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“Great place for our Honeymoon!!!” 5 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
Bartlett, Illinois
1 review
“Great place for our Honeymoon!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2013

We stayed at the Moana Lodge for the last leg of our honeymoon and it was by far our favorite place. The suite was goregous, the food was amazing and the service made us feel right at home. The staff went above and beyond to ensure we had a once and a lifetime experience. If you are visiting beauitful Mal Pais, we highly recommend staying at the Moana Lodge.

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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315 reviews from our community

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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
Atlanta, Georgia
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013

My wife and I spent five nights at Moana Lodge before Christmas and the night of Christmas. Our first night we splurged for the honeymoon suite. It was awesome. Spacious, great view, amazingly comfortable bed, nice design, cool tub, and a place to relax and sun bathe. The next four nights were spent in a standard room (Mono) right next to the pool. Although much smaller and less luxurious than the honeymoon suite, it was just right for us with plenty of room to unpack, large shower, etc. the pool was small but nice - my wife swam laps in it one morning. We loved the breakfasts and thought the servings were more than enough for one person. We found the service to be excellent. Bruno was exceptional and went out of his way to help us, gave us great advice, and made us feel well taken care of. While we were there we noticed several guests making demands of Bruno and his staff that we thought were over the top and in some cases unreasonable. But Bruno took it all in stride and worked hard to cater to the guests' needs as much as humanly possible. My wife and I actually enjoyed the stairs. There really aren't that many steps and of course the amazing view from the restaurant is totally worth it. Think of it as a way to work off breakfast. We found Moana Lodge even in high season at full price to be an excellent value especially with the included breakfast and we would definitely stay at this hotel again. Thanks for everything Bruno- you and your staff did a great job.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Rome, Italy
Top Contributor
132 reviews 132 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2013

Mal Pais is a stunning and wild place in the great country of Costa Rica, this place is definitely worth a visit if you're touring. The ocean is great and the nature is really astonishing.

We decided to stay at the Moana because we're trying to stay in high-quality places, but this was the only place we were disappointed to stay in Costa Rica.

The other issue is stairs. The hotel extension is built on a hill so there's a LOT of them.
The website says that, right, but stay in one of the suites means that you've to to a lot of steps to go out and back to your room. The staff helped us with the luggage (of course...) but it was very tiring to go up and down every time,

This leads to the main big problem of this place: service.
The Moana asks for a high-level four-stars rate, but don't offer the proper service. Not because of the staff, very kind starting from Bruno the "manager", but for the organization.

We booked our visit just after the reopening of the Moana after the rain season. I've to say that, unlike other places we visited in the same period, we payed a full rate, but we weren't given a full service.

During our stay the hotel was full of staff repairing things: light in the pools, cleaning plants. Even the Jacuzzi was stopped during one day, so we couldn't use it.

I think that if you open a hotel after a closing period, you've to do all the maintenance work BEFORE the guests arrive, not during their stay.

It was very uncomfortable to stay in the pool while four people (without uniforms or similar dressing, only workers) were going around fixing this or that thing, plugging and unplugging power cords or thinks like that.

The breakfast too was very poor, a small buffet with only drinks, just one dish of the main meal (we were asked to pay for some additional fruit!). And of course to go to the restaurant you've to do another round of stairs.

The service problems became really serious at nigh, because the restaurant was closed, the bar was closed and even the reception was closed by 5pm! This means that if you've a problem after 5pm you don't have just to call, but go down the stairs and ring the bell!

This is not a four-star service, but a B&B one.

During one night we've had a issue with our air conditioner, and it was raining. And we should have go all the way down the stairs to ring a bell to call someone.

Why don't connect the staff house phone directly to the rooms?? It was really unbelievable.
We resolved the situation (air toot cold), by moving the bed... disappointing.

The place is really stunning and even the views from the hills are, but it absolutely not worth the price you pay. We payed LESS in Costa Rica for a WAY MORE five-star service, and that's put things into perspective.

I'd like to talk with the owners (who write a lot about them and how good they are in the hotel dossier in the room...) but I was even more disappointed knowing that they're moving to Ireland, leaving the hotel just to Bruno...

I really wish him good luck, but there's a lot to do to transform this place in a real luxury hotel. Until then, they've really to lower their rates, or maybe only open when they're really ready.

Room Tip: Don't take a suite, or be prepared for a long step up.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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moanamanager, Owner at Hotel Moana, responded to this review, January 29, 2014
Sorry to hear that your stay didn’t live up to your expectations. Unfortunately there is a lot of steps but the view at the top of those steps is unique to Moana. When we bought the property we felt that we needed to develop and share that view with our guests, but that meant that we have to build steps and that was the compromise. We don’t disguise this fact and we even include on both the website and on the confirmation email to which you would have seen. I asked our manager, Bruno, if you brought this problem to his attention during your stay, and he said you hadn’t, if you had we could have suggested you a lower room or another hotel. I always encourage guests to voice their discomforts while they’re in the hotel, that way we can try to rectify the problem and ensure a better experience for all concerned.
Regarding your issue about our star rating and service, were not a 4 star hotel as you suggest but we have been assessed to be a 3.5 star rating with the Costa Rican Tourist board. Unfortunately the night your AC unit was giving trouble was the evening the restaurant was closed and the only way to contact staff is through the intercom at the front desk on that evening. I take on board your point about the suite phones not connected to the staff house and I will look into seeing if this can be done as it makes sense.
I apologise about the work that was taking place during your stay. While I don’t wish to excuse us for the problem, I should explain as to why it was conducted in November. During rainy season a lot of work cannot be done, (painting, varnishing etc) and this work had been scheduled to be done in early November when it’s dry and the hotel is at about 30% occupancy. The company for the Jacuzzi and pool lights could only come on that day as they are based in San Jose, but thankfully they found the problem with the Jacuzzi and had it functioning within a few hours. I was away at the time and its fair to say that Bruno isn’t as experienced as myself on how to deal with issues such as these. I’ve now explained to him on how to manage the maintenance people more efficiently and he now knows how to avoid this in the future by having the work done when the guests are out of the hotel, so my apologies for that. Again I wish you had expressed your lack of satisfaction at the time, because I completely agree with you and would have had them moved at once and we could have looked after you.
I’m unsure as to why you believed that breakfast is a buffet breakfast? It has never been so Im not sure as to why you were led to believe it was and on the website it clearly states the type of breakfast on offer. There are 6 breakfast choices for guests to order off each day with a further 4 choices that guests can upgrade to for an extra $3/4. We do this in order to provide a varied choice of breakfast for guests on longer stays.
Sorry that things didn’t go as smoothly as they should have during your stay with us but we hope that if you return again soon and we can make an amends for those issues.
Warm Regards, Aidan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

The room had a breathtaking view, the food was amazing and the owners took such good care of us. It was our honeymoon and it was above and beyond what we could have ever imagined. Very peaceful, clean and enjoyable.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

This is a beautiful hotel cut into the side of the hill surrounded by jungle type trees. We stayed in a deluxe standard room which had a massive four poster, a single bed and a massive bathroom. We had a TV too, which was great as apparently this was not the case for standard rooms.

The staff were very friendly and helpful and you can rent quad bikes, snorkelling equipment etc. Breakfast was amazing and I would recommend the banana French toast or the pancakes. The best thing was the view from the restaurant - it was a shame that the restaurant was closed as it was low season. There is a sweet swimming pool and some swinging beds to relax on. The hotel was quiet so there wasn't much of an atmosphere but we were looking for some peace and quiet so it was perfect for us.

Be aware that it is quite a walk to the nearest town, Playa el Carmen, either along a dusty road or a rocky beach. You can get a taxi but this is not always easy and you can't flag them down - we ended up walking back from Playa Santa Teresa one day, which was long and tiring. I would recommend hiring a car or a quad bike to get around as Santa Teresa is the best beach for swimming and body boarding. We also went for a trip to the waterfall at Montezuma in the car.

There are some lovely restaurants in the area - we ate at Mary's (delicious pizzas and fish), Carocolas (great views and quesdillas) and an Argetinian restaurant with amazing barbecued chicken.

Room Tip: Get a deluxe room so that you have a TV as the TV room is a long walk up to the restaurant and is no...
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  • Stayed July 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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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
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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coral Springs, Florida
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
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
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 
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Also Known As:
Moana Hotel Mal Pais
Hotel Moana Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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