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“Would stay there again”
Review of Pura Vida Hotel

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Pura Vida Hotel
Ranked #1 of 58 Alajuela B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Idaho Falls, ID
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Would stay there again”
Reviewed October 5, 2008

We stayed at the Pura Vida on our last night because it was close to the airport. We enjoyed the beautiful garden; the staff was friendly and helpful, the rooms clean, and the dinner excellent. The bathroom is small but adequate. The car park is locked and safe. They help a local school by donating books and invite guests to bring a few books in their luggage, but this is entirely optional. We did so and left them for the staff to deliver. The web site says they will change up to $50 for guests, but they were unable to do that for us; out of cash that day, I guess. We had a very early flight and the staff arranged a taxi and boxed our breakfast. There was a gecko in our room-not surprising since this is the tropics. We found it charming rather than annoying and left it alone. All-in-all we would stay there again.

  • Liked — Garden, Location
  • Disliked — Small bathroom
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RobertD66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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747 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (139)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • Any
English first
San Diego
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 4, 2008

We stayed here during our last few nights of our honeymoon before heading home. It's a beautiful compound, you can just sit all day long on the patio, reading and watching the birds. Everything was obviously decorated with love and care of attention. We were upgraded to the newly-renovated Rain Forest Casita, just beautiful. Unfortunately we left just as Burni and Nhi were returning from their travel, but Rebecca took good care of us during our visit. Great breakfast, the hotel arranged a nice tour of the countryside for us by Esterling. We are definitely coming back.

  • Liked — Beautiful setting
  • Disliked — A little ways away from the town, have to take a taxi everywhere
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank krstly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 7, 2008

Staying at the Pura Vida Hotel was a true pleasure with understated luxury as my over all impression. I was very happy with my one night stay, and I could have stayed longer. Should I return to Costa Rica, it will be on my list of places to stay.

  • Liked — The style and decor of the room.
  • Disliked — N/A
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank TicoMinneapolis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlsbad, California
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2008

The Pura Vida Hotel was the perfect start to my recent 9 days in Costa Rica. After clearing customs and grabbing a cab, in less than 10 minutes I was greeted at the gate of the Pura Vida by Neh, co-founder of the Pura Vida with her husband, Berni. The hotel is very close to the airport, making it a great starting point for a trip to CR, but secluded enough amidst its private grounds to offer seclusion and tranquility. I stayed in the Toucan room, which was graciously appointed and very comfortable. The best things about this lovely inn, however, are 1) the incredible food and 2) the warmth and service of husband and wife team Berni and Neh. Berni even arranged for my rental car to be delivered to the hotel the next morning, and after one of the best breakfasts I've ever had (included with price of stay - lunch and dinner separate costs), I was off to Poas Volcano and my destination northwest in Sarapiqui.

The Pura Vida just has that "certain something" you're looking for in a jumping-off hotel. It's warm, funky, comfortable, and very relaxing. It lives up to its name!

  • Liked — Comfort and location
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank mnbruin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2008

My wife and I stayed in Pura Vida for our first night in Costa Rica during our honeymoon. We stayed in Alaujuela because we had a late flight, and one of the owner's stayed up waiting for our arrival from the airport. When she found out it was our honeymoon she graciously provided a bottle of champagne free of charge.

We stayed in the Orchid room and woke up to the beautiful sounds of birds and a white, sun filled room. The property felt safe and secure, and the grounds were beautiful. It was nice to be able to meet the owner of the facility, and he gave us a nice introduction to the country as well as some tips for our times there.

Breakfast was beautiful and more than either of us could finish. I would say out of the four places I stayed in Costa Rica, this was the best breakfast.

We only had plans to stay there for the night and take off early the next morning, but when we go to Costa Rica again I'm sure we'll stay at the Pura Vida and explore the Poas Volcano or something else from there.

A great stay at a GREAT price.

  • Liked — Friendly owners, staff, amazing breakfast
  • Disliked — Location appears sketchy at night, but so does the rest of Costa Rica, and it's a safe place with security and dogs.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank somuchjackson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
2 reviews
Reviewed August 18, 2008

Just came back from a 12-day trip to Costa Rica. What a great place to go. We were a diverse group: a 79-year old grandma, 4 adults and 4 teens. We all enjoyed it enormously.
We stayed at Pura Vida on our first and last nights. Our host Bernie was extremely helpful. Part of our group was arriving on a late flight (almost 10pm), so we arranged for a late dinner -- it was superb! and even at that time, beautifully displayed. We made our car-rental arrangements through the hotel, too. I got a price from Bernie beforehand (he responds to your e-mails immediately and efficiently). The price compared very favorably with anything I could find online. The best part was that our cars were delivered to the hotel and the Toyota rental guy was drawing up the contract while I was having breakfast with my family. No fuss no bother.
Bernie kindly offered to lend us walkie-talkies to communicate between the two cars, so we kept them for the duration of our trip and returned them on the last night.
As we left for our 10-day drive his last words were: Call me if you have any difficulty or problem along the way. A great feeling when you're in a country where you don't know anyone.
About the hotel itself: very comfortable, clean, spacious. Nice landscaping. Great breakfast. My only misgiving is we didn't stay there longer: there are quite a few things to do in the area.

  • Liked — Friendly and helpful owners, great food, nice spacious rooms.
  • Disliked — Nothing.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank PatsyNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FLORIDA
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 16, 2008

Don't stay here - dangerous, loud area (could not sleep) and rude owner.
Compound is locked up and you cannot go out even for a walk because of the danger of the surrounding element. Three German Shepards on property for safety.
Dogs barking and motor bikes running all night long.
Owner curt, sarcastic and overall annoyed by guests on his propoerty (unless he happens to like you). Unfortunately there is no common or outside areas to go to avoid the rude owner Berni.
It looks like Berni spends quite a bit of time responding to unhappy guest comments.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank YACHTCHARTERS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
alajuelanorth, Manager at Pura Vida Hotel, responded to this review, August 23, 2008
This review proves an old adage, "you can't please all the people all the time" and obviously this guest was not pleased to be at the Pura Vida.

We work very hard to ensure all guests have the best experience possible - we built the Pura Vida with the concept that it must be a place "we'd like to stay at when we travel". We want a comfy bed, down pillows, a spotless environment, great food and pleasant hosts. Most of all we want to learn something about the places we are traveling to. We take any problem very seriously and both respond to problems and make changes to ensure future guests don't run into the same thing.

This anonymous complaint gives us no opportunity to understand what happened on what date so we may respond directly? The guest said nothing while they were at the hotel and we do not know what really happened to trigger this.

The guest does note that "the compound is locked and you can't go out" and it is not safe. FYI we lock the compound restaurant gates at around 10pm (if the guest wants to leave, we will unlock it). If a guest wants to leave in the evening they are welcome to and we advise them to return by midnight - there is a bell to the Casa, bells on the front and side gates and we will answer them 24 hours a day. Many guests have commented on our availability - "waiting up till 2am" for a flight that has been delayed. 99.9% of our guests appreciate that we maintain a secure compound for both their cars and their belongings. We are very proud of our safety and security record which is attested to by this complaint :-).

The guest notes the night was noisy . . . so I am assuming they may have stayed in our Volcano studio on a weekend. As a result of a previous TripAdvisor comment we added a note to our web site (on the ROOMS page), maybe a year ago, that the Volcano Studio can be noisy on weekends as it is on the street side of the hotel - we advise light sleepers not to book that room. The guest notes we respond to a lot of guests comments . . . we have responded to 8 guest comments on TripAdvisor and have tried to answer or resolve any issues that have arisen in our 6 years running the Inn. Returning guests and happy guests keep us very busy most of the year. Our reputation depends on our reviews and this reality is reflected by nearly all of our guests.

The guest also notes there are "no common areas" which is just not true - we have a large garden, a number of public seating areas (in the Casa, throughout the garden and in the restaurant). The guest implies our dogs are barking at night which is not true - they remain in the Casa after 10pm. The guest also provides hotel ratings that are just not true by the standards attested to by the reviews currently on TripAdvisor.

We appreciate the opportunity to respond to any problems and will do our darndest to resolve all guest issues and some things that are yet to be issues. For example, we recently added a new "guarantee" that may be unique locally - "if you are arriving on your first night in Costa Rica and your flight is canceled or diverted or otherwise distracted, you will not be charged for the room night for stuff that you can't control". This was in response to the "rainy season" and a few guests that get diverted or delayed their first night and can't stay with us. If there is anything we can do to help turn a trip into a success we will do it - after all we hope to see you back next year.

In closing, if this anonymous guest will contact us directly we will be happy to fully refund their stay with us. Thank you.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pura Vida Hotel

Property: Pura Vida Hotel
Address: Tuetal Sur | 4km North of SJO International Airport, Alajuela 20102, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Alajuela
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 58 B&Bs / Inns in Alajuela
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Pura Vida Hotel is located 4km north of the SJO International airport - we provide a free taxi pickup for international arrivals. Breakfast is included and an excellent dinner is available with reservations (or late meals for late arrivals). Touring services include car rentals delivered here, private vans and as much touring advice as you wish - we are experts on Costa Rica. We have arrangements with Toyota Car Rental for deals on car rentals. Our idea is simply that this is a place we would like to stay at when we travel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pura Vida Alajuela
Hotel Pura Vida
Pura Vida Hotel Costa Rica/Alajuela

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