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“Standard rooms equate to an expensive dump.”
Review of El Cafetal Inn

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El Cafetal Inn
Ranked #5 of 7 Atenas B&B and Inns
Reviewed December 14, 2010

I was so disappointed with this hotel but I now know why they don't put pictures of their rooms on their website. In our king bedded room there was a king bed...and nothing else. No end tables, no chairs, no luggage rack, and no artwork. The rooms were painted the color of claret with drapes green drapes. One of the two ceiling lights didn't work. When I tried to replace the light, I couldn't because a light bulb was broken in the fixture. The other light in the ceiling fan didn't have a globe on it. The room was exceeding disappointing.
I hoped things would look better in the morning after a shower. And while the room did, the cold shower was a further disappointment.
All in all the only high point was the delicious breakfast in the morning.
Oh - and the directions to get to the hotel are wrong on their website and printed materials.
Also - you must have to ask for a key to lock your door. We never got one or were offered one.
This sadly goes into one of the very few disappointing places I've stayed in Costa Rica.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank janojochal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 - 35 of 77 reviews

Reviewed December 2, 2010

I wasn't sure what to expect here on my last trip but it was great. I stumbled across this place and read that it was not too far from San Jose. It turned out to be a very nice get away. The only tough part was getting the directions right. Make sure you ask clearly for directions to the hotel. The roads are good quality, but curvy in some places.

The hotel was great and very clean. I consider this place higher end (in terms of quality) compared to some other places I have stayed. If you're looking for a comfortable place thats not too far from San Jose, this place is great. The view at night is a great view of the city. When I was there I was lucky enough to have a lightning storm off in the distance. It was amazing to see lightning bolts over the city.

The food was good. The included menu (part of the package I had) was limited in options but if you want to go for the full menu and pay a little extra, they have a great selection. The breakfast was one of the best, if not the best included breakfast at a hotel. Instead of a cheap "continental style" breakfast, they brought out the works. Empanadas, huge selection of fruits, rice and beans, coffee, juice, etc.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with friends
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Thank kcirt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2010

This is really a beautiful spot. Rooms are musty from the humidity. Otherwise, it is awesome. Decor, food, staff, surroundings are fabulous. More of a hotel than a B&B.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank pbjsandwiches
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2010

On our honeymoon to Costa Rica we came upon this gem by looking up hotels in the area on our gps. It was so beautiful in Atenas {mountains and rolling hills} and the hotel owner, Romy, was so kind and welcoming {he said "welcome home" with a warm smile, as we arrived with no reservation} that we just HAD to stay. We also got a great deal; $60 a night with breakfast, 2 people, in the green-season; even though it was at the time, when we returned home, advertised for $100/night.
We were pleased with the beautiful and unique architecture of the house and grounds, the plentiful {all you want!} awesome, and authentic Costa Rican breakfast with grown-there {!} coffee, and breakfast on the cute terrace overlooking the mountains. In the morning {5 to 6 am} you heard the sheep, roosters, and birds from all over the valley, to us a beautiful part of waking up in paradise.
The owner Romy was always pleasant and gave us great recommendations for a fabulous seafood reataurant near-by; he sketched us a detailed and accurate map to get to a waterfall/park a good mountain-drive away. He allowed us our space and at the same time was friendly and attentive. We spent some time getting to know him and how he came to own this little piece of paradise, which was a lovely story and quite enlightening as one day I hope to own and live in a BnB.
Our room had great views, I wish I remembered our room number; comfortable, spacious and had a nice sized patio with a sliding glass door/screen. The days definitely weren't hot {for a Floridian}, nights were cool and we loved leaving the windows open, beautiful breezes and cools down a lot at night {no a/c; we were there in Oct. and really we thought a/c wasn't needed}. There was a huge picture window in our room that was very unique, it was huge and curved, a semicircle; perfect for the breathtaking views! We got some neat pictures sitting in front of it {see my photos!}
There was plenty of hot water, rooms were clean and comfy, no luxury here but clean and spacious, great for our needs. A community refrigerator for guests to use downstairs, and did I mention the breakfast is phenomenal!? The grounds were just, I don't know how else to say, impressive?! and we enjoyed exploring them; there are coffee plants and fruit trees everywhere, and the pool was nice at the end of a warmish day hiking around. It was a good mini-workout, the hike to and from the pool, down the hillside. There were plenty of private areas and beautiful nooks on the grounds, and beautiful vegetation everywhere, with little benches and such here and there for you to chill if you so desired.
We will definitely return to El Cafetal in the near future, and have told friends that frequent Costa Rica, as we do, that this is the place to be when in the vicinity of the airport or north of there {San Jose} and perfect if you are in between San Jose and the Pacific coast. We stayed for three nights, and could have easily stayed for a week! {or forever}
This was a real Costa Rican hotel/bed and breakfast. It wasn't an American hotel. It was our favorite surprise find on our honeymoon.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank endiaks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2010

Relaxing place but the owner can be friendly then moody. Very uncomfortable to be around. No warning if restaurant is closed for the evening. Beware the place has bed bugs. Would not go there again due to the uncleanliness of the rooms. Bed sheets don't get changed daily.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank kooger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2010

We didn't get a chance to enjoy this place for very long - we were only there for less than a day due to our flight time out of San Jose. The gardens were beautiful and pool was very nice, but a bit dirty. The room was small and very dark, but one of the walls was a gorgeous curved window that overlooked the garden. I loved all the romantic nooks and crannies on the property - it was easy to find a quiet place to relax. One problem we had was with leaving in the morning. We had to leave at 5:15 am (we told staff), but struggled to find a way to exit the house since the front doors were locked (we only had a key to our room). Luckily we found a key in the back door, which I could not lock again when we left.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Traveler27704
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2010

I stayed with my wife and two daughters at the El Cafetal on our first night in Costa Rica a month ago today. Having read a lot of reviews of this and other places, and looking only for a place to spend our first night (we were heading to the coast and I did not want to drive at night), I chose the bungalow at the El Cafetal. After getting our rental car and diving into the rush-hour traffic at about sunset, we drove the twenty minutes or so to the well-marked Grecia exit, then took the first left onto the road that would eventually get us to the inn. We made it, nerves a little frazzled after our first driving experience in Costa Rica (I found that one gets used to it pretty quickly), and after turning around twice--once after thinking we had gone too far--we hadn't--and another after we passed the entrance despite being on the lookout for the sign, we drove into the El Cafetal.
The owner, Romy, warmly greeted us, saying "Welcome home." We instantly relaxed. We ate a very good meal at the restaurant (just downstairs from our bungalow) and went for a dip in the huge, refreshingly cool pool. We awoke fairly early to the sounds of the neighborhood--barking dogs, crowing roosters, and sputtering motorcycles. We enjoyed a relaxing breakfast on the patios (again, excellent food and coffee, attentive but not overbearing service), strolled the pathways on the scenic grounds, and went for another swim in the pool before packing up to be on our way.
The El Cafetal was a wonderful welcome to Costa Rica. As I mentioned, the owner warmly welcomed us (I read another review that described him as aloof and odd, but our interpretation was that he did not want to be overbearing or in our face. We were sad to say goodbye to him), the room was comfortable, the grounds were beautiful. I did not expect all of the comforts of home or of an American vacation resort, and so we were not disappointed. In fact, we loved the El Cafetal. I would highly recommend it, and I would stay there again.

  • Stayed: February 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank kcookvt
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

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: $85 - $120 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — El Cafetal Inn 3*
Number of rooms: 14
Also Known As:
El Cafetal Hotel Atenas

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