…you need a hotel with a laid back, intimate vibe;
…you like your sunsets perfect;
…you prefer a small hotel where it’s easy to get to meet and know people;
…you prefer personal and attentive (not gushing) service from the hotel owners, who know and call everyone by name;
…you want the best value;
All of this can be had at the Hotel Buenos Aires, high atop the Santa Teresa hills above Playa Carmen.
The girl and I stayed with Javi and Flo from March 20 – 26, 2013. The booking communication with Javier was easily done through e-mail and was always prompt. We elected for a top floor room with A/C, which for the price is one of the better values in CR in my experience. I can’t confirm, but I believe the bottom floor rooms (non A/C) are only $40 nightly with all taxes/fees included.
Prior to our arrival, we discovered the Tambor airport was shut down for repairs and flights were being diverted to an airstrip further away. Javi advised me through e-mail and let me know what to expect for the additional bus transfer from Dos Marias to Tambor, and adjusted the taxi schedule for late arrival. We booked our transfer from Tambor to ST through Hotel Buenos Aires for a reasonable price.
As stated above, there are many things to really love about this hotel. The general atmosphere of the hotel and the understated vibe is what really impressed us. There are seating areas outside of each room, with a small table and chair. Because the balcony and ground floor patios are not private, this gives a lot of opportunity for interaction with other guests and Javi and Flo, but privacy was respected by all, especially during and after lunch “siesta”. Towards the end of each day, most of the guests were coming back from their various excursions/adventures in Santa Teresa and elsewhere to share the best sunsets in ST. Rooms are spotlessly clean, and ownership does a great job of keeping the general common areas and garden areas clean and manicured as well.
I want describe a few (possible) negatives as well:
The walk up the hill that has been described previously is no joke. From the main road there is an asphalt portion and then a gravel portion of road up to Horizon. From there a steep “pathway” leads from just above Horizon to the pool, and then an additional “pathway” leads from the pool to the hotel. If you are driving (4 x 4 only I think), this is not an issue. If you are either unwilling or unable to manage either the road or path on foot, this could be the difference in an enjoyable or unfavorable experience at this hotel. The girl (3 months pregnant) did “ok” on this, and it didn’t bother me, but we are both youngish, very fit people. I would not recommend walking this if you have mobility issues. She didn’t care for the walk from the main street and the pathways, although it didn’t bother me too much. I think in hindsight she was glad for the strenuous exercise.
The mattresses on the bed are quite firm, which really worked for me but I heard from others they didn’t find it comfortable.
As shown on the website and in guest photos, there is a pool that is available exclusively for HBA guests. The pool is also used by the owner of Brisas del Mar Restaurant and their children, which was not a problem for us, but might be off-putting if you are expecting an adults-only pool.
Typical to this type of building in Costa Rica, the walls and floors are not well-insulated so there may be sound transfer coming from adjoining rooms (or from above if you are in a bottom floor). This is standard fare in my many Costa Rica experiences, so not really a negative – more an FYI.
If you are coming with children, you’ll do better with a bottom floor room. The balcony on the top floor room doesn’t have standard railing and could be dangerous for unsupervised children.
There was a mini-fridge in our room that was a very welcome addition. I suspect this is the same for all rooms, but you might check with Javier when booking if you desire a mini-fridge.
Horizon Yoga is just down the hill from HBA, halfway to the main street. The girl really enjoyed her yoga class there and found it to be a good value.
During our stay there was a good mix of couples, singles, a family, young folks and mature adults. We had a melting pot of Americans (New York, Georgia) Germans, Swiss, Argentines, K-9s (a Luna shout-out), and others. Great sunsets, the best hosts, great value, in a comfortable setting, with a perfect view, and a few possible negatives dependent on your expectations/desires.
We would stay here again when back in Santa Teresa.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
April 3, 2013
Wow Scott, you really take serioulsly your "job" on Tripadvisor, jajaa!
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First, l want to thank you and Liz for share your vacations with us it was a plasure meeting you guys.
Couple of things: all the rooms has a mini-fridge, and we are aware about our first floor and because of that, we do not rent the a/c rooms if there are small kids. Also remember then we still own the restaurant, we just rent it, having control of a few things there.
Thank you also for take your time and write this awesome review for us, hope we can share a few beers next time you are around.
Wish you all the best with the coming baby.
Big hug from Mal Pais.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.