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Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens
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Reviewed June 24, 2014

Both my husband and I were so disappointed in the reality of this hotel. I'd read the tripadvisor reviews and accolades from magazines and was really excited to stay here. In fact, we planned our trip to Costa Rica to coincide with availability at the hotel - meaning we delayed our trip six weeks later than we wanted in order to stay here. I am a big fan of boutique luxury properties and have traveled to them extensively. I don't expect everything to be perfect, that's not what makes a five star experience for me, but there was such a lack of attention to detail, quality and personal service, that I was completely taken aback considering all the reviews and high ratings.

Maybe my expectations were just too high. To me, this is a solid 3.5-4 star property and if I hadn't had such high expectations, I'm sure I would have appreciated it for what it was a bit more. It was nowhere near 5 star, even in the Springs side. You could tell they were trying to do alot but the execution just wasn't well-done on much. The overall vibe to me was not sexy, luxury rainforest retreat, it was more "high-end all inclusive hotel."

The good(ish):
-Check in was smooth, we were given a cocktail and allowed to check in early
-Our honeymoon was acknowledged with a "Happy Honeymoon" sign and some rose pedals on the bed. Nice gesture, but it felt like they do this all day long and not very personal or special. Especially since at check in we heard the guy checking us in telling the guy making up the room to set it up. Surprise, not.
-The patio in the room was nice with the Jacuzzi, chairs and hammock
-The outdoor shower was nice
-Housekeeping did a nice job of cleaning the room during the day shift
-We decided to rent a car and that process was arranged smoothly by the hotel
-The driver from the hotel to the airport was fantastic and friendly, addressed us by name and kept us entertained and comfortable through the 3 hour trip - this was the type of warm service I would have expected during my stay but this was the best we received - as we left
-Staff throughout the hotel was nice "enough" and helpful "enough"
-The bridge that connects the two hotels is really beautiful crossing through the forest
-Music in Amor Loco for dinner was excellent
-Food in Amor Loco was really nice and fresh with a good selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner
-Pool on the Springs side was really nice with nice sun beds
-Cocktails on the Springs side were decent, not amazing, but the mojitos were pretty good at least
-Both pools were well heated so they could be enjoyed in the rain

Now for the bad. I know these things will come off as mostly picky, but to me make the difference between a 3.5-4 and 5 star hotel experience and are the things that disappointed me.

Service
-Before we arrived, my husband contacted the hotel to find out if he could arrange a surprise to celebrate our honeymoon. The best they could come up with was to do the tasting menu (which I can't eat because most courses are sea food) at dinner. Really, that's the best they can come up with. Once we got there, we read that there were options for private dinner, yoga, cooking classes . . .
-The employees were just not that engaged. I truly was expecting very personal experience and it just didn't happen. People were there to do their job and you could tell they work hard and long hours, but I don't think they are given five star service training. It's a small place. At one point, we ate at the same restaurant 5 meals out of 7, waited on by the same group of staff and it took til the 5th meal for them to acknowledge they'd seen us before. No one ever asked our names, what we'd been doing in Costa Rica, if it was our honeymoon, etc. or shared any information about anything other than the menu. It was very impersonal.
-There were frequent mistakes in drink orders. I don't know what it was, but we almost always received the incorrect drink order at meals. If my husband ordered orange juice, they would walk away before I could order and bring back two orange juices.
-The staff call women "lady". "Lady, do you want another drink?" "Hello lady." I don't think any woman wants to be addressed that way. It just comes off as harsh and not at all elegant. I cringed every time.
-Housekeeping only provided turndown service 1/4 nights. Each night we left by 6pm, came back after 10pm and put up the "maid service please sign". Disappointing.
-One day, housekeeping left our door ajar, so that's obviously a big security issue. Anyone could have walked in
-This is probably the strangest thing that I've ever seen at a hotel and I hesitate to mention it. it is clear the hotel feeds the staff. I think that is fantastic! I'm all for giving a little extra benefit to make life easier for those hard working people. This is why I hesitate to mention it. I wouldn't want that taken away. But, as a guest, it was very strange. The employees would come right up to the breakfast buffet and stand in line with you and make a plate. Later you'd see them spread out around the resort eating and some of the higher up people would eat right in the dining room with the guests. It was just strange. It definitely does not feel like a luxurious dining experience, but more like eating in the employee dining room. Weird vibe.

Hotel Amenities
-All the tables in all the restaurants are for at least four. The place is mostly couples which means you are stuck sitting at large tables, which just loses some of the intimacy and creates weird cluttered spaces
-Pool on the hotel side was just cheap and run down looking. We would have really been disappointed if we didn't discover the Springs pool on day two
-Wine bar was beautiful but it was very strange that there was no information on the wines available and that all but ONE/20 reds were from south america. It really felt like someone ran to the wine store and picked up some bottles rather than thought out what would be offered
-Sushi bar was pretty but crowded seating arrangement. The hostess told us to sit on a couch that clearly barely had space for one next to the couple already sitting there. "um?, that's awkward." I had to tell her there wasn't space so she sat us somewhere else where I was half in and half out of the restaurant. The seating was so uncomfortable, we left after one drink.
-Drinks in all the restaurants at main hotel and pool, REALLY BAD, sugary, bad ingredients. We tried mojito, margarita, rum punch, etc. AWFUL and with not alcohol to boot. Drinking in the pool bar at the main hotel really felt like drinking at a 3-3.5 star all inclusive (between the cheap looking pool area and bad, watered down drinks). Drinks were much better, still not great, on the springs side.


Rooms
-My worst complaint - whatever they use for the roofs echos the rain. So, every night, I was woken several times when it rained really hard. it wasn't the pitter patter of rain. It literally sounded like an airplane taking off. If my husband and I were on opposite sides of the bed, we had to scream to hear each other.
-The bathroom in our room lacked elegance. It was a handicap accessible room, I'm not sure if they are all like that, but this meant that the toilet closet was strange and huge with a silver bar and the indoor shower was the same. Not sexy or practical if you don't need the efficiency.
-One night we wanted to watch a movie. The way the tv was placed in the room, there was no way to watch it from the bed so we had to physically pick up and move the tv stand. Then of course, the DVD player didn't work. By the way, the DVDs stacked up in piles behind reception, not classy, get a case.

That's enough. You get the point. I'm really sad to have to write this sort of review for a hotel I expected to love. This hotel has potential to be much better. Overall, the hotel was ok, we had a good time because we found the parts we enjoyed. If we hadn't had access to the Springs side, I think we would have really been much more bummed. Had I never had any preconceived notion and just stumbled on the hotel, I think I'd give it the same rating 3.5-4 but I wouldn't have had the disappointment of expecting one of the top hotels in the world. Everything was good / nice "enough." Nothing was mind blowing or truly special.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank TravelGirlBlogs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jairo Q, Manager at Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded June 25, 2014

Dear Valued Guest,

We would like to sincerely apologize that you were so disappointed with your experience at Nayara. We pride ourselves in the quality of our service, and when we do not meet these expectations, we take it very seriously.

I would like to personally address the concerns you mentioned, and let you know that will be speaking to staff involved to ensure these things do not happen again. I would also like to personally apologize that felt you were not greeted or addressed by name. Guest recognition is key in this industry and we have taken actions to reinforce this with the entire team. I wish it was brought to my attention when you were here so I could have address it on the spot and insured the rest of your experience went much smoother.

The fact that your concierge did not mention all the amazing activities and opportunities we have to create personalized experiences for our guests is indeed disappointing, and we are making sure that all of our staff is well versed in the over 100 activities that are available at Nayara, including the most romantic options such as couples massage, private yoga or and private dinners for two. These services should have been mentioned to your husband when he reached out to plan a surprise for you, and we apologize that they were not.

As far as our employees not being engaged, we are so sorry that you felt this way. We pride ourselves on having friendly, accommodating and polite staff who are there to make your experience better. We will be implementing extra training sessions for the kitchen staff to ensure that this experience does not happen again. We will also be speaking to housekeeping as it is unacceptable for your door to have been left open and your turndown service not applied. These are the first time we have had these complaints and we will make sure it does not happen again.

We are so sorry that you did not find our accommodations to your standards. We want all of our guests to be comfortable everywhere they go on property.
While we can’t do anything about the rain, it is unfortunate that the sound was so loud for you. We want you and future guests to know that we will be looking into ways to appease the sound. We will also be doing an audit of all our electronics to make sure they work. There is no reason you shouldn’t have been able to watch a movie in your room.

Again, we sincerely apologize that your experience at Nayara was not up to your expectations. We are taking this review very seriously as it is the first time we have had many of these complaints, and we will be speaking to all of the staff that was involved in your experience. We hope that you will give Nayara another chance to show you why we are rated the #1 hotel in Costa Rica.
Sincerely,

Jairo Quesada
Director of Services, Nayara Hotels.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2014

It was the best hotel I have ever stayed at. The service was amazing. The staff were so nice and accommodating. My brother was sick and they took great care of him, they made a special ginger tea for ham and chicken soup as well.The view of the volcano was spectacular. The hot springs were very soothing on my body and the pool was really fun with the bar. I can't wait to go back again

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank AustinFlynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2014

I can't say anything that the other 1900 reviews have not said already. The hotel is absolutely spectacular. The rooms are stunning as well as the view. You feel like you are in the middle of the jungle by yourself. The way the rooms are separated you believe that there is no one else on the property. We loved the outdoor Jacuzzi tub and shower. You will not be disappointed!

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Robert C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2014

My husband and I went here during the first part of our Honeymoon. It was so romantic and intimate. The staff was wonderful and made us feel welcome. They were very helpful and knowledgeable about all the day trips/excursions. The spa was amazing and I would recommend getting one (or more) treatments. We did the romantic dinner one night and I can not say enough good things about the experience. Our server (Nancy) was so enjoyable and they made us feel like royalty. WELL WORTH the money. This is a 5 star resort and you receive 5 star treatment! For any couple looking to go on a romantic vacation this is your location. My only regret about our stay is that we didn't have another day. I wouldn't be worried about visiting this area during rainy season. There is something perfect about the rain in the rainforest :) It was magical. The resort is made for rain so our plans were never altered because of it.

Room Tip: Our room was wonderful!!! We had a large outdoor deck Jacuzzi, hammock, and chairs/tables. There was also an outdoor shower that was private and beautiful.
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Darcey W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2014

Stayed 3 wonderful nights at Nayara. They have the friendliest staff in Costa Rica. The food was excellent. The grounds are beautiful and the rooms are amazing. I was surprised that part of the resort was "adults only", but it's understandable as this resort is better suited for honeymooners than families with kids. We visited The Springs Resort and Spa and the kids loved it as they had river tubing, rockwall climbing, horseback riding, and a zoo. At Nayara, be careful with kids as the walking paths are narrow and my daughter was almost hit by a golf cart that was being driving in reverse and full of luggage so the bellhop didn't see us. The staff mentioned a 4-digit code that could be dialed for free calls to the USA, but I didn't recall what it was and had a hard enough time trying to dial another room. Also had issues reserving the room online as their internet was out for several days, so we had to call and reserve over the phone, which required the full amount to be billed upfront.

Room Tip: All the rooms are great, but the room numbers aren't on the doors so be sure you have a flashlight with you in case it's dark he lights go out so you can find the villa number in front.
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank HighStandards02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jairo Q, Manager at Nayara Resort Spa & Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded June 19, 2014

Dear Valued Guest,

I would like to personally apologize for not meeting your expectations during your recent stay at Nayara. We are dedicated to providing top-notch service and unforgettable experiences to our guests, and I am so sorry to hear that we fell short of your expectations during your stay.

Regarding the golf cart situation I want to offer my most sincere apologies to you and your family. I want you and future guests to know that we will reinforce our standards of service with our entire staff of bellman to avoid this situation in the future.

In regards to the difficulty with the phones and internet, we are sorry about this experience. We are working to improve our wifi connection, and in addition, we have phones in common areas to call anywhere in the world as part of our always-free amenities.

We are happy to know you have enjoyed our food and grounds experience.

Thank you for sharing your comments as we are always looking for ways to make our service the absolute best it can be. I hope we will have the chance to serve you again in the future.

Kindest Regards,

Jairo Quesada
Director of Services, Nayara Hotels.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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