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“An awesome place in the middle of a rain forest.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel & Club Punta Leona

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Hotel & Club Punta Leona
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Playa Blanca | Punta Leona, Jaco 1000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #18 of 44 Hotels in Jaco
Toronto
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
136 helpful votes 136 helpful votes
“An awesome place in the middle of a rain forest.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2011

We stayed at Hotel Punta Leona from 21st December to 28th December 2010. We really had a super time and given the diversity of the reviews for this place, thought of writing a detailed description of what we found.

Me, my wife and our teenage son booked this all inclusive hotel through Nolitours. The reservations, flight on Air Transat, meeting their representative at San Jose International Airport and transfer to the hotel went very smoothly and efficiently. The hotel is about 100 km from San Jose (2hrs by bus), just north of Jaco Beach.

Hotel is not a luxury 4-5 star. If that is what you are looking for, don’t consider this place. The hotel is in the middle of a 750 acre private nature reservation. The location is absolutely amazing, surrounded by thick rainforest and with two fabulous beaches. One white sandy, and the other volcanic (brown sand). The place teems with wild life, birds and animals such as monkeys. Both beaches are suitable for swimming and snorkelling. This is not the place for surfing. Go to Jaco beach for that. The water is not crystal clear as in Cuba or Mexico, especially if it had rained before. However, it is not a big problem.

We stayed in a Selvamar Standard Room in the Jamaica section. The three of us had two double beds. The room was small but spotless and so was the bathroom. There was a small fridge that we did not use. The linen was changed everyday. TV has many Spanish and English channels including CNN and Fox. These rooms are not close to the beaches, 10 minute walk to the brown sandy beach and 40 minute walk to the white sandy beach. However, a shuttle operates through out the complex (between 8.00 AM and 5.00 PM) and we never had to wait more than 15 minutes for one.

There are three restaurants and a bar on the beach. The main buffet restaurant is very close to the guest rooms. One is near the brown beach and the other one at the white Sandy beach. So if you want to spend the whole day at a beach, it is not a problem with food and drinks. The food was very good in all three restaurants. Some of the more expensive dishes at the restaurants are not part of the all inclusive package and if you want to order those you will have to pay half the cost. However, there are enough items on the all inclusive menu. Also note that the Hotel is 3 Star, so don’t expect a 300 item buffet. The selection is small, but the food was generally very good. Same deal with the drinks. When ordering wine other than the house wine is extra. Some cocktails are also extra. There is one a la carte restaurant and you need reservations for that place. The restaurant at Playa Blanca, which is the white sandy beach, serves very good sea food. On days that you might go on long trips to places like Arenal volcano or the Monteverde Cloud Forest, they will provide you with bagged lunches if requested in advance. The tap water was safe to drink.

In terms of other facilities, there is computer room with free internet (I think they were only free for the people on all inclusive packages). There were signs all over which said that there is free wi-fi, but we did not use that. The reception will arrange for car rentals and taxis. Given the remote location if you want to explore near by towns, you need a car or a taxi. The hotel area is four miles from the main gate of the whole complex. There are nature tours within the complex, early morning and in the evening, conducted by knowledgeable guides who spoke good English. There are two pools (one kids and one adult) we never used those. Why use a pool when there is the whole of Pacific Ocean right in front of you? The hotel complex has its own zip-line system and the usual assortments of tennis, volleyball, ping-pong, mini golf and other activities. Some of these activities are not part of the all inclusive and you will have to pay for those.

The main attraction here is the closeness to nature. The number of different bird types that you see here are astounding. There are White-faced monkeys everywhere, especially around the restaurants. If you don’t keep a close eye, you are almost sure to lose your breakfast to a monkey. The experience of sitting under giant trees and have your meal while monkeys play around you on the trees and Coatimudis prowling under your table for any food scrapes is absolutely unique.

Playa Blanca beach here is one of the most beautiful places that I have been in. We have travelled extensively in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Asia so I have seen a lot of beaches in my time. The tide changes quiet a bit here so at low tide there are many tidal pools that you can explore. A good place for snorkelling. We say many types of fish and we even saw lobsters. Given that you are in a secure private nature reserve, no one will try to hassle you or try to sell stuff on the beach.

So we had an absolutely great time. However, keep in mind this is not a 4-5 Star luxury hotel. If you need fancy restaurants, Jacuzzi in your room, 300 item buffet, nightlife and discos, this is defiantly not the place for you. Also remember that you are in the middle of a rain forest. So there are lot of insects and creepy crawlies all over. If you are scared of those, again this is not the place for you. The room that we were in was sealed and air conditioned, so we did not get any in our room. The pathways through out the complex are all well maintained and well lit, so again there is no problem in walking anywhere even in the night. However, when walking in the night I would wear covered shoes. After all this is Costa Rican rain forest and there are poisonous snakes and frogs here. Contrary to what we were told before we left Canada, mosquitoes were not and issue (may be because of the time of the year?). We did not use even once the bug spray that we carried.

We found the staff generally very friendly and helpful.

If you are ready for a completely different experience close to nature, you will love this place. If you are into bird watching. You will be in Haven.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So take a look at my Google album at this link:

http://picasaweb.google.com/laviniam09/CostaRica#

  • Stayed December 2010, 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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478 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (57)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brooklyn, New York
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2011

Definitely one of the worst hotels I have ever visited. Don't know why people on this site are so jazzed up on the beach (playa Blanca had a Severe riptide and the lifeguards would only allow you to swim in a 30 foot channel) otherwise they would blow their whistle and make a fuss, god forbid you were 5 feet out of their pathetic swimming zone...!

My son, who is 4, quickly developed an itchy rash all over his body-- we asked the hotel if we could leave early and they refused us a partial refund and their medic claimed it was a sun rash!!!! We left anyway and When we got back to New York, the pediatrician pointed out that they were bedbugs bites. Totally scary!!

I would definitely not recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a clean, relaxing place...

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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 City, New York
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2011

We are a small family from Brooklyn (4.5 yr-old son). Well-travelled. Usually stay in small boutique-type (tablet style) hotels.

This hotel is pehaps better for more middle class families who don't really mind cafeteria style food, apathetic service & "kid's activities" (half-hearted affairs in spanish... if they happen at all), an army of bored security guards who are always cooking up ways to hassle/perster you throughout your trip, holiday inn-style rooms, etc., but aside from the monkey breakfast and playa blanca, we couldn't wait to leave.

With the exception of breakfast, the food is almost totally inedible.

Most of the front desk are more than vaguely annoyed that you are coming to them and making them work. They don't really care if they give you the right answer or if they book you on the right walk, they just want you to leave them alone (thanks, for instance, Rita Jiron, for telling us that a kids tour was at 9PM when it was actually at 9AM... and after being corrected by a colleague not even telling us that she had made a mistake).

The staff of security guards are bored, feckless individuals who spend their days looking for ways to exert a show of authority. One gave me a lesson on how to park. 2 or 3 made me wait 10 minutes at the front gate while they talked to friends, attended to other tasks, etc in the gatehouse before they could let us back into the premises. All of them sit there and watch you and are a total invasion of privacy.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2010

Couple - 2
Date: December 2010 (Christmas)

We were looking for an all inclusive resort in Jaco beach for rainforest hopping and surfing. Having stayed in 4-5 star typical resorts in Dominican, Cuban and Mexican resorts, we knew that booking a 3-star would be a dip in our expectations. Being that this was the ONLY all inclusive we could find in the Jaco area, in a country known for its rainforests and non-commercial living we knew it would be out of the ordinary.

What we didnt expect was the fact that the hotel was no where close to Jaco beach (a good 30 minute bus from the gate or $25 US cab ride - one way) and also required a 10 minute shuttle to their 'white beach' (albeit, the best one in the area). But once you figured out the 'system' it wasn't a big deal.

A few key things to watch out for -

* ONLY ONE bar at the main resort/beach/reception wing. You MUST order off their short drink list or will be given the bill. I was charged 10 bucks for margaritas, even though I had the All Inclusive wrist band

* no bar at reception

* barely anyone speaks english except for the reception and maybe a few waiters

* ONLY one restaurant - as opposed to the usual 3, and snack bars

* buffet is EXTREMELY small and limited

* breakfast, lunch and dinner are at SET times - you miss it you must walk to the beach to get their 'order' menu and wait a good 20 minutes for them to make the food for you. Its decent (pizza, burgers, etc) but its a hassle otherwise.

* you MUST show your band and declare your room number at all times, or else you are given a bill for the drinks and food - once you do, its no big deal - but a hassle when you have to hop around looking for food at say, 4pm and the main buffet is closed

* the BEACH ( there are two of them) require quite a jaunt - one 'WHITE beach "Playa Blanca" is a good 20 minute 'shuttle' away, but you can jog/walk for about 15 minutes from the hotel lodges. The darker rockier beach is closer, about 10 minutes from the rooms

* 10 minutes from the gate - you will need to wait for the shuttle (comes twice a day) or pay $5 per person to get a ride to the gate.


Positives -

* Playa Blanca "white beach" is pretty awesome if you make the trek early in the morning and get a spot. You can stay there all day and order drinks and food off their priced menu for free. Drawback is you will need to walk the windy and rocky trail or wait for the shuttle (every 30 minutes)

* Landscaping and Lodgings are incredible. The trees, animals and views are amazing. You feel like you are a guest of the jungle...the animals definately take over the place (e.g. capucin monkeys at breakfast steal sugar off the tables)

* animals and wildlife everywhere! Better than the tours to Monteverde!

* Location of rooms to restaurant is fantastic. Right next door!


Overall, considering that we were able to get week's stay for under $1500 per person (including taxes and surcharges) during Christmas in a country full of vocanos, rainforests, surfing and wild life it sure beats a typical dominican cookie cutter vacation.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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houston
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2010

I would recommend this resort to anyone who cares mainly about the beach, and isn't expecting perfect service. Because honestly, the staff is not very friendly or helpful. And the check-in takes forever!! I did enjoy how secluded the resort is, because it added to our feeling of security. Breakfast was just okay, and the band that played when we were there was okay too. I don't think I would return, because it's so overpriced but the beach is lovely.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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San Diego
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2010

Mostly a family type place with lots of daily activities for kids/families. Kind of reminded me of a summer camp type feeling.

But, even for a couple, if you want to really feel you are staying IN the tropical forest, this is it, and the Selvamar rooms a the most integrated into the forest. We woke up to exotic bird calls and had breakfast with Monkeys! Beaches are nice, especially the one further up the hill - Playa Blanca I think. Also, there is a little tiki bar by the main pool that was great for lounging and drinks.

The options for rooms along the water have a FANTASTIC view and very romantic but quite a bit more. Especially the ones up by Playa Blanca and there is also an infinity edge pool up there.

The rooms were VERY clean, and the housekeeping staff were the best.

I would only recommend staying here if you have a car. Depending on your situation, you could definitely get by without one, but we had one and I can't count the number of times I was thankful for that. Plenty of open and free parking close to the rooms.

What gives me mixed feelings are the majority of the staff, especially at registration, were just kind of not caring or friendly. So an overall lack of hospitality, but not mean or rude, so not what I would consider a deal breaker.

Oh, and they do charge you to use the internet in the business center. I've paid for internet in a room before but I've never had to pay to use the internet INSIDE the business center. That one was new for me!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Palo Alto
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2010

Read this review if you need a business management case study on hotel mismanagement. We spent six days of a month long Costa Rican vacation at Punta Leona, a $200/night resort that caters to international travelers. You first find out something is wrong when check-in takes a really, really long time, and it's confusing and complicated too. You will get an identifycation (Punta Leona spelling) card to facilitate charging meals to your account. The letters printed on the card, which are the title of this review, demonstrate the level of quality you find throughout the entire organization. Since the hotel staff wrote the wrong number on our card, each time a meal was charged, the restaurant staff had to make a furtive phone call to the really, really slow check-in staff to ensure we weren't trying to score a free meal. Let's just say our meals were leisurely. Another clue something was wrong was the fifteen minute wait for the ten minute shuttle up a steep and twisty road to find a poorly marked second check-in area so that we could get our keys. Once in the room, we got a constant busy tone when using Punta Leona's printed phone instructions to notify hotel staff about having only sheets on one of the beds (no blankets) and the gate key to the beach that didn't work. Many similar experiences occurred during the remaining five days and twenty-three hours of our stay. We did become proficient at remembering numbers -- the phone extension number was different from room number, which was different from both our first and second "identifycation" numbers. But the problems with Punta Leona run deeper than shockingly pervasive hotel mismanagement. This resort has awards and a reputation for its conservation efforts and eco-tourism. These are impossible to reconcile with seeing walls of condos, hearing symphonies of chainsaws, watching tame monkeys and raccoons grab food at the restaurants and seeing people feed the iguanas. It's not a good place to admire and enjoy wildlife in an undeveloped, natural area. In the ongoing conflict between developers and environmentalists, the developers are the clear winners at Punta Leona.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
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Additional Information about Hotel & Club Punta Leona

Address: Playa Blanca | Punta Leona, Jaco 1000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Jaco
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Business Hotel in Jaco
#6 Spa Hotel in Jaco
#11 On the Beach Hotel in Jaco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel & Club Punta Leona 3*
Number of rooms: 108
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Also Known As:
Hotel And Club Punta Leona
Punta Leona Costa Rica
Punta Leona Jaco
Punta Leona Hotel Costa Rica
Hotel & Club Punta Leona Costa Rica/Jaco

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