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“The Perfect Getaway” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Manu Villas and Spa

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Manu Villas and Spa
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Hatillo Rd, Dominical 25687, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Manuel Antonio
1 review
“The Perfect Getaway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2009

I live in CR and have been to many vacation rental homes and many hotels, but none have been as memorable as Manu. When my parents were able to come visit me and my family, we booked the Pavillion for 3 nights. It was just perfect. The attention to detail in construction and flat ridge top location make it easy for families with kids. The views are spectacular, and we had sunets with Toucans everynight.

Grace give an excellent massage!

Great Saltwater Pool!

Stock up before you come as you won't want to leave.

However, Hatillo, at the bottom of the mountain has groceries, and Dominical is less than 15 minutes away.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • 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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74 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    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 (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cannan, CT
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2009

The Manu Villa Complex is not easy to find but it is worth the adventure up the hill. You might never want to come back down! There are several houses on this property site. This is our third year returning here and it was great to see how the owners have integrated some beautiful wood houses from Bali that are hidden among the original large Spanish inspired Villa. Our family is a second marriage mix with 5 kids ranging from 7 to 18! Vacationing for us is always a challenge but when we step into the world of Manu Villa all our stress subsides. We are able to balance all needs for adventure, relaxation, nature, exploration or just some lazy hammock time. We return to Manu Villas because the owners are fastidious and talented. Many places in Costa Rica advertise falsely and when you arrive it is complete disappointment. Everything about Manu Villa Complex is immaculate, clean and actually works! The Austrian host has impeccable taste and his talented staff of locals speaks good English. Plan to spend some time with Grace. She is a true sage of bodywork in her open-air spa. She has traveled through Bali and knows excellent pressure points. Although I usually cook for the kids I always make sure to arrange for several meals where I hand all the responsibility over to her. Even my 7-year-old daughter requested the grilled squid from the year before! Tours are very expensive (especially because we are so many) and few are worth leaving the villa for. Alex can also take you on a local hike. He took us to a waterfall on his property and on they way we saw 2 dart frogs (two varieties), white faced monkeys, four blue morpho butterflies, and thank goodness no snakes! Alex and his staff are very aggressive about making sure his property is manicured without destroying the natural wildlife. Costa Rica is worth experiencing but it is also having an inflation and many things are over priced. The beaches are a stunning new landscape if you have never felt the warmth of black volcanic sand, but it is also hot, hot hot. We thought the beach would be fun and spent a night there and all the kids were miserable (and so were we). On the beach it is a itchy bug fest at sun down.On top of the mountain there is always a breeze. The best deal in Costa Rica is to escape to Manu Villa and stay there. A little tip if you do rent a car-take the insurance! It really makes life hassle free.We have done it both ways and we will never again go without the rental insurance. Oh yes and if you must have technology at your fingertips Alex is always on line accept of course when Tucon flies over the satellite!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2009

We just returned from 16 days traveling in Costa Rica and stayed at the Pavillion for 4 nights with our two children (6 and 8 y.o.). It was an adventure! We met Jose, the care taker of the property, at a little bar on a dirt road in Hatillo at an agreed upon hour. Jose was right on time and we proceeded to follow him in our car up the mountainside to our villa. The road was an adventure and my husband and I said, "there is no way there is anything up here...this must be a scam". But a few minutes later we pulled up to this massive and beautiful retaining wall with a gorgeous villa on top of it. The Pavillion has a gorgeous view, beautiful architecture, tasteful sheets/towels/furnishings and a beautiful pool. The master bedroom has a fun outdoor shower that faces the jungle side of the property...so you can watch the tucans play in the trees while you soap up! The maid did all our laundry on the third day, which was a luxury traveling with 2 kids...it enables you to pack light as well. The other 2 properties for rent are close by...but you can't hear them at all...and barely see them...though I liked knowing somebody was close by if needed. Alex and Grace were avilable and very helpful. All the advice we received from Alex was right on. If you have a larger group it would be great to rent the Pavillion, the Tree House and the Cielo property all together. We did get to see all three properties and they were all beautiful. Manu Villas are a great mix of adventure, jungle seclusion and elegance all in one.

The first thing you should do upon arrival is get a massage from Grace!!!! After two days of travel I was tense and Grace took care of that! She is a beautiful, tiny thing with super strong hands! It was an awesome, deep tissue massage. I highly recommend it.

For what its worth this is my advice...stop and get lots of groceries/beer so you don't have to go to Dominical much. Don't expect the grocery stores to have great selections. If you like spicy food...sneak your own serranos or jalapenos into the counrty because there were no hot chilis to be found. Also get ice so you can bring a cooler down to Hatillo beach for a picnic...this is a BEAUTIFUL , very close by and secluded beach. Dominical beach is crowded and I felt ancient (at 40 years old) and really un-hip. Get Grace to cook for you...the food in Dominical was not great and expensive for what it was! Go on the Don Lulo horseback riding trip to the Nouyaca (sp.?) Waterfall...a great deal with breakfast and lunch served and the waterfall is so fun and beautiful. Grace and Alex can call to make a reservation for you. A little fun 1/2 day trip (but you have to go in the morning before the tide comes in) is to go to Playa Ventanas and swim through the caves. This is a very small beach that you access through private property...but sort of fun to swim the caves. Another thing to do, especially if you have kids, is the reptile gardens. Hopefully those will be the only reptiles you will see. Also, it gets dark by 6:00ish, so bring some games or cards or whatever for after dark. Enjoy!!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Haque
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2009

Going up hill we wondered where we would end up but wow we loved this place. You can see the photos on the wesite but in real live it looks even better. This place is very well taken care of and has all you need to enjoy & relax. The location is great not only because of the ocean view and the surrounding nature but also because of the road to Dominical (small village) down the hill.

On top of it all what made it really unforgetable was getting to know Grace & Alex (they own the property). You don't see on the website that they will make sure that you have a great time anyway you like it; invisible when you want privacy and rest but close by and friendly when needed. Grace used to work for a tour operator, is a local woman and therefore knows where to go, how to get there and she will help you make arrangements and solve any problem if you want/need. She also is a great cook and knows how to relax you with a very good massage. Alex (European) is an architect (that's why the place looks so good and unique) and he probably is the reason why this place easily meets European/American standards of luxury. Alex also has a lot of contacts in the neigbourhood, is very helpfull and knows how to make you feel comfortable. This couple fits the Costa Rica phrase: Pura Vida.

We would have loved to stay longer and normally we don't go back to places we have already been but in this case ....

  • 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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Toronto Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2009

We are just one week home now after a glorious week at Manu Villas -- we stayed in Bosque en el Ciel. I had found the place through Tripadvisor and was anxious when we arrived to see whether the photos and other reviews truly matched the reality. Amazingly, and happily, not only did they match, the reality likely surpassed them.

The villas are perched on a mountain top overlooking a rural plain and then the Pacific ocean beyond. Bosque is perfectly situated to take full advantage of the panoramic views on offer -- and the terrace and pool are perfectly aligned with the setting sun. I must have taken 200 pictures of the sunsets throughout our week there.

Our original intent was to take day trips and explore the local area and many beaches -- however the setting was so beautiful we stayed put for three of our seven days lounging around and in the pool. The pool perches on the edge of the hill which drops away from its infinity edge and has a submerged ledge which invites sitting and contemplating life as you gaze out over the forest canopy below and the ocean beyond. It is a particularly good spot for bird watching and spotting the occasional coati eating from one of the fruit trees below.

The house is very open and bright with windows and screens throughout. The bedrooms and bathrooms are large and comfortably furnished -- and the kitchen has everything one could hope for and there is a great gas grill outside on the deck. All are meticulously maintained and are spotless.

The drive into the villas requires a 4x4 but isn't difficult -- and there is clear evidence that the road from Quepos to Dominical is being upgraded. We drove into Quepos/Manuel Antonio twice without problem. If you get a chance and have the time when you're arriving in San Jose drive over the mountains to San Isidro and then across to Dominical -- it is definitely worth it for the spectacular views. Thanks Alex for recommending it.

We explored beaches in and around Dominical and Uvita -- our favourites were Dominical and Punta Uvita -- long stretches of sand and ocean meeting the forest edge and the hills beyond. Take the time to experience the sunset at least once on the beach in Dominical.

Both Uvita and Dominical have grocery stores -- the better ones are in Uvita. Other than the occasional lunch or snack in Dominical or Manuel Antonio we ate all our meals at the villa but there is no dearth of choices of places to eat especially in Dominical which is a vibrant community.

We didn't meet Alex and Grace because they were on holiday while we were there but their attention to detail and service is clear from their excellent website and from Alex's quick and helpful replies to my numerous emails enquiries. They were well represented by Jose who met us on our first day and showed us around and then who checked in on a daily basis to ensure we had everything we needed. He was great.

We were sad to leave and are already talking about our next visit to Costa Rica and Manu Villas. We definitely hope to return to this paradise.

Jamie and Dimitri
Toronto Canada

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mt Airy, Maryland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2009

Our small group visits Costa Rica every year for a week's missions work in the Central Highlands and then an additional week relaxing in the sun somewhere on the Pacific Coast. We've been North, South and Central on the beach. For the past two years we have stayed with Alex and Grace at Manu Villas......and we intend to return again next year!

The accomodations are lovely. The road from Quepos to Hatillo and from there to Dominical really stinks, but we think that lends an air of adventure to our travel! (ALWAYS rent a 4X4 for this adventure!) The hospitality and warmth of Alex and Grace more than compensate for the driveway.....which will only bother one if you feel no sense of adventure!

We consider this to be our perfect vacation site......and we've been LOTS of places. Grace can arrange any tours you'd like, her meals are wonderful and her massages are first rate. We really like Ploma, Chika and CC - they make us feel at home!

We are already planning for our trip next year, and we only arrived home 48 hours ago! I'd recommend the accomodations here for anyone.....not much action on the hill for young singles, but you can always take the 6KM jaunt for company if you like.

See you next February!

Terry and Daun Michael

  • Liked — the warm hospitality and views
  • Disliked — the road to Dominical
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • 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.
NJ
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2009

Arriving at Manu Villa we instantly felt a sense of home, comfort, and relaxation. After many hours of travelling we were greeted with a delicious dinner prepared for us by Grace. The Pavillion structure, infinity pool, and breathtaking views were stunning. There was an air of meditative calm when sitting by the pool overlooking the valley and the ocean beyond. Grace's open air massages were heavenly. Manu Villa is definately off the beaten path and we felt very safe and secure. Grace and Alex, and their employees, provided a perfect balance of privacy and company in sharing their space and making our vacation at their Villa devine. Thank You Alex & Grace!!

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 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)
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 Manu Villas and Spa

Address: Hatillo Rd, Dominical 25687, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Dominical
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Dominical
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Manu Villa Rental and Spa in Dominical Costa Rica caters to individuals who value an authentic encounter with nature. Hidden among 30 acres of lush tropical rain forest, four luxury vacation villas are situated on a small mountain ridge with expansive Pacific Ocean views stretching from Manuel Antonio Park in the north to the southern tip of the Osa Peninsula. Each rental villa comes with a private pool, fully equipped kitchen, organic linens, ocean views, tropical breezes, and the rain forest at your doorstep. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Manu Villas And Spa Costa Rica/Dominical

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