Villa Blanca is a delightful resort on the edge of the Los Angeles cloud forest. It does all the basics well. It is clean. The personnel at all levels are friendly and helpful. The rooms are excellent (I had a superior with plenty of space, 2 bathrooms and a 2 person whirlpool bath, 2 native made wood and leather rocking chairs, etc, , ,).
The outstanding features were the flexability of the staff, the easy acess to the cloud forest and the hummingbirds. Flexability - The flexability started right when we were picked up at the airport by Adrian. We asked him is we could stop along the way for a local phone (very useful) and local money (not really needed - everybody accepts dollars at $1 to 500CR) and a lunch. He was happy to make our stops, helpful with communicating and figuring the cost and needs of the phone and found a cheap clean delish and nontouristy restaurant along the way(sorry I didn't write down it's name so can't review it here). He never hurried us and everything was accompanied by a smile. The flexability was continued when we reached the resort, The friends we were traveling with thought they were getting a superior room and were assigned a deluxe. (the e-mails refered to both and on rereading were confussing) but calls were made and they were soon upgraded. Further flexability was when we wanted to change the day of our package tour and add 2 tours, Done and done with a smile.
Easy Access - Villa Blanca is up in the clouds and at the edge of the forest. They have self guided trails, a number of daily guided walks and a nature center right there.
Hummingbirds-A short way up the self guided trail just blow the lodge VB has set 3 hummingbird feeders. Don't miss them! Each morning I started my day there and was surrounded by a DOZEN birds! I spotted at least 4 varieties. The had no fear of us. You have to add to your bucket list feeling the wind of a hummingbirds wings on your cheek as it flies over your shoulder!
Issues - All however is not perfect. You are isolated. The road up to VB is both long and has more potholes than I could count (though I felt them). And beyond the road you really are still nowhere. It's a long & difficult drive anywhere if you have a car and forget about getting a cab for a quick run to any other restaurant. Ah the restaurant. This is the weakest link. The food is generally above average especially the soups. The problem is the service. Two out of our three dinners we were asked at least 4 times which rooms were we and were asked to remind them what we ordered. Waits to sign for our meals (or for anything) were too long even accounting for a nonamerican style of leaving you alone. Lastly, the variety in the restaurant. They do have a respectable variety and a daily special but it comes back to that isolation. If you are there more than 4 or 5 days and are restricted in your food choices (veggie etc..) you are going to be repeating food orders.
The last issue is more of a heads up than an issue, One of our prearranged day tours was to Arrenal and to hot springs. Once underway we discovered that meant walking on a side road OUTSIDE Arrenal Park. Upon complaint the tour guide immediately said he would take us in the park but the enterance fee ($10 pp) had to be paid. So make sure if you book this tour know what you are getting. The other tours we took through VB were without any problems and led by friendly, experienced and knowlegable guides (as was this tour)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Just over an hour's drive from San Jose International Costa Rica airport (SJO), eco-minded travelers from all over the world have reveled in the beauty of Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel, located within the Los Angeles Private Biological Nature Reserve & Research Station in the Canton of San Ramon. The hotel is ideally situated as a gateway to Arenal Volcano and the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Here, you're immersed in one of the world's most precious and complex jungle ecosystems - the cloud forest. This boutique mountain hotel is nestled on 75-acres of gentle rolling hills, with well-appointed "casitas" and Honeymoon Suites, each with their own fireplace, and surrounded by acres of lush botanical gardens. Originally owned by former president Rodrigo Carazo Odio and First Lady, Estrella Zeledon de Carazo, Villa Blanca has become a renown and cherished Costa Rica destination. The architecture reflects the original farm village concept, with a welcoming Hacienda, offering guests exceptional Costa Rican hospitality, premier dining, a private theater, conference facilities, and pampering spa menu. Also quite unique is a replica of a 14th century Roman wedding chapel, La Mariana, with its hand painted ceramic ceiling. Choose from a variety of nature-based activities, including horseback, zip-lines, and user-friendly guided trials, plus excursions to Arenal and Poas volcanoes, hot springs, and rural-cultural tours. This is the Costa Rica where those who "travel well and travel right" want to go. Please feel free to visit our sister-site, one of the most prestigious Manuel Antonio hotels, Si Como No. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Blanca Cloud Forest
- Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel And Nature Reserve Costa Rica/San Ramon