Given the fact that Costa Rica seems to be really dependent on Tripadvisor I decided to let my voice be heard and commend the hotels that did a great job and warn travelers against the hotels that were simply the worst.
Unfortunately, Hotel Vista de Olas belongs to the last category for me.
My wife already described the unpleasant encounter with Roger, the owner of the place (see “the owner’s unprofessionalism and inappropriate behavior tainted our stay” review). As to not repeat the review she gave, I'm going to discuss some other parts of our experience that were definitely not as bad as our encounter, but still deserve attention:
Whenever we turned the air-conditioning on in the morning before we left for our day activities, we would find it turned off by the time we got back in the afternoon, leaving us with a room of over 90 degrees Fahrenheit every day (we also were shown our room the first day in those conditions). The air-conditioning did not work properly either when it was turned on. We could never get it cooled down by the time we were ready for bed. One night the air conditioner made a loud noise as if it was about to explode. We didn't mention this to the staff, we just figured it wasn't going to get repaired in our four nights of stay.
2. Grill your own meat and fish.
You pay between 12 dollars for a chicken sausage and 24 dollars for a filet mignon that you have to grill yourselves. They tell you how long you have to let them on the grill and then it's up to you. We grilled about half of our food right, had one fish turn out to be overcooked and one meat item to be too dry. Given the price you pay for the meat or fish, I feel that you should at least have something that tastes good.
That is probably also why Restaurant Vista de Olas on tripadvisor has far worse ratings than the hotel.
3. Open air shower.
Looks beautiful in the pictures online, is beautiful in real life too (except for the dead tarantula in the side gravel - but it's outside after all). There is no hot water, though.
Cold water showers are ok, but it definitely does not make you stand under the shower and look at the stars very long (and is that not a little bit the point of an open air shower, looking at the stars while enjoying your shower?). We asked a member of staff whether there was warm water in the showers and if ours was just defect. There just wasn't hot water according to him.
We asked other couples about their shower and they said they had bouts of hot water coming through, but that it was just cold water in general.
4. Pool open to everyone (not only guests) starting at 4pm.
First day when we got there the pool was pretty crowded and all the 3 pool chairs where occupied with towels, the bench near the unheated whirlpool as well. We were told that everyone from town can come and hang out at the bar in the pool starting at 4. I think this is not very thoughtful in respect to their guests who pay to stay at the place and use the pool. We only once were able to secure a spot at one of the chairs, the other times we just had sit on the ground while people from town were having a great time watching the sunset form their chairs while not paying anything else than their bar tabs. Having the pool available for anyone from town, also means goodbye to a nice quiet night at the poolside with the other few couples that stay at the place. People from town can also stay to eat and sit at the three tables overlooking the ocean and pool, resulting in you having to sit with your wife/husband on the awkward round table that seats about 20 people.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for sharing the nice view with other people, I just think that there should be at least poolside launch chairs and nice dinner tables reserved for guests that pay well over a 100 dollars a night to stay at the place.
5.The ATV tour.
Roger's boys took us on an ATV tour to the butterfly garden and the waterfalls at Montezuma.
Roger's boys are nice kids. They seem to have a good head on their shoulders.
The only thing I would say, though, is that when guests are asked to pay 60 dollars each to go on the tour, please don't take off on your ATV's by yourselves leaving the guests alone.
We were dropped off at the butterfly garden (which didn't seem to have a lot of butterflies and the owner of the place charged us for letting us fill up our water bottle), the boys said they would just stay outside while we went in the garden. We got out of the garden rather quickly, because there wasn't a lot to see. The boys were not waiting there for us and their ATV was gone. After having us wait for about 15 to 20 minutes, they returned from wherever they had gone off too.
Once again, his boys were wonderful teenagers and we had a fun time with them, but if you charge 60 dollars a guest, you can't just take off, have some fun by yourselves and leave your guests behind.
What a beautiful place. Nice pool right at the sea side. The hotel room could be better, bbq set-up needs to be revised and guests need to be given a priority above random people who come to enjoy the views. It was a true shame the owners’ inappropriate behavior ruined our stay.
Roger explained to us that everybody gets highly intoxicated sometimes. I must agree with that if it’s not during business hours. As a hotel owner, you are unfortunately dealing with clients all the time and so you can’t really get highly intoxicated and be extremely rude towards your clients.
For future guests: don’t deal with the owner if he’s intoxicated. He gets extremely inappropriate in that condition. I’m never going back to this place. It has quite some potential, though, when in good hands. And if you don’t deal with him when intoxicated, you might not have any problems at all, except for the ones I summed up above.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.