We stayed at the Four Seasons in Costa Rica from February 24 to March 6, 2007.
First, the pleasant surprise. We booked the golf package and, from the website, understood unlimited golf (as well as a couple of golf lessons, use of the practice range, golf cart, golf clinic for two and use of the tennis facilities) and breakfast was included. I had been in contact with the hotel in advance to book tee off times, spa treatments and transportation to and from the hotel to the airport. We were advised that the cost of transportation from and to the airport was $50. USD per person each way. I knew from the hotel reviews on this site that we could book J & C Tours for transportation from and to the airport for $30. USD per person each way so I did. (A very professional couple with a good van and quite reliable). When we got there we were handed a letter outlining what the golf package included and, to our surpirse, discovered that dinners at any of the restaurants (including room service) was included as was airport transportation. To their credit, the hotel refunded the $60 USD we had spent on the transportation from the airport and we used the included transportation to return to the airport.
We arrived after a very long trip (we left our house in London, Canada at 5 am and arrived at the Four Seasons at about 9 pm). We brought golf clubs and were immediately impressed that they wisked the clubs directly to the golf course.
Each day the golf cart was set up ready for us and they also kept our golf shoes at the course. It was very hot - 35 - 36 Celcius and the fresh cool towels they brought every few holes as well as cold water was most appreciated. By the way, the course is spectacular - beautiful views and interesting.
We got a premium room - bedroom with a large balcony. The only difference between that room and less expensive ones is the more expensive one is higher - presumably it is easier to see the water from higher up. Of course, there is also much more expensive accomodation there too if one wants. The room was essentially the same as shown in the hotel website but a little worn looking. Also, the difference from the picture on the website was that the website room was "dressed up". This resulted in our, at first, feeling a little let down when we first saw the room. However, it was fine. We enjoyed seeing monkeys (some with babies) from our room as well as different birds.
From comments on the Trip Advisor reviews I was a little worried about noise, but there was never a problem. However, apparently the hotel is flooded with kids at March break and even the staff relates that March break is a very unpleasant time. On the day before we were leaving we started noticing more little kids and more teenagers
around the pool - with a lot of the lounge chairs full fairly early. My advice is to avoid the hotel during March break and other family travel times.
There are several restaurants - perhaps the one with the greatest atmosphere is Caracol at the golf club house. People have raved about the steaks at Caracol - I was not really that impressed with them although the best was surf and turf - fillet mignon with shrimps for $48. The worst meal I had at the golf course was beef stroganoff - they took it back and took it off the bill - not really relevant given the meal plan but nice all the same. Consider, however, sharing meals if you are not big eaters. We were on a meal plan so price did not matter but it seemed quite wasteful to each order surf and turf and return half the food on our plates to the kitchen. That happened a few times and we started sharing or ordering half orders (when possible as when ordering pasta). We did not try the seafood except for scallops and salad at lunch (at the poolside restaurant) which was quite good. Tico's bar is located on the main property between the two other main restaurants. At the bar you can get lighter items but also can order from a reduced menu from the two adjacent restaurants. However, if you ask for them, you can also order from the full menus from the two adjacent restaurants. Overall, I'd say the food is good but not extraordinary. Lunch at the poolside restaurant was very pleasant. The breakfast buffet was very good (at around $60 for two). Lunch prices were not bad - as I recall it unless you are a very big eater you can get a reasonable lunch for around $12. However, note that a service charge is added to everything - so don't tip unless you really want to. The wine prices are very high - I think the cheapest bottle of (not spectacular) white wine was around $49 - $50 - before service charge. Also, a 13% government tax is added to almost everything. With the service charge and tax I think the surcharge is about 23%. Two glasses of white wine after golf cost about $32. before, I think, the 13% tax.
We knew about the wine prices and bought wine in Playa Coco on an outing there. Apart from buying the wine, I do not really see any reason to go to Coco - kind of run down and no interesting art there.
We also went on an excursion with the hotel - called the Goombay Sunset Tour - about $89 USD each. Unless you want to snorkel for about an hour, or go walk on a deserted beach and then ride around on the boat waiting for the sunset, I don't think it was really worth it. You can probably see the sunset from the hotel.
We also took a river tour to the Corobici River with J & C Tours. It's about three hours return to the river. The raft was not all that comfortable and, after the first half hour, kind for boring - we saw more animals and birds at the hotel and golf course.
The spa was wonderful and we wished we had booked more than one massage.
The service was exceptional - they have this "greeting by name" thing down pat. At the pool, they came around with water and other little treats.
In a way, the weather was perfect - sunny, no rain and hot. A little too hot for golf although after a few days we got used to it. It was the "brown" season when we were there. Many of the trees loose their leaves at this time. On the upside, some of the trees flower during this season which was quite pretty. Also, we could probably see more of the views on the golf course given the lack of leaves. Some of the staff said the best time to go is late November/early December. Apparently, it can be quite hot and humid once the rainy season starts - maybe around May on - I'm not too sure.
All in, the property is beautiful and the service is excellent. The golf course is wonderful.The staff members are very friendly. Check, however, with the hotel directly about what is or is not included in packages. Condsider buying some wine locally. Avoid "family" vacation times. If we went again I'd try to see whether December or January was a bit cooler. If you are not big eaters, share meals - this would bring down the prices of meals and also avoid wasting food.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.