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“This is the closest to heaven you can get on earth!” 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
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“This is the closest to heaven you can get on earth!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2011

We stayed at 3 different places in this area. This was the most amazing place to stay! We stayed in a junior suite. WOW! Our bedroom looks down at the ocean and the beautiful sunset! The service is outstanding! They will help you with anything. The food at the restaurant is amazing! After we left Moana, we actually paid for a taxi so that we could come back for the food and view. Our next trip was going to be Italy but it looks like we will be going back to Moana Lodge. I already miss this place and it has only been a week. From the moment you see your room to the moment you leave you really feel like you are in some kind of Paradise! The only downside is the location if you are wanting to be in town. We just rented quads and could go anywhere where we wanted. We did not spend enough time in this place, we had so many places that we had to see. The next time we will spend more time at Moana Lodge. The pool was also amazing and beautiful! Breakfast are amazing and are included in the price!

  • Stayed February 2011, 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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315 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
Palmerston, Canada
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2011

My husband and I spent 5 nights at Moana in a deluxe room. The room was wonderful. No ocean view, but shaded and kept cool. Very rarely used the air conditioning. There are many steps at the hotel, but that allowed you to eat the amazing food without guilt. We had all our breakfasts there (french toast the best) and 2 dinners (also fabulous). The 2 for 1 cockails from 4:30 to 6 is a great deal. Again fab Mojitos. The hotel organized a surf lesson for us, and also the zip line. Both much fun. We chose not to rent an ATV or car. We walked everywhere. The beach walk was amazing but the main road is very dusty. It had not rained there since October. Guaranteed hot and sunny every day. Overall Mal Pais is a wonderful place off the map and the highlight of our trip. We did not meet Aiden or Vicky as the were away when we were there. But all the service we recieved was great, and they all spoke english. I am willing to answer any questions.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Alexandria, Virginia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2011

We have hesitated to write this review for 6 months now because thinking about our stay there makes us uncomfortable. My husband and I planned to stay at Moana Lodge for 5 nights of our honeymoon and couldn't wait to arrive. I begged my husband to book this location because the website was enticing and the reviews about the owners were so positive.

Although the rooms are lovely, the property is beautiful, and the breakfasts are delicious, our experience with the owners was shocking and disheartening. We had a miscommunication about a tour we were trying to book (it wasn't booked although we confirmed), and when we expressed our frustration, Aiden started blaming us. Instead of helping us fix the situation or offer other alternatives, he continued to argue with us, saying they did nothing wrong. He got so heated that he threw his materials down and got in my husband's face. He called us "spoiled Americans," even though we were just asking for them to help make their error right.

As you can imagine, I was rattled and my husband was very upset. He muttered something about Aiden being a terrible owner (what kind of owner verbally assaults his guests?) and Aiden turned around and pushed him.

The only reason why this situation was resolved was because a travel agent who was doing an audit of the hotel witnessed the whole thing. He called Aiden out on his outburst and defended us. We ended up leaving the hotel immediately and found a lovely beachfront hotel up in Santa Theresa.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
moanamanager, Owner at Hotel Moana, responded to this review, March 4, 2011
If a person, regardless whether they are a paying customer or not, insults any member of my family’s or staffs integrity in the same disgraceful term that was directed at my wife Vicky on the day mentioned, they’ve crossed a line and will be asked to leave the hotel with immediate effect. The behaviour that we witnesses should not be tolerated or condoned by anybody in any line of work.
In the five years that we’ve run this hotel I’ve never had to ask a guest to leave our property, this was the first time and also the worst day we’ve ever experienced in our business.
When somebody insults a loved one it’s very hard to tolerate and control your emotions even if it does come from a paying guest. I won’t repeat the word as it was too hurtful, but if I did, and while I’m not excusing myself, it would go a long way to justify as to why I lost my patience.
In hindsight I should have told them to leave the property when the insult was dispensed at my wife, but unfortunately as it was highly offensive and personal I lost my temper and I engaged them.
I felt ashamed that I stooped to his level and I deeply regretted what happened, so much to the point that I even wrote to him the following day to offer an apology for the loss of my temper but I also asked for a rationalization that if I called his wife what he called Vicky Id expect the same from any husband.
Both my wife and I were devastated at how the situation spiralled out of control so much to the point that we felt that we couldn’t continue in an environment such as what we experienced so we considered selling the hotel. Thankfully when we reopened in November we encountered some wonderful and gracious guests which restored our love for the job.
I apologise for the length of my response but in this case I feel it’s necessary that all readers have the option to know the entire story before deciding if this is a normal case or an isolated incident in our hotels history.
The problem with these guests was a deep rooted problem and the actual series of events began to turn sour when the guests wanted to check out a day after arriving to our hotel as they had discovered that friends were working in a “lovely beachfront hotel up in Santa Theresa” and offered them a deal. Unfortunately for them our cancellation policy is that we don’t offer refunds except if we manage to resell the room as we’ve held the room for them, this annoyed them and their attitude towards us became hostile.
They had then booked a tour from Montezuma on the previous day of the fall out, but the tour was then cancelled due to bad weather. They were then asked by the tour company to reconfirm through us for the next day if they wanted to reschedule. By reconfirming they would be need to be charged regardless if they wanted to go or not the next day or if the tour went out even if the weather didn’t brighten up. However they did not reconfirm with my wife that day as the weather didn’t seem like it was going to improve, and I was unaware that they didn’t reconfirm with Vicky.
I was working in the front desk the next morning and I saw them leaving the hotel 20mins before the tour departure time. The tour leaves from Montezuma which is a 40min drive away so I knew they would miss the tour. I ran out to car park and flagged them down to say they would miss the tour to which they said they were taking the back route, as they believed this route was quicker. I informed them that in fact the route via Cabuya was longer so I drew them a map of the quickest way to get there.
I then called the tour company and asked them to hold the boat for our guests. When I called the company they informed me that we had nobody booked on the tour from our hotel and they were full and they were about to depart. I then called Vicky and she told me that they never reconfirmed with her. It then became clear to me that they had decided themselves to go because the weather had cleared that day, but if it was raining they weren’t going to pay and then say, well we never reconfirmed so we shouldn’t be charged!
Knowing this I knew that the situation could become confrontational so I avoided saying it was their fault at not reconfirming and that’s why there was no space on the boat. I then I had the unthankful task to tell them that they weren’t on the tour as it was regrettably full.
I was then subjected to an expletive ridden tantrum, which included the throwing of a crash helmet to the ground of the carpark by the husband of the reviewer. The husband then arrogantly yelled in my face ‘Get me on that tour now’, I tried frantically to get them on the same tour with another company but unforunately they we’re also full. While being berated for being incompetent and that our cancellation policies were BS amongst other things. I then tried to defuse the situation by accepting that maybe Vicky had made a mistake, but I tried to level with them that everybody is capable of making a mistake. I then asked them to see that they too had made two errors by choosing the wrong route and by setting off so late and that I had seen that and helped them and prevented them driving all the way to Montezuma. I asked them to be reasonable with me and to please see that I was trying to help them as best as I could and screaming at me wasn’t going to help the situation.
Being a hotel owner with over 15 years of experience in the hospitality trade I expect the highest level of courtliness and professionalism from myself and of all my staff, but I believe that guests also have a responsibility to show respect towards my staff and I.
Sadly for me but conveniently for them the travel agent mentioned did not witness the whole episode, but only came onto the scene after I had lost my temper therefore missing the tantrum that Id endured. I’m not going to skate around the fact that I lost my temper and I’m not proud of what I did or said but at least I’m man enough to be honest with my account and say that what I did was wrong, while they pose to be completely innocent bystanders of a mad man on a aggressive rant.
My record speaks for itself on public sites and guide books like this and I’ve never lost my temper with a guest before. I don’t loose my temper for no reason and I don’t loose it easily either, but that day I was pushed into a corner and unfortunately I retaliated and I feel very ashamed that I did.
Anybody that deals with the public for a living doesn’t like being screamed and sworn at, but I can deal with it, but when somebody calls the mother of my children an extremely offensive term it’s hard to absorb. I had remained calm up to that point but unfortunately I snapped at that as he brought the situation to street level.
If they want to do their dirty laundry in public they should repeat what they called Vicky and what he really called me, which wasn’t a ‘terrible owner’, as that obviously wouldn’t spark the reaction he got from me.
Ill be 100% frank that I told the guests to leave the property at once and in no uncertain terms and that I didn’t want their money even though their room bill stood at $900 plus dollars.
We don’t need money from people of this ilk and just because somebody is paying for something, it doesn’t entitle them to behave in an appalling manner such as theirs. Something’s in life are more important than money.
I had never experienced anything like that day and I hope I never do again. It’s a pity that hotels aren’t permitted to rate guests for their behaviour, so we could avoid accommodating people like this.
I’m also surprised that these people have decided to make this public, because I now need to tell what in-sighted this shameful situation and anybody that knows the young man will be shocked at how disgracefully and arrogantly he behaves in foreign countries when he doesn’t get his way, and more essentially how he bitterly offends women.
Situations like this are a no win for hotels on many levels.
Bad reviews affect our business regardless of a guest’s actions and honesty of a guests account.
Loss of revenue on removing guests from rooms that we could have sold to decent people.
And worst of all, to incur personal insults directed at family members without any culpability on the part of the offender, in this case the reviewers husband.
At the end of the day, I wish that the tour wasn’t full and we could have avoided this. I’m not a mad man that throws people out of our establishment at the drop of the hat, I’m just a father, husband, and a hotel manager by trade and I have morals and beliefs on what can and can’t be tolerated when somebody insults my family or friends.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lafayette, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2011

We stayed for 9 days at Moana in one of the standard rooms. They are lower on the hillside, so don't have an ocean view, but were great for us as we were only in the room at night to sleep. There are great views to be had from the bigger rooms further up the hillside and from the restaurant patio. The room was very comfortable with A/C and a nice front porch. The pool and grounds are meticulously maintained, a natural part of the local environment and beautiful. Aidan and Vicky were quick to respond to any questions or requests we had and we enjoyed chatting with Aidan in the evening at the restaurant's bar. We rented a Quad ATV for the week to get around and it turned out to be a really fun part of our trip. Aidan set up surf lessons, a snorkeling tour to Isla Tortuga, the quad rental and made great recommendations for things to do and places to eat. The 4 wheel drive road from Mal Pais to Cabuya was really fun, scenic and a great way to get to Montezuma or the entrance to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. The complimentary coffee and breakfasts for guests were really good. We ate breakfast at Moana everyday that we were there and had dinner there 3 times during our stay. The dinners were prepared fresh, visually appealing and very tasty. The lodge's location was perfect for us, as it is central to many adventure opportunities, close enough to make Santa Teresa very accessible, but not close enough to be disturbed by the noisy nightlife. We highly recommend Moana to anyone and plan to go back soon ourselves.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Manalapan, New Jersey
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2011

This was a very wonderful and different experience. The lodge was surrounded by natural beauty. Rooms were wonderfully decorated and clean. The restaurant was excellent (we are in the restaurant business and picky eaters) and we could not find fault in any of the meals we ate. We stayed at the lodge for two nights and ate at the restaurant both for breakfast and dinner. Food was great and service was good. Aidan (the owner) was very friendly and pleasant to deal with. The views from the restaurant were quite beautiful. We would definitely go back for more!!!!!!

  • Stayed January 2011, 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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Dallas, Texas
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2011

The best nights sleep I had in months, the room was clean and spacious and the bed was very comfortable. It is well worth the walk up to the restaurant to see the sun set in the evening; breathtaking views, and the staff were so friendly and accommodating . The food was delicious and the mojitos were outstanding. The beach is only a short walk across the road and there are all kinds of beautiful birds, flowers, and animals everywhere. I loved it. I have already recommended it to friends.

  • Stayed December 2010, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2011

This hotel is excellent. If you can afford it, I strongly recommend you to stay in the honeymoon suite. The room is fantastic and the views amazing.

We had to move to a deluxe room after night one as the honeymoon suite was already booked. Deluxe rooms are very nice too although without the view!

The food in the restaurant was excellent too.

Hotel will organize trips and taxis for you although you pay a little more for the convenience.

Beach is a short walk away and it's a charming walk along the beach into town. Pool area is great too with wildlife to observe from your lounger.

Heartily recommend although come prepared to climb lots of steps although the view and sunsets are worth it.

  • Stayed January 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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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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