First of all, to address some of the negative comments in earlier reviews, let's say this first: THIS IS NOT A FIVE STAR RESORT. Right. Now that we've done that, let's talk about what it is. It is a charming place with great ambiance for those seeking relaxation in a laid-back location that is both secluded and close to the action. My wife and I stayed a week here and LOVED it. The resort is within a walled and gated 6-acre estate originally built as a playboy millionaire's mansion. It is located on a mountainside overlooking San Jose with beautiful views of the valley and city both day and night. It is secluded and sequestered from the teeming bustle of the city while still close enough that you are only minutes away from anything you want to do or obtain in town. There are suites, a restaurant/bar, a library, and lounge area in the main house, with other suites, a small spa, a "playroom" and a gym all retrofitted from various guest houses and quarters throughout the grounds. Our suite was one of these, with two stories that had balconies on each. We found the room to be clean, spacious, and well-appointed. The king bed was comfortable and all our linens were clean and nice. There are two pools, one for those who prefer to be nude, and one for those who don't, and an outdoor jacuzzi. All three were lovely, well-kept, and clean. The grounds are covered with gardens that if not meticulously manicured serve to create both seclusion and wide open spaces throughout the six acre compound with an abundance of trees, vines, shrubbery, and flowers with an eclectic and wide variety of colors and textures, and placements. Birds flock by the thousands and lend color, sound, and motion to the scenery. The food may not be gourmet quality, but is a good mixture of Canadian and American staples with authentic local fare added to the menu. It is fresh, cooked to order, and deliciously satisfying. The Staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, and though we found they indeed possessed a wide range of English fluency, we had no problems being able to be understood and eagerly waited upon, even sought out and asked what we wanted frequently. With all that being said, here's what we liked best that you will get at no "perfect" stuffy five-star. The REAL "Rock-Star" treatment, being able to do what you want, when you want, without the restrictions of a suffocating structure. There are no signs declaring the pools or jacuzzi "Closed at 10PM" or restrictive restaurant hours or menu choices. The restaurant is open from early to late, and you can just wander in and order whatever, whenever, however, and they will gladly make it how and when you ask for it. You are free to skinnydip at midnight without tiptoeing around looking for the security detail and hoping not to be scolded.The playground is open, and buzzkill is non-existent. Carmen, who manages the facility, is extremely helpful at suggesting and facilitating the reservation and setup of activities of all sorts across the country should you wish to tour, sightsee, or recreate outside the resort. We took advantage of this and had an awesome time at a variety of venues ranging from natural wonders to beach and shopping trips. Like another reviewer (Dec 4 2012) we were able to retain the services of Geovanny Mendez as a driver through Carmen. I would not recommend those uninitiated in the traffic patterns of Costa Rica try to do so in a rental. Geovanny proved to be a safe and affordable option, he is also familiar with not only every area of the country, but was a treasure trove of knowledge of local customs, language, food, plants, photogenic vistas, places to eat, and hidden prizes all along the route to where you set out to go. There simply cannot be anyone better at what he does, with his ever-present smile, wit, and knowledge, he made us wish our day trips didn't have to end. We were introduced to the unique beauty and and personality of this country through this resort, its staff, and our inimitable driver. We will be back, and cannot imagine staying elsewhere. Others may differ, maybe crave the rules and regulations and details of the finest hand soaps and the most closely-cropped hedges of a hoity-toity resort. Not us. We crave the laid-back charm of this place, and can't imagine Costa Rica any other way.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La Catalina Hotel & Suites is an adult couples only, majestic private, gated resort, located a few miles just outside the City of Heredia which is just outside the Capital City of San Jose, on 6 lush acres inhabited by tropical flowers, trees, ponds and other gracious amenities like tennis court,gym,billiards,jacuzzi and 2 swimming pools.One swimming pool is nude and the other up to topless. Fully furnished hotel rooms, suites and villas are offered - studios, one or two bedrooms, and even romantic private villa enclaves ready for your enjoyment.Some weeks in the year are totally clothing optional.La Catalina has the best food in the area from North American to South American to Asian to Seafood.La Catalina has a great weekly entertainment program. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- La Catalina Hotel And Suites
- La Catalina Hotel Birri
- Hotel La Catalina
- La Catalina Hotel & Suites Costa Rica/Province Of Heredia