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“Quirky”
Review of El Cafetal Inn

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El Cafetal Inn
Ranked #5 of 7 Atenas B&B and Inns
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Level 6 Contributor
58 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Quirky”
Reviewed March 5, 2010

Hard to describe this place. A great setting. But the rest was average at best. Our room was small, the sheets and furniture are worn out, no mattress pad on the bed, and the bathroom was awkward and less than clean. Hot and cold reversed but curiously the red/blue (hot/cold) markings on the faucets are where they should typically be. Don't get a ground floor room as you'll have absolutely no privacy as other guests can and do stroll right by your room and all times of the day or night, and because of that you need to keep the curtains closed. And that's too bad because it makes the otherwise well-lit, airy rooms dingy and stuffy. Don't plan on sleeping past 7 if you get a room next to the breakfast area-noisy. The upside is that the breakfasts are pretty good, although they typically serve only between 7:30-8:30. They advertise that they serve their own coffee, but all the plants on site look dead. The on-site restaurant is more than adequate for Atenas, and the service was quite good, at least when we were there. The somewhat remote location is what it is, but you'll need a car or cab to get anywhere. There's no internet or TV which may or may not be a bad thing, just be advised. The owner seemed kind of eccentric or aloof or just preoccupied with selling the place, but yet he was all smiles just the same. Bottom line, this would be an adequate place to stay on the way to somewhere else, but not much more.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank bald0neNebraska
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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77 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
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English first
Brooklyn, New York
Level 6 Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed February 12, 2010

I stayed here for one night in December 2009 on my way out of the country. I had been wanting to check it out for some time, and for $40 I decided to give it a try.

It took the cab driver 25 minutes to get there from SJO, but the next morning, it took 50 minutes to get back -- so obviously a lot depends on the traffic. When we got to the hotel, no one seemed to be around. After the cab driver went looking, a guy (not the owner) came out and asked me my name. He then gave me the key to my room. That was that. No other check-in procedures. It felt very casual, but it's that kind of place -- just very laid back.

I have mixed feelings about the place. I wanted to like it more, but there were some issues.

The good
It is set on a very pretty, relatively large parcel of land. There are lots of little trails that meander over the property and several hidden-away sitting areas where you can plop down and forget your worries (and hide!). LOTS of birds -- I would even say a birder's paradise. The place was obviously designed for relaxation and enjoying nature.

The pool was HUGE, and it was very nice to take a late afternoon dip while watching all the birds fly by. Beyond the pool is the trail down to the river. The trail down is very, very steep and not well-maintained. Since I had been hiking for several days, I just didn't have it in my to hike down -- or, rather, hike back up. But, it's nice that that's an option if you would like to get a hike in.

The room (#17) was cute and perfect for one person. The bed was comfortable. Ceiling fan and a nice little balcony with a super view and two wooden rocking chairs. No tv, no phone, no safe. The bathroom was clean except for the sink -- it was pretty dirty actually. Good hot water (though the hot and cold water dials are reversed in both the shower and sink -- at first I thought there was no hot water). I left the balcony door open when I went to sleep (there's a screen) and left the ceiling fan on -- I woke up in the middle of the night pretty darn cold. I came to realize why the bed had a big, heavy quilt!

Since I was leaving so early the next morning, I assumed I would miss breakfast. But, to my great surprise, Sonia -- in the kitchen -- prepared me a nice little plate of food and wonderful coffee. Thank you, Sonia!

The not so good
The owner was strange. I would say hot and cold. One minute he was warm and talkative and the next cold and distant. I don't know, it was just weird and made me feel uncomfortable at times.

The advertised restaurant was not open for dinner. Since I didn't have a car, this was a bummer. I ended up having pizza delivered from a local restaurant which was easy enough, but it just wasn't what I had in mind for my last dinner in CR. I understand the owner can't open the restaurant when there aren't many guests, but it is advertised on the website. Just be aware that it may or may not be open when you are there.

Lastly, a rooster was crowing ALL night long. This is not the fault of El Cafetal -- I think the rooster was on someone else's property -- but it made for a restless night. I forgot that I had a white noise maker on my phone, so maybe that would have drowned out the noise. This may have been a fluke -- I haven't read anything about rooster crowing in the other reviews -- but it was annoying. Maybe on another night I wouldn't have noticed it so much.

All in all, this is an interesting place to stay. As long as you have realistic expectations, I think it's a real option for your first or last night in the country and/or on your way to other parts of CR. Best if you have a car and if you don't have a very early flight out.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank plumboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2010

We stayed here with our 3 young kids and it was wonderful. We enjoyed the beautiful view, the clean and quiet room, the kind owners and staff, the tasty breakfast, and the pool. Though we did not have a car at first, we quickly rented one and explored the area. Though this was last summer, our 4-year-old still talks about "that butterfly pool" and wants to go back to Costa Rica just for that pool - haha! This is the kind of place that makes you dream of settling down in the countryside in Costa Rica and spending long evenings watching sunsets and mornings listening to birds sing with your delicious coffee in hand.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank mayajana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 13, 2010

I stay at El Cafetal with a group of friends, We were there on a local off road bike trip. We stayed 4 nights in total. 2 days leaving to stay else where and returning few day later to spend 2 more nights.

The Hotel is basic with no TV / phones in the rooms. The pool is very nice . We ate there each night . The menu is very basic but we were happy with what we got. The kitchen is only open for very short periods but as there is only a small number of rooms I can understand that.
The Staff are nice but one thing that we did not like was on our last night we went else where to eat. We returned to El Cafetal at approx 0930pm to drink in their bar to find the bar closed and the owner would not open it up for 6 male drinkers! The next morning the service at breakfast was very much down on other mornings. Was the owner sore we ate else where the night before? I think so ! Pity because everything was fine up until then.

Please note there has been no coffee grown there in over 10 years .

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank roost7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WESTERVILLE, OH
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2009

Our host and his staff made us feel at home in this lush setting. We loved the outdoor breakfasts and enjoyed the sparkling pool, surrounded by flowers and fruit trees. Our room was comfortable, and the on-site restaurant served tasty, fresh food.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank JRM99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed August 17, 2009

This inn is extraordinary in every way...ambiance,appearance,cleanliness, friendliness of staff. Location is great. The area is close to many great Costa Rica attractions, and the airport. There is no noise, it is very tranquil, pool is great.,grounds are beautiful. Next visit I will stay 2 nights.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank curlysmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
27 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2009

My husband and I stayed here our first night in Costa Rica, rather than driving to Manuel Antonio the first day. The setting was perfect and the views from all around the grounds were spectacular. Our only regret was that we didn't stay here longer and take in the sights of the nearby towns. If you are looking for a spot to stay at the beginning or end of a trip in CR, near San Jose, this is it!!
We're actually considering spending and entire week here next year. The El Cafetal is the perfect spot for rest and relaxation.
Celia and Greg

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Celia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Cafetal Inn

Property: El Cafetal Inn
Address: Carretera Sta. Eulalia | 100 mts norte de la Iglesia de Santa Eulalia, Atenas 20505, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Atenas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 7 B&Bs / Inns in Atenas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — El Cafetal Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 14
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Also Known As:
El Cafetal Hotel Atenas

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