I thought long and hard whether I should write this review. As is, it will stand out negatively among the 80+ perfect reviews. I don't want any travellers to be put off but I do want to write about my experience at Copa de Arbol. The negative rating is mainly due to very personal reasons.
Summer at the office and Mike, the owner are aware of the below. They have both dealt with it fantastically and I thank them both for this.
I agree with the other reviewers on the fantastic location and setting. But here are my comments and experience.
Christmas: due to our complicated families, we spend Christmas every other year away. We have celebrated Christmas in South Africa, Kenya, Zanzibar, Dubai and Malaysia. Before this trip, I was so excited about being able to celebrate in Costa Rica. I was sure it would be even nicer than the other countries. On arrival, I saw no decorations but assumed they would go all out on the big day itself.
25 December arrived. And it went and was unacknowledged. We jumped from 24 to 26 December as if Christmas did not exist. I love love Christmas and CdA took that day away from me. Even now I am sad thinking about that.
When this came to Mikes attention, he replied that because of religion and other reasons, our fellow guests did not want a celebration. I was and still am baffled. In Zanzibar, a dominantly Muslim Island, the hotel was stunningly decorated and the hotel organised a Turkey BBQ. In Malaysia, wonderful decor, a special dinner and a choir, same in Dubai, in Kenya, the staff made us a gift etc etc.
When my friends back home asked me : so how was Christmas in Costa Rica and I told them, one of my friends commented: sounds like the hotel could not be bothered.
That did struck a cord because even if the other guests might not have wanted a celebration, surely no one could have taken offence at some nice decorations. Evey other CR hotel, even the more basic ones we stayed in, had beautiful decking.
Rooms: they look nice but to me were a tad too basic. Flimsy curtains held together with a bow which is lying around somewhere when you close curtain, too little privacy. We could see people in hut behind us and they could see us. We had wanted Balsa but it was booked so we stayed in Sable, it looks out onto the sea ( nice) but also on Balsa and has another hut behind it.
Pool: visually stunning pool but only 6 extremely uncomfortable sun loungers. They are Indonesian and look fantastic but are hard on the bum and not practical. 6 loungers for 20 guests is not enough either.
Food: after all the reviews, I was excited but I was let down. The best meal I had was the Casado which was the best of 6 I tasted in CR. Their attempt at refined European fare, did not succeed for me: undercooked potatoes, undercooked fish, too salty.
I don't eat cooked breakfast. Breakfast lacked healthy yoghurt and choices of cereals. 1 day I did order a fried egg and it was greasy and bad tasting.
Staff: Oflando and his fellow waiters are fantastic. 1 day housekeeping did not clean our room. We left to snorkel at 0700 am and by 1 pm room was not made up. Johnny, the manager claimed this was a misunderstanding. I don't see how. We leave for. 6 hours, come back tired and dirty and room was not ready.
I left CdA feeling sad and disappointed. I really questioned myself as all the other reviews love, love , love this place and I did not. It made me feel too demanding and spoilt. On the other hand, I strongly believe, at the prices paid, I have the right to be. For future travellers: don't be put off. The Christmas story was very personal to me and I am sure CdA is still finding its feet and can remedy some other issues.
And to end on a positive note: a BIG thanks goes to Mauricio. We did all the trips with him. He is amazing: passionate and patient, enthusiastic and knowledgeable with an untiring energy. Thanks so much.
Balsa seemed best to me or otherwise further to the back for more privacy.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Christmas: Christmas is a special holiday celebrated in 100’s of ways all around the world. I can’t comment on the places you listed having never been there, but here at Copa De Arbol we admittedly had a low-key affair. Unfortunately we did things differently than what you were expecting, but we were genuinely doing what we thought was appropriate for all of our guests as a whole. We served a traditional Costa Rican Christmas meal, which consists of tamales and roasted leg of pork and decorated with simple arrangements of poinsettias in the restaurant and lobby area. One tradition that is unique to Costa Rica is lighting loud firecrackers as part of the celebration. We skipped that feeling it was not right for our guests or the eco system. Any future travelers who wish to have Christmas decorations in their rooms, please let us know in advance and we will be happy to make that happen.
Rooms: We regret that you felt our rooms offer little privacy. This resort was designed by us with privacy and comfort as our highest priorities. Our curtains are standard cotton full-length curtains. When closed, they cover the windows completely. Our web site features detailed videos of every room including the views from all angles, both inside and out. I strongly advise any potential future guests to check them out in advance.
Pool: We have a total of 10 lounge chairs. The amount of pool chairs we put out is based on the demand and schedule of our guests and weather. It is very tricky to keep outdoor furniture nice here in the rainforest, so we must constantly move them in and out of the rain. We just got new cushions for our pool chairs to make them more comfortable.
Food: Chef Miguel and his staff have received amazing reviews here on Trip Advisor. Everything from our jam and granola to our hot sauce is homemade. Food can be complicated as many people have allergies to particular ingredients or follow specific diets. I am sure some of the folks who have written prior reviews here were served dishes that didn’t suit their tastes, however they let us know and we were able to fix it. Any guests who have special diets, food restrictions or simply want something different are encouraged and welcome to meet with Chef Miguel to discuss and create a personal menu that is acceptable, as we quite often do. He was saddened to learn of your disappointment after you left and would have loved the opportunity to cater to your needs as he has done for so many other guests referenced in other reviews.
Staff: Our cleaning staff is made up of a group of humble, hard-working & dedicated ladies who take pride in their work. The situation with your room was a simple misunderstanding that we deeply regret. Some of our guests choose to skip the daily cleaning, often times asking only for clean towels. In regards to the housekeeping issue on December 25th, Yaniry, one of our most diligent employees went to clean your room right as you were about to shower and you asked her for clean towels. She thought you were requesting towels only instead of a daily cleaning as guests frequently do. When you returned and found your room uncleaned, you became rightfully furious. We deeply regret that situation and did our best to resolve it. We have since spoken with all the cleaning staff and put policies into place to assure that this type of misunderstanding does not happen again.
All of us here at Copa De Arbol are in the service business because we love it. As I stated in the beginning, Trip Advisor is a powerful tool designed to help travelers make informed choices and give hotels the opportunity to improve. From reading all the outstanding reviews we have earned, you might get the idea that we are perfect. The truth is we are not; we make mistakes just like everyone else. If you come to Copa De Arbol and want the best experience possible, please let us know if you’re not happy with something and we will do our best to fix it during your stay with us. If you do have any special requests for your upcoming stay, please let us know ahead of time so that we can make it happen if it is possible.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.