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“Serenity” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Vista Bahia Beach Resort

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Vista Bahia Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Papagayo Blvd, Playa Panama, Costa Rica (Formerly Monarch Resort)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Playa Panama
Warwick RI
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Serenity”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Stayed here for 3 nights in march and could not be happier with our stay.the views were amazing the breakfast was great. The rooms are amazing ,pure comfort. The dinner menu is a delight the choices were endless ,we met some amazing people while we were there and still stay in contact with them all. We can't wait to return.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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150 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Reston, Virginia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

Like many of you, my travel buddy and I bought the Living Social deal for this hotel and stayed there for 3 nights during our visit to the Pacific Coast beaches of CR. Our stay was pleasant overall and enjoyable.

For those thinking about booking this property, here are my pros and cons for staying here:

Pros:

Peace and quiet - a far cry from the hustle of Playa del Coco's main strip of hotels, restaurants and bars.

Wildlife - though I was disappointed with not being able to see howling monkeys on the premises, seeing and photographing the iguana, crown feathered birds and even the red crabs on the beach (before they disappeared into the hole) was very enjoyable.

Close proximity to the beach down a mostly paved path - perfect for an early morning run or walk (which I did)... As well as watching the sunsets. There are also nature trails with overlook platforms and lounge chairs for enjoying the view.

Room was large and mostly clean (with queen bed and sofa bed). Staff members were friendly and helpful (especially Gabby, who navigated with us on the phone get to the hotel and helped make the sofa bed).

Cons:

- The condos are indeed a bit dated and the shower/tub cube combo in the bathroom is a bit of a hassle to get in and out of...

- There is no place to park your car by the condo, so you have to walk up and down the path to get to breakfast and the main reception.

- The food on site was not so great, but we had to eat there to use up our $100 food credit. They were always out of certain dishes and ingredients to prepare said dishes, which then limited our already limited menu choices. Food presentation is nice even though the food is flavorless. If you must eat there, get the Ceviche Mixto.

- Make sure you remind them about happy hour. I'm sure the 6pm darkness throws people off but having a clock on premises would be helpful. For drinks, get the pura vida (coffee liqueur, milk, chocolate syrup and cinnamon) or caprihinia.

- Unless you can handle many shots of tequila at once, do not get the margarita. There must have been at least 3 shots of tequila in there with very little lime flavor. I had this drink with dinner and ended up getting really sick, and I typically drink 2-3 times/week. Social drinkers beware!

All in all, it was a decent place to crash while visiting Costa Rica's beaches. With some improvements, this place could be a budget "resort" alternative to the Hilton Papagayo Resort down the street.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

Nice room, very clean, with kitchenette. Excellent value for the price (living social deal). We saw monkeys our first day at the resort which was a plus for us. The private beach was nice and a short walk to other beaches. Restaurant and staff was great. Our only concerns would be low water pressure in the shower. A bit hard to find at first and far from a few of the attractions we were wanting to visit. Overall great experience. Very quiet resort.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2013

This was one of our favourite places we stayed during our honeymoon in Costa Rica- we stayed on our first and last night as it is only a twenty minute drive to the airport. We stayed in a junior suite which was massive! And set in beautiful trees with howler monkeys right outside. The private playita is just lovely and we mostly had it to ourselves. There is not much to do in the area but we enjoyed relaxing at the resort for the couple of days at the start and end of our holiday. The staff were vey helpful and we were able to leave luggage there also.

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed here with a deal through Living Social. Being that the deal was so good, we did not have super high expectations. Overall the place is pretty clean for a beachside resort. There could definitely be some updates made in the rooms. Looked like there had not been updates since the 90's. It seemed as if they are operating on a low budget. As for the food, I would of liked to have had more variety. Other places I've stayed in Costa Rica offered more variety of local fruits, vegetables, and fish. The menu was very "American". The breakfast was really the only thing authentic Costa Rican. But even with all of this, I would recommend the place. The property is very nice and full of monkeys, iguanas, and colorful birds. There is so much to do in the outlying area, that you probably wouldn't be in your much anyways. I would also recommend that you have a car. Taxi rides get expensive.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

I'll keep this short and precise!

Pros
- Nice and clean location. I booked a junior suite and the room was spotless clean. No major privacy concerns. However, the walls are thin and you could hear the folks in the other room when they spoke loudly. The general surroundings are spectacular - nice and green. A small hike to the main reception/eating area. However, they provide a free golf-cart service to the apartment.
- The room was equipped with hairdryers, microwave oven, refrigerator, TV (predominantly spanish language channels - but who cares!)
- Friendly and helpful staff. I forgot to bring a power adapter (silly me!) for my camera and the staff bent over backwards to help me out. Really appreciate their help!
- Breakfast was good and delicious. Lunch and dinners were a bit on the expensive side - but thats pretty much the case all over Costa Rica.
- The swimming pool was nice and clean (cleaned everyday).

Cons
- This place is in the middle of nowhere. You would need a taxi to get to the nearest supermarket. I needed a toothbrush and since the resort didnt have one, I was recommended to pay $15 for a trip to the local supermarket to get one! Just in case you need supplies for your room (alcohol/food supplies/spare toothbrushes :)), it would help to stop at a local supermarket on your way from the airport.
- The walls of the bath-tub/bathing area in the room are quite high. Was fine enough for us, but could be a bummer for folks with troubles in their knees/joints.

Side note: We were assisted by a driver - Carlos. He speaks manageable English and doubled up as a good tour-guide! Negotiate big time to get a good deal from him - even for the trip from the airport to the resort. He is good and trustworthy! (carlosduarte_1980@hotmail.com, 506/5006-3339)

Room Tip: - Ask for a sea-facing room - The beach is on a bay. So dont expect full fledged ocean waves. The w...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond Hill, Georgia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

Excellent place to stay - a little bit of a hike to get to the reception where the restaurant, bar, and swimming pool were located. However, it allowed you to be in the middle of the trees where the howler monkeys lived! They were amazingly close to our balcony, and even woke us up one morning! The hotel entrance was actually the next road just south of playa panama, it was the next beach road down past, and the other beach names were posted, but not the hotels' since it was actually on the point between the two beaches. Hotel offered free Kayaking which was very nice too!
We were able to hire Gilber Gutierrez, our boat captain and guide for a 2 1/2 hour boat snorkeling tour of the bay for $35.-$40.-he was fantastic, snorkeled with us in the water to help us find a live sea horse, local shellfish, starfish, in addition to all the fish! He provided fruit and water, safe and good condition of his boat, and excellent hospitality - I recommend calling him: his local #: 8579-8634 (the hotel called for me). He was very friendly and spoke fairly good English.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vista Bahia Beach Resort

Address: Papagayo Blvd, Playa Panama, Costa Rica (Formerly Monarch Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Gulf of Papagayo > Playa Panama
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Playa Panama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Vista Bahia Beach Resort 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A development surrounded by flora, fauna and wildlife that offers a natural environment in complete harmony with the surroundings. Vista Bahia Beach Resort is the ideal place to rest, relax and enjoy everything Costa Rica has to offer. Animals seen and photographed on property have included; monkeys, squirrels, iguanas, numerous butterflies, mapaches, and pizotes and many different species of birds, We also have numerous trees, cacti, hiking trails and beautiful gardens. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Monarch Hotel Gulf Of Papagayo
Monarch Resort Gulf Of Papagayo
Vista Bahia Beach Resort Costa Rica/Playa Panama, Guanacaste

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