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“Surprised in a good way....” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Moana

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Hotel Moana
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Mal Pais, Mal Pais 0000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 9 Hotels in Mal Pais
Certificate of Excellence
Miami
Level Contributor
67 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Surprised in a good way....”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

I was hesitant to stay at a boutique hotel but what a pleasant surprise.

We stayed in a junior suite and the honeymoon suite. Both with incredible views and decorated just right. Wood floors and nice touches by owners. breakfast at moana was included in price and it was fantastic. Only down side are the many stairs but they disclosed this so no surprise there. Owner operated so lots of passion involved. From what we saw the best boutique hotel around.

if you are wondering which is the best beach around worry no more. Its playa hermosa in santa teresa. Worth the 15 minute ride for beautiful sandy soft beach. have fun!

Room Tip: The suite and jr suite are incredible!
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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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350 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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
Date | Rating
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English first
tuscaloosa, AL
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2013

We had the pleasure of staying in the Deluxe Suite the weekend of Christmas 2012. The place is amazing, with beautiful views tucked away on a jungle mountainside. The suite has a lovely bathroom with a large tub that is surrounded by windows and looks out over the Mal Pais beaches. A comfortable bed and a well stocked mini bar round out a perfect room. Mike the bartender was always ready with a drink and a smile at The Papaya Lounge. The staff was always working in the background to ensure the property was clean and well taken care of. Aiden and Vicky, the owners, went out of their way to ensure that we were taken care of. Vicky was always quick with a smile and a "Hola!" She was always helpful in setting up a tour and even recommended a wonderful Argentinian steakhouse when we got back to San Jose. A++

Room Tip: If you can handle the steps, go for a deluxe or junior suite. A good value for the quality of the ro...
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  • Stayed December 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.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

We stayed at Moana for five nights in early December. We read tons of hotel reviews and did a lot of research on different parts of Costa Rica before settling on Moana. It turned out to be a fantastic place. The restaurant (with a view!) was great - high quality ingredients and attention to detail. It was closed between breakfast and dinner, however, so if you want an afternoon drink it's going to be a beer from the minibar. The rooms are really clean and comfortable with great showers.

The owners are really friendly and helpful. It's obvious that they love what they do. The area is absolutely gorgeous and being off the beaten path made it worth the effort to get to.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, D.C.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

We (a family of three) stayed for 5 nights over Xmas 2012 in the Moana Lodge. It was a wonderful experience. All the staff is terrific, beginning with the owners, Aidan and Vicky. Our spacious and attractive room was lovely with an amazing view. We enjoyed breaksfast (fabulous banana bread french toast), drinks, and all our dinners in the Papaya Lounge, which has a spectacular view of that area of the Nicoya Pennisula. We saw many beautiful birds, lizards, iguanas, and monkeys. We took various trips (with helpful arranging from the hotel) to Isla Tortuga and several different playas. You do have to climb steps to get to your room and/or the restaurant but after a few days, it isn't a big deal. If you are renting a car, we recommend that you get an SUV and a GPS because the roads aren't great, even in the dry season. A truly great vacation that we hope to repeat!

  • 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.
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

This hotel is absolutely beautiful. We stayed in a lower room that didn't have a view, however, it was beautifully decorated and had all the amenities that we needed and more - including wifi, a hammock on the front porch, a beautiful rain shower, a/c and a well stocked mini-bar. The view from the restaurant was stunning. All the food that we ordered at the restaurant was delicious and the bar/restaurant service was wonderful. It really pains us, however, to have to report that security was not what it should have been for such a nice place. It may have been an isolated incident, but our room was broken into within the first 3 hours of our arrival at the hotel, while we were up at the restaurant having a wonderful romantic dinner. Not only was our room broken into but the robbers broke into the room's safe. Fortunately, the robbers did not take our passports, which we responsibly (we thought) left in the safe. However they did abscond with cash and our rental GPS from the safe as well as a backpack and both our pairs of hiking shoes from the room. We came to an agreement with the owners about compensation for our three-night stay, which we decided to continue despite the incident. I am happy to report that the owners took immediate action with the local police and also notified the neighbourhood watch of the area. However, the incident definitely put a huge damper on our trip and damaged our opinion of the hotel.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
moanamanager, Owner at Hotel Moana, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
This was an utterly disappointing incident that occurred during your stay and like yourself we were very frustrated and angered by it. This was the first time anything like this has ever occurred in our hotel where thieves had the equipment to break into a safe. The break in occurred between 7-8pm while there was a watchman on duty and 4 people in the room next door to yours, which would further prove that these guys knew what they were doing. The police informed us that sadly over ten other hotels and rental homes in the area were also robbed during that week. They concluded that it an organised group of professional thieves from out of town that had been operating in the area.
To my knowledge we were the only hotel that went public about it. We did this because instead of hiding the fact that this occurred we really wanted to catch and prevent this happening ever again. If you check the neighborhood watch page on Facebook for Mal Pais you’ll see how we tried to catch the people responsible. We went public about the break in the hope that we could bring it to the attention of the locals and put an end to these people and the loss and stress that they bring upon the town, this is not something that we can ignore.
We hope by going to the police in Cobano twice, once to report the theft and on a second occasion to look through mug shots in the hope of catching them that more locals will do the same and put an end to these people. As you mentioned we also compensated you $250 for the loss of cash that you incurred in the gesture of our regret of the episode. This was a no win situation and something that the police could do nothing about. Unfortunately we have no control over certain things in life and sometimes things like this happens and its truly unfortunate but it is fair to say it can happen anywhere in the world. I’m glad you saw that and continued to enjoy your stay with us and the town of Mal Pais.
In our case we tried to do everything possible that we could to prevent this happening again and also making a right from a wrong which Michael your partner agreed with. Thankfully now these people seemed to have moved on and that will be the end of it.
Regards, Aidan
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

We stayed here for 6 nights in November and it was an absolute treat. The owners couldn't have been more helpful and kind, and the hotel itself was lovely. We stayed in one of upper rooms with stunning views of the sunset and large spacious rooms. The restaurant is great, and you can watch monkeys and iguanas as you eat breakfast. The hotel is walking distance from the beach, and also a couple of lovely other bars and places to eat. Malpais is a perfect balance of adventure and relaxation - can't wait to go back!

  • 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.
Bern, Switzerland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

We had reserved a couple nights in the honey moon suite with my girlfriend to end our trip in Costa Rica (via Internet).

First surprise a couple of days before arriving (glad I checked my mails) telling us that the restaurant was closed during our stay (for repair reasons). But ok, we came to an agreement with the owners and decided not to cancel our stay (anyway, didn't have much choice a couple days before arriving).

When we arrived, we were showed and brought to our room which was, beautiful.
The view, the design, a piece of paradise, definitely!

But during our 3 days (2 nights) stay, we got more and more concerned by the fact that the owners didn't seem carring about us at all (despite a very nice staff).
Never asked how we were doing, how we slept, if we needed help, giving details on nearby activities, etc.
The hospitality was a disaster and we really didn't feel treated well (it even gets scary when you have reserved such a nice room). They only anwered went we asked questions, with simple answers that's it.

A nice "hello,is everything ok?" or "do you need any information on the region" / "can we help you organizing your way back?" would have been sufficient. But it seemed to be too much for them.

We have passed by 8 hotels during our stay, this was the most expensive one (the one to end our stay) but sadly the one with the worst hospitality and customer service, very sad.

When you have such a nice hotel, it's sad to break its reputation because of lack of service. Having a nice hotel doesn't make it all, you still have to work on the customer's satisfaction and how he feels.

I insist that the place is lovely but this little thing that makes you feel well in a hotel is the hospitaly and that was seriously lacking.
If other people think this is important too, I highly recommand the Lagarta Lodge in Nosara which is splendid and combined with the best hospitaly ever, a piece of paradise from which you don't want to move!


A few other cons:
- Pool wasn't always ready in the morning (as time stated in the documents): staff cleaning so impossible to take a swim before breakfast
- No Wifi in the Honeymoon suite and bad (slow) connection around pool / restaurant / reception
- Cleaning / making up room was very "light" and seemed to be done very quickly
- Champagne bottle ordered was an Italian method-chempenoise, not French champagne as stated

Oh and we had a very bad experience when checking out noticing that one of the owners was trying to charge us more than agreed (adding fake/already included taxes, not a mistake, just a rip-off which was corrected when I asked for an official invoice), which leaves a very bad impression.
Is it worth it for a few dollars?

Hope the owners will try to learn from this review (which I am really not pleased to write) as their place is a jewel.

Olivier

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
moanamanager, Owner at Hotel Moana, responded to this review, December 17, 2012
Thank you for the time you took in writing your review. Like any hotel owner or manager we feel regret when things dont go to plan so Id like to take this opportunity to clarify a few things. Firstly I wholeheartedly agree with you that things didn’t run smoothly during your stay, I fully accept that and apologize for that. While Im not making excuses the we suffered a lot of damage as a result of the earthquake in mid September (7 bathrooms had to be retiled, 3 bedrooms had to have new ceilings, steps replaced etc) and we had a lot of repair work to carry out before reopening and the restaurant kitchen was second last on the list of repairs as we felt that the rooms had to be completed for the arriving guests before the restaurant was repaired.
As explained in the email I sent almost week before you arrived was that regrettably we hadn't finished the repair work to the restaurant which was caused due to the large earthquake we suffered here in September. As the hotel is located in a very rural part of the country and coordinating the logistics of deliveries via the ferry can be trying and also very inaccurate on what suppliers here state at the time of sale. The particular parts for the repair work was promised to us way in advance but sadly we were informed that it wouldn't arrive until the day after you arrived. Once it was here we got to work and reopened the restaurant the day you checked out. I apologized for that in the email and informed you there would be no charge should you wish to cancel. You said it was fine but that you wanted a discount. We then offered you a discount to which you declined saying that you wanted more. In the end I gave you a very large discount of $150 off your room just on the account that the restaurant was closed for dinner service, which I think was more than fair.
Thank you for pointing out the error in the description on the champagne that you were sold. On our website youll see placed the right description, an Argentinean Vallaformosa Extra Brut Cava. What happened was that we’re now using a new booking system which is in the benefit of clients as it no longer requires them to send faxes as they can now book instantly online.
Unfortunately there was an oversight that I missed in two things that were defaulted by the booking program. One was brought to our attention by yourself regarding the champagne and the other I noticed which regarded the type of car that picks guests up at the airport, both have now been rectified.

The mix up on the bill was that I made an error on the price of the champagne. We have two bottles that we stock, one for $56 and one for $66 again these prices are on our website. I had incorrectly written in the other bottle which was $66. This was an honest error and which Vicky apologized and corrected without hesitation with you. This was not a 'con' as you put it in trying to make a few extra dollars, we value our good name far higher than $10, hence we gave you a discount of $150 off your room.

Regarding the pool, the full maintenance obviously has to be done at some point each day. It takes 45mins per day and is completed before 8am which is stated on our website. We find that this works for most people as they’re normally enjoying breakfast at that hour.

Id like to correct Olivier you on one point you made which is completely inaccurate. We write up everything by hand during a clients stay on a non VAT invoice, we do this as we don’t have a computerized system and its easier for us to make changes to bills regarding tours that people run up with the external tour companies. We then give a final copy of the VAT bill with the total to the client on check out. 90% of our guests pay by credit card including yourself. So in future before you make claims on public websites that were dodging taxes you should really research the practices of tax systems within each country. I take strong exception to your claim that we were doing anything irregular as every credit card transaction is deducted 50% of its tax at source by the bank which is then paid to the government on our behalf, we then have to fill out the reaming 50% return at the end of the month. So we do not and could not do as you claim, were a reputable business that runs things honestly.

Again Im sorry for the inconvenience that was caused during your stay but we hope that you will return again soon,
Regards,
Aidan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Moana

Address: Mal Pais, Mal Pais 0000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Mal Pais
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Mal Pais
#4 Romantic Hotel in Mal Pais
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Hotel Moana 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Moana is a small luxurious ocean view hotel nestled amongst a rich backdrop of wildlife and jungle. Inspired by Africa for its choice of décor, the beautiful rooms offer tranquility and comfort to all of our guests. Enjoy being served breakfast while you gaze out over the Pacific Ocean. Later hang out at the wonderful pool area and fall asleep on a suspended day bed while the waves crash in the background, paradise awaits! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Moana Hotel Mal Pais
Hotel Moana Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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