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“An OK hotel with great coffee”

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Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“An OK hotel with great coffee”
Reviewed December 3, 2013

My overall impression is that this hotel is just ok. I'm perplexed as I read other, more glowing reviews and wonder if I missed something? Granted, we had just come from Copa de Arbol and Peace Lodge, which were amazing, so the bar was set pretty high.

Pros:
-Staff: They are great! We are grateful for Toto and Carlos who were not only welcoming, but helped us arrange taxi's for a night out, reservations, an outside tour that my husband was interested in and more! The restaurant staff were also very welcoming, even if the food had challenges

-View: Lovely view of San Jose, especially at night

-Soap: Sounds silly, but I loved the smell of the soap and shower gel--so much so that I bought some to take home with me.

-Coffee: Best coffee I've ever had! (I'm not an expert, just a daily Starbucks customer). We bought several bags to bring home

-Bed: Comfortable, large and clean

-Rooms: We stayed in Cafetal which was nicely decorated with a mural and pretty

-Location: Close to San Jose airport, which is great, especially since traffic near San Jose can be challenging

-Guide: Manolo was fantastic! He took us on the river float and Tirimbino tours and was very knowledgeable, passionate about the environment, friendly and overall we enjoyed spending the day with him.


Cons:
-Rooms: The rooms are a bit tired and we had ants throughout our 3 night stay. After a day of seeing a trail of ants we tracked it to the sugar bowl (available for in-room coffee) were they were clustered. But, even after removing the sugar, the ants remained. When we told the staff person who guided us to our rooms, his response was "it's ok, they're not the kind that bite". The manager says that the ants are hard to remove because they are an eco-friendly resort. I understand that, but have visited other eco-friendly lodges on our trip to Costa Rica and neither had insect issues.

-Restaurant: The restaurant is hit or miss. Our lunch there wasn't stellar, just ok (hamburger underdone and veggie sandwich fine). Our first dinner was not good. We were told to move from our table (after being told to sit anywhere) because it was reserved (without a sign). We had to move a chair to make a new table. Not a big deal, just an inconvenience. Water was served but my husband's glass had something floating in it and my glass had a string literally encrusted to it's side. Pretty gross. We both had the tropical salad which was bland and had an odd crunch to it. My shrimp with pineapple included three small pieces of pineapple and 2 of them were hard, core pieces. The coffee flan had a gritty crust but good flavor.

Worst of all, I woke up with stomach issues the next morning either from the food, or the water that is supposedly filtered. I had been in Costa Rica for almost 10 days and had not had any issues until I ate and drank in this restaurant. Very inconvenient before a full day of river touring and hiking. I switched back to bottled water and was fine until the last day. Feeling better I tried the restaurant's water before we left, and again, had stomach issues a few hours later. Maybe it's filtered, but maybe some of us need more? Not sure, but either way, I would be cautious with the water. The food in the restaurant, however, DRASTICALLY IMPROVED for next dinner there. The rolls were now soft, warm and flaky (instead of stale, cold and hard), and the meals were delicious. It was like night and day.

-Location: It's great being so close to the city (and smaller towns, we had a dinner out, at LLuna de Valencia, which was great!) but that also comes with more noise. We were awaken by barking dogs, promptly at 6 am every morning. And there were a few times we heard loud car alarms, motorcycles, etc. We also contacted a local tour company but were told that given the remote location of the hotel, they, and many other, tour companies wouldn't pick up from our hotel. Not sure if this is accurate, but something to explore if you want to schedule tours beyond those offered by the hotel.

Overall, it was a decent place that brought us closer to SJO for our flight home. If I had to do it over, I probably would just spend a night or two and would only drink bottled water.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank LASH22201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGrandote, Owner at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Dear Lash22201; Thank you for writing in with your review of our hotel and I appreciate your candid comments. I am very sorry that we did not meet your expectations. The problem you had with the ants is regrettable and please accept my sincerest apologies; we live in a very bio-diverse country with so much life and we have an amazingly balanced ecology. However,with all the abundant gardens, creeks, ancient trees and organic coffee around, occasionally the ants decide to invade and although this happens very infrequently (and usually due to being attracted by food -or in this case sugar) they indeed sometimes are a nuisance. I believe that the staff wanted to say to you that these are non-venomous (non biting) ants not to justify their appearance, but rather to ease any fears you might have had.
I am sorry you had stomach problems while here, and I do not know why this happened, but it certainly is not our water. Our well water is 100% pure and is checked and certified every three months by an official bonded lab as well as the the Ministry of Health: in our 28 years here we have never had anything but perfect readings on our water. Furthermore, we filter it to take out any sediments that might come from the well. We also checked with our 35 staff members and other guests and none of the 28 other people staying here had any issues, so I am speculating that it might have been something else that you may have picked up along the way.
I am glad that the food quality improved and please accept my apologies for the quality earlier in your stay. We will work even harder on maintaining the quality in the restaurant and in the attention to details there.
Thanks again for letting us know about your experiences.
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English first
Gardnerville, Nevada
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed December 2, 2013

This hotel is a short distance from the airport in a secluded area on a hillside. There is a beautiful view. You do not see the coffee planation from the hotel, you need to take the walking tour. You have no idea how big the plantation is. You have an opportunity to walk through the plantation on the 2.5 hour tour. There is a small fee for the plantation tour. The hotel rooms a nicely appointed, the hotel staff is friendly and the food is very good. The coffee tour is excellent and you will learn a lot about how coffee is grown. We ate all of our meals here, swam in the beautiful pool and enjoyed the hot tub together. This really is a lovely Costa Rican property and would recommend once you arrive in San Jose to stop here first.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Lori6600
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGrandote, Owner at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Dear Lori; I am glad your stay met or exceeded your expectations and we try very hard to always bring our guests the experiences and service they deserve. Vacations are precious and we want you to feel like everything went perfectly and you were pampered and left feeling better than when you arrived. We really are happy that you took the time to write about your stay and hopefully we will see you again soon.
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Edmonton, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2013

We stayed 3 days after a busy tour of Costa Rica and were welcomed like family by Ed, Carlos, David, Toto, Jorje and others. At the end of the rainy season it was not too busy and we enjoyed the quiet and attention. Carlos makes a great Mojito with fresh mint from the garden and Guaro and we enjoyed the mid afternoon coffee and cookies or muffins. Ulices gave a wonderfully informative tour of the coffee plantation which lasted over 2 hours. Would recommend this place to anyone looking for something a bit different with great food and an eco friendly atmosphere.

Room Tip: We stayed in La Caretta (the oxcart) room and enjoyed a huge outdoor terrace with a great view and f...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Susan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGrandote, Owner at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Dear Susan M; I really appreciate you taking the time to write about your 3 days with us and that you enjoyed the attention to detail and the service by all of our great staff. We always recommend 3 or 4 days minimum to take advantage of all we have to offer and I am glad you could rest and relax as part of that experience.And we appreciate your noting our work in sustainability, which is woven into everything we do without sacrificing the luxury and quality you deserve.
Thanks you so much for writing in and we hope to see you next time!
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Fort Collins, Colorado
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed November 28, 2013

We had a great, relaxing three nights at Finca Rosa. Everything was top-notch: The staff, accommodations, grounds, food, pool, spa. From our check-in to check-out our every need was catered to with polite, friendly service (especially Carlos and Toto, but really everyone was fantastic). We stayed in La Piedra, a nicely appointed suite with a king bed, separate living room and a huge patio with chairs that we took advantage of quite often. The bed had a ceiling fan over it which was fine for us. It cools down considerably at night anyway. We opted for the meal plan since we did not have a car. It would have been fun to go into town and eat with the locals (like we normally do) but we were fine eating all our emails at the Inn. The food was fantastic, had some great wine and local drinks also. And 2:00pm coffee time was something we looked forward to every day. It probably took me too long to mention the coffee. Some of the best we've ever had (and we are coffee snobs now I guess, haha). We took the coffee tour and that was a lot of fun not only to see how the coffee is grown, harvested and roasted but also how they are organic in every way. Our guide (I believe, Javier) was excellent in explaining everything. We didn't take any side trips as at this point in our trip we wanted to relax more (probably should have taken a volcano trip, oh well next time). We did get a massage at the spa, which was wonderful, of course. Overall, an excellent stay at Finca Rosa, kudos to the owners and staff for making it a special place. We highly recommend it.

Room Tip: La Piedra has two rooms, a king bed and a nice patio. Nice to have the extra space, especially the...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TheHellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGrandote, Owner at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Dear the Hellers; We really appreciate your taking the time to write in and share your thoughts about your stay at Rosa Blanca. We pride ourselves on offering truly memorable vacations and authentic experiences, and we ant your stay to be better than you expected. The guide (Xavier) has worked for us for many years and like all of our staff, really loves our guests and lives in the area. Thank you for mentioning our restaurant- we believe in the "farm to table" philosophy and all of our produce and herbs are grown in our organic greenhouse just a few meters from the restaurant, and is managed by our chef, Oscar Picado.
We are very proud of our high quality organic coffee and Ulises who is our guide, will be thrilled to hear your great comments about the tour and the coffee in general.
Again, thanks for the nice comments.
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Auckland
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed November 28, 2013

This review is about the coffee tour, not the hotel itself. My husband and I just blown away by how awesome this tour was! For starters, it lasted around 2.5 hours, which allows you to get a much more in depth understanding of the process compared with the other Costa Rican coffee tours we did (which were around 1-1.5 hours). The young man leading the tour was absolutely fantastic, highly knowledgable and friendly. The tour involved a walk around the plantation (bring sneakers), explanation of all stages of the process from growing to roasting, and then a 'cupping' session at the end where you learn to identify the different aromas and tastes of a good coffee. A unique point of this plantation was that they produce organic, shade grown coffee - so it's interesting to see and hear about how and why this is done. Highly recommended!

The cost in November 2013 was $35 per person.

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank LK12113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGrandote, Owner at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, responded to this review, December 4, 2013
Dear LK 12113; Thanks for the nice review of our coffee our! We are very proud of what we are doing and love to share it with our guests and people from outside who come just for the tour. We try to produce a great quality coffee that happens to also be organic, and for this we were invited to be part of the Specialty Coffees of Costa Rica, which requires a top ten percent ranking in an international "cupping". I am sure that Ulises who is our guide, will be thrilled to hear your great comments and we hope to see you at the hotel and plantation again soon. Please remember you can always purchase our coffee in North america at CafeMilagro dot com if you wish to buy more. Again, thanks for the nice comments.
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Michigan
Level 4 Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed November 23, 2013

There is no doubt that FRB is located on a beautiful and well maintained setting. The office and restaurant staff are friendly and accommodating and prompt answering emails. Breakfast was nice and fresh, dinner not stellar for the price. We actually ate in a local restaurant suggested by Toto (Freddo's Fresca) and loved the fresh smoothies and juices and local fare we ordered. We did receive delicious chocolates each evening; delivered to our rooms. That said we had a few issues. We had 2 faulty coffee makers (we called for a new one after the first one was infested with ants) and the replacement did not work either. Seemed odd, especially since we were on a coffee plantation and wanted to enjoy the delicious coffee. Secondly, the adjoining rooms we shared with friends did not have air conditioning, a grave oversight on my part when booking. Perhaps this is not an issue for much of the year but the 2 nights we were there in NOV it rained a lot and the rooms were very musty and damp smelling. We did not use the community area for that very same reason. Again, it seems odd that for the price one pays AC would have been a given. There was a leak in the entry area that we pointed out to the staff. A dish towel or two would have been appreciated in the kitchen area.

The king beds were comfortable but took up most of the bedroom. Room layouts were a bit unusual and didn't really offer much in the way of comfortable living space. The outside patios would have been lovely but the weather was not cooperative.

We did a day trip to Poas and La Paz Waterfall , this was a good location to depart from. A GPS is a must (Carlos kindly programmed for us) as well as printing off directions from the FRB website as to how to find it.

The staff did help arrange (for a fee) the return of a piece of luggage left in their office storage.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MichiganTeacherMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGrandote, Owner at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, responded to this review, November 24, 2013
Dear Michigan TeacherMom; I am very sorry that your stay was not extraordinary and please accept our apologies for the inconveniences. We do live in a vibrant biodiversity and we enjoy a wonderful balance and ecology but sometimes we experience some curiosity by the ants or other insects in getting into the rooms. As per the coffee makers, we just have bad luck with the factory equipment, and although we use the highest quality appliances throughout the hotel, and especially coffee makers, occasionally we find that we are the victims of faulty equipment. As you know, we did however promptly find a replacement.
I am sorry that you did not try any of our many organic fresh fruit drinks and typical Costa Rican beverages, which are from our own orchards. We serve so many in our restaurant and I am sorry you did not have the chance to sample some of these wonderful beverages.
We do not need air conditioning, as the days are usually perfect temperature with nice breezes and rarely higher than 78 degrees. As you know, the nights are cool and great sleeping temperature. Unfortunately, you were staying during a very strong low pressure storm and the humidity was extremely high, although this is a very rare occurrence that it would be so noticeable.
Again, thank you for bringing to our attention these issues and next time you come, we will try to give you the best hotel stay of your life.
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elizabethtown
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 16, 2013

I'll never forget the wonderful stay Mom and I had at Finca Rosa Blanca. It was an amazing 5 days of being pampered, eating well, and taking amazing tours. We felt fortunate to be teamed up with our tour guide, Manola. He is an expert in the history and ecology of Costa Rica, and he spent two days showing us the culture and habitat of the local community, a historical coffee plantation, and the volcano. I highly recommend booking tours with him. The staff, especially Toto, took very good care of us--right up to the last details. We felt very much a part of their family. The staff arranged our pick-up and departures and made sure my 73-year-old mom was well taken care of. Thank you for helping us make cherished memories.

Room Tip: My mom would have benefited by being closer to the clubhouse. It would have given her a place to re...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Carrie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGrandote, Owner at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, responded to this review, November 17, 2013
Dear Carrie; Thanks for writing in and for sharing your experiences with the readers of TA. I hope next time we can get your mom a little closer tot he restaurant and show her all the great things to do right here on premises. As you mentioned, pampering is our specialty and we will make sure our guests always feel this when they leave. Toto and Manolo will be so pleased to hear how much you appreciated them, and because we are dedicated to sustainable tourism, it makes me happy to hear that you were impacted by Manolo's interpretative tour. Please say hello to your mom and we hope to see you next time.
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Additional Information about Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn

Property: Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn
Address: Apartado Postal 41, Santa Barbara 3009, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Heredia > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn 4*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn is a world-class 13 room resort located in the middle of an organic shade-grown coffee plantation with lush colorful gardens and awe inspiring views of the Central Valley below. The recipient of many awards for being a global leader in responsible tourism and luxury, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn is the perfect choice for discerning and knowledgeable travelers who want to be surrounded by beautiful coffee fields while nestled in a cozy world famous hotel awarded with the highest levels of certified sustainability. Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn is part of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation And Inn
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Hotel Santa Barbara
Country Inn Heredia
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn Costa Rica/Santa Barbara

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