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“Beautiful location - but a little to basic for me”

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Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge
Kent, England
Level Contributor
93 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“Beautiful location - but a little to basic for me”
Reviewed January 29, 2014

We stayed here at the end of our honeymoon to Costa Rica. I had read that you reached the rooms via a winding path but I don't think I really took into account what that meant. It was a good ten minute walk from the restaurant / reception to our room and it was through the forest and even though there were lights along the pathway flashlights were still needed. I didn't like having to fend off insects flying at me every time we left the room. My fault entirely for not understanding the description properly.
There were a few things which also rankled - the safety deposit box was broken in our room so we couldn't lock valuables away. There was supposed to be wifi in all rooms but we could only get connected for one day out of the four.
There was no where to really sit and chill out other than the room as the staff only seemed to appear around mealtimes and the first day we arrived after travelling 6 hours we couldn't get anything to eat as they were doing a stocktake.
We were also unfortunate on the second day that the chef slipped and hurt his back and had to go to hospital so we ended up with a couple of chocolate bars from the minibar for dinner.
When we chose the location both my husband and I were fit and healthy but unfortunately I was still recovering from major surgery and he was getting over a chest infection before we travelled so neither of us were up to the walks within the grounds as the terrain was very hilly. Unfortunately unless you were on a paid excursion with transport it was really impossible to get anywhere without transport. We tried to arrange for a guide to take us out on our second morning there but bad luck struck again and the guide was unwell so we had no option but to hang around the grounds all day.
The main saving grace for us was Miriam's restaurant which is 200 metres (felt more like 500 to us) up the road. A lovely place where the woodpeckers, tanagers and squirrel come to the bird table.
We had deliberately booked accommodation in the area in order to increase chances of seeing the Quetzal and thankfully we were not disappointed. We joined the 05:45 tour and were taken to the wild avocado trees and after about 20 minutes the birds came to feed and I was able to take some brilliant photos - thank you to Carlos for his wonderful skills in knowing where to look for these birds.
As other reviewers have said - it can get very cold up here. We found that, depending on where the sun was our room was rather like a greenhouse - either baking hot or really quite chilly. To go to the bathroom at night I had to slip my fleece on - but, you get what you pay for and if you book accommodation in a cloud forest you have to expect the different temperatures
The staff in the restaurant were really helpful and friendly and the food was ok. I wasn't keen on the limited choice for breakfast as you chose from 5 set menus and I didn't find any of them particularly appealing.
This accommodation may well suit somebody wanting to 'get back to nature' but I am afraid that it would not be my choice if we were going back to the same area. Some more communal areas to get a coffee or juice during the day and somewhere to sit other than the room would have made a lot of difference.

Room Tip: Bear in mind that most rooms are a good ten minute walk through the forest to reception and the rest...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Duffer56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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423 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (80)
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English first
Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2014

We arrived there without a reservation and they found us a room; AMAZING: the views, the service, the restaurant and the reserve were just great! We highly recommend it. It was worth every penny. There is a jacuzzy in every room, wich was very helpful to clean our 3 years old daughter who doesn't like showers!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Genevieve S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northbrook, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 6, 2014

The Dantica Lodge was an incredible experience for me and my family. Bring warm clothers and good hiking gear. Host Nicholas spoke perfect English and was very accomodating. There is a little home/restaurant 200 meters up the hill with great food. BEWARE, this place is very difficult to find. There are virtually NO signs on the highway or even at the beginning of the dirt road turn off. Follow signs to the Savgre Lodge and you will find the Dantica.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Gr0ssFam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Starnberg, Germany
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed December 26, 2013

We stayed 2 nights at the Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge.
We were welcomed by Manager Nico, extremely attentive and a charming person.

From the outside the lodges look like prefabricated containers, similar to those on construction sites to lodge workers, except the lodges of Dantica have a gabled roof. Inside they are furnished with Ikea style furniture and have nice big panorama windows with look into the garden. The bathroom is huge and you will find mildew between some tiles and the bathtub. The way to our lodge was long, but we are used to walk in the mountains so it was no problem to reach our room. The suitcases were brought by an employee of the Lodge. In the room, we missed the support for our suitcases and had to put them onto the ground. The closet is full with blankets and smells ethanol used to fire a little fire-place located on a wall, it can’t be used for clothes.
We had dinner in the restaurant of the lodge, dinner was fine.
The rooms are cold, no possibility to heat them. The stylish fireplaces don’t provide heat but an aesthetic flame. As soon as the sun is away, it is cold. The bathroom is a refrigerator.
The panorama window of the sleeping room gets completely humid after the first shower and a window wiper has to be used to clean off humidity.

We booked the Quetzal-Tour for the next day at the reception of the lodge. Carlos, the guide stepped into our car and we drove about 4 min down the hill in direction of the river. There was a place where everybody could go and where the quetzals showed up. Of course the place was completely crowded. We paid USD 24 per person for this tour: what for?? Although they sell the tour, the Management of the lodge couldn't explain the price either, .
Our recommendation: don’t book the tour, just ask the way to the Quetzal place in any other lodge or any other restaurant than Dantica Lodge.

In the afternoon we visited the gardens of the lodge. Although the owners would praise those to be splendid, there was nothing exceptional to see there.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Nicolas S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dantica, Propietario at Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge, responded to this review, December 30, 2013
Dear Nicolas,

I was sorry to read that your stay at Dantica didn`t live up to your expectations and appreciate your taking the time to tell us where we could improve. I am glad to hear that you were warmly received, and that your luggage was taken care of. This is a service we provide for our guest between 7 AM and 5 PM because some bungalows are a bit of a walk into the forest. Due to the location of our bungalows our guests can enjoy breathtaking views of a primary cloud forest, something that few places in the world can offer.

The garden at Dantica is mainly a 20-hectare private reserve with 500-year-old oak trees and 5 km of trails. It is a beautiful place to unwind, recharge and enjoy being close to nature.

We are aware of the moisture issues, and do the utmost to keep it under control. Being located in a cloud forest, at a high altitude, with humidity of almost 100% year-round makes it next to impossible for us to avoid some moisture issues, like the mildew you experienced in your bathroom. Rest assured that someone on-site will review this issue.

The climate here, at 2600 meters above sea level, is cold and the ethanol chimneys we have in the bedrooms give off enough heat for most guests to be comfortable. The heat radiating from these chimneys is low, but they burn clean, so a duct is unnecessary, meaning the heat stays directly in the room. This makes them efficient and, because the ethanol is produced using locally grown sugar cane, environmentally friendly. Furthermore we provide a hot jacuzzi tub, goose-feather duvets, extra blankets, hot water bottles and a coffeemaker, courtesy of the hotel, to help keep our guests as comfortable as possible.

Regarding the Quetzal tour, we work with our own certified guide, Carlos, who knows a lot about flora and fauna. Quetzals frequently migrate through the valley and our guide spends many hours every week keeping track of the wild avocado trees (the quetzal’s main food source) and other tree species, to see which trees are possible nesting sites, and which trees are producing fruit to estimate when quetzals might come there to forage. During some times of the year it can take several hours and different locations to get a glimpse, while at other times it is a lot easier. Carlos makes a tremendous effort tracking the Quetzal and secures that our guest have a success rate of over 95% of viewing this rare bird.

In the high season, with many tourists in the valley, and maybe just one easily accessible viewing location available, it can look like finding the quetzals is very simple and it can get a little crowded. There has been a lot of hard work to make this experience look so easy. That said, the rates of the Quetzal tour are in line with prices for similar activities, not just in this region, but Costa Rica in general, and also with the effort made by our guide to provide a successful viewing.

I hope that I have helped to clarify some of the issues you have raised and that despite your concerns you did enjoy your time while staying at Dantica Lodge. Thank you for staying with us and if you return to this region we would be pleased to host you again.

Un cordial saludo, JoostWilms
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
63 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed December 21, 2013

This hotel was our favorite of the four we stayed at in Costa Rica. The bungalows feature floor to ceiling windows that offer an unparalleled view of the cloud forest, an absolute treat when you open your eyes in the morning. Loved the whirlpool tubs. There is an attached trail system which feels quite remote. The staff are very friendly, and the food at the restaurant is fresh and creative. If you'd like a local alternative, you can hike a few hundred meters up the road to Mirian's restaurant, which is delightful. The hotel gift shop is stuffed with the work of dozens of talented artisans, a nice change from the cheap tourist knickknacks available elsewhere. The hotel also features Carlos, an excellent birding guide who took us to see the resplendent quetzal and the paramo.

If you stay here, know what you're getting into! This place is located high in the mountains, and it gets quite cold at night! Pack long pants and jackets. The cabins do not have traditional heaters; instead, they are equipped with ethanol stoves. These are romantic but don't generate a ton of heat. This encourages cuddling. They also generate water vapor as waste (instead of smoke), which promptly fogs up the huge windows; each cabin comes with a helpful squeegee. Several of the cabins are quite far from the main lodge (~200 m, which feels farther at night); the cabin also comes with a large flashlight to help find your way. Staying here is a cross between a luxury hotel and camping!

Room Tip: A few of the bungalows are near the main building, but most are a significant hike away.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Branden55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pershore, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed November 13, 2013

This was the last place we stayed on our three week trip to Costa Rica, for two nights, intended as a bit of luxury after all that jungle. San Gerardo is very different from most places in CR - Dantica is at 2600 metres, and the climate is sub-alpine. It gets cold at night, and we thought it would be good to re-acclimatise ready for the UK.
We booked the cabin furthest from the road and reception for privacy. On arrival, we were taken to our cabin, and it felt like we acquired altitude sickness on the way up, it was such a long way. There's a hotline to reception half way up if you need to order oxygen! When we finally arrived, we both collapsed on the bed in hysterics, half-exhausted, half-triumphant. The cabin was very nice, small, but adequate for two, and had a heater, which you really need at night, as no-one seems to have introduced insulation to Costa Rica yet! The heaters were terrifying, just a naked flame, but ran on something a lot like rum, and made a great smell. The views are wonderful, with huge picture windows, and we spent a lot of time just looking. There are plenty of walks from the lodge (it has a lot of trails within the property) and we heard the Black-faced Solitaire, one of the most magical sounds of the whole trip.
On the downside, it wasn't quite as luxurious as it was trying to be: there was a lack of attention to detail, (bath plugs that didn't plug, thus wasting water, poor service in the restaurant despite excellent food etc); and the bathroom floor was like a skating rink, with the gaping hole of the enormous sunken bath in the middle of it, to finish off the unwary, or those drunk on the fumes from the heater.....And mind you don't tread on the garden in reception. Another word of warning - all the cabins look exactly the same - make sure it's yours before entering!
Overall though, Dantica is a good place to stay, we found the caretaker and receptionist extremely helpful........

Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank Mind your own b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level Contributor
97 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed September 15, 2013

This is one of my favorite hotels in CR! The design of the hotel is unique and although the structures are simple, it is a reinterpretation of colonial architecture with teja roof , white walls, adobe construction inspired and operable colorful windows, but with plenty of glass to allow you to be immersed it the beautiful surrounding. The place is very cold, so the heater and jacuzzi will warm you up.

The food in the restraunt is delicious and prices are reasonable. Staff very friendly and helpful. The property is large so you can walk around the forest and in a private reserve.

I highly recommend this hotel and going to San Gerardo de Dota because it is secluded, not too developed like Monteverde (which is great) and the area is just beautiful and untouched by human intervention. Perfect place to relax and it is still not too far from SJ to enjoy even a mini vacation even on a weekend.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank MeliChinaTica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge

Property: Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge
Address: 4 Km south of the entrance to San Gerardo de Dota, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of San Jose > San Gerardo de Dota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in San Gerardo de Dota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge is an eco-boutique hotel, which was built between 2003 and 2008. Our hotel provides the following facilities; sleeping, restaurant, gallery, trails, tours and relaxing, combining quality and comfort in order to allow you to experience and enjoy the cloud forest in its purest form.The hotel is situated in the valley of San Gerardo de Dota. Inside the Los Santos Forest Reserve, on top of a hill with a breathtaking view and a private reserve that consists of 5 km of walking trails, Dantica is the closest hotel to the newly created Los Quetzales National Park. Nearby you can also find typical restaurants, trails, trout fishing, protected areas, National Parks and the Cerro de la Muerte, with its 3480 meters the second highest point in Costa Rica and with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean and the volcanoes.The Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge consist of 8 Bungalows with a modern interior design and decorated with typical aspects of the Latin American culture, distributed in 7 Superior bungalows and one Suite, especially designed so you can enjoy contact with nature. All Bungalows have the following facilities: queen-sized beds with goose-feather duvets, Satellite television, ecological chimney working on ethanol, safe deposit box, minibar with fridge, coffee maker with coffee and tea as a courtesy of the hotel, table with chairs and a private terrace. In the bathroom you will find a Jacuzzi, towels, biodegradable soaps and shampoos, and a hair dryer.The 4-person Superior Bungalows have two bedrooms with private bathroom (one with Jacuzzi, one with shower), a terrace and a living room with a fully equipped open kitchen including stove and warm water.Our Deluxe Suite additionally has an additional fireplace working on wood and a private garden with trail in the forest. All our hot water is solar heated. The hotel distinguishes itself by its personalized attention, harmony with nature and respect for the environment. At the restaurant you can enjoy a breakfast, lunch or dinner a la carte. In our beautiful and large gallery you can buy art and handicrafts from Costa Rica and other Latin American countries.We have WIFI high speed internet service, and offer parking lots, playground for children, laundry service and tour packages with a certified bilingual guide. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge And Gallery Hotel San Gerardo De Dota
Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge Costa Rica/San Gerardo De Dota

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