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“Gaia Resort & Preserve” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Gaia Hotel & Reserve

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Gaia Hotel & Reserve
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Km 2.7 Carretera Quepos a Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio National Park 6350, Costa Rica   |  
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Woodstock, NY
2 reviews
“Gaia Resort & Preserve”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2009

After reading a recent cover story about Costa Rica in the New York Times Travel section, I was surprised that the Gaia Resort wasn't mentioned in the listings for the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area. After spending my first ever visit there during early March, I couldn't imagine a better place to be while the rest of the Northeast dealt with yet another snowstorm.
Beautifully situated on the cliffs overlooking the coast and just off the major road between Quepos & Manuel Antonio, one feels a world away from it all, yet you're only a few minutes cab ride from most of the area's attractions. Manuel Antonio park is just down the road a few miles & Quepos is within walking distance if you don't mind walking along the busy main road.
The resort itself maintains a green philosophy with recycling used for many of their internal systems and even an onsite compost area for the myriad (and beautiful) gardens that seem to envelop the entire site. There's also a 16 acre nature preserve just down the hill from the main resort that presents a good place to begin exploring the biodiversity that makes Costa Rica so interesting. Just a note to birders: this is one of the best places in the world to see an amazing variety of bird species (there are 51 species of hummingbirds alone).
I really liked the juxtaposition of luxe touches like 500 count Egyptian linens & Ayurveda bath products set against a modern, almost Eastern feeling backdrop of local Cocolobo dark wood & natural stone. The staff provided some of the best service I have ever experienced. Warm, helpful and full of good humor they created the complete vibe of an easy-going paradise. There's an excellent lounge/restaurant at the top of the resort (Luna) where locals & visitors alike gather to watch the sunset each night from one of the best vantage points in the area. I could go on about the infinity pool that flows through several levels, the wonderful breakfast that are included with the rooms and the concierges that are a step ahead at providing whatever you might be interested in pursuing that day (canopy tours, sunset cruises, mangrove expeditions, naturalists to accompany a birding hike in nearby Manuel Antonio Park, etc.) but you get the idea. I heartily recommend the Gaia Resort for many reasons but the most compelling is this is what a vacation is supposed to be.

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843 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    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 (138)
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English first
Boston MA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2009

Firstly, the staff at GAIA were very nice and helpful. However, this small hotel is situated on a mountain, so we were constantly walking up and down stairs to get places, unless we wanted to wait for a ride a the golf cart. We were never sure if we should tip the drivers, but ultimately decided not to because that would have been more $$$ than we were interested in parting with. Also because of the hilltop layout, the pool area was a big disappointment; the pools were very small and awkwardly hanging off a cliff face. Again, lots of stairs, and the poolside seating was very limited. I could not understand why the heck they put the office on the top of the mountain, the best spot on the property, and hang the pool off the side? During our stay the main seating area at the pool was closed "for construction" though there didn't seem to be anything going on. This meant we had to walk through a wading pool with a curved bottom that hung off the side of a cliff, carrying all our stuff, to get to a tiny deck. We couldn't order things from there without wading back through the water, and when we did order food, the bar staff had to soak his shorts to get to us -- I felt terrible. GAIA's location is not within walking distance of groceries or restaurants, so we either paid for copious taxis or had to eat high-priced food and snacks at GAIA (I broke down and ate some of the minibar items, which were priced higher than a minibar at a U.S. resort). Overall, I felt trapped at GAIA, and separated from Costa Rica's natural beauty. Oh, and the internet access was super slow and the fitness center was in a moldy converted tiny house at the bottom of the mountain without functional AC. I was happy to leave when check out time came!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Tommy-Farrell, Owner at Gaia Hotel & Reserve, responded to this review, March 19, 2009
We here at Gaia are saddened that the guest review of our property was not 100% satisfied. I would however like to address some of the issues raised.
--The average waiting time for a golf cart to take guests up or down the Gaia mountain is 2 minutes.
--Tipping is not required or expected here at Gaia for any personnel.
--The choice for location of the pool was to take in the vistas of the rainforest and the Pacific Ocean.
--Our shuttle service is available to take guests off the property at their convenience and as many times that might be required.
--Our mini bar items are priced higher than the States due to the import tax on these items.
--The exact speed of our internet service here at Gaia is at the mercy of the government here in Costa Rica which controls this service.

We apprecitate the opportunity Tripadvisor has provided us regarding the review.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2009

My husband and i stayed here on the second part of our honeymoon trip, and were not dissapointed.
We had booked a suite, and the room (s)were gorgeous, very spacious, clean , modern and light. It was like an apartment without a kitchen, we could have moved in really! We had a little balcony with 2 loungers which overlooked the jungle, and it was very quiet, which was great. We borrowed DVDs from reception and lazed around one evening after an early dinner drinking rum and watching a film (after a hard day by the pool and watching the sunset with drinks)-bliss! Several mornings we ordered room service breakfast which was delightful-the works delivered and set up in our dining area! The eggs benedict are just wonderful.
The pool area is gorgeous, with different level infinity type pools, iced towels, and fruit kebabs served to you as you lounge around. We spent several afternoons by the pool and had lunch watched by a sloth in a tree a few yards away and a huge iguana on the deck.
The spa was wonderful-we spent quite lot of time there i have to admit!! The staff are lovlely, and seem very happy working there which was nice to hear.It is quite pricy, but then i suppose luxury hotels are. My husband and i had a private steam room and mud massage-great fun! He also had a Vichy rain shower massage which he raved about, and i had a facial and a body scrub (glow) which probably wasn't the best idea with sun burn, but it was still lovely.The couples massge room is beautiful.
We ventured out of the hotel for a tour of Manuel Antonio reserve one morning, which was fine, but very crowded. We also did the hotel tour of the reserve, which was nice, but we would have liked to see more.Apart from that we hunkered down and enjoyed our time at the Gaia, making the most of the great food and drink and service. I think there is lots to do around the area but we wanted to relax and chill and spend time to ourselves.
Our waiter, Josue, was a great man who talked football with my husband and gave good advice on choosing wines! I can recommend the gorgonzola tart and the costa rican tenderloin. I don't eat fish but my other half raved about all the fish dishes he ate.

This a truly lovely hotel-great surroundings, ambience, service, food, drink and views. We would definately return for another round of pampering! We had previously stayed at The Springs resport and Spa in Arenal and finished our honeymoon in Finca Rosa Blanca in San Jose-i can reccommend both these hotels if you are looking for that somewhere special! (see other reviews)

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2009

This is probably the best hotel I've stayed in.

Big claim - but the people at Gaia did everything how it should be done. It made for a wonderfully relaxing week.

Here's the best parts:

Setting: Up on a hill overlooking the Pacific made for beautiful sunsets in a quiet setting. Gaia has its own nature reserve - a nice touch, but probably nothing special if you've been elsewhere in Costa Rica.

Rooms: Clean and spacious. We had (I think we were upgraded) the medium level room, which was huge. Seating area, large shower, king bed with the best linens ever. Also excellent lighting.

Service: Probably the best thing about Gaia. I found hotel service to be very good across Costa Rica, but here it was the best. Indeed, the level of service (as well as the setting) is a little overwhelming when you first arrive, as you are whisked up the hill in a golf cart and then given a walking tour of the hotel. First impressions count - and Gaia makes a good first impression. The staff are very friendly and helpful. Plenty of concierges to make bookings (they give you a particular one to contact, but they all do stuff for you). The wait staff are highly professional yet friendly. Steven, at the pool bar, was first-class - very friendly, taking the time to learn your name, making you comfortable. He is an excellent example of how hotel staff should be.

Facilities: Gaia has a spa on site. We didn't use it much, but it has a wide range of treatments. When we were there there was a check-in special of 50% off massages - worth booking what you think you want for the entire time you are there on the first day to get the savings. Two linked pools are small but very attractive, with a view over to the Ocean. Several attractive seating areas, although lounge chairs can get full on busy days. Hotel has free wireless internet - nice touch. There's also a business center.

Food: Excellent food throughout the day. Dinner menu is, I guess, Costa Rican/Fusion. First-rate food. Breakfast is also excellent. Worth trying are the mid-afternoon tapas - particularly in the restaurant bar around sundown, which has a spectacular sunset view.

Summary: Perfect hotel for a relaxing and romantic getaway. An example of how hotels should be run.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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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Larchmont, New York
12 reviews 12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 15, 2009

The Gaia is a modern architectural delight and an eco friendly marvel as not one tree was cut down building this resort.One of the owners, David, lovingly created a botanical reserve that is world class for a resort .The gardening is meticulous as is all aspects of the accomodations from the rooms to the pool and dining areas .We were fortunate to stay in the Gaia Suite as a gracious upgrade.The suite is their best and is absolutely palacial as well as has its own pool and patio.
The views from this mountain top resort are spectacular,making sunset watching very enjoyable.The staff is very accomodating yet unobtrusive.This is truly a 5 star resort in a very exciting and beautiful part of Costa Rica.Be sure to visit the Manuel Antonio park with William as a guide,he has a remarkable knowledge of natureand a great binocular .Also visit the Mangrove with George for a get real close encounter with the white face monkeys ! lastly there is a great nature reserve down the road with crocs,boas,and butterflies.When eating out try Kapi,Kapi,qitec good and a very attractive setting.

  • Liked — ambiance and location
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
18 reviews 18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
158 helpful votes 158 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2009

My husband and another couple stayed at the Gaia for 6 nights, which included New Year’s Eve. We loved the hotel and the staff. We stayed in a suite, which was huge with modern minimal decor and balcony with two sunbeds overlooking the National Park. Our room was maintained to a very high standard with a comfortable bed, luxurious linen and quiet, efficient air conditioning. The staff couldn’t do enough for us. I had read before going that there was a shuttle to the beach and assumed it was on a time scheduled basis but it was so much better than that. We just dropped into reception whenever we wanted to go to the beach or Capos and the car would be arranged, all complimentary. I have read a review from someone who said they had a problem getting drinks by the pool. This was not our experience at all and Stephen was always around to serve us, even if we only wanted water. He also brought us cold face cloths to cool us down and frozen melons on skewers. I really can’t praise the staff enough or the hotel in general. It was also nice that the owners were around so much to chat to guests and find out their needs etc. which is very unusual. In so many hotels the owners/management hide away in offices.

So that’s the good stuff but I would just mention a couple of things on the down side. Firstly I would warn anyone against ordering any “special” away from the regular menu from the chef. One night I was eating a delicious pasta with tomato sauce when the one of the owners introduced us to the chef. Seeing my menu choice the chef said he was Italian and loved to cook Italian food. He asked me if there was a different sauce I would like to try other than the two on the menu. I said I liked pesto sauce and he said he would cook tagliatelle with pesto sauce for me the following evening. About five minutes later one of the waiters came up and asked what kind of meat my husband liked. He said he liked steak and the waiter said the chef would cook him steak the following evening. When the steak arrived the next evening it was huge, my husband could barely eat half of it. For some reason my tagliatelle in pesto sauce turned out to be cous cous with vegetables in a bland stock. However, the shock came with the bill. My husband’s steak cost 50$. We didn’t want to cause a fuss as we were with friends and just paid the bill but we were very annoyed, mainly with ourselves by being taken in. Similarly, our friends caught a huge Mahi Mahi and brought it back for the chef to cook. This transpired to be twice the price of the Mahi Mahi on the regular menu! So I would warn anyone not to order any specials and stick to the regular menu unless you check the price first. The food on the regular menu is so good you don’t need to order anything “special”.

My second complaint is with regard to New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, it was obligatory for guests staying New Year’s Eve to have the New Year’s Eve dinner which was £135.00 per person. For this price I would have expected to have complimentary wine at least but no drinks were included apart from a glass of “champagne” which I suspect was sparkling wine at midnight. The meal was good, although nothing particularly special except that the portions were enormous. Personally, I would have rather had much smaller portions and paid less! The band was extremely loud, which is fine for dancing after dinner but during dinner it was impossible to carry on a conversation as the music was so loud.

Please don’t think that the above two complaints spoilt our holiday at all as we loved it and would definitely return, although not in the New Year period, which is a shame as that is when we usually take our main holiday.

  • Liked — The clean modern minimal style
  • Disliked — Cannot think of anything
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Los Angeles
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2009

What an amazing resort!!!!!!!! Everything was like being in paradise. From the pool you had an amazing view of the rainforest and he ocean all at once. The amazing service of the entire hotel staff was top notch. While at the pool we were showered with fresh fruit skewers and ice cold towels to stay cool. Impecable service was enjoyed by all. The rooms were so spacious and the bathrooms had the best showers you could every have tried. I wish I could enjoy them at home too!!!! I would recommend that anyone visiting Gaia also take in the bar/restaurant during sunset. This is the perfect escape for a couple or anyone just wanting to relax. Since the resort is a reserve you are sure to see nature up close. I enjoyed an amazing massage at the spa and when it was over there were monkeys swinging from the trees outside the wall to wall windows in the massage room. Just writing about it makes me wish I were back there right now!!! Everyone should enjoy such a peaceful place. It was pure heaven.

  • Liked — The views from the room and the hotel staff
  • Disliked — The proximity to the airport.
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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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 Gaia Hotel & Reserve

Address: Km 2.7 Carretera Quepos a Manuel Antonio, Manuel Antonio National Park 6350, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio National Park
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
#1 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Gaia Hotel & Reserve 4.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Gaia Hotel, Manuel Antonio's only 5-star resort and dining. Bask in our infinity-edge pools, dash Aveda bath salts into your Jacuzzi and relax enjoying the jungle and ocean views. Rooms feature A/C, cable, flat screen TVs, portable phones, home entertainment units, internet connectivity, coffee-maker, mini-bar, safety box, hairdryer, 24/7 room service and full spa services. Your personal valet sees to your needs, and our Nature Guide hosts an exclusive tour of our 12-acre Nature Reserve. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gaia Hotel And Reserve
Gaia Hotel & Reserve Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio National Park

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