I will admit that we went into our stay at El Establo with slightly different expectations. For whatever reasons, we thought it would be a luxury hotel in the middle of the jungle.
We were slightly wrong.
The hotel is scattered over multiple buildings on a HUGE plot of land. It takes a shuttle or grueling trek up the hill to go from one building to another (ie lobby, pool, etc). I was luckily in the first building, so it did not affect me.
It was my first experience in a long time staying at a hotel without AC/Heat. During the day, when we were in the room, it was definitely slightly warm and at night it did get a little chilly. While it wasn't that big of a deal during our stay, I can imagine during different times of the year, it might be an issue. What was worse for me was the humidity. The room always had a muggy feeling and because the room is all wood, it was very musty, especially the bathroom.
We had bugs in the room ranging from ants to flying moths and such. Having carpet in a humid room is not a good idea.
Because the bathroom window/vent faces the hallway and because the doors feel paper thin, noise in the hallway is easily heard in the room. Not awful, but annoying
WIFI is only available in some of the public areas.
The worst thing for me was the fact that the front desk closed at 10 PM. This seemed unacceptable to me for a hotel of this size (even small motels in the US are open 24 hrs/day). While supposedly there is someone manning the security gate outside the property, the fact that there is no one readily accessible to call if a need arose (hotel instructions are to contact the security guard, although how to do that is unclear) is a little odd.
The included breakfast buffet is pretty good. I did not eat any other meals at the hotel so I cannot comment on the other restaurant.
The main selling point of the hotel for me was the land the hotel is on. Although the concierge was helpful in telling us things to do during our stay in Monteverde, it wasn't until the last full day that they even told us about the hiking trails that are on the hotel grounds. They gave us a trail map (the return part did not seem complete), but this turned out to be one of the best things we did in Monteverde. The trail is as hard as your want to make it, but following the path took us about 2 hrs. There were some spots with amazing views and we did see some wildlife on the trails. I would highly recommend this.
Overall, I had a tough time deciding if this hotel deserved a 3 or 4 star rating. While it is a remote hotel, and while I was definitely looking to dismiss pretty big issues with the hotel including the lack of WiFi, bugs, lack of AC/heat, etc., I think it was very strange not having 24 hr front desk service. In the end, I decided to give 4 stars just because 1) its a different sort of hotel (the overall feel) and 2) the free hiking trail that is on the property was a great experience and saved us money/time from having to go elsewhere.
- 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