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“Charming but...” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Cantarana

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Hotel Cantarana
Ranked #4 of 7 Hotels in Playa Grande
Certificate of Excellence
Austin, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Charming but...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2012

The property owners are truly wonderful and will go out of their way to help you feel welcome but there are somethings travelers should be prepared for (I wish someone had posted this for me):
1. Ants in bathroom/shower -- all over (but not in bedroom/bed thank god)
2. No shampoo/conditioner/lotion -- bring your own!
3. Only a single sheet to keep you warm at night. No blankets.
4. Beds are kind of like sleeping on a futon/cot.
5. The pool is completely shaded -- never sees sun nor do the chairs around it. Which could be good for some people.
6. Playa Grande is a surfer town -- not touristy -- it is a hike to get to other forms of life.
7. You cannot put toilet paper in the toilet. None. Ever.

If you are looking for a cozy/charming/home-y feel, this is the place to go. I thank the owners, the above are just little changes- things to know.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Anonymous P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cantarana, Owner at Hotel Cantarana, responded to this review, December 10, 2012
Dear Guest,
thank you for your honest review!
We are truly sorry to hear that you encountered some problems during your stay with us and we are grateful for your constructive feedback.

We are always keeping an eye on the ant situation as this is one of the small prices we pay to live in the tropics. Ants are a constant issue everywhere.

Thank you as well for your comment concerning the bathroom amenities. We do have a soap and shampoo dispenser in the shower and our guests have never experienced the absence of the amenities. Finally, we appreciate that you mention that toilet paper cannot be put in the toilet. You will find this almost everywhere throughout Costa Rica.

As well, we are very sorry to hear that you did not have a pleasant sleeping experience in our beds. As you mentioned, we do not have blankets in our hotel rooms, since they are not needed here in Costa Rica. For guests that would still like to have a blanket, we are more than willing to provide one for them.

With regard to the pool, we are proud to be able to provide a shaded place, since Playa Grande beach has no trees or shaded areas to protect you from the intense Costa Rican sun. Playa Grande beach and Playa Grande are indeed very quiet. The town of Tamarindo is right next to Playa Grande and only a short walk down the beach and a short boat ride to get there. Tamarindo is a busy, touristy place and known for its parties during the night. Again, we would have been able to assist with this had we known what you were looking for during your vacation.

The whole Cantarana Team was sorry that we did not have the opportunity to address your concerns while you were here.
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243 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Easley, South Carolina, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2012

We felt like we were home. Marco, Sabina, and Jeanette were wonderful. We were pampered and taken care of from the time we arrived until we left. The food was great and everything was very clean and well taken care of. My daughter (fluent in German) and Jeanette had a great time singing in German. When we left (hugs all around) they all followed us to our car and stood in the road to wave good bye. We felt as though we were leaving part of our family behind. Jordans and McElveens (Georgia and South Carolina)

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dan J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cantarana, Owner at Hotel Cantarana, responded to this review, November 30, 2012
Dear Dan,
your family left a big impression on our Cantarana Team.
It was so much fun spending some time with all of you.
Even after you had to leave us, we are still singing "Kuessen verboten" :)
Safe travels wherever life is taking you.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
68 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 26, 2012

My husband, parents and I stayed here in November and had an amazing experience. It was cozy, but private. The people who work there made the experience so special for us. Marko, Sabine, Jeannette, Leo, Florian and Russ were all amazing hosts/hostesses as well as charming people to be around. The breakfast served tasted great and was also a relaxing experience and a great way to start the day. Dinner there was also amazing. The beach was closeby, the pool was refreshing and the hammock and chairs around the pool were relaxing. We all had a great time and were sad to leave the hotel and the owners/staff. Playa Grande is an amazing part of Costa Rica!!!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Traveler617514
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cantarana, Owner at Hotel Cantarana, responded to this review, November 30, 2012
Thank you so much for your kind review.
It's very important for us to know, that our wonderful staff makes our guests feel like home.
The whole Cantarana Team enjoyed your company very much as well.
Hope you will be back in the near future, to join us for some fun.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2012

This was our first visit to Costa Rica. We were met at the gate in front of Hotel Cantarana by Sabine and Marko and their daughter. Each took a suitcase as we walked toward our room. Throughout our visit, this was the level of service – always anticipating our next need. We arrived just at the end of the two month rainy summer season and we were the only guests. Each evening we dined on the deck family style with the owners. Next week the chef that guests were raving about in earlier posts returns - just as Hotel Cantarana’s restaurant opens for the 10 month dry winter season. Marko is the handyman every woman wishes she had married, the grounds and rooms are spotless and in excellent repair. (Something we have not always found in tropical destinations.) Sabine is the chef every guy wishes he had married. She puts together meals and menus based upon what local farmers and ranchers have fresh plus what was recently collected by local fishing boats. Marko and Sabine are fluent in German and English. Their daughter also speaks French and Spanish. These new owners of Hotel Cantarana are more than successfully carrying on the reputation earned over the years by the previous longtime owners.

Room Tip: The choice of upper and lower rooms is merely a personal choice. Upstairs the deck has a commanding...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Larry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cantarana, Owner at Hotel Cantarana, responded to this review, November 2, 2012
Thank you so much for your nice words. You mad my wife Sabine cry, you touched her heart. What a delight to see you two together. You are such a lovely couple. We enjoyed seeing you those couple of days at breakfast time, caring with so much love for each other. Thank you for being such a great example for all of us. Hope your ways lead you to our tropical paradise in the future. We would be happy to welcome you again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarasota, Florida
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Cantarana for 4 nights in September. We are no strangers to Costa Rica, but it was our first time staying in Playa Grande. It was the last few days of our trip and an absolutely enjoyable experience made so by the lovely new owners, Sabine and Marko. Playa Grande is a small town just 20 minutes by car from Tamarindo. Here you can escape the busyness of Tamarindo, yet be close enough to venture into town for dinner or shopping. The Hotel Cantarana is situated at the southern end of Playa Grande in a gated community where the beaches are uncrowded and the beauty of nature is everywhere. The beach is just a short walk from this beautiful little gem of a hotel. September is low season and we were the only guests during those 4 days. Sabine and Marko were so warm and welcoming. They really feel like old friends and wanted to do anything they could to make our stay relaxing and wonderful. Each morning we were greeted with coffee, juice, fresh fruits, yogurt and granola, toast and jam, meats and cheeses, and eggs. We love to eat, but thank goodness they understood we could do with less food and were not offended. : ) They are just so happy to be in Costa Rica and want to share their love of being proprietors! They even cooked dinner for us a couple of evenings since the restaurant at the hotel is closed until November. Our room was spacious, well kept with a lovely little pool outside. We can't say enough wonderful about Sabine and Marko or their little gem of a hotel. If you want a beautiful, relaxing experience in Costa Rica stay at Hotel Cantarana. I'm sure we will be back!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lynn H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cantarana, Owner at Hotel Cantarana, responded to this review, October 5, 2012
Thank you very much for staying with us and for the great review you have written. Because this was your first review, we really appreciate all the work you put in, to sign up with Tripadvisor, in order to be able to write a review for us. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed not only our hotel, but also the beautiful quiet beach of Playa Grande. It's a delight to meet wonderful people like you.
We would love to welcome you as friends, next time you stop by, in our little paradise.
Pura Vida
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Saint Louis, Missouri
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 30, 2012

We can not say enough good things about our stay with Sabine & Marko! We arrived on the day of our 10 yr anniversary and were greeted as we pulled up by Sabine & Marko. It was their off season and the restaurant was closed as well as most places in Playa Grande. Knowing it was our anniversary they went to great lengths to make sure we had a wonderful evening by arranging a candlelit dinner on the beach in Tamarindo. Breakfast every morning was fresh fruits, breads, jams, meats, cheeses and eggs if we wanted. The property was beautiful and well maintained.
Marko & Sabine are the new proprietors of Hotel Cantarana. They made us feel as if we were staying with dear friends. They are extremely hospitable and helpful. Staying here was a little slice of paradise and the highlight of our trip. We would recommend staying here to anyone and hope to return ourselves!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Krewsons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cantarana, Owner at Hotel Cantarana, responded to this review, October 2, 2012
We are so happy to see, that you enjoyed your stay with us. I would like to thank you for taking the time to write this wonderful review and show us how much you enjoyed staying with us.
We hope to see you again in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2012

The last 3 days of our trip were meant to be spent in Tamarindo, but we hated Tamarindo and skipped town for nearby Playa Grande. We left in a hurry because our hotel in Tamarindo was the worst hotel we'd stayed at in Costa Rica, and when we arrived early the owners gave us complimentary coffee while we waited for the room to be prepared. Right away everyone was exceptionally nice so we knew we had made the right choice coming there.

When we got to our room we were so happy because the bed was sooo comfortable, the AC was blasting, everything was so clean and we had just left such a terrible disgusting hotel that morning that it felt like our vacation had been saved. Seriously.

When we had a little more time to chat with the owners, we found out that the hotel had just changed hands that very week, which surprised us a little because it seemed just like what all the reviews had mentioned. The new owners are so warm and friendly that it seems like it couldn't have been better before they arrived. They also had an intern helping them named Jeannette who was studying hotel management and she was working hard to make sure we had whatever we needed at all hours of the day. We even went out for drinks one night at the nearby Hotel Bula Bula just to hang out because we got along so well.

Hotel Cantarana is a 2 minute walk from Playa Grande which has a protected coastline that makes it quiet and beautiful. The area feels more residential than anything, and none of the hotels or homes are right on the beach so the beach feels pristine and is the opposite of Tamarindo which is dirtier, congested, has people selling you things, and has hotels and bars all along the beach.

There's also a little surf shop a few doors down from Hotel Cantarana where we rented a couple of surf boards and learned to surf (or tried anyway).

The restaurant wasn't open while we were there in the offseason so we didn't get to sample any of the dishes we read about in the other reviews. They do have a phenomenal breakfast in the morning though even in the offseason.

Overall, Hotel Cantarana was by far the best hotel experience we had in Costa Rica. Although it was one of the more expensive places we stayed, it was also one of the nicest, definitely the friendliest, and still a great value especially considering the exceptional service, the well kept pool and grounds, and the amazing 3 course breakfast (fresh fruit, cereal, meats and bread, eggs to order) that was included (and so big we weren't able to finish it). We were sad to leave and hugged all the staff on our way out- it felt a little like leaving behind family as they waved goodbye while we drove away. This is definitely the only hotel in Costa Rica I felt that way about, and we stayed at many places over the course of 2 weeks. We're hoping to go back some day.

Room Tip: We had a nice view of the pool from the balcony outside of our "sailboat room".
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank hollandvoyager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cantarana, Owner at Hotel Cantarana, responded to this review, September 20, 2012
Dear K. & J. thank you so much for your nice words. Jeannette had to go back to Germany, but only a few days later she decided, she likes it here better, in the warm weather and with all those friendly people around. We have been able to hire her again:) Hopefully she will stay with us for a long time.
It doesn't feel to us, that we do something special, we are just our self's and enjoy what we are doing. Hope to see you again soon.
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Additional Information about Hotel Cantarana

Property: Hotel Cantarana
Address: Palm Beach Estates | 50308 Cabo Velas, Playa Grande, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Playa Grande
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Playa Grande
#1 Family Hotel in Playa Grande
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Playa Grande
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Cantarana 3.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Our small Boutique Hotel is situated in the Northwest of Guanacaste on a peninsula bordering directly on Marino Las Baulas National Park. We are 100m from the almost deserted endless beach of Playa Grande. In our beautiful double rooms & tropical garden you will find tranquility & relaxation in soothing seclusion. Our atmospheric restaurant invites you to tasty culinary excursions for your eyes and taste. Our experienced team looks after you with great care, doing their very best to make your holiday a pleasantly unforgettable one. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cantarana Hotel Playa Grande

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