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“A pleasant surprise”

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El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bajos del Toro
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed March 24, 2013

I have to say this first : qualifying this place as a "pleasant" surprise is quite weak, but my lack of english forces me to be content of this phrasing.

We -stumbled- across this hotel well after dark, worn out from our journey across the carribean coast and we we're hoping for a place that would suit the budget of 2 traveling students...
You must've already understood that as soon as we had crossed the gate, we knew we were way out of our league, but still decided to carry on and meet the people that seemed (on the guard's radio) so eager to meet us!
As soon as we got out, we were overwhelmed by the beauty of the place, the melody of the waterfalls and the wind through the mountains. After a pleasant discussion with the manager on duty, William, we came to an agreement and though both me and my girlfriend knew a night in this hotel would mean a few sacrifices later on, the experience would be absolutely worth it.
The hotel staff catered to our every need (most of them left unspoken by the feeling we had of being already too lucky to be here) and a villa was opened for us much after normal hours, all with a smile.
William was especially friendly and useful, as he answered every little question we had about the hotel, the activities and even went out of his way to call friends and ask some employees for a place to put up our tent for the night. (You must understand that, though the price for this hotel isn't that high, we were working on a 40$ budget per day and anything over that needed to be discussed) We even felt guilty when we said we would stay at the hotel, because we knew how much trouble they went through to find a suitable alternative for us.
The villas are absolutely fabulous, with a jacuzzi outside, a confortable bed with hot water bags for our feet, cinammon water, spacious living and bath rooms and a marvelous sight right out of giant patio doors.
We had a guided walk through the property included with our stay and even though I knew most of the things they had to say (As I had worked for several months as a guide in Costa Rica), I enjoyed every bit as much as my girlfriend and came out with great pictures of their plantations, waterfalls and small farm.
The breakfast was quiet and relaxing, with a breathtaking Cloud Forest scenery, where we received every attention possible, the Maitre d'Hotel even ordered us a special fruit yogurt to excuse the fact that he had come to our table after the waiter, and not before.
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I went two times in Costa Rica, the first time I went for 3 months to work in a luxurious hotel as a concierge for foreign visitors and the second time I visited for 2 weeks with my girlfriend, showing her everything I had seen and more.
I've seen my share of expensive hotels around the world and I believe I know a good place when I see one. I highly recommend this place and extend again a special thank you to William, who did a great job.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Alexandre D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 30, 2013

Dear Alexandre, warmest greetings from Costa Rica! Thank you so much for sharing your experience at El Silencio Lodge. It is wonderful to learn that you found us by chance and that you fell in love with the property thanks to our amazing staff's caring friendship. William is a stellar example of Costa Rican hospitality! Thanks for noting it :) As a Costa Rican, I also thank you for developing such close ties to my country and for wanting to share its beauty with your girlfriend. Pura Vida!

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Reviewed March 18, 2013

Like a little bit of Switzerland in the middle of a cloud forest with typical brilliant Costa Rican service!

We stayed for 2 nights in March 2013 with my parents in law. We had a brilliant time and would recommend to anyone wanting to experience typical Costa Rican cloud forest but escape the crowds. Set in its own private cloud forest reserve with three waterfalls, you can trek, spa, relax and eat amazing food to your hearts content. The spa is excellent and the rooms/bungalows, are really fabulous with their own outdoor jacuzzis and tons of space.

The main part of the hotel (separate from the rooms/bungalows) with its crackling fires and goregous restaurant, does feel like a luxurious Swiss ski chalet! Also, I have got to mention the amazing staff. They are welcoming, attentive (but not overly so), professional, informed and most of all enthusiastic about the hotel and what it stands for (there is a big message regarding eco-tourism here). They really do make the hotel, I will warn you that it is expensive all in (when you include food and drinks) but we really enjoyed it and felt that it was second to none.

P.s. Whilst we were here, we partook in the cultural tour and learnt to make tortillas and drink moonshine with Olga, I totally recommend this as it was great fun and interesting.

P.p.s The weather here can be very, very foggy (something to do with it being the cloud forest perhaps?) so if you take the road from Zarcero, try and do it during daylight hours. The last 2 miles are on a steep winding track which you can barely see 1 metre infront of you at night and in the fog! We tried it, and a stiff drink was required when we eventually made it!!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank CFTG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 19, 2013

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your detailed comments and descriptions of El Silencio Lodge & Spa! Our goal is to provide a superlative travel experience that is far removed from crowded, touristy spots. Thank you so much for noting our staff and the excellence of our facilities. We wholeheartedly agree with your recommendation to only drive during the day, to avoid the late afternoon fog. For the best possible value, we also recommend combining a visit with our sister beach property, Hotel Punta Islita. We can offer a bundled deal that even includes transportation between the properties. For more details, our reservations staff is eager to assist: reserve@grupoislita.com

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Reviewed March 12, 2013

We really enjoyed our stay – it is an unusual and terrific place (apart from one gripe). The cloud forest setting is remarkable. The buildings are well-designed and look great. The staff is attentive, friendly and work hard to ensure your enjoyment. The opening hours for the restaurant are very reasonable.

The food is spectacular. Certainly some credit goes to the fresh ingredients but the chef, Marcela, is just amazing. One of my favorites at dinner was the starter “Trout Tartare” – be sure to try it.

Our one gripe is the suites need better heating. The lone radiant space heater for the bedroom doesn’t circulate the heat well in the bedroom with its vaulted ceiling. And, the bathroom is left unheated. The space heater can be rolled into the bathroom but that’s a nuisance and has very noisy wheels (you’ll wake your partner if they are still sleeping). Fortunately, the shower keeps a wonderfully full and steady supply of hot water.

I would easily give this 5 stars except for the heating issue. At an elevation of over 5000 feet the weather will often be chilly but there is no need for the room to also be that. We are still glad we visited – it’s a great lodge!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank MandL89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 15, 2013

Fondest greetings from Costa Rica! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your comments about El Silencio Lodge & Spa. Your feedback is incredibly helpful. El Silencio Lodge & Spa is located in high elevation cloud forest and warm comfy clothes are strongly recommended. Normally, one electric heater is enough to keep the Suite comfortable. If temperatures drop below normal levels, we gladly provide additional heaters and will bring hot water bed bags for added comfort :) That said, we are always looking for ways to improve our services and will gladly look into heating alternatives. Thank you so much for your warm nod to our staff, design, and our spectacular food by Chef Marcela!

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Reviewed March 10, 2013

We stayed at El Silencio for two nights during out 25th Wedding Anniversary trip and had a fantastic stay. The room was lovely. We so enjoyed the hot water bottles and water at our bedside during the turndown service. We also enjoyed our morning hike and then went to the small town nearby to learn to make tortillas. Andrey was our guide and Olga was our teacher and she is also the market owner of the small market right in her home. It was a wonderful, interesting experience. Would highly recommend it if you are interested in the local community. Andrey did an awesome job of answering all of my questions.
We also really enjoyed the restaurant and Henry was a wonderful waiter who helped us make our dinner decisions...he was never wrong! The food was fantastic. The trout was our favorite.
Please keep in mind if you go to El Silencio that it is in the cloud forest so there is 100% humidity....your hair may do really goofy things! I know mine did so I just put it in a ponytail and gave up! Also dress warm!!!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank SuesamM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 15, 2013

Saludos Sue! Thank you so much for your candid review of El Silencio Lodge & Spa. And a very special thanks for selecting us to celebrate such a special occasion. It was an honor to be a part of your 25th Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations! Thrilled to read that you fully enjoyed your stay --despite the hairdo issues ;) But most importantly, I am delighted to read that you fully enjoyed visiting Dona Olga and learning how to make traditional tortillas with her. Our relationship with local community members is our strongest asset and we are proud to have a chance to let visitors experience authentic Costa Rica in an unscripted, natural way. Thank you so much for your friendship!

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Reviewed March 10, 2013

I don't think I have ever experienced service at a hotel at this level.
Everyone, but especially our eco-concierge, went BEYOND any of our needs in trying to make our stay comfortable.

The Good:
Extremely friendly and helpful staff, beautiful and private grounds, excellent food (some of the best we've had in Costa Rica), great massages at the spa, outstanding bedding (best sleep in Costa Rica, hands down!).

The Bad:
This is not adapted for kids, they are open and clear about it (they have policy of 8yrs+... which we broke!). The place is also very secluded, so plan on staying on site or for traveling on bumpy winding roads if you want to do off-site tours.

The Bottom Line:
I don't know if we'd stay there for a full week because it is so remote, but my wife and I firmly intend to go back without the kids to enjoy some quality time off for a few days.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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Thank aeternalis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 15, 2013

Wow! Thank yo so much for your wonderful review. Our staff is truly outstanding and generous and we are quite blessed to have them. As you note, El Silencio Lodge & Spa is a relaxing, remote destination ideally suited for winding down, exploring the cloud forest, enjoying delicious food, and getting pampered with unique spa treatments. We recommend 8 years old as the minimum age but leave it to the discretion of parents. Some youngsters are keenly interested in the forest! The ideal stay is 3-4 nights to give you time to fully relax, explore the local communities, and engage in horseback riding, birdwatching, and hiking. Day excursions are also possible, entailing a 1.5 hour drive to access canopy zip-lining, river rafting, and other signature Costa Rica adventures. We certainly look forward to your return :) Gracias!

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Reviewed March 3, 2013

El Silencio, Bajos de Toro Amarillo.
This luxury Eco lodge is in a beautiful valley setting at quite a high altitude near the Volcano Poas. We had two nights here in mid-February and it was quite cold and showery.
It felt more like Cornwall than Costa Rica. On the day we left there was bright sunshine and it was really warm. Can't blame them for the weather. Hot water bottles in the bed during the turn down procedure was a nice touch.
The lodges are fabulous and include a hot tub. The bed linen is superb quality, and the bathroom is great. Food in the restaurant was high quality organic and tasted very fresh.
Service was friendly and mostly good but sometimes they forgot the odd thing that they were asked for.
At check-in we were asked to sign two pages of waivers - for instance saying that we would have to pay for any damage we caused. A bit heavy!
No TV or wi-fi. Also, no straws to drink your Piña Colada with because they say that they are Eco-unfriendly. Haven't they heard of bamboo straws? Some of this Eco business is baloney.
There is a guided 9am tour each day to the waterfalls included in the cost, which was very informative, particularly on the flora and fauna. We also did a 6.30am bird watching tour with Benny. We saw quite a few small birds and a glimpse of a Trogon, but overall it was quite disappointing for 35 dollars per person. Basically we just walked down through the car park and the access road. In our experience there the bird watching was a disappointment. I like to photograph birds and I never took a photograph in the two days we were there.
Most lodges in Costa Rica have a bird feeding station, usually near the restaurant where you can sit and watch the birds feeding, and also get some good photos. When I asked why they don't do this I was told that it wasn't natural to feed the birds. OK, but it's not natural to have a hotel in a quiet valley either, or to have Eco-unfriendly hot tubs, or to build more lodges down the valley. I understand that they would not qualify for their 5 star ecopoints if they feed the animals. The difference to me was that I would not come back again to this lodge because of the relative lack of birds to photograph. To be fair they had planted a garden specifically to attract hummingbirds,which was a nice touch.
Overall a top quality place, but be prepared for how cold it can get.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Roger K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded March 6, 2013

Thank you so much for highlighting the beautiful scenery that characterizes our surroundings. Its whimsical nature is part of its magic! I am especially glad to know that you fully enjoyed our spacious and comfortable Suite.

I will review the waiver material to ensure that legalese does not interfere with our guests’ enjoyment. Thanks for the heads up! Regarding straws… when we tried to procure suitable eco-alternatives, we found out that we would have to import them. I will have our procurement staff look into other alternatives. If you know of any please write to me at: outreach@grupoislita.com

El Silencio Lodge does offer complimentary WiFi access in the gallery behind the Front Desk. My apologies if you were not duly informed about this.

I do regret that your bird watching/photography experience was unsatisfactory. The season, weather patterns, and many variables have an impact and I am sorry that in your case our feathered friends were skittish.

Thank you so much for choosing to visit Costa Rica! I certainly hope you return in the very near future. Saludos!

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Reviewed February 26, 2013

If you are looking to rejuvenate your body and soul this is the place to go. It is an exceptional place for all that. If you are looking for adventure, perhaps this isn,t for you. With the hotel being so remote the excursions are expensive. We went to Arenal Volcano and my expectation was to actually see the volcano however this ended as a rain forest walk, nice but not expected. It had also a stop at hot springs which was ok. The staff are exceptional. I can,t say anything bad only praise their ability to accommodate us with everything we asked. You should know that the price for lunch and dinner is set. As we had 2children and there was no children,s menus, it was a bit over the top. The menu should be one where you can choose what want and priced accordingly. Sometimes all you want is a bowl of soup and for 30$, this a little over the top. I do have to say the meals were very good. The rooms are clean and comfortable beds. Excellent place BUT....

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank 7Family7
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MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded February 28, 2013

Thank you so much for your kind words praising the regenerative ambiance and qualities of El Silencio Lodge & Spa and Bajos del Toro. Although located just about 90 minutes from the capital city, it truly is a relaxing destination, far removed from the stress of the city.

We have noted your comments about our Prix Fixe menu and we will be exploring possible alternatives for the near future. In the meantime, I would like to clarify that our current room rates include daily breakfast. Lunch and dinner are provided as a Prix Fixe option for at total of $65 per day, per person, plus taxes. Both lunch and dinner include a-la-carte appetizers, main entrees, and dessert. Dishes emphasize organic local and regional ingredients and stand out for their flavorful freshnesss.

In terms of Arenal Volcano, I am sorry that you were unable to see it. Because of its location, it is quite common for the cone to be completely shrouded by clouds. As a Costa Rican, I have only managed to see it clearly on a couple of occasions.

In hopes of providing useful information about our featured on-site adventures and daily excursions, I am enclosing a link to our Experience Catalog, featuring rates. Hope this is useful for the Trip Advisor community: bit.ly/ElSilencioLodgeCostaRicaExperiences2012

Best regards from Costa Rica!

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Additional Information about El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Address: El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro 21203, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Bajos del Toro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bajos del Toro
Price Range: $271 - $775 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — El Silencio Lodge & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Silencio Lodge & Spa is a unique luxury cloud forest hotel set in Costa Rica's pristine Bajos del Toro region. Flanked by two national parks, this all-suite and private villa hotel combines upscale comforts with an intense natural immersion experience. Outstanding features include farm-to-table cuisine, a wellness spa, an adventure park, and authentic cultural experiences. Zip-lining, rappelling, horseback riding, waterfall hiking, oxcart painting, Tico cooking lessons and more can be enjoyed by couples and families (minimum age: 8). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Silencio Hotel Bajos Del Toro
El Silencio Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/Bajos Del Toro

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