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“Excellent Seclusion, Ambiance, Service, and Value” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Desire Costa Rica

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Hotel Desire Costa Rica
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Santa Barbara, San Jose 4013009, Costa Rica   |  
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7th night free
Ranked #45 of 85 hotels in San Jose
Florida, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Excellent Seclusion, Ambiance, Service, and Value”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2014

First of all, to address some of the negative comments in earlier reviews, let's say this first: THIS IS NOT A FIVE STAR RESORT. Right. Now that we've done that, let's talk about what it is. It is a charming place with great ambiance for those seeking relaxation in a laid-back location that is both secluded and close to the action. My wife and I stayed a week here and LOVED it. The resort is within a walled and gated 6-acre estate originally built as a playboy millionaire's mansion. It is located on a mountainside overlooking San Jose with beautiful views of the valley and city both day and night. It is secluded and sequestered from the teeming bustle of the city while still close enough that you are only minutes away from anything you want to do or obtain in town. There are suites, a restaurant/bar, a library, and lounge area in the main house, with other suites, a small spa, a "playroom" and a gym all retrofitted from various guest houses and quarters throughout the grounds. Our suite was one of these, with two stories that had balconies on each. We found the room to be clean, spacious, and well-appointed. The king bed was comfortable and all our linens were clean and nice. There are two pools, one for those who prefer to be nude, and one for those who don't, and an outdoor jacuzzi. All three were lovely, well-kept, and clean. The grounds are covered with gardens that if not meticulously manicured serve to create both seclusion and wide open spaces throughout the six acre compound with an abundance of trees, vines, shrubbery, and flowers with an eclectic and wide variety of colors and textures, and placements. Birds flock by the thousands and lend color, sound, and motion to the scenery. The food may not be gourmet quality, but is a good mixture of Canadian and American staples with authentic local fare added to the menu. It is fresh, cooked to order, and deliciously satisfying. The Staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, and though we found they indeed possessed a wide range of English fluency, we had no problems being able to be understood and eagerly waited upon, even sought out and asked what we wanted frequently. With all that being said, here's what we liked best that you will get at no "perfect" stuffy five-star. The REAL "Rock-Star" treatment, being able to do what you want, when you want, without the restrictions of a suffocating structure. There are no signs declaring the pools or jacuzzi "Closed at 10PM" or restrictive restaurant hours or menu choices. The restaurant is open from early to late, and you can just wander in and order whatever, whenever, however, and they will gladly make it how and when you ask for it. You are free to skinnydip at midnight without tiptoeing around looking for the security detail and hoping not to be scolded.The playground is open, and buzzkill is non-existent. Carmen, who manages the facility, is extremely helpful at suggesting and facilitating the reservation and setup of activities of all sorts across the country should you wish to tour, sightsee, or recreate outside the resort. We took advantage of this and had an awesome time at a variety of venues ranging from natural wonders to beach and shopping trips. Like another reviewer (Dec 4 2012) we were able to retain the services of Geovanny Mendez as a driver through Carmen. I would not recommend those uninitiated in the traffic patterns of Costa Rica try to do so in a rental. Geovanny proved to be a safe and affordable option, he is also familiar with not only every area of the country, but was a treasure trove of knowledge of local customs, language, food, plants, photogenic vistas, places to eat, and hidden prizes all along the route to where you set out to go. There simply cannot be anyone better at what he does, with his ever-present smile, wit, and knowledge, he made us wish our day trips didn't have to end. We were introduced to the unique beauty and and personality of this country through this resort, its staff, and our inimitable driver. We will be back, and cannot imagine staying elsewhere. Others may differ, maybe crave the rules and regulations and details of the finest hand soaps and the most closely-cropped hedges of a hoity-toity resort. Not us. We crave the laid-back charm of this place, and can't imagine Costa Rica any other way.

Room Tip: There is a wide range of choices, look carefully for what suits you.
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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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16 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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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 (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Jose, Costa Rica
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2014

I were there with my couple for one week and we really had a great time. Very private hotel. Is a hotel for relaxing and forget about the daily stress day. The hotel personnel was just awesome people, friendly and considerate. About the food, very good! We definelly have plans to get back this year again. I hope soon!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014 via mobile

The hotel rooms are shoddy, shabbily furnished and fitted out. The towels were torn and threadbare, as were the drapes and bed coverlets. The tiny en suite had only a shower, no bath, the black porcelain was decades old and needed replacing together with new vanity unit. It was a very disappointing place. The gardens at this stunning location were potentially lovely but as with everything else, lacked maintenance and upkeep. The two poolside umbrellas were broken so no shade. Management and service was non-existent. The food was simple home style cooking, certainly not the advertised gourmet fare. The staff of young women, whilst pleasant, spoke little if any English and understood even less. Attention needs to be paid to the details to get it right. We would never go back and not recommend it to others.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013 via mobile

Remote location offering privacy for rest, relaxation, romance or indulgence in a hedonistic lifestyle. The hotel personnel were very friendly and considerate. The manager arranged for guides to escort me to various restaurants, nightclubs, live music and local bars in Heredia and San Jose which were open very late. The room(s) overlooking the pool was spacious enough with king sized bed, complete kitchen (minus a blender which would have been provided upon request) with a dining area and sitting area with cable tv and portable radio. Rooms were cleaned daily and kept stocked with clean towels and linens. The main building where the restaurant/quaint bar/small library are located has hardwood floors, a carved wooden column staircase, carved furniture and picture frames was kept impeccably clean. Breakfast meals were awesome. You can choose the local fare, or meals made to order. I would recommend the authentic homemade banana pancakes (with sliced bananas in each cake) served with
fresh pineapple, watermellon, cantaloupe, and berries. I
chose to open the sliding doors each morning at breakfast and take in the sight of flower gardens, local flora and fauna in the manicured gardens with San Jose in the distance
surrounded by mountains and volcanoes against an azure sky with bright white clouds. To take in the sights get a rental car with gps. You'll be glad that you did. The nine night stay during the tail end of the rainy season at this hideaway is forever etched in my memory.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
South Florida, Florida
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

I was amazed to see the reviews of this hotel on this website. Of the nine reviews, only the first and the next to last describe the place as it really is. TA needs to send an undercover guest reviewer down there to see what the place is really like.

Caveat Emptor: Reservations are prepaid in full and non-refundable. When you sign in you are signing away your right to a refund. If you decide you want to leave early and seek a refund they will fight you and your credit card company in a most miserly way to keep every last cent they can. I ended up paying not to stay there. If you must go, do not reserve a room for more than one night and don't worry about extending your stay as very few people visit with them. If they insist on an extended booking in advance, leave.

The place is isolated and difficult to find even for seasoned taxi drivers. I visited during the green season and I shared the entire place with two other couples who kept to themselves. I wouldn't have even known they were there had we not made the hundred meter plus trek to the main building (in near total darkness) for dinner at about the same time. There was nothing going on in the way of adult lifestyle activities so don't run around naked unless you want that creepy grounds keeper to smirk at you. Also, be prepared to roll your suitcase through the mud as paved walkways don't connect all the buildings. Wi-fi was available in the main building only. The so-called adult pool looked okay but the jacuzzi, and rec room looked shabby. In fact, the only nice building was the main building. The king-bed room in the cabin I stayed in was crude and unfinished. There is not much water pressure to the toilets. When I refilled a water bottle from the tap in the room the water was so cloudy I couldn't see through the bottle; be sure to take your own bottled water. You will also need a good flashlight if you intend to go anywhere outside of your room after dark. Unless you rented a car you are pretty much stuck there. They know this and charge accordingly: Their taxi into town costs $25 one way and the day trip arrangement I requested was quoted at nearly twice as much as what tour operators in town charge. Add to everything mentioned three things about Costa Rica in general: be prepared for a lot of rain, high food prices, and high gasoline prices. If you must go, do not base your expectations on their slick advertising, be ready for policies that are unreasonable and inflexible, and expect prices that are out of line.

On the positive side, nobody's there to bother you (so you can write that book you were working on), the staff was nice, the night air is cool and refreshing, there is hot (albeit somewhat murky) water in the showers, and the view of the central valley is beautiful, especially at night. I'd have given them two stars had they not taken my money for time I did not spend with them. The verdict: one star. Go elsewhere, you'll be glad you did.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

We arrived in the afternoon and were only able to stay for one night but we really liked it! The staff was friendly and attentive, our room was beautiful and the grounds were gorgeous! We pretty much had the place to ourselves which was a bonus. It is high up in the hills so if you are coming here it is probably best to plan on staying exclusively on-site.

  • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

This was our first time in Costa Rica and it will not be our last. We were met at the San Jose airport by Geovanni, one of the drivers used by the hotel. He had looked us up on Facebook and recognized us right away. We were greeted warmly and taken right away to our hotel.

Carmen welcomed us and checked us in without delay. Room 105 - the other reviews are right... best room there! We had a huge room with lots of dark wood, and an outstanding view. My only comment on the room is that the mattress was a little on the elderly side... not a major issue by any means.

Saturday night is the busiest night of the week as locals enjoy coming to enjoy the facilities. Sunday was busier as well, then we had the place to our selves for most of the week which was wonderful. It was very quiet, which is what we enjoy. It is loud on Saturday & Sunday - the rest of the week Henry and Carmen would set it as loud or quiet (or off) as we asked. No problem.

The staff are excellent - Henry and Carmen are always happy to bring drinks or food as requested. Carmen makes a mean pina colada... wonderful! Anna & Katya cooked wonderful meals and Wendy & Laura kept our rooms clean. One of the pleasures of a small resort is that we had a chance to get to know everyone's name and that always make the service more personal.

Katya & Anna kept us fed with very tasty fresh food. The menu had plenty of choices and all that we tried were very good. Not amazing - but good. No complaints in that area.

The grounds are immaculate... there were a few gentlemen around constantly pruning, trimming, etc... and the pool was kept quite clean. We enjoyed the sun beds when the weather was agreeable, and as we had run of the place, we also enjoyed reading in the living room, porch, etc...

If you are looking for a big party scene or lots of action and entertainment - this would be a bad choice for you. We wanted quiet, and that's exactly what we got. We met some wonderful people and totally relaxed.

I'm sure we'll be back again, and we'd certainly recommend this hotel to any one looking for a relaxing holiday. Of note - we hired Geovanni to take us on day trips, canopy tour, etc... and that is the way to go. There are tour groups available, but by the time you add your cab fare to meet them, plus the excursion, they are very pricey.

Room Tip: 105 if you have a choice!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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 Desire Costa Rica

Address: Santa Barbara, San Jose 4013009, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Jose Metro > San Jose
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in San Jose
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Desire Costa Rica is an All Inclusive, Lifestyle,Clothing optional ADULT/COUPLES ONLY Resort in Santa Barbara, overlooking the valley of San Jose and 20 minutes from the airport.It is for couples that do not have to be nude and that are not offended by nudity. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Hotel Desire Costa Rica San Jose

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