overlooking the beach. When we pulled up to the hotel - the view took our breath away.

Things we liked: the servers (all of them were great), the seats on the back porch you could sit and read in at night, the view!!!, the pool over the hill, cleanliness of the rooms, water pressure in the showers & availability of hot water, free & DELICIOUS breakfast each morning.

Things we didn't like as much: inconsistent internet - the "availability" of the Wi-Fi was one of the main reasons we picked it over other hotels, the cost of the restaurant within the hotel - it's a bit much considering the area, the beach wasn't one of the favorites we had been to - a little dirty/rough.

Overall - above par and we were not disappointed with our decision.

  • Liked — The view
  • Disliked — The internet
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel La Finisterra

Address: Al final de la primera entrada, Playa Hermosa 5000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Hermosa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Hermosa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel La Finisterra 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
"Hotel La Finisterra" offers the Costa Rica traveler luxurious yet affordable hotel lodgings. Set atop a beachfront hilltop. “Hotel La Finisterra” is only steps from the beach and the Pacific Ocean. The pool, bar, restaurant, poolside patio, balcony and all of the rooms feature views of the beach and ocean. Our open air restaurant "The Bistro" is well known for its savory cuisine and casual ambience. Enjoy dining on fresh local ingredients served in a variety of ¨Tipico¨ (local) and international recipes individually prepared by our professionally trained chef and kitchen staff. Enjoy the panoramic views of Playa Hermosa, the Pacific Ocean or a spectacular tropical sunset. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
La Finisterra Hotel
La Finisterra Playa Hermosa
Hotel La Finisterra Costa Rica/Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste

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