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El Silencio Lodge & Spa
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Reviewed April 23, 2009

From the moment you arrive, you are immediately immersed in the foothills of the rain forest, with its cooler temps and cloud covered mountains, which makes for a very tranquil setting. The uniqueness of El Silencio is that they have their own organic farm from which they prepare three very delicious meals from daily, included in your room rate. Another feature was the private hot tubs on your platform deck, which is the perfect way to end the evening after a delicious, gourmet meal. The fireplaces in the room are also wonderful and much needed on the cooler nights. A nice touch, too, was the inclusive mini'bar, which was fully stocked each day and complimentary.

Our eco guide, Andre, was superb, in taking us on the propertey´s trail, Mistico Mountain, and showing us the water falls on the property, as well as educating us about the flora and fauna. I had an amazing yoga session at the spa, which is adjacent to the creek, with the sound of the water in the background was truly special. I would highly recommend the couples massage in the specially designed conical room, too, which was one of the better massages I have had in a long time. Do take a day trip to Tabacon Springs in the ARenal area, and if you are lucky to get a good driver, like we had, Hernon, we did a side trip around the volcano area and saw our first Toucan, as well as monkies and iguanas. As they say in Costa Rica, "Pura Vida .... Good Life!¨"

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank tbtravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2009

My husband and I just returned from our honeymoon at El Silencio. We spent 3 days in their beautiful "villas" tucked in the cloud forest north of San Jose. The service at this resort is unmatched by any place we've ever been. We had daily flower petals spelling out messages, plush bath robes and slippers, a private jacuzzi, hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies every afternoon, amazing walks to waterfalls nearby, and the most relaxing spa experience possible. We ate great food, slept, read, planted a tree, and definitely re-energized after our destination wedding in Nicaragua. We loved this place, and can't wait to return.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Alarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2009

El Silencio Lodge & Spa is a first class destination in Costa Rica! We've been coming to Costa Rica for 5 years as a Winter break from NYC. We always try to stay in different areas of this lovely country to see and experience different things. We stayed in El Silencio last year (2008) just after it opened. I think we were probably some of the first guests to make reservations. We stayed in it's sister property, Punta Islita, the year prior (2007). We were so impressed with Punta Islita that we knew El Silencio would be top notch. We were not disappointed! In fact...we think it's better than Punta Islita! We returned again this year (2009) and were some of the first returning guests. We were greeted like old friends from the moment our car door was opened by our personal Eco-Concierge. It was immediately like "being home again." All the familiar, friendly faces from our last stay and they remembered us and what we liked.

El Silencio is the perfect place to come for a restorative and relaxing vacation, secluded in nature. There are no TV's in the cabins and internet ues is even discouraged. Don't come here expecting a tan, although we've had perfectly sunny days here. This is the cloud forrest area only 1.5 hours outside of San Jose. The weather is unpredictable, but generally mild, sometimes over cast, and sometimes damp (bring a warm pull-over and a few pair of long pants). But that's part of the charm. It's a "go with the flow" kind of place. No set agenda for each day. You can take it at your own pace, but feel assured it will all happen with excellent service in a casual, but elegant, atmosphere. We find that 3-4 days is perfect here. It's also an easy long weekend get-away because of it's close proximity to San Jose (SJO). As long drives in Costa Rica are always discouraging, this one is only 1.5 hours and very tolerable. Only the last few miles are on a rough road...the rest if fully paved and, on a good day, it has picture perfect views of the central valley area with many coffee and sugar cane plantations along the way.

Items of note @ El Silencio:
Private Deluxe Cabins - only 16 on the property! The most comfortable KING sized bed I've ever slept in with a zillion thread count sheets. Each has a gas fireplace and a private, outdoor jacuzzi filled with local spring water that is returned to the on-site river after you depart. The bathroom is all stone and tile with high-end products. Turn-down service each evening is an event!
3 fantastic and thoughtfully prepared meals a day with lots of healthy and vegetarian choices. We picked our salad from the organic garden and had it for lunch that day. The Trout was caught in a nearby river. Talk about eating local and fresh!
Solitude in Nature - There are safe and well cut trails through the almost 400 acres of property. A guided nature walk it part of your experience with your Eco-Concierge as your guide. Ours took us on a trail by 3 pristine waterfalls and we drank water from a spring coming out of a rock on the side of the trail. Walking sticks provided at the lodge...not essential...but charming!
Casual, but elegant, atmosphere - You can wear whatever you like to the lodge located on the river. It's almost all glass and is breath-taking! We enjoyed every meal and also came down to read a book by the 2 wood-burning fireplaces. They even made a special table for us by the fireplace when the guests were fewer in the restaurant.
Excellent spa facilities - We've been to a lot of spas in our travels in Costa Rica. This is one of the best! All sorts of services rendered by the nicest staff we've ever met.
Yoga studio available for private or class use located in the forrest with a stream running under it! Perfect setting!
Service you won't believe! We feel like we're on a cruise ship the entire time were on the property. We don't leave because of it! The staff is the product here...everything is "Con mucho Gusto!"
Eco-responsibility - They have done everything right! From construction to maintenance, they don't miss a beat. We even had a tree planting ceremony!
Social responsibility - They employ approx. 80% of the local village, Los Bajos. They send them to their sister property, Punta Islita, for intense training. Customer services is job #1 here!

All I can say it , "GO, GO, GO!" It's an experience not to be missed in Costa Rica by the discerning traveller. The price is worth every bit of it! We'll be back again with family and friends...many time!

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with friends
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3  Thank marquismdh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 1, 2008

Sorry to advise that we did not make it to the property so we cannot tell you about it. We can tell you however, about the way El Silencio treats its customers when there is a "small " problem.

We had a booking to the famous #17 over the Thanksgiving weekend, but we had several "small" surprises.

When we arrived late afternoon from FLL we were met by a driver that was arranged to pick us up to go to El Silencio, about 90 minutes drive from the airport. After we loaded the luggage and sat in the car ready to go the driver told us that there is a "small " problem. The problem is that we cannot go to El Silencio because the road was swept away by floods. However, we can go to an alternative location on the beach. We live in Miami & Cleveland , have plenty of beach no mountains and were looking forward to a mountain vacation.

Since it was getting late and we had no desire to stay in San Jose we decided to go to the beach. Surprise two was that it was almost 6 hour trip ( usually 4.5 hours but the road was full of slow moving trucks). Also, the car was OK for 90 minute drive, it was quite difficult to sit in there for 6 hours sometimes driving on long streches of unpaved road.

Surprise 3 was that now we paid $240 each way for the trip instead of $120. El Silencio refused to cover the difference.

The substitute hotel was great ( Surprise! it is owned by the same company as El Silencio) the staff was most helpful and food was great. The only thing was that we have the beach most of the year and we felt that we should be at least compensated for the difference in travel costs.

The way we were fed the information, the fact that El Silencio management did not contact us prior to our arrival and basically left a driver to take care of this problem will prevent us to try again anytime soon.

We are definitely coming back to this wonderful country, just not to El Silencio while this management is in place.

Stayed: November 2008, traveled with family
2  Thank emis
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 December 9, 2008

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you experienced during your recent visit to El Silencio Lodge & Spa. I have read your comments thoroughly because we appreciate any opportunity to improve our services, including how we handle emergency situations.

Your visit coincided with a weather system that brought extreme rain levels and subsequent flooding to many areas in Costa Rica and Panama. Although the region surrounding El Silencio did not bear the brunt of the devastation, we had to endure unprecedented storms. Our main facilities were thankfully spared, but the access road was compromised. The late cancellation of your reservation was due to force majeure.

We sincerely attempted to provide you the best alternative extraordinary circumstances. This included extending the three daily meal ammenity that is offered at El Silencio but not at Hotel Punta Islita, our "big sister" property. I am glad to learn that your stay at the latter was enjoyable, although I understand it was not the mountain environment you originally sought.

Overall, I fully sympathize with the situation and want to clarify that the cancellation was due to an act of nature that frankly caught us off guard.

I thank you for your kind words regarding our staff at Hotel Punta Islita, but especially for the wonderful things you said about Costa Rica!

Warm regards,

Maria Barquero

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2008

Wow... This place was 1st class all the way! The entire staff comes out to meet you when you arrive and see you off when you leave. We stayed in villa #17 by request based on a suggestion by another TA poster. Good suggestion! This villa is on the river on the trail that goes to the spa and is more private and secluded than all the other villas. In our villa spelled out in flowers on the mat was "happy honeymoon". How nice! The villa is just beautiful with everything in natural materials and little touches of real flowers and fern leaves on everything. It has a great porch, the hot tub is spectacular, and a mini-fridge full of complimentary snacks and drinks.

SERVICE: Other included services that we found really special are the guided hike to the waterfalls and the tree planting ceremony. Our Eco-Concierge was really great. He took us on the hike and told us all about the local plants, birds, and other animals. He also did some special little things for us like having a platter of local caramels and candies on the hot tub when we came back from the spa. After our hike in the rain they took our clothes and boots and washed them and dried them for us! How nice! The tree planting ceremony was unique with the Master Gardener blessing the tree and thanking it for producing oxygen to offset the carbon dioxide we produce. Give our Oak tree some love if you stay in villa #17, it is planted by the trail to the spa with the tag Kristi & Troy. All of the staff especially the wait staff were very accommodating and very nice. We always left our server a great tip because they really deserved it. You can also put a sign on your door knob which requests the turn down service which included new flowers on the bed and our fire place being lit.

FOOD: The food was phenomenal! All organic and included with the price of your room. We enjoyed every meal we had there very much. No red meat but you won't miss it, promise. During our hike we were showed the garden and were told the Master Gardener graduated from Earth University and is employed to help fight bugs and worms naturally without poison.

SPA: By far the best spa we had ever been to! You HAVE to request the conical room!!! It sits right on the river and has a pane of glass that goes up the wall and across the roof so you can also hear the rain hitting the glass as well as the river. Amazing! The first day we had the Meditation Duet. Best massage I've ever had! And the sugar scrub was nice and you showered outside to wash off before the massage. We enjoyed ourselves so much that when it rained all day the next day we decided to use the discount we got after our first service to go back and have a hot stone massage. Another wonderful spa experience. The service was top notch.

Overall, we had a great time just relaxing and taking advantage of all there was to do at this beautiful hotel. If we could have stayed more than 2 nights we would have taken some of the day trips. The only downside was that we did not see any wildlife besides hummingbirds. Maybe because it rained on and off most of our stay? That is hardly a complaint though! But I can say this place is great for just relaxing and enjoying the company of your loved one. I would not recommend this place for children of any age. It is very romantic and serene. Great honeymoon location!!! Highly recommended...

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank kpcloud9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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