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“Wonderful experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Canaima Chill House

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Canaima Chill House
400 metros al este del Hostal Brunelas, hacia el monte | Playa Santa Teresa, Santa Teresa 60111, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Wonderful experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

We headed to Canaima Chill House after strong recommendations of our friends. It was a the best decision we made! The hotel is located about 5 minutes walking distance to the beach. And the surrounding is just beautiful. We have seen gorgeous squirrels and monkeys in the trees from the pool.
The stylish rooms are very spacious and comfortable. And on the top of that, the owner has been so helpful! He really understood what king of vacations we were looking for and he advised us consequently.

Over all, we had a magical time here! We had one only regret .... to stay longer! But we will come back!

Room Tip: Take the Surf classes taught by Juan Carlos! Not necessary but I suggest to rent a quad from the h...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2013

My wife and myself reached the guest house filled with high expectations, stemming from a friend's enthusiastic recommendation as well as fostered by numerous glowing reviews on TripAdvisor. Unfortunately it took me much less than the 1-day booking we made to realise that Canaima wasn't as good as hyped. Not being sold beyond its looks, we ultimately opted not to extend our stay and headed towards greener (= chill-friendlier) pastures.

I should start by disclaiming my reviewing stance: a hotel (i) confidently advertising itself as a "chill house" / "stress-free zone" and (ii) charging USD80 a night for a double room in a very much non-mainstream touristic, rough-around-the-edges location moulded for the non-fussy type definitely calls for expectations. In a nutshell: if a box is presented as a jewel case and it shines, there has to be a gem inside. That's where I was disappointed.

First and foremost, I'd like to sincerely congratulate Canaima's owner for the lodge's truly exquisite and exceptionally stylish room design. Kudos for that: it is indeed a really well crafted jewel case.

The dusty, choppy and steep 500m slope leading to Canaima didn't bother me one bit: it's honestly disclaimed on the hotel's web-site, plus I regarded it as good exercise as well as a mood build-up tune towards sweeter things to come. Like a fresh room. Our room had no A/C, which I'd agree with the owner as being surplus to requirements – although I read of a different endeavour off a TripAdvisor response to a similar comment (from 2 years back)... – *so long as* there's decent ventilation in place. Despite the owner's opinion to the contrary, room ventilation was poor: the weak ceiling fan, purposefully fitted to be restricted to the bed area, was plainly inadequate. I don't enjoy sweating while simply packing / unpacking my suitcase; not in a "chill house" filled with promise. Leaving the door and windows wide open in a tropical jungle setting (= stale + very humid) without a proper mosquito net would do little – those pull-up curtains enable *some* privacy and environment separation, not insulation from pests – unless you're a fan of blood-sucking pests, to say.

The drop-down mosquito net around the bed didn't just work: its loose, if tender to the eyes, 4-section cut couldn't prevent 2 unwanted overnight wake-ups caused by both mosquito bites and the stuffy heat.

The magnificent shower grotto baited me for a really enjoyable showering experience; that I got, until I had to negotiate with the wobbly, part-leaking and frankly basic-quality shower head and hose. What a stark contrast with the surroundings!

While available, wi-fi connection is dispensed through a standard domestic modem (really!?! #1) lying on the reception desk at waste-level, hardly stretching the signal into our room – which was the ground-level 2nd closest one to the reception... – and gets switched off after hours (really!?! #2), which was an unexpected first as my travel experiences go.

Privacy is an unwarranted commodity: leaving the open-plan resort concept (which I don't dislike) aside, I don't need to hear my neighbours up top chatting, if considerately, or making otherwise normal noise; let alone late at night. While I wouldn't expect accommodations to be sound-proof, I would nevertheless associate the concept of a "chill house" with some acoustic insulation.

Available dishware from the kitchen corner could have been cleaned better, like the external hanging bed linen (a few marks left by previous guests) and room porch (2 cigarette butts and an used tissue).

We didn't take a full morning breakfast for granted; it's clearly noted as an optional add-on in Canaima's web-site, which a few (if outdated) comments on TripAdvisor cautioned me against. With that being said, complimentary filter coffee – perhaps self-made from a standard filter coffee machine – would have been a nice touch. Lacking that (it did), the availability of pay-for coffee would have been appreciated. Lacking that (it did)... you're incentivised to leave the guest house ahead of your morning schedule just to get a dirty coffee fix someplace down the village. Unless you're used to carry around your own filter coffee machine while on holiday.

My regret with all the above issues is that they could all be resolved with really little effort and cost-effective remedies (e.g. a couple of routers, modern shower units, larger and more powerful ceiling fans...) from the management's end. This is something I'm afraid I do expect from a resort of Canaima's pretence, also coming sign-posted as a stress-free zone. The following short-comings, however, I can't honestly see as so easily addressed and should be kept in mind.

While boasting a swimming pool, a separate Jacuzzi and a lie-in pillow lounge in the communal areas, their overly small size (fitting 3 guests with a loose personal space perception, 4 without) made me quickly realise that the simultaneous presence of just 2 guests in any is a dead put-off. In an resort of Canaima's size, and with the aforementioned ventilation issues, there will be strong 'competition' without a doubt. While using the Jacuzzi on my own – too tempting an opportunity to let it pass – I had overheard a resort guest regretting that the Jacuzzi was already occupied.

A side, yet crucial note: the swimming pool was dirty (= clouded water completely closing the pool floor's look); period. Sorry, no "we're in the jungle!" argument holds here: *all* other hotels I distributed my Costa Rican holiday around, which were framed into a jungle setting, provided remarkably clean, limpid pools. At the time I was there, maintenance of Canaima's swimming pool had been royally passed over for some time.

An afterward that pointed my final mark onto a 2/5 rather than a 3/5 is finally in order: the correct answer to a resort guest asking a payment receipt / invoice when checking out (which really shouldn't be requested in the first place) is along the lines of "Yes, of course: here it comes", not a reluctant "We don't normally issue receipts over 1 day-long stays (really!?! #3), but I'll issue one anyway".

Pura (y mas disfrutable en otros sitios) vida!

Room Tip: Head for rooms upstairs to enjoy more privacy and quietness.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AnfiCostaRica, Owner at Canaima Chill House, responded to this review, August 10, 2013
Dear guest,

Thank you very much for your review.

I really take it very personally and try to learn from all the feedbacks that our guests give us.

I love what I do and try to make every day my hotel better so travelers enjoy their stay. There are some moments where the "gem inside the jewel case" hasn't been perfectly polished and because of the rough environment we have around Playa Santa Teresa, the gem doesn't always shine as it should.

I am really sorry that you didn't find that "gem" inside the box.

There are some things that you commented on your review that we have already put a solution to. We are very sorry that during your stay you didn't find them as they normally are and should always be.

Just say that sometimes a couple of circumstances that don't depend at all of the management of the hotel, occur at the same time, and make things not work or be as some guests expect. Being in the middle of the jungle with an unpaved road and a 6 hours drive to the closest city where you can buy "decent" supplies for your business, sometimes makes things challenging.

We consider that internet is a very important tool for all our guests. We never turn off internet in any moment. However, we are in rainy season, storms occur often, therefore the whole town looses electricity making the internet system not work. I will consider buying an energy backup for our modem and WiFi router.

As I said in other replies to other guests, it's a shame that you didn't expose all your concerns, in the moment I asked you or your wife if you were enjoying your stay, having a "everything is fine, thank you" as a reply, because I'm sure that we could have immediately resolved some of the points you mentioned and made your stay much more enjoyable.

I hope you found a nice place to stay during the rest of your holidays in the beautiful Costa Rica.

PS: You keep referring Canaima Chill House as a resort, it's a very ambitious term but we are not a resort, we are a family business hotel of 8 rooms.
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League City, Texas
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

My girlfriend and I stayed at Canaima for 12 days and it was the best decision we ever made. The location, the decoration, the staff. It was all amazing. We got in late because of the time our flight got in and it's a little trek from San Jose to Santa Teresa, but that is not a problem. As soon as we got in we were greeted by Marta and shown to our room and Juan Carlos had left a nice little note for us. The next morning we met Juan Carlos and he is a really great guy and extra personable. He told us about all of the places to eat at in Santa Teresa as well as where the grocery stores were and all of the "happenings" in town. Marta and Jaime who worked the front desk were super awesome and friendly. Anything you needed or wanted to know they were more than helpful. We also got to know them and become friends with them. We you are here you feel like family and that it's just an extended home. I loved the decoration of the rooms and how everything was so open. The jungle is your back yard. Our room also had a gas stove and a refrigerator which was awesome for the nights we just wanted to stay in and cook. So I see some people complaining about no A/C. It's really not that bad and if you feel it's "that bad" believe me your body will get used to it and you will start to realize that you don't really "need" A/C. Also, people complained about the hill. That isn't that bad either. My girlfriend and I actually enjoyed the walk up and down it. The first time we were maybe a little tired, but that's the whole reason we came to Santa Teresa in Costa Rica instead of a resort, to get away from the stagnant American lifestyles. The beach is very close and I love how the community stops what they are doing to gather on the beach and watch the sunset. The howler monkeys would hang out in the trees and howl at ATV's as they drove by which was pretty funny. Canaima and everyone there is amazing and I can't wait to be back in Santa Teresa and at Canaima. Juan Carlos, Marta, and Jaime made our stay perfect and I can't thank them enough! Also, take some surf lessons from Juan Carlos. I took one later in the trip, but I definitely wish I had taken them more and sooner. He is an awesome teacher and very patient with his students.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome, PA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

In spite of the last several less than stellar reviews I feel compelled to share my experiences. We had visited Canaima Chill House back in March on a two week trip through CR.

This was the highlight of our trip. The property was beautiful both in its construction and in the aesthetic details. The open layout provided a "chill" atmosphere and a nice breeze. Juan Carlos (the owner) offered great hospitality and also great surf lessons.

Our itinerary was lax with the intention of being able to stay where we wanted for however long we wanted -- we spent the largest majority of time here. Feeling nostalgic this morning, I browsed across this page and was offended by the unfair whining going on in the past couple reviews. As Juan Carlos has already tactfully responded all that I can really say is to disregard the negatives and trust that this property is a must see on your travels. I hope to be back soon!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013 via mobile

The rooms are so cool and the service is perfect! They are always looking aftershave you. If you need something They help you.
There is always clean.
I liked the intalacions, the swimming pool with all the relaxing beds near, it is so confortable.
I had eat so good.
I have had a great time and if i can,I will repeat it!! Congratulacions!!!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013 via mobile

Exotic up hill jungle location, still close to the beach, shops and cafés. Rooms are large and have an almost outdoor shower.
The staff is the most pleasant ever experienced in a hotel.
Also the owner Juan Carlos is a great surf instructor.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013 via mobile

Hate to give a bad review but..At first look this place is beautiful and looked like a little bit of paradise. A lovely plunge pool with hanging chill out beds set up amongst the trees. However after a cold shower at 2am to cool down and a restless nights sleep I really didn't want to endure this any more. This place really needs air conditioning!! The weak ceiling fans are not enough. Also the place has no privacy. The shower has a see through curtain and the bathroom only has some hanging wooden beads and curtains that don't close fully so don't expect privacy in the bathroom. I would recommend this place for couples only that dont mind sleeping naked and see each other shower/pee! I stayed here with a friend and to be honest would rather have some privacy in the bathroom/be able to sleep in pjs! the trek up the hill is also a pain and you are kinda stuck if it rains. difficult enough as it is climing up. yet I know this is well documented on the website that transportation is recommended. I would definitely agree you have to have transport!! Not really for the steep hill - I can handle that (a nice air con room when u finally get there would do a treat!!) but because this place is pretty far away from the main hub of santa teresa and a fair old trek from the intersection at Franks. also the owner was away on holiday when we were there and the largely unhelpful girl in charge didn't offer breakfast/surf lessons as advertised and seemed to know little of the surrounding area.despite 2 of the top restaurants recommended by trip advisor being in the close vicinity (Alma and Burger Rancho) she could only recommend pizza place A or pizza place B?! Sorely disappointed in this place and from the reviews expected more! have now moved to another place in santa teresa that is just a wee gem! looking forward to a sleep with aircon tonight!

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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canaimachillhouse, Gerente at Canaima Chill House, responded to this review, June 22, 2013
Dear guest,

First of all apologies for not offering you what you expected during your stay at Canaima Chill House.
It's true that in Costa Rica it can get too hot and if you are not used to be with out A/C it can be an unconformable situation. For next season we will have some rooms with A/C.

About the privacy, we are an open space concept hotel. During 5 months of the year we have heavy rains and we need to have our rooms ventilated from the humidity.

The hotel is exactly 400 meters from the main road as documented on our website. This location permits enjoy the noises of the jungle and not the traffic and crowdedness down the hill. If we ever have any guests that want to be in the "main hub" we highly recommend them to stay in any of the other beautiful hotels down the road. Canaima Chill House is a little hotel made with love to make our guests enjoy their stay and their holidays. We would never want to make any "fake marketing" to attract guests and once they arrive, find a different product than what they saw on the website.

June is a very low season month and many restaurants close during this month, that is why the receptionist wasn't able to suggest you any other nice restaurants. Why wouldn't we want to recommend a nice place instead of a pizza place A or pizza place B? Our job is to make you happy.

We are going to go through ALL the information of our website and retouch the information that confuses people that want a different product than what we offer, so these confusions don't happen again.

Hope you enjoyed the rest of your stay in Playa Santa Teresa, and once again sorry for all the inconveniences you had during your stay with us.

PURA VIDA
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Additional Information about Canaima Chill House

Also Known As:
Canaima Chill House Hotel
Canaima Chill House Hotel Santa Teresa
Canaima Chill House Costa Rica/Santa Teresa
Address: 400 metros al este del Hostal Brunelas, hacia el monte | Playa Santa Teresa, Santa Teresa 60111, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Santa Teresa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 30 B&Bs / Inns in Santa Teresa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our "rustic boutique hotel" is a jungle oasis, only 500 meters away from one of the most beautiful beaches of Costa Rica.In Canaima Chill House, luxury is experienced in harmony with nature and simple sensations such as, relaxing on a bamboo hanging bed, listening to the amazing sounds of the jungle or chilling in our “pillow swimming pool”.Sensations which are hard to explain, sensations which are simple to feel.- 4 suites (for 2 people)- 4 suites-loft (up to 4 people)- Swimming Pool- Chill Deck- Outdoor Jacuzzi- WI-FI- Personalized services- Cocktail and smoothie bar- Room service breakfast (optional) ... more   less 
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