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“A relaxing stay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Vista Bahia Beach Resort

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Vista Bahia Beach Resort
Papagayo Blvd, Playa Panama, Costa Rica (Formerly Monarch Resort)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Playa Panama
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“A relaxing stay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2014

The hotel itself was nice. It was clean and the rooms were huge. There is a relatively clean pool and nice private beach. The staff was very kind and helpful. The breakfast included with the room was great! The stay was very relaxing and peaceful. If you're looking to socialize with other people, this is not the place. There were hardly any other guests. The hotel is sort of a desolate and not close to town.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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148 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    67
    39
    20
    12
    10
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8
Business
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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
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sarasota, Florida
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2014

My daughter and I savored the quiet beauty and enduring kindness that enveloped us at Vista Bahia. Wanting a winter break excursion, I reveled in anticipation by looking at the photos and was not disappointed when we arrived. The serene tranquility was just want we needed to soothe our jangled nervous systems. Trepidations raised by other impressions were erased. Perhaps the attitude and behavior you bring and express might reflect the way you are treated. We left Florida, land of Disney and chemically/physically sculpted “natural experiences” to feel alive, disconnect, be with nature and renew our life forces. If you are looking for a 5 star experience, noisy club/bar scene, and for everyone to speak English and basically have an American experience in a foreign setting, then pay a lot more for it at one of the surrounding large resorts. I previously stayed at the Gran Papagayo (which had its own challenges when it first opened, but was lovely) and that was a different but good experience in its own way. If you are a flexible, mature traveler coming to learn about the country, the people, the incredible remaining wonder of true natural beauty, then check out Vista Bahia. We loved its small boutique feel, the incredible views everywhere you turned, the kind and caring and personable staff who made us feel like part of a family by the time we left. It is a wonderfully refreshing reminder that simple can be profound. Our accommodations were lovely, spacious tiled rooms with a kitchenette area that came in handy traveling with a teenager, and amazing balcony view from which we could hear birds singing and watched monkeys climb through the trees. The AC was icy fresh and it was also dry and cool evening breezes at night at times making it optional. Our bathroom was fine, one small problem we created with the toilet was quickly resolved. Yes there were some previous issues, but clearly they are working hard to address the concerns and we had a wonderful time. There is so much to do in CR that for many, it is just a “base station” to return to after experiencing the adventure of the day. Suggest you stop by a store on the way in for supplies, dish soap, ice tray, microwavable things, etc because it is not near much, but taxis are quickly available to go over the hill to Hermosa or Coco beach for more shopping for souvenirs and supplies. Bring your own sun block; it’s pretty expensive there for US brands. Highly recommend the Rincon de La Vieja Guachipelin day tour for the active types, great combo of horseback riding, water slide, thermal springs/mud treatment, traditional lunch/historical installment, and of course zip lining, only 45min away. The Arenal tour is a bit arduous, some roadworks problems, so it was a 4-5 hr ride away and back in the same day, but amazing to walk through a cloud forest and the Baldi spa was incredible, had the best massage ever there from a therapist named Karen.. They can arrange a boat tour and bring water shoes since it is a rocky but incredibly beautiful beach. Often we were the only ones on the entire beach, a welcome break from the usual press of flesh we endure back home. I have traveled the world and this was a peak experience, thumbs up for the curious and prepared, enjoy yourselves, we can’t wait to return.

Room Tip: Water View
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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
    • 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.
TITUSVILLE
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2014

A bit hard to find as the signs pointing to Playa Panama do not point to the location of Vista Bahia. Once you get there, the staff is friendly and the rooms are quite large. Overall, the place really needs some heavy duty maintenance. All the previous comments about the showers, pool, restaurant, etc., apply. The spigot in the tub, where you redirect the water to the shower, fell off daily, resulting in a stream of water straight out of the wall! And getting into and out of the shower/tub was an adventure.

The daily breakfast, included in the price, was good...but half of the items on the lunch/dinner menu were not available "today"...or any other day.

We did have a rental car, so we were not trapped at the resort...but I don't know how anyone could survive depending on taxis to get around. We did venture out to Santa Rosa, Rincon, and Palo Verde and enjoyed the area restaurants ...especially Ginger in Playa Hermosa...and Abbocato just up the road toward Liberia.

We used the Living Social package for our stay at Vista Bahia, so for $60USD it was a pretty good deal...in spite of all of the above comments...but I probably would not go there again.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2014

The feel of this hotel is that management has moved on and left it in limbo. It's a pleasant place but feels a bit like the Marie Celeste. A massage couch but no masseur/se; a dinner menu but hardly any diners; a private beach ( 5 mins walk down a track across which the iguanas flit) with just a couple of old sun loungers; a few very nice staff but no sign of anyone in charge. Our room was fine, spacious and airy though I agree with a previous comment about the bath height. Coco beach is 15 minutes taxi ride away - 30 dollars return - and there is nothing else around. A great place if you want to write a novel in the shaded outdoor bar (strewn with mimosa blossoms blown in on the Pacific breeze) . Or maybe for the discerning spy in hiding. But not if you want a bit of life.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nutley, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2014 via mobile

I loved this hotel, quiet, clean,accommodating (needed extra towels), large room, beautiful breeze from the ocean. It was 100 degrees when we were there, but never used the air conditioner, plenty of soft breezes!!! The food was excellent.
Now the "cons" ... Needs tender loving care. The pool, restaurant, little lobby needed a women's care. I had to dust the books on the shelf of the coffee table. A few wires needed to be tacked up, the pool needs to be cleaned MORE than once in the morning, the chairs need a good water hose spray to clean them. Food on the menu not available. I told them to stop giving people the menu, write on a board what was available each day. Easy things to correct, really just a women's eyes to correct this situation. And last but not least, for heaven's sake this is Costa Rica PLANT SOME FLOWERS!!!! They have an old fountain in the front that does not work, fill it with FLOWERS!! I am a seasoned traveler to Costa Rica stayed in all different places and even with all the things that need to be fixed, I would still go back there because I loved my room, my terrace, the peace and overlooking the beach. I would recommend for a seasoned traveler who truly loves and knows Costa Rica.

Stayed February 2014, 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.
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

This place really has some potential to be amazing as I guess it was back in the day when new. Property is nice from the outside, but everything (except for the restaurant) and especially inside of the rooms simply spells OLD. Rooms are spacious, but not clean enough. We found hair in the bed when we showed up, and I honestly doubt our blanket was changed before we got in. Same could probably be said for the sheets, just didn't look or smell clean. So yeah, the first impression was horrible and I felt like leaving the same day, but since we had it booked for a week we had to stay. Once we got used it, we could have focused on the other things which weren't that bad. As I said, restaurant is really nice, staff is friendly, especially one waiter who was animating everybody. Menu is depleted, some items are always missing, but there was always something we liked. Nearby beach is good for swimming, but gray sand makes it look dirty, and water is shallow so you have to go further to swim. Other beaches are prettier, but you’ll need some sort of transportation to get to those. And if you rent a car beware of horrible roads, especially at night. There is no lighting, and everybody, and I mean everybody, is on the road, from pedestrians to bicyclists. Very easy to get into accidents. Furthermore, rent a car is very expensive when you take the insurance into account, so the price you pay for the room might easily double when you compare to some other region where you don’t need a car to survive, keep that in mind! The entire region is pretty undeveloped for western (and even lower) standards, not really much to do or see, except for beaches and forests, but honestly I’m not the type that needs a week to do so. If there is ever a next time for me to visit Costa Rica, it’d definitely be the Caribbean side.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
New York
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

Vista Bahia is tucked away in the jungle and is truly away from it all. There are no nearby stores, bars, restaurants or other activities. The closest "tourist area" (Playa Del Coco) is about a 15-minute $15-$20 cab ride away.

What we saw of the grounds were well maintained as were the exteriors of the rooms.

When we visited, we had the resort all to ourselves. Quite literally. Peace and quiet quickly turned to desolation, isolation and downright frustration!

The resort had apparently closed for a week (for reasons Trip Advisor won't let me publish) at the beginning of December and failed to notify me of the closure despite having exchanged calls and emails just prior to my arrival. I never got to stay there as the resort was closed, locked up tight and totally vacated by staff without even a email, phone call or note on the door. So much for a "confirmed reservation".

This place looks like an O.K. place to stay, but I prefer to spend my money at places that know how to treat a customer. Stranded in the jungle at a closed resort is not a good way to start any vacation! I would truly rate this as a "no star" resort but that's not an option!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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)
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): $$
Number of rooms: 34
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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