Like many travelers who utilize this website, I do an extensive research and read through all the reviews of the place before and after I book a trip. I got a great rate through Luxury Link and Rancho Pacifico (RP) has wonderful reviews, which all of it is pretty much true.
I have to agree that RP is a unique place, perched high on the mountain surrounded by spectacular mountain vista and the ocean view that no photos can do justice. The place seems to compliment the nature well. All the architectural and interior design details were meticulously thought out by Garrison (the owner).
The staff is very friendly and attentive. Also, we had a small group the week we stayed so it was as if we had the whole place to ourselves. It's not a big place so I can't imagine what it would be like when the place is fully booked.
Yes, we did wake up to the sound of howling monkeys (they're small but from their howling you'd think they're as big as gorillas) very early in the morning, like 5 AM. Also, the loud chirping of the birds outside of our room was just amazing. This we didn't mind at all. Then it started, around 7 in the morning - hammering, sawing and drilling - the din of construction. RP had begun constructing their new spa the week we were staying! Currently the spa is a small room on top of the kitchen. Since I decided to get a message in the evening (after the construction), I got a whiff of garlic and smell of cooking during my message - not what you would expect during a spa treatment.
They didn't let us know of the construction when we booked the trip. From sun up to sun down, the workers were hammering, welding and sawing away, just a few feet away from our suite. The place isn't that big so there was no place to escape the noise. Imagine sitting out in the deck by the swimming pool, looking down at one of the most incredible views on this earth then the smell of welding metal hits you, and the incessant clang of metal hammering that kept intruding into the sound of the forest. One day they were installing shelves in the kitchen, and the high-pitch sound of an electric drill almost made me lose my mind. Argh!
We did several excursions and that was the only time we were able to escape the sound of construction. I started looking forward to the evening when the workers finished and headed up to their hut above RP. One of my favorite parts of the stay was trying out the delectable dishes prepared by Alex. Everyday was something new (my favorite was the unbelievably fresh seared tuna that was caught fresh that day).
I've heard that the construction would end before the big holiday arrivals so if you're considering RP you probably won't have to deal with the noise and you'll be able to experience the new spa. The unfortunate part was that the owners and staff did not even apologize for the noise nor even acknowledge the discomfort. This is an intimate place where there aren't tons of clients to deal with. Such a small gesture like that would have been nice.
Also, if you're getting a lodge suite like we did, forget about a little cat nap in your room during the afternoon. The laudry room is adjacent to the suites and besides the machine humming all day, whenever the drier is finished it makes a loud buzzing sound. This will not be an issue if you stay at a spa suite (more $ though).
I may be a bit harsh in giving only 2 stars but I thought I was getting a reclusive mountainside retreat. I spent good money for this travel and if I had known that they would be working on a new spa during my stay, I probably would have waited and booked another week.
If you are thinking of going there around May of 2007, I would advise to consider another month since they will supposedly add 2 more suites. Also, it's the rainy season so I expect they'll probably not expect too many guests. Don't do it even if you get a great rate, it's just not worth it.
If you decide to go, here are a few things I would like to share:
- I would recommend flying rather than the drive. Their website showed that it would take about 4 hours from San Jose, but that's not true. It could take up to 6 hours. Depending how long was your flight to San Jose, you DON'T want to deal with 6 hour drive. Another option would be to spend the first night in SJ and get a ride the next day - less harsh for your body.
- Humidity is very high so things don't dry well. So I would recommend bringing enough clothes and underwear for the full stay. They do offer laundry service though.
- Don't expect to see tons monkeys and wild life around RP. You could get lucky but it's not as common as you might expect. I saw plenty of wild life during my boat ride to San Josesito, which passes through the mangroves, where monkeys hang out.
- Garrison and Silvia own a cat and just got a new dog. If you are allergic, let them know. The cat tends to hang out in the restaurant/lounge area.
- Water pressure is excellent and you'll have the best showers of your life.
- I would highly advise against renting a car and driving to RP from San Jose. You may want to rent and do local drives yourself once you're in Uvita but don't do the initial drive to RP yourself.
- Sun sets fairly early (around 5:30 - 5:45) and the place gets pitch black so late driving or hiking is not recommended.
- Because RP is located high up in the mountain, you'll need a ride to get down, walking down is really not an option.
Costa Rica is really beautiful. Life seems to be simpler and purer. As long as you're not staying at a place undergoing a renovation or construction, you can't go wrong.
- Also Known As:
- Rancho Pacifico Hotel
- Rancho Pacifico Uvita
- Rancho Pacifico Hotel Uvita
- Rancho Pacifico Costa Rica/Uvita
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rancho Pacifico - Where Style meets Nature and the Rainforest meets the sea. Member - Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Deluxe Villas, Suites, & TreeHaus', Jungle Spa, Private Preserve and secluded beaches. Spectacular ocean views and spacious privacy in Costa Rica's last best place. World Travel Award Triple Nominee - Leading Boutique and Leading Green Hotel, Central and Latin America, 6 consecutive years. ... more less
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