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“The Best of Costa Rica!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Shelter from the Storm

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Shelter from the Storm
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San Martin Sur, Dominical 80000, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
US
1 review
“The Best of Costa Rica!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2009

We stayed at Shelter From The Storm with our 10 month old baby, and we loved it!! We have been in Costa Rica for 2 months now. While exploring the country, we stayed in many 5 star hotels. Of all the town's we visited Dominical is THE BEST. Of all the Hotels we stayed in SFTS is THE BEST. It's hard to put into words, other than to say that it's magical. We were so relaxed and "tranquilo" there, that we did not want to leave. We plan on going back one last time before our Costa Rican trip is over.

  • Stayed December 2008, 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
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207 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
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English first
sanfranfan
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2009

We have just returned to San Francisco from a week at Shelter From the Storm. We spent 5 of the most wonderful days in Dominical for our Honeymoon and Daryll and Donna were the best! The villas were magnificent. We stayed in the Monkey House high up in the trees and witnessed the most amazing wildlife. We have never experienced such incredible hospitality before. Daryll and Donna made sure that we had everything we needed and recommended something new to do each day. Shelter From the Storm was so lovely that it was hard to drag ourselves away from the room. We spent time at the pool and the honor bar every night located just a few steps from our room. The common area is complete with wireless internet (if you must) and DVD in addition to an amazing book collection and a full bar. We were lucky enough to see several families of monkeys pass by while relaxing in the pool. We plan to Visit Shelter again very soon and highly recommend it for any trip to Costa Rica!!!

  • Liked — The Hospitality
  • Disliked — Not a thing
  • Stayed December 2008, 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)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2009

We have found Shelter from the Storm through Trip Advisor (the hotel is not listed in any guidebooks) and, at first, I was somewhat sceptical - with breathtaking photos of the property, reasonable prices, and 5-star reviews from fellow travellers, Shelter appeared almost too good to be true. I contacted the owners with my concerns and they, lauging, made me a deal - if we did not like our stay, we would get our money back. Thus, with nothing to loose, we set out for our Dominical adventure. Needles to say, Daryl and Donna are keeping our money, and we we have found a home away from home and a little piece of heaven on earth. To those who are looking at whether to stay in the Shelter, know that pictures you see posted by fellow travelers, as well as those on the Shelter website, *are* a true representation of reality. We have stayed (for 5 nights) at Villa La Cuesta, and found both our villa and the entire property beautiful, superbly maintained, and immaculately clean (including the pool). Our villa had two levels: bedroom and bathroom on one, kitchen/living room and terrace on the other; both the terrace and the bedroom were completely hidden from an outside view (we felt we were living in the middle of the jungle). Daryl and Donna provide both bathroom and beach towels (roughly 8 per person, including various wash cloths and hand towels), boogie boards, and limitless supply of purified water. The kitchen is well stocked with pots, pans, plates, and utensils, as well as teas; we also found a lovely welcome gift of various local fruits upon our arrival. Bed linnens are handmade, rooms are equipped with both AC and fans, common area has an honor bar and a grill. The Shelter is surrounded by lush vegetation, which blocks all noise from the road snaking about 300 meters below. The vegetation also hosts troops of howler and cappucine monkeys that put on shows by jumping from one tree to the next a couple of times a day. The beach across from the Shelter is rocky, but there are plenty of others, both for surfing and swimming, north and south from the Shelter, with only 20 minutes to reach the furthest (and, in our opinion, the most beautiful - Ventandes). One can easily spend three days here just exploring the beaches, to find out which one is the one for you. To those who want something more active, a 30 minute drive north puts you in the vicinity of Hacienda Baru natural preserve, with great nature walks (we saw aracaries, a male coalito, and a very interestig spiny cedar there). We have also heard good things about horseback riding from the other Shelter guests (there were three couples total staying, including us), although did not do that ourselves. Finally, and not to be missed, is Dominical/Uvita cuisine - both local and international, including a 5-star French establishment Chef's Table, Italian/world Citrus, Exotica, and others. We confess that we found international dishes available here a welcome reprieve from Costa Rica's traditional (and good, but not all the time :)) casadas. What's best is that all information about activites and dining is lovingly put together by Daryl and Donna in a folder and placed in your room, so that you can always have it at your fingertips. In terms of travel time, it took us 3.5 hrs to drive from the Shelter to San Jose International airport (following Daryl's directions), and about 7 hours to reach the Shelter from La Fortuna area (where we were staying before). All in all, it was an unforgetable trip. Thank you, Daryl and Donna!

  • Liked — The breathtaking view
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed December 2008, 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.
Minnesota
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2008

wonderful villas and wonderful people. Daryl and donna were extremely accomodating, wildlife abundant, ocean, monkeys, tucans, this will be our 3rd year in 2009

  • Liked — privacy and beauty
  • Disliked — no restaurant on site
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2008

Our family of 4 (11 & 16 yo) spent a week with Donna & Daryl in July, having spent time in Playa Hermosa (meh) and Arenal (fine). We were driven from Arenal by Danny - who was superb incidentally - and then hired a car in Domenical that we drove back ourselves to SJ at the end of the week.

D&D are just absolutely lovely people, great hosts and straightforward owners. During the booking process we had some questions about things like room configurations and transportation, which they helped with quickly and clearly. When it became obvious over email that neither Daryl or I could count properly or read a calendar, he just jumped on the phone and sorted things out.

The property is a collection of 4-5 individual detached buildings containing the rental rooms, D&D's home and the pool clubhouse. We had both levels of the Rocas, which gave us wonderful views of the ocean. Rooms are well sized and equipped and are basically exactly what you see on their website (shelter-from-the-storm dot net). There is plenty of wildlife around - seeing it may be a right time/place thing - rooms may well be optimized for ocean or wildlife views....ask when you book.

The property is well designed, so each building feels very private. The pool is great for cooling off and letting the kids work off energy - but don't plan on doing laps ;-). The clubhouse is great (my kids thought they were in heaven: pool, satellite TV, fridge full of drinks, hammocks etc.). Things like the honor bar and D&D's approach meant that we oldies felt at home very quickly too.

The property is situated in between Domenical and Uvita and is up a long, steep rocky path. Unless you are going to be content to cook for yourself and lounge by the pool all the time, don't even think about coming here without wheels.....and don't even think about driving round here without 4x4: bits of it are really steep - we had to kick the kids out when we were leaving because our Hyundai Tucson 4x4 couldn't make it out fully laden!

In any case, there are so many great places around here to explore and good restaurants to experience that your own transport is pretty much a no-brainer.

We were very beach-oriented and explored a load. It was slightly irritating that the major public beaches wanted to charge parking/admission - about $20 for a family of 4 for 24 hours - for minimal (and I'm being generous here) service provision. We ended up really liking the one with the caves (figure it out when you get there), We ate out every night and never had a bad meal. In fact every place we went was really good!

We really liked the general vibe of this area, which is (currently) pretty much unspoiled by developers. The non-local resident population seem to be either 20-somethings focussed on the surfing life or early retirees soaking up the ecology. Both groups naturally appreciate the local environment and seem to assimilate well with the indigenous population, making for a community with a very laid-back, welcoming feel (it reminds me of Chamonix or Argentiere in the French Alps 15-20 years ago).

Great location, great vibe, great beaches, great wildlife, great hosts....... we still have some more parts of CR to explore, but we will definitely come back here.

  • Liked — The whole set up is just right.
  • Disliked — If I have to pick something.....the patio door could have been screened to allow it to be open at night
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 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.
Orange County, California
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2008

Our stay at Shelter From The Storm was amazing. Donna & Daryl have done an excellent job with the villas. We stayed in the Monkey House which is high up, tucked away and very clean and well furnished. Everything at SFTS seems to be very new and in great working order (which seems to be a rarity in Costa Rica). The drive from San Jose is long but if you are mentally prepared for it ahead of time you are going to be fine. A 4x4 is needed to get up to the property but once you arrive you will be rewarded with an amazing ocean view, rancho/bar area, pool, and a plethora of natural wildlife which surrounds the area. 3-4 of the days we were there we watched a sloth on a tree right in front of the Rancho which was very cool! The monkeys come through every morning, and afternoon (we somehow missed them), but other guests staying in the villas had seen them almost every day!
All in all, a great trip to remember. We will definitely be back... Thank you Daryl & Donna!!!

  • Liked — The location, views, jungle setting and furnishings.
  • Disliked — Bugs!
  • Stayed September 2008, 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)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2008

This was our second trip to Costa Rica. On our first visit, we spent only one day on the Pacific west coast. That one day convinced us to spend the bulk of this vacation in that area, without our children for a big change! We were looking for "an affordable paradise" and began our search by reading reviews at the TripAdvisor website. The reviews (and pictures) for "Shelter from the Storm" near Dominical looked too good to be true. The reviewers didn't just rave, but made it plain that, if it were at all possible, they would be there now. Having just been there myself, I feel the same way......

"Shelter from the Storm" is beautiful, and not just because of the lush surroundings, the scent of tropical flowers, or the view of the Pacific Ocean from everywhere on the premises. The owners (Daryl and Donna) have obviously poured their hearts into making it so. Each of the three villas has its own personality and the attention to detail is clear. If a table or chair is placed in the room, it's because that specific table and chair were carefully selected to be there. Sit there with your morning coffee, and you find yourself looking through the rainforest at the Pacific ocean. You can hear the waves crash onto the rocks. A troop of white-faced monkeys is making its way through the trees. Hummingbirds and toucans are doing whatever hummingbirds and toucans do. Each villa is totally private, while the bar/sitting area and the pool offer the opportunity to socialize, have a drink from the "honesty bar" and use the grill for an outdoor meal.

Normally it takes me at least a week of vacation to have that first sigh, but we did it here in a day and a half! "Shelter from the Storm" is close to Dominical, a surf town right out of the seventies. Dominical is just off the main road, but you can pass it any number times and not realize it's there. We found this to be true of many of the places we visited. There are signs along the highway, but often they're hard to spot. Many of the best beaches, restaurants and other attractions are a bit off the beaten path. You find yourself driving a few kilometers down an unpaved road; convinced "this can't possibly be right"... and suddenly you're there. If this were an un-touched paradise the food wouldn't be quite so excellent. Untouched or not, "Shelter from the Storm" is paradise.

  • Liked — The view
  • Disliked — The spaghetti pot in the kitchen was too small
  • Stayed August 2008, 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)
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 Shelter from the Storm

Address: San Martin Sur, Dominical 80000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Dominical
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Dominical
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shelter from the Storm is a group of 2 villas perched on a 5 acre mountainside point, 60 meters above the Pacific, high enough to give dramatic views of the coast to the Osa Pennisula, but low enough to hear the waves breaking on the rocks below. Hotel rates for your own private place! Ammenities: Shared pool adjacent Entertainment Rancho with honor bar, BBQ,satelite stereo tv & dvd, washer/dryer, & much more.... ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Shelter From The Storm Hotel Dominical
Shelter From The Storm Costa Rica/Dominical

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