My husband and I have wanted to go to Costa Rica for quite some time. We knew of all the adventuring we could do in-country, but we were really looking for just a quiet place we could relax for a week for our belated honeymoon to "get away from it all." Thus, being at Oxygen was just that for us; it was like one long, wonderful Saturday and we had love, laughter and fun here that gave us memories that will last us a lifetime.
Location: It is remote, small and located on a beautiful hillside in the Uvita area, so there are not too many guests, city noises, etc. The only thing one may here is the humming of the birds and short bursts of quiet rainfall. On the other hand, for those wishing to be in the midst of all the action, it is only a couple hour drive from Corcovado National Park (we went there via boat and loved the experience seeing dolphins, three different types of monkeys, tropical frogs, bats, anteaters, macaws, among other animals) and a twenty minute drive from Parque Nacional Marino Ballena (a beautiful, deserted private beach as part of the national park where one may do whale watching activities though we didn't see any because it's not the right time of year). We didn't rent a car and took leisurely walks to the village for a meal and to wander everyday, as well as using a taxi service to get back up the hill to the hotel (we walked a couple times up the hill and it was comparable to the Day 1 trek that I did as part of a five day trek up Kilimanjaro; if you decide to hike up it, be advised that it is steep and bring water! It's exhilarating and great exercise). We also did a couple dinners out using a taxi service, as well as watching a futbol game at the local indoor soccer complex. The hotel also arranged a taxi service for us to and from the airport. In the future, we would probably rent a car here, but as it was our honeymoon, we wanted a very hassle-free trip so driving was out of the question this time.
Room: Our room was impeccably cleaned everyday. We had an oceanview villa (the ocean appears far away but visible) and were able to revel in the sounds of tropical birds and animals. The power went out once but was back on very quickly, which I was quite surprised at, because in other foreign countries where I've visited or lived it takes nearly quadruple the amount of time for the power to be renewed. We ordered room service once and it was delivered in a timely manner when we had asked for it. The villas are very spacious and private and it was the perfect place for us to enjoy ourselves for our honeymoon as we spent almost half of our time in the room, itself. Improvements could be made by each room offering complimentary bathrobes, as well as luggage racks. Additionally, a wider selection of DVDs and some boardgames (Scrabble, Monopoly, etc.) would be nice to offer at reception as complementary forms of entertainment.
Food: The food was excellent but a bit overpriced for dinner options. We were there for a week and ate all but two dinners at the hotel. We ate lunch there twice and a few breakfasts, as well. As we were there for a week, we had tried all the dinner options by mid-week and were not allowed to order off the lunch-menu for dinner. As my husband used to work in a restaurant, he understood the complexities of not having food prepped, etc., but all we wanted was an avocado sandwich. Friends that we met there were offered a pizza one evening that was not on the menu as they had arrived too late for lunch and the power was off; they graciously shared the pizza with us. If delicious options like these had been offered on an extended stay menu, we probably would have chosen to eat at the hotel every night. Improvements: an extended stay menu could be offered to guests that are there for more than just a few nights that also offers some "lighter" options, such as sandwiches, pastas, etc. that do not require extensive ingredients, re-brand filet mignon as sirloin steak as it was overpriced and did not appear to be a cut of filet mignon (although it was still tasty). The chef explained to us that this was due to the availability of USDA quality meat in-country, which we realize was not his fault, but it should not be priced or branded as filet mignon, and finally, offer other sides with main dinner courses beside fruit for the price of the course (ingredient list does not need to be extensive, could be as simple as pureed potatoes or rice, just a little something more substantive than fruit to accompany fish, shrimp, etc.).
Staff service: The main staff (Mayra, the other woman that worked at reception, Roy, Victor, Chef Robert) and cleaning staff were excellent. When you arrive at the pool, you will never have an empty water glass as Mayra was always there with a smile on her face to fill it up with the cucumber-infused water. Fresh towels were also always supplied by Mayra, Victor, and Roy at the pool everyday. Victor makes the best top-shelf margarita we've ever had, as well as giving friendly advice on local attractions such as National Parks, beaches, restaurants, etc. He is a great up-seller when it comes to drinks. If you order a mixed drink, for example, he'll always offer top-shelf liquor or regular, but is not pushy about it. He always approaches up-selling in a friendly, professional manner. Roy also was instrumental in ensuring we had a wonderful stay. He suggested seeing a soccer game if we liked futbol at the local indoor soccer complex; we went and it was one of the highlights for us. He also let us use his personal cell phone to arrange our hotel stay in San Jose for our last night in-country as we did not have a local cell phone number or credit to use. Finally, the new manager gave us a lift to the beach when he heard us inquiring at the front desk about calling a taxi as he was also on his way to town. This extra gesture was very nice and certainly not expected. We learned that most of the staff was new, which was surprising, because the service was flawless and smooth the entire week we were there. Most importantly, the way in which the staff worked together and the manner in which they treated us with pleasant attitudes, warm smiles, and attending to our every need made the trip memorable and what it was. Improvements: activities staff could offer in the local area could be so much more than what is already offered!! The chef, for example, could offer a cooking class. I inquired about this; I would have loved to learn some of the local Costa Rican dishes and sauces that accompanied the food and would have been willing to pay for an hour-long session. Other activities that could have enriched our stay in the local area would have been a tour of the soccer complex and meet and greet with some teams (proceeds could go to the local team or soccer complex) and/or tour of the local school (proceeds could go to improvements needed at the school). The community in Uvita is small and everyone there is friendly. It has so much to offer and the staff could ensure guests have a chance, if desired, to see more of this beautiful community in ways that would promote sustainable tourism.
Overall environment at the hotel: The hotel was maintained very well, as the linens in the room, pool, and dining area were always impeccably clean, there were never empty glasses or plates left in the dining area, the pathways were swept clear of leaves and debris everyday, and the pool was free of bugs, leaves, etc. The Balinese statues were beautiful aesthetically, and music playing in the pool area was never too loud and always relaxing. Improvements: a couple times staff could be heard joking and talking loudly in the kitchen area; we were at the pool almost everyday all day so I realize that this is an unacceptable expectation for colleagues not to laugh, joke, communicate etc. Thus, while this was not a problem for us, other guests might complain about the noise-level when they are spending time by the pool so perhaps keep conversations to a minimum in the kitchen area. Additionally, we noticed the owner on his computer in guest areas, as well. While this did not necessarily bother us, it could bother other people so perhaps laptop use could be limited to private staff areas.
Final summary: In all, we had an excellent stay in Costa Rica (we stayed the ENTIRE week at Oxygen, unlike many other travelers who bounce around the country for adventure and sight-seeing purposes) due to the hospitality, high-quality service, cleanliness, and location of Oxygen Jungle Villas. Thank you for making our honeymoon one to remember.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Oxygen Jungle Villas is a small-scale and exclusive Balinese style boutique hotel. Located in Uvita, in the middle of the Costa Ballena, Costa Rica’s South Pacific hotspot. We guarantee individual and personalized service and a maximum of 24 guests (adults only) at all times, staying in one of the only 12 one-bedroom villas on the Oxygen estate. All this only minutes from some of the most pristine beaches in the world and centrally located between Costa Rica's most beautiful National Parks. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Oxygen Jungle Villas Hotel Uvita
- Oxygen Jungle Villas Costa Rica/Uvita