Costa d'Este is everything the website promises in terms of views and accomodations. Their staff, however, really made the trip for us. Adam at the front desk and Ryan doing valet parking were friendly, funny, and enthusiastic, and went out of their way to get us what we needed (a fridge, dining recommendations, the best beaches to hit). Scott (who goes by "Sharkbait") is the local "beachologist" who offers kayaking and snorkeling tours on the hotel's beach. We really appreciated his knowledge of the beach, dedication to conservation, and honesty about snorkeling conditions (even when it meant him losing money)! The only drawback, as mentioned in previous reviews, is that the pool music Friday and Saturday nights can be quite loud - but it's over by 11:30. I think if you ask specifically for a room AWAY from the pool you should be in good shape.
Incidentally, I booked through a third party site (and got a great rate) about a month in advance, but when I called to confirm a few days before the trip they hadn't gotten the booking. I called the third party site and everything went smoothly - the hotel even upgraded our room to an oceanfront corner king for free.
Checked out the "competition" luxury hotel down the beach and it looks nice also - I'd describe Costa as chic, Zen, and modern, while the other was more traditional lux (lots of marble, pool statues, etc).
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