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“"A Perfect Balance"” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Monte Azul

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Monte Azul
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Road to Chirripo National Park | Pérez Zeledón, San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Auburn, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“"A Perfect Balance"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

I have recently returned from a stay at Monte Azul. I began to write a review, but had to stop as my words did not adequately reflect the experience of Monte Azul. The purpose of my visit was of exploration to write a proposal for participation in their Artist in Residency program. The experience completely changed my original thoughts. I am excited and look forward to my next stay at Monte Azul as well as the initiation of the two bodies of work inspired by the place and staff. The casitas are well appointed and reflect the careful considerations of Carlos and Randy. They are comfortable and elegantly designed to mirror the beautifully landscaped grounds which seamlessly transition to the surrounding rainforest. The artwork in the casitas, the grounds, and Cafe Blue was exceptional. The placement giving each piece the space for focus and distance for restful reflection. Cafe Blue meals were fantastic, beautifully plated, featuring simple, clean combinations that blossomed in complexity across the palette. The staff balances work and friendship creating a family atmosphere while attending to every need of their guest. They are genuine in the interest in the individual guest, but marry this interest by offering and arranging trips to local venues from the conversations held in friendship. During my stay, a newly wed couple arrived and the staff created a private corner of the cafe with potted plant, complimented by candles. I made many new friends, not only with staff members, but with other guest that I will maintain throughout my life. Thanks to everyone at Monte Azul. I have tried refrain from over-describing or naming each person that contributed to my experience of this incredible place to avoid diminishing your visit in any way.

Room Tip: All rooms are exceptional.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 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.
Esteban Q, Manager at Monte Azul, responded to this review, November 9, 2013
Dear Meech M,

Thank you so much for your kind words.

It is very meaningful to us being and inspiration for your bodies of work. At Monte Azul we are very happy we had the chance to meet and have such a special person as you as our guest.
Your review is very important to us, it shows our efforts to be a differentiated hotel, were our guests are the most important. To make our clients feel part of Monte Azul’s family is one thing that characterizes us, and we always try to do our best.

Our doors are open and we will be more than happy to see you again at Monte Azul.

Pura vida,
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113 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 (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

My second visit to Monte Azul was even better than my first. I came during the first year of operation and had the pleasure of being a guinea pig as food and service methods were still being developed; I loved being consulted and feeling as if I were family--and extraordinarily, this feeling of being welcomed as a valued friend into this restful and intriguing environment has only improved with age. I had come the first time for a much needed rest and to practice my rusty Spanish to help with an upcoming assignment in Spain. To accommodate this Monte Azul found me a delightful teacher who came everyday to practice conversation, provide missing vocabulary etc. And that's just the way Monte is: impeccably accommodating of the individual and his or her needs. In addition, of course the hotel grounds are beautiful, the rooms comfortable and gracious, the landscape gorgeous--its Costa Rica after all--and the food delicious--tasty, ample, varied, healthy, most grown locally. There is enough pampering to make you feel special but a wonderful spirit of camaraderie between the staff and guests, no sense of arbitrary propriety or social distance. The staff all comes from the village allowing you access to the community, like letting you know the fun night at the local hot spot as they also guide you on adventures into the environment, the typically touristic and others off the beaten track. One of the most unusual features of the place is the art--really good art, not the usual hotel ho-hum fare. You may catch an artist in residence but even when just other guests are there, the conversations seem to drift toward serious interesting topics: the clientele is as extraordinary as the place. Monte Azul helped me work with one of the local schools while there as part of its ongoing outreach, taking advantage of my skills as well as allowing me insights I could get no other way into this wholly admirable country. The sense that "we're all in this together; let's help each other" describes the relationship of Monte Azul to its community; and delightfully to me it reflects the country's ethos, so different from that in the US at present. The commitment to protecting and sustaining the environment, again a hallmark of the country, is acted out in every way at Monte Azul, and its been recognized for realizing models of sustainability. I don't suppose it's hard to tell I'm head over heels in love with Monte Azul, but it's not puppy love: my second visit only deepened the awareness that this is one of the most wonderful places anywhere. I'll be back as often as I can. Thank you, Monte Azul...

Room Tip: As of now there is no swimming pool or fitness center but yoga is offered, and I went with one of th...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Esteban Q, Manager at Monte Azul, responded to this review, November 9, 2013
Dear PhilipLA,

First we want to thank you; it is a honor to work hand in hand with you. Help our community is and will be more gratifying with all the knowledge and skills of a great mentor.

We appreciate that you understand our commitment to the environment and community, and the good treatment we love to give to our clients; our family.

There is no doubt we hope to see you more often at Monte Azul. And we hope this love you have for us grows more.

Thank you again Philip.

Best,
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Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2013

My wife and I had a truly wonderful 10 days at Monte Azul last year. The accommodations in the "casitas" were excellent - very comfortable, spacious, and quiet, featuring lovely artwork and beautiful private gardens. The food at Cafe Blue was fabulous - every meal was a delightful creation, with fresh, local ingredients - kudos to Andy and Esteban the chefs! The outdoor setting at the Cafe allowed us to enjoy watching the flora and fauna around us - in particular the monkeys and birds. We also had a lot of fun at the cooking workshop. The property itself was beautiful and a real treat to discover along the many trails. The birdwatching was excellent, and we also really enjoyed swimming in the cool waters of the River Chirripo. The many excursions we went on in the area gave us a great opportunity to see the wonders of nature and meet local residents at work on their plantations and farms. It was great to meet the artist in resident - Alvaro Gomez - and we ended up coming home with one of his gorgeous paintings (and ordered another one at a later date). The owners and staff at the hotel were exceptionally welcoming and helpful. What an amazing place that Carlos and Randy have created. We dream of our time there very often!

Room Tip: All four casitas are beautiful! We stayed in three different ones (we had booked at the last minute...
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  • Stayed May 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, May 1, 2013
Dear Michael R,

We love your review! After a 10 day stay, you got to try almost everything we offer and it seems like it as a perfect match for you and your wife.

It was a pleasure to see you enjoy yourselves so much, it is what we are here for!

Thanks again for taking a chance on a little known corner of Costa Rica, you came and discovered why we settled in this magical place!

Pura Vida!
Carlos
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Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

After my new wife and I had just endured a long, exhausting (and winding) drive from Lapa Rios at the bottom of the Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula to Monte Azul, we weren't sure what to expect. However, upon checking into our room, we were quickly delighted by the cool mountain breezes and beautiful river babbling in the background. Then, we went to have a drink before dinner and were greeted by Martiza, Carlos, and Randy (the latter two the creators and owners). We had a couple of drinks and when they realized we were on our honeymoon, they gave us the most romantic table we have ever had as a couple! And the food was absolutely five star, worthy of any upscale restaurant in the States. For the rest of the stay, we kept waiting for the food to not live up to the first meal but we continued to be impressed by both the quality and the imagination of the chefs. To top things off when we were about to check out, Randy had baked us chocolate chip cookies and gave my wife some goat cheese to go (made on site!) which delighted my wife. It was simply a romantic and serene getaway. Thanks again to Carlos, Randy, and Martiza who all went above and beyond the entire stay! A nice bonus was watching the monkeys come down at lunch to eat the bananas left out for them. Thanks again for the wonderful end to our honeymoon!

Robert and Chrissa (O'Shauhnessy) Pohrer

Room Tip: I didn't see a pool mentioned so if one existed, we never found it. Also, the fitness center wa...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, April 5, 2013
Dear Mr. and Mrs. O’Shauhnessy,

We love that you loved it! Your positive outlook and humor was contagious and we were all delighted to be of service.

Our job is to ensure we provide the best possible quality at every level, and the reward is your satisfaction.

Thank you for taking a chance on our little place up in the mountains! Our area has yet to be discovered by the tourist trade and we're glad you appreciated that as well.

Thanks also for the stellar recommendation, it means a lot to us here!

Pura vida!

Carlos
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Brooklyn, New York
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

My partner and I stayed at Monte Azul for four days in November for our honeymoon. From the moment we arrived to the moment we (sadly) left, we were treated like royal family. Royal in the sense that each and every activity and meal was exquisite and exceeded expectations, and family in the sense that we were made to feel at home with warmth and kindness at every turn. The food is beyond exquisite (truly, these owners are Renaissance men), the decor beautiful, the grounds stunning, and the experience sophisticated yet completely relaxed. Carlos, Randy, Maritza, Melissa, and the entire staff could not have taken better care of us, while ensuring that our experience was perfectly balanced with activity and privacy. I would return in a heartbeat. And that's saying a lot for someone who wants it all--luxury, comfort, bare-foot relaxation, sophistication, perfect cuisine, flexibility, and 100% sustainability. If only we could clone Monte Azul for every country! By the way, it may not sound like an obvious "must-go", but I definitely recommend taking the time to learn about sustainable farming and make cheese with one of the local farmers.

  • Stayed November 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, April 2, 2013
Dear SabrinaD872,

I’m glad to know you enjoyed our Royal treatment! We loved having you here and were delighted that you spent part of your honeymoon at Monte Azul.

Our mission is to try our best to make everyone’s experience at Monte Azul as good as possible. I’m glad that we succeeded with you, especially since you “wanted it all”!

And I’m glad you recommend the cheese making, you are so right to say that it is not an “obvious must-go.” I often tell people it’s not so much about the cheese but about the experience of getting to see how a family, sustainably-run dairy operates, and how people in our area live day-to-day.

We hope to see you again soon!

Saludos,

Carlos
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San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

Less is indeed more and Monte Azul is a case in point. This little treasure trove nestled at the base of the Chirripo, Central America's highest peak, is living proof that sophistication is a way of life and not a reflection of luxury. I live about half an hour from the hotel and have been to Café Blue anumber of times for lunch or dinner. The setting, the decor, the ambiance, the food, the presentation - all of it is simply impeccable and done in great taste. There is no comparable place anywhere in Costa Rica's south, not even in touristy places like Manuel Antonio or Jaco. The property features beautifully prepared hiking trails in a lush setting along the edge of the Chirripo River, which must be a dream setting for any whitewater kayaker. This time I actually overnighted in one of their four cabins. All of them exude good taste and elegance and offer perfect functionality. The small kitchenette allows you to prepare your own coffee or tea or some food but then, who in their right mind, would forgo eating out at Café Blue? I can never get enough of the delicacies being served in that gem of a restaurant. Whatever Randy and Carlos seem to touch is done to the utmost perfection, be it the hand-made soaps, the organic coffee from Monte Azul or the spectacular goat cheeses - all of them produced right on site. All the buildings feature original art from local and foreign artists and most of it is available for purchase by the guests. Randy and Carlos seem to have excellent people management skills as their staff is always professional and corteous and everything is done in a very relaxed, yet efficient manner. I was completely impressed by how things seem to simply happen without us ever seeing or hearing anybody. No wonder Monte Azul regularly wins prizes for being "best of" in many categories.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, April 2, 2013
Dear Celloswiss,

It is a pleasure to have you as a client, and we are especially grateful for your glowing review.
At Monte Azul we are committed to give you the best experience possible, in everything we offer.

We appreciate your understanding of all the work that goes behind making things seem effortless to the guest. It is our pleasure to do so, with the objective to make our guests’ as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

Thanks again! Hope to see you again soon.

Carlos
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Herndon, Virginia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

My daughter and I had 3 magical days at Monte Azul. Everyone and everything at Monte Azul abundantly exceeded our expectations. The minute we stepped foot on the Monte Azul property, I knew we had made the correct decision to take vacation at Monte Azul. Carlos, Randy, Paulo, Maritza, Melissa, and Molly were welcoming and awesome. Their smiles and the light in their eyes will forever be etched in my memory. Molly’s massage technique is outstanding. Monte Azul arranged for Bob and Katie to be our guides for the Los Cusingos Bird Sanctuary. Bob and Katie were fantastic as well. We will treasure having the opportunity to have met and come to know all of them. In advance of our stay, we had emailed my daughter’s gluten free diet restrictions as well as our vegetarian diet requests. Our meals were out of this world delicious. Every meal was excellent; however, we especially loved the mushroom risotto that was served at lunch one day as well as ALL of the soups. For me, the bread made by Randy was unbelievably delicious. Even the smallest of details has been thought of at Monte Azul that makes anything that you may have thought to ask for already being there. The attention to details at Monte Azul that appeared effortless is what I've experienced at 5 star hotels. Everything about Monte Azul was pure perfection -- the people (to include the other guests), the accommodations, the meals, the activities, the monkeys (and baby monkeys), the birds, the trails, the soap, the coffee, the cheese . . . I could go on and on praising Monte Azul but instead I’ll try to sum it up. As I said to them, what I loved most about Monte Azul is everything. We very much look forward to our next visit at Monte Azul.

Room Tip: We stayed in Casita Naranja. I can't see how anyone could go wrong in staying in any of the Cas...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CarlosRojasMonteAzul, Owner at Monte Azul, responded to this review, March 3, 2013
Dear LynnM7Feb13,

Wow, what can we say to all your kind words but THANK YOU and MUCHAS GRACIAS!
It was such a genuine delightful to have you and your charming daughter stay with us. You displayed such genuine appreciation and enjoyment for our little place in the rainforest that we just could not do enough to ensure your stay at Monte Azul would be memorable.

We hope to see you again in your travels to our beautiful part of the world!

Pura vida!
Carlos
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Additional Information about Monte Azul

Address: Road to Chirripo National Park | Pérez Zeledón, San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Isidro de El General
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in San Isidro de El General
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
About Monte Azul Boutique Hotel. Monte Azul Boutique Hotel is located on a private reserve in the Talamanca region of Costa Rica near the country’s highest point, Chirripó National Park. Equipped with four luxury riverside "casitas" and amenities and activities tailored to any type of traveler, Monte Azul provides an authentic experience for those looking to explore the nature and culture that Costa Rica is renowned for. In its short time, Monte Azul has achieved recognition from organizations like Condé Nast and TripAdvisor for elevating the standard for sustainability and style. About Monte Azul Center for Art and Design: The Monte Azul Center for Art and Design was established in 2005 with the vision of creating a haven where artists could come and express their creative nature while being inspired by the extraordinary beauty and peace of the Costa Rica highlands. The facility hosts select pieces from early and mid-career artists who produce some of the best work in Costa Rica and abroad. In addition to being a unique destination for art lovers and collectors, Monte Azul also offers travelers the opportunity to learn artistic skills like etching, monotyping and more. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Monte Azul Hotel San Isidro De El General
Monte Azul Costa Rica/San Isidro De El General

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