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“Luxury in Manuel Antonio” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Makanda by the Sea

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Makanda by the Sea
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park, 3 Kilometers, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica   |  
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Whitstable
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Luxury in Manuel Antonio”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

A little haven away from all the tourists of Manuel Antonio.
The suites are amazing and totally private. They are beautifully appointed and very clean.The balconies have a view of the Pacific to die for. To relax on a hammock looking at the sea is just a wonderful way to while away the time.
Beware if any walking problems that some of the room have a LOT of steps to them and if they are down from reception one has to climb up to the swimming pool and restaurant.
We had white headed capuchin monkeys in the trees right next to the balcony.

Room Tip: Remember the steps! I have problems with my knees and we had to change rooms when we arrived. We had...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 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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301 reviews from our community

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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 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (50)
Date | Rating
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English first
Limoges, France
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

A wonderful, quiet retreat, hidden in the trees, surrounded by flowers and a sea view to die for. Each room has its own big balcony with a view, with relaxing hammock and cane chair set. Breakfast is served here. I was a bit sceptical about that to start with but it worked perfectly.
We had a huge bed and delightful big bathroom. We also had a little dining and kitchen area so i had tea in bed in the morning and we pulled back the floor to ceiling windows and took in the view. You are very high up so you can watch the passing of the boats and admire the antics of the monkeys who ar swinging around in the surrounding trees, at the same time.

The pool is also a delight and as this is an adults only venue it is quite quiet. Cocktails at 4pm and a dip after the sightseeing - perfect. Food is excellent here both for lunch and dinner. However you can walk up to the main road about 10 minutes and get to other nice restaurants.
The only thing we would not recommend is going to the park at the weekend and in high season. It is the main route to the beach and therefore packed with people.

  • Stayed February 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cold Spring, NY
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

My husband and I had a great experience at Makanda by the Sea. The staff was friendly, and informative without being intrusive. The room was spacious, clean and we especially enjoyed the deck with the hammock/outdoor furniture. The grounds were always well kept and we enjoyed spotting animals such as monkeys and sloths in their natural habitat. The view and sunsets were amazing. Breakfast delivered to your suite each morning was most enjoyable too! If you're looking to disconnect, recharge and enjoy quiet time together this is the place to be!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
florida
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2013

I booked Makanda pretty much based on T.A. reviews & looking at the hotel website. We needed something that would sleep 3-4 adults, and wanted a great view. I thought it was a little pricey, especially for August, but could not find anything I liked better, so we decided to give it a try.

The reservation process was easy. I had many questions, before & after booking, and all my emails were answered, usually within a day or 2. We stayed in Villa #8, the only one with 2 queen beds. It is spacious & lovely. We loved the terrace, especially the hammock! The view is OK, not as sweeping of an ocean view as other units have, it is more jungle/ocean combo. The beds were very comfy and the A/C worked great. The TV could use updating. I know that should not be an issue while on vacation. But when it gets dark at 530p and it's the rainy season, having a nice TV is appreciated!

Arrival - check in was easy & I was advised about ordering breakfast. Then I was told where to park, and the desk clerk & another person showed us to our room which was down 2-3 flights of stairs (about 6 steps each). They helped us with our luggage, but on the day of check out, we had to leave around 7 a.m. and there was no one available to help get our luggage UP all those steps!

Breakfast - you order the night before, and pick a time for delivery. It was promptly delivered all 3 mornings. The quality was OK, not great but good. However on the 2nd day of our stay, I had asked for juice and it was not with the order. I told the gentleman who brought the food that we were supposed to get juice & asked him to please bring it. He nodded, but we never saw him again ... Another minor complaint I had was the coffee service. They don't bring you coffee, you have to make it yourself in the kitchen. Yes, you have the means to do that, but I make coffee at home. When I am on vacation I want someone to make it for me! They could bring a thermos of brewed coffee, and then if you want more, then use the coffee pot in the kitchen. Oh, and no cream or 1/2 & 1/2. Your "creamer" is a juice-box type of milk...

The pool area is lovely, and we had it to ourselves most of the time. But the only way to get there from our unit was to go up all those steps, across the parking lot, and down more steps, or take a shortcut through a flower bed/shrubs. The guy who checked us in actually pointed this out as an option. This would be OK if there was some type of designated pathway or stepping stones, but there's not. You are literally walking through small plants & mulch. And the hot tub was never hot, or even warm. Pool furniture is nice, and they provide floats for guest use. We enjoyed using those.

The beach - yes, it is down the hill and it is a pretty strenuous walk, even the trip down. And while it is beautiful, there are no facilities (chairs, umbrellas, drinking water, restrooms), and it seemed too rough & rocky for swimming. I don't know if it is always that rough. We basically just hiked down, stayed a few minutes, and hiked back up & headed for the pool. This is not a complaint, as we knew it in advance, but just to inform future potential guests. If having a usable beach is important to you, you might want to look at other lodging options.

Restaurant/ dinner - it's not what I would really call a restaurant, just a few tables by the pool. We wanted to eat there, but it POURED down rain all 3 nights of our stay. We had to eat, and not wanting to venture out by car in the rain, we ordered from the room service menu. Now this is where Makanda shines - they bring to food to your villa and all you pay is the menu price & tax. There is no "plus, plus" like you usually pay for room service (gratuity, delivery fee, service fee, etc.). We thought the food was really good - had the pulled pork sandwich, a quesadilla, and a burger. When I got home, I emailed them to get the recipe for the pork & they shared it with me.
Other nights while there, we got groceries from the food store & cooked, or heated up leftovers from lunch. So having the kitchen was a big help!

Wildlife - we did not see much! Saw a couple of monkeys at check in. And saw a sloth in one of the trees by the pool. That was it. We had hoped that by having the more "jungly" setting for our villa that we would see more animals. But that was not the case. No fault of Makanda - they can't control nature!

All in all, I would probably stay here again.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Spring, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2013

Doug & I stayed in Villa #1; everything about it was awesome - view would take your breath away - you see Pacific, rain forest, & beautiful gardens! The bed was comfy & the room was spacious. The breakfast was a treat - pancakes were the best! Everyone at the hotel was very accommodating & friendly. The restaurant was very good & beautiful view of the sunset. The best part about the restaurant was the waiter, Fabion. He was very friendly & personable. He made every meal a treat. I can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: Villa #1 has the best view!
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  • Stayed April 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
    • 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.
Los Angeles, California, USA
Top Contributor
161 reviews 161 reviews
85 hotel reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
250 helpful votes 250 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

I liked this place last year. Then again was with friends and had less contact with the staff. Sure Leo and Darwin at Reception are nice but even they don't follow through.

Was here last year for my birthday and thought I'd come back. Pool and view is amazing. Unfortunately the general staff is unkind and could care less if you're there. At the pool never a hello, a welcome, a good bye, or an offer to give you the menu. At one point I heard the attendant loudly discussing to another staff member "gringo this and gringo that...." If he doesn't like tourists, then maybe he should quit. Met one of the owners, told her I was back for my birthday. She wished me well. Most other hotels would send an amenity. This hotel has become to "cheap" to even think about that.

Cons: Not 1 amenity. Not a piece of fruit. A welcome back note. Bottle of water. Nothing. Dated and desperately needing a renovation. One of the worst beds ever experience. Lumpy and you wake up with sore back. Unkind staff. Housekeeping came in to clean dishes. Walked in. Did only that and left. No, "hello." No "is there anything else?" No "goodbye". As if angry she had to work. Same at the pool. Staff seemed like they didn't want you there. There's a sign by the safe deposit box. Warning about theft and crime. Maybe a lockbox from 2013 would help. They have an old key lock box that anyone else can have a key to. One afternoon a woman was entering my room from housekeeping. Even though the "do not disturb" sign was on the door. When I opened the door she apologized. Is the crime happening from within? Inside job? Once all is stolen all you'll get is an "I'm sorry." Felt less secure after this. Especially since the staff seems to not like the guests. Also, when your taxi drops you off. They don't allow the taxi to take you to the reception. Even though other cars have access. forcing you to walk a distance on loose gravel in a hot humid climate. They don't even give you a welcome drink upon arrival. A card is given so you can go get it yourself. Sadly the rudest bartender is there to rudely give it to you.

Pros: Location. Pool view. Isolated rooms. Spacious rooms. Plenty of closet space.

This once lovely hotel has gone downhill. Like most hotels in Costa Rica, having been over touristed all they want is the cash. While providing awful ungrateful service. I prefer Mexico where at least they try. They don't seem to care here unfortunately. If you like being ignored and made to feel unwelcomed, then this is your hotel.

Room Tip: Go to another hotel or avoid Costa Rica until they get it together and appreciate the tourist again.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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HotelMakanda, General Manager at Makanda by the Sea, responded to this review, April 26, 2013
Dear Amen,
We are so sorry that you did not enjoy your return trip to Makanda. Since our reviews are generally overwhelmingly positive, we were quite surprised by most of your comments and hope travelers will weigh their decision to visit our hotel based on the majority of rave reviews we have received over the last 25 years of operation. However, we do not dismiss any travelers feedback and will certainly address the different issues mentioned in this review so we can take corrective measures where able and continue to do our best to satisfy each and every visitor to our fabulous property. Hotel Makanda was awarded the Tripadvisor 2013 Most Romantic Hotel, so it is ultimately our goal to live up to this prestigious award that other travelers so kindly voted for us at beautiful Makanda by the Sea. Happy Travels to all and Pura Vida!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Stayed in Villa 6 and loved it. Truly a sanctuary with comfort inside and out. Gorgeous veranda with a bit of an ocean view, and surrounded by trees, birds, all sorts of wildlife. A/C inside was worth the occasional respite from humidity. Fabulously appointed room, canopy bed, sitting area, luxury bathroom, kitchen. Look at the site's pictures - it's for real.

Staff seemed really friendly and helpful. Delivered breakfast to us early as we wanted to leave for Manuel Antonio by 7:30.

Loved the small pool area, with infinite view overlooking jungle, and Pacific Ocean framed by luscious foliage. Really good restaurant with about 5-6 tables on the far side of pool, served tasty, decent quality food.

The place feels like a semi-private sanctuary, and with only 13 villas/rooms (I think), the property feels quietly enjoyed and appreciated. We did drive into a few other hotels to check them out; some have more units and are inevitably louder and busier. Given the crowds at Manuel Antonio, it was really refreshing to have such a deluxe home away from home.

All of the hotels along here are high up on the cliffs, only one on this ridge gets some beach front access - but that property involves either walking or driving up and down a lot. While Mariposa has killer views from the restaurant (worth a meal there), I think the rooms are nicer at Makanda.

We'd go back. Not with the kids tho - too quiet for teens. Perfect for couples.

Below, where reviewers click to select ratings in categories, I've put value at average - only because at $400, it's about what you'd expect for that price. If it was $200 for this property, I'd give it an "excellent" in that heading.

Room Tip: With variously located rooms / villas, ask about different views.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 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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Additional Information about Makanda by the Sea

Address: Main Road to Manuel Antonio Park, 3 Kilometers, Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Makanda by the Sea 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Makanda By the Sea is 12 acres of wildlife sanctuary, 100 meters above the ocean. Our fully equipped Villas and Studios are carefully placed in rainforest gardens with spectacular views of the sixty mile coastline. Hotel Makanda is the ideal location for guests wishing to experience “romance in nature”, dazzling sunset views and our personalized boutique hotel ambiance. Offering gourmet cuisine, first class service, and close to Manuel Antonio Park, Spas, Restaurants, Tours and Beaches. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Makanda By The Sea Hotel Manuel Antonio National Park
Makanda By The Sea Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio National Park

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