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“EXCELLENT HOTEL, STAFF A LITTLE ABSENT” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Moana

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Hotel Moana
Mal Pais, Mal Pais 0000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 9 Hotels in Mal Pais
Paris, France
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“EXCELLENT HOTEL, STAFF A LITTLE ABSENT”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013

We stayed at the Moana Lodge for two nights in August. It is a magnificent hotel and the junior suite we opted for was well worth it. We were welcomed by the Irish owner who filled us in on details and took us to our room. The room was breath-taking, 180 degree views over the treetops to the sea, a sitting room and a bedroom with giant bed. The outside shower with no vis a vis was wonderful too.

Our only problem with the room was that the air-conditioning stopped working on night two and although we made do with ceiling fan it was a little too hot given the price, but otherwise it was well worth it.

The restaurant was closed for the rainy season but the place opened up every morning for breakfast with surely some of the best views in the region. From our table we could look north along the coast line apparently some 40 or 50 miles at one point when the air was clear.

There is a charming swimming pool (inevitably filled sometimes with leaves since the place is in the middle of the jungle. We chose two activities during our stay which we booked through the hote - zip-lining - the price we were charged was US$5 more than announced in their book and the lady at reception didn't seem phased when we told her and said they'd simply forgotten to change the price in the book. Not a good reaction in a boutique hotel - in Europe the standard response would have been to charge us the book price. As always it's not the 5 dollars it's the principle and it is important to get these little details right. The canopy zip-lining excursion was great with two wonderful and kind guys in charge of us. Our second trip was horse-riding which was great too - our Honduran guide who spoke no English was very kind and I was forced to practise my basic Spanish - we cantered on the beach, hacked through a forest path and back and forth for a couple of hours.

Our check out was done by very friendly Massimo.

Our only negative comment would be that the place felt a little abandoned - on two occasions when we needed to go to reception to ask something (wifi access code and explain that our room was like a furnace because the a/c had broken) there was no one there and although we were told to ring a bell for help, it was some time coming (ten minutes one time). We never saw our Irish host again and were never really sure what his role was.

But all in all definitely worth the detour. it's also on the calmer side of this long and magnificent strip of beach, the other side being a little like Bali thirty years ago. A two mile string of bars, shops, beach restaurants and quads (no quads in Kuta 30 years ago thank God) with lots of dust being kicked up in the unpaved road when it doesnt rain.

Room Tip: Ask for a junior suite - it's quite a climb but truly worth it
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  • Stayed August 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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313 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    246
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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 (52)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Coral Springs, Florida
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2013

The grounds are nice - a rich jungle with lots of plants. We stayed in a regular Room with 1-Dbl & 1-Twin beds, a big shower and a mini-fridge, but no TV. Hotel was quiet in (July 6-7), and isolated. A 4x4 is useful to get to the nearby beaches, and restaurants. We recommend "The Caracolas" and Mary's(Cash only) Restaurants. Also if you are physically challenged this is NOT the place for you. The walk from the front desk or rooms to the restaurant is a challenge even for someone in great shape. For those who are able to make it up to the restaurant, the view is absolutely beautiful. An amazing place to sit and watch the sunset, and the listen to the wild life & ocean. Moreover, there is a large TV room near the restaurant for rooms without a TV. We recommend to bring OFF (for mosquitoes), and your own towels.

Room Tip: Not for people that are physically challenged,You may see tiny ants in bathroom, its the rain-fores...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Fort Macleod, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2013

We stayed at Moana for 3 nights on a 14 day Costa Rica all across the Country trip. Beautifully located and decorated hotel, we had the cabin right beside the very nice pool, with great views from the restaurant. All situated at a steep hill so be prepared for some workout on a lot of stairs! Amazing food and very friendly staff, really nothing to complain about. Be aware that you don't have good access to a beach and that the town is a couple minutes drive away on a bad gravel road. If you are adventurous, this part of the Conutry is the place to go. There is a little restaurant hidden very close to Moana at the dirt road to your left heading into town. It is called 'Caracolas'. You sit at the beach and it's amazing, absolutely worth trying but look hard otherwise you'll miss it. Overall I would go back to Moana any time.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2013

We stayed at Moana Lodge on the final leg of our honeymoon. The hotel is situated a 5-10 minute drive along a very bumpy road (like all the roads in the area - 4x4 a must) from the main crossroads in Playa Carmen where there are shops, a pharmacy, ATMs, restaurants etc.

The beach opposite the hotel is nice for watching the sunset, but is not good for a paddle - it's very rocky and the surf will slam the stones into your ankles (as I found out to my cost). There's also a pack of dogs that roam around there, so not good if you're don't like dogs much!

Playa Carmen is sandy and if you're willing to drive a bit further Playa Santa Teresa and Playa Hermosa are stunning strips of palm-fringed sand with big surf where we did both bodyboarding and surfing (watch out for the rip currents though - super strong!). Montezuma's beautiful and calm swimming beach is 35-minutes' drive away.

As for the hotel itself, most of the buildings are nestled in the trees, apart from the restaurant and suites, which have amazing views out to sea. Due to the junior suite's cost, we started our stay in a semi-detached double room - we were pleased to see a bottle of Champagne had been put out for us - before moving up to the suite for the last two nights.

In general, the hotel is very nice, but we just felt it lacked a few of the details that make a place great. For instance, the rooms were nice and clean, but we weren't overly impressed with the lack of bin bags in the bathrooms, given that you can't flush toilet paper in Mal Pais, and things like hairdryers and flannels were missing. The indoor shower in the junior suite also didn't work, but luckily there was a nice private outdoor shower which made up for it.

The hanging beds by the pool are really relaxing and the water itself is nice and cool (Mal Pais is scorching hot day and night - you will need your A/C on!), although its a pretty small so no swimming.

The restaurant was nice, but be warned that in the 'green' season there's a good chance it will be closed apart from during breakfast. The breakfast itself is a la carte, which was a bit disappointing as we'd got used to buffet spreads elsewhere. Also one morning it took 35 minutes to get some pancakes, which we think is because they have so few staff in the off season that they all seem to do multiple jobs - chef/waitress one minute, cleaner the next.

But the main disappointment for us was the distinct lack of a warm Tico welcome that we'd experienced everywhere else in Costa Rica. One of the waitresses mumbled so quietly you could barely hear her and the other members of staff including the female owner were polite but not friendly, even when we were both really struggling with a stomach bug - don't expect any small talk.

This could/should have been a five-star review.

Room Tip: The views from the suites are fantastic
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2013

We had a good time here, but some things could have been better. The room was nicely decorated and the hotel is very original and well designed, but the pool was a bit dirty and it was a shame that the restaurant was closed (but that's low season for you) as the location is a bit far from the main town.

This place does have amazing views and we saw lots of wildlife and sunsets, but also completely attacked by mosquitoes, I think mosquito nets on the windows would be good. Also the bathroom door didn't close.

Friendly and helpful staff, but a LOT of steps, this is not a good place to come if you are not very fit or handicapped, as you will not be able to go up for breakfast. I wouldn't go back to this hotel I don't think, but I can see why other people really liked it.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haarlem, The Netherlands
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2013

Let me start by saying that we are very used to travel and have stayed in many different countries, hotels and b&b's. Since we would arrive a bit later in the day in Mal Pais, we decided to arrange a place to stay in advance through Booking.com for 2 nights. The surroundings and the grounds of the hotel look very good, the pool is amazing and the views from the restaurant are awesome. Now for the bad news: it was a bit disappointing that there were only double beds available. For a place with supposedly this much class, a queen bed would be so much better. We stayed in a building with 4 rooms. Even though our neighbours were not very loud, we could hear everything they were doing and saying. The beds consisted of some kind of plastic matrass cover which makes sure you have a very sweaty night. The restaurant was closed, even though the hotel was fully booked. But the worst part was our arrival. A very cranky guy showed us our room. No personal touch, no information, not even saying where the breakfast was served and at what time. We had never experienced such a welcome in our 2.5 weeks in Costa Rica. All and all, for a hotel that looks as good as it does, it was a disappointing stay...

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013

We just spent 3 nights here and it was brilliant. The staff were extremely helpful and attentive. The rooms are great. It would have to be one of the better places in town by far and would highly recommended it. And there's the food which is an added bonus. Awesome restaurant with a great view with amazing tapas at a good price. So good we ate there three nights in a row. Why go anywhere else. Go and enjoy!!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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:
Ranked #4 of 9 Hotels in Mal Pais
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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 
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Moana Hotel Mal Pais
Hotel Moana Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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