During June 2013 we stayed at Monterey Del Mar Hotel (3 nights) for the second time. Our first visit, in July 2010 was a great experience that produced many wonderful memories. This year was not nearly as satisfying.
First, I need to say that this hotel is right on a beautiful beach that is practically empty, even on weekends. My wife and I took wonderful walks on this beach. She saw and got good close up photos of Scarlet Macaws just a little ways down the beach. Rooms that have doors facing the beach have amazing views. The grounds are beautifully maintained and well cared for. Wonderful, satisfying breakfasts are provided in the restaurant.
We reserved a Junior Suite with air-conditioning because we had spent the previous 4 days in more rustic lodges. The Junior Suite is actually the size of two normal rooms, but there is a single A/C unit to cool the larger room - same as those in the smaller rooms, and it was not strong enough to keep the room cool. It took over 4 hours after we arrived for the room to be comfortable, and we had to leave it running all day and all night, or have to wait for a long time to have it cool again. There was another A/C unit in the room, but it was not operational and reception told us it was not going to be.
Because we came during the "Green Season", there were periods with lots of rain, which we expected. During these heavy cloudbursts, water came in from the corner of the room and covered a large area of the tile floor.
There is a porch outside of the sliding glass door that faces the beach and ocean. Very nice and we enjoyed sitting there watch the waves and birds. But the sliding glass door could not be locked from the outside, so we could not leave from this door to go to the beach. We had to leave via the main room door, and walk all the way to the far end of the building, then all the way back around the outside to get to the beach.
Lights in the main hallway in the building where our room was located were activated by a motion sensor. I applaud them for using this environmentally-sensitive approach. However, the motion sensors were at an opening near the parking lot at the opposite end of the hall from our room, where there were no lights even to be activated. When we'd leave our room day or night, the hallway would stay dark until we were ready to leave the building where the motion sensors were positioned after which the hallway lights would come on. During night time, even when the lights were activated, it was still too dark at our door to put the key in the door lock without a flashlight. I have a neurological handicap that causes balance issues and have to walk with a cane. The dark hallways felt very dangerous to me.
The sliding glass door could not be opened when we first arrived in our room, but a service/repairman came and oiled the door, then showed us how we needed to use 2 hands to pull the doors together, and a third hand to move the switch that locked or unlocked this door. The third hand was needed because the switch was very stiff and took a lot of strength to move. Glad there were two of us sharing the room.
None of the room safes are operational because, according to reception, too many students played around with them while staying and broke them. They have a safe at reception, but this made it inconvenient to leave our passports and money, requiring a stop a reception every time we arrived at or departed from the hotel. There we many times when no one was at reception.
For the only meal other than breakfast that we ate at the hotel restaurant, dinner on the night we arrived, nearly half of the menu items were not available. We were able to find food on the menu we could eat, but not our first or second choices.
Wifi is advertised as being in some rooms, but it was not available in our suite. The radio signal that broadcasts the name of the network was not strong enough to reach our room, so even though we could see networks, we could not see the network name and consequently were unable to connect. There were 3 public wifi networks that I could connect to at different times in different locations on the property on different days. But no consistent wifi connection was available. Just had to move around the grounds to determine where it was working at that time on that day.
When we came in 2010 we had a few problems, but the staff was very quick and responsive in dealing with them. We felt like valued guests. This time, however, there seemed to be a don't care attitude from most of the people we dealt with, but not all. Groundskeepers were very friendly, and the man who came to show us how to use the lock to the sliding glass door was friendly as well. But the general feeling was that they did not consider guests to be important. Not once from the time we checked in until the time we checked out did we hear "thank you".
Had hoped for a better experience based on our previous stay, but even though this was the most expensive place we stayed in Costa Rica, it was far from the most comfortable and did not provide us with good memories. If we stay in the area again, we'll stay somewhere else.