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“Don't climb this mountain!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of El Establo

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El Establo
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Diagonal to Escuela Rafael Arguedas | N 10° 18.7836 / W 84° 48.9587, 60109, Costa Rica   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 18 Hotels in Monteverde
denver, colorado
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Don't climb this mountain!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

This hotel is situated on the side of a hill, making for a steep walk or hotel shuttle bus wait if you want to move up to the restaurant at the top or down to the reception at the bottom. The restaurant was not worth the ride uphill since the ribeye steak was tough and not cooked well; I ordered it medium and it came to my table almost raw and when I sent it back, you guessed it, it returned almost burned to a crisp! The waiter tried to appease me with another glass of Cabernet.

My bottom floor hotel room came with the usual items: a bed, a television, coffee maker and refrigerator, but I had to take the coffee maker into the bathroom since the ONLY plug-ins were about 12 inches above the gross carpeted floor or in the bathroom next to the sink...great locations for drying your hair or vacuuming the carpet, but NOT for brewing coffee! Also, the ceiling was covered in beautiful wood paneling, but the floor was carpeted in soiled, out-of-date carpet that needs to be removed! Next time put the wood on the floor and note to hotel--pull the carpet and replace with wood or stone tile! Carpet does not belong in a humid, tropical rain forest anyway!

The reception was efficient, though some were friendly and some were not, but don't expect much help if you have trouble with the room; they don't return calls and will tell you that they are going to take care of your request and then they do not. I checked out the night before since I had an early shuttle to the airport in San Jose. I was assured even after checking twice that there would be a breakfast box for me at the gate when I was to leave--there was no box.

The only high point for this hotel was the Spa which was fabulous, a real gem, but once again a very loooooong walk uphill or a shuttle ride over half-a dozen speed bumps. the therapists were excellent and the facility was terrific, a place where you are going to be pampered. This hotel has two small pools and NO jacuzzi, but you can take a jacuzzi at the spa building for no extra charge and they will fill it for you, light candles and with no time limit--a great place!

My advice: don't "climb every mountain," especially this one!

Room Tip: Choose a top floor to avoid crawly critters on the old, soiled carpet!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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904 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (183)
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English first
Philadelphia
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

The hotel is spread across many acres with the rooms situated up and down the steep hill. Each room has a panoramic vista looking toward the ocean and surrounding hilly area. The rooms are very nice with rockers to enjoy the view from the balcony. The bed was comfortable and the room very clean updated with a modern bathroom.

The lower restaurant on the property, Las Riendas, has a cafeteria-like ambience but the food was very good. The breakfast buffet offers more than anyone could possibly want to eat for breakfast as I find to be the same at any breakfast buffet. There is a panaderia across the street if you just want a continental breakfast. There is also an Italian restaurant, Johnny's, that's around the corner, but we didn't eat there because we were tired every evening from active daytime activities.

The tour guide was very helpful, and he'll try to sell you their tours. But on tripadvisor.com I read about specific tours that I wanted to take and he graciously made arrangements. We did the Selvatura Zip-Lining which got rave reviews on trip advisor.com--we were not disappointed! We did the night walk with the hotel guide who has had 7 years of training as a wildlife biologist--he was fantastic and passionate about nature and Costa Rica. We also made arrangements for a guide to take us through the Monteverde Cloud Forest and he was also great--make sure you have a certified guide!

There is a little zip line on the property and two pools. Both pools have a great view! The upper pool has more amenities and you can take the shuttle up the hill to get there.

WiFi is only available in the common areas. So at night we we walked down to the lobby to use. It also works in part of the lower restaurant and all the pool areas.

While some of the wait staff in the restaurant were very friendly, we didn't get that vibe from the front desk or maids. Upon our arrival the front desk clerk gave our small group her spiel and never cracked a smile once!

I read the other reviews and can understand peoples' concerns about the steep hills, but the shuttle will take you up and down as many times as you want! One has to understand that Costa Rica is a very hilly country and traversing steep hills is not uncommon! Also, the reason for 4 stars is that it is a very noisy hotel. While the stone corridors in the hotel area iare very beautiful, it echoes any little noise. Plus the rockers sound like someone is using heavy equipment--so sound carries in the rooms which is a big negative.

Tips: Since it is a tropical area, expect afternoon rain showers. I recommend a waterproof shirt, which you can get any good sporting goods store, rather than a rain jacket which can be very hot with a t-shirt underneath. Wear a wide-brim, lightweight hat to keep light rain out of your eyes and off your glasses because it can be wet in the cloud forest. Good waterproof hiking shoes are a must because it can bit a bit muddy while hiking. It is very humid in Costa Rica so any supplex or rip-stop fabric will wick away the moisture. Enjoy nature here--it's by far the best I've ever seen next to Alaska!

Room Tip: Ask for a room on a corner away from the main doorway.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Annapolis, MD
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013

The location and the hotel is lovely. But the amenities were kind of strange.

The grounds are very pretty and well maintained.

They have a fabulous restaurant, great food, great value (after getting financially raped for food at Tabacon in La Fortuna it was a welcome surprise). The problem was the it was only open one night - it closed (with no notice) because there were not enough guests in the hotel. Huh? So we were forced to eat in the other restaurant which was poor to good. The good thing was that they have a buffet which was fairly priced (unlike at Tabacon in La Fortuna which was a total rip-off).

Then they wanted to charge me $25 to do a little bag of laundry. It was just insulting. I took it into town and got it done for $10 at Hotel Tucan.

And the rooms are more like a hostel than a fine hotel. They are nice but just very sparse.

The worst part is what they charged for tours. They charged us $180 for a LOUSY tour of the cloud forest. Last 1.5 hours. By far the biggest gouging we received.

I'd stay again because it was so pretty. But the service is so strange.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Studio City, CA
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

The location of this Hotel is truly stunning. As other reviewers have mentioned it is on an enormous piece of property and is very spread out. Our room was not ready when we arrived and we watched in dismay as another couple arriving at the same time were given their room key. After dejectedly heading towards the concierge to arrange for some activities, the front desk woman came to us with a key to another room that was ready. It was a lovely gesture and won us over quickly.
We were in one of the buildings that was close to the reception, dining and pool area, and did not need a shuttle for anything other than the night hike. The staff was helpful and friendly, and the concierge is eager to help you with ANY information you need, including booking you on any tours or adventures. The room we stayed in had a loft and an extra bed which is great for two couples or those with children. If you have a lot of luggage, getting to any floor other than the first may be a bit of a challenge as the building has steps going down only to be accompanied immediately by steps going back up to get to your room, which may have been for a stylish design, but was very annoying.
We enjoyed breakfast and dinner at the hotel. Breakfast was a buffet complete with various fruits, cereals, breads and other hot foods including some typical foods found on Costa Rican menus. Dinner was nice, nothing overtly spectacular but yummy and fairly priced. They offer a happy hour in the restaurant and live TV depending on where you sat.
We were not particularly thrilled with the lack of Wi-Fi in the room, and had to trek to the lobby to use the internet, only to be kicked out at 10PM. As much as we would love to NOT have to work on our vacations, it is simply unrealistic, and not having easy access to Wi-Fi was a bummer.
The hotel conducts a night hike (for a fee) through the private garden/preserve owned by the hotel. While we didn't see anything amazing on the hike (some wild looking insects and one tree ferret-type animal), our guide was fabulous, passionate and knowledgeable. His love for what he did made it worth while for sure.

Room Tip: Try getting a room in Building Three.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

This hotel was beautiful. It is located on a sprawling hilly property. A shuttle service takes you from your room to the pool and restaurants because the walk is straight up the hill and everything is spread out. The food was very good. The beef and chicken tacos were delicious!!! Grilled filet mignon and chicken on homemade tortillas! Rooms were clean and staff was friendly.
We also went zip lining and on the night hike through the hotel. We didn't see anything on the night walk and it was expensive for what we got. The zip lining however was fabulous and wonderful guides! I recommend zip lining in the morning. It was really cool "flying" through the clouds!
The main negative about this hotel was there was no air conditioning. It was cool at night, but lot of bugs got in even though the doors were shut. My daughter and I were eaten up with Mosquitos the next morning. We even had a scorpion in our bathroom one night.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2013

We stayed 2 nights in June 2013. The layout of the hotel impeded our desire to make use of its beautiful facilities. The hotel is very spread out and offers a shuttle to take you about. It is located on a steep hill intermingled with private residences, so it can be unpleasant to walk from the main facility to the pool or dinner restaurant.

Areas for improvement:
1. There are windows from the hotel room bathroom into the hallways, so you can here everything in the hallways with echo.
2. The shuttle took about 15 minutes from the time you call it.
3. Breakfast was not as good as what we experienced at comparable hotels in Costa Rica (service was slow, selection was just ok).
4. No Wifi in the rooms and common areas close at 10pm-ish, so you can't check your email at night.
5. As is common in Costa Rica, your room key is required for room electricity. The room clock was not battery powered and reset whenever you entered / exited. Also, the room fridge was useless if you are out at activities during the day.
6. Our room windows closed incompletely, and mosquitoes came in.
7. No A/C.
8. We ate at several delicious restaurants in town that were better than the hotel restaurant (trio, cafe cabure, chimera).

I recognize these are minor complaints and it is still a pretty decent hotel.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
florida
Top Contributor
409 reviews 409 reviews
115 hotel reviews
Reviews in 126 cities Reviews in 126 cities
148 helpful votes 148 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2013

Despite the rocky road to get there it was worth it. This is a first class act located on beautiful grounds.
We were in bldg 500 which is near the gourmet restaurant.
We ate there our last night and the food was very good.
Although we had to take a shuttle bus from our room to the reception area the vans came quickly.there is not much to do in town.
The staff were very helpful and the breakfasts were very sufficient.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Establo

Address: Diagonal to Escuela Rafael Arguedas | N 10° 18.7836 / W 84° 48.9587, 60109, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Monteverde
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 18 Hotels in Monteverde
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — El Establo 3.5*
Number of rooms: 155
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled in the misty cloud forest of Monteverde, El Establo offers the best quality services that will make your trip an unforgettable experience: The area`s best view, heated indoor pools, spa, restaurants, café-bars, special events center, internet access, souvenirs shop, tennis court, basketball court, mini soccer court, hiking trails, canopy tour and the most charming staff. This half Costarican – half Quaker, family owned hotel, will allow you to share the best of both cultures. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Establo Hotel Monteverde
El Establo Monteverde
El Establo Costa Rica/Monteverde

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