We loved this hotel so much! The location, the quality, the service - all top notch.
Location - the hotel is quite isolated. It is about 45 minutes north from SJO, and is built into the hillside above la Paz waterfalls gardens park. To get anywhere you have to drive at least 15 minutes, and these are not roads you want to drive on after dark so you are "stuck" there in the evenings. For us, this was fine; but others may not like it. The drive from Alajuela is fine. Very twisty and hilly, but a gorgeous drive and there was lots of signage to help you out.
The hotel - what can I say, the place is gorgeous. It is built to blend into the natural surroundings and it does so beautifully. It is built into a hillside so there are ALOT of steps. I would not recommend it for anyone with mobility issues. There are no elevators or ramps. Even luggage is an issue, there is a note in the room saying it is unacceptable for guests to carry their luggage, they offer luggage carrying as a complimentary service. We were travelling with a baby (10 months) and had a lot of luggage so we gave the guys a decent tip anyways. The hotel has 3 restaurants, 1 bar, 3 pools (1 heated, 2 unheated), 2 hot tubs, and a stocked fish pond. You also get free access to la Paz waterfalls gardens which is on the same property. The unheated pools were freezing. my husband got in for a few minutes just to say he du, but it was not fun. i imagine it would take a lot to heat it up. The heated pool is lovely though. It is a small infinity pool that overlooks the smaller of the two unheated pools and then on out over the park. The good hot tub is right beside it. The best part is that the heated pool and good hot tub are covered so you can enjoy them when it's raining. Which it did, every day we were there! With the baby, we left the stroller in the car, there were too many steps for it to be useful, we either carried him or used our backpack carrier. Our room was right above the heated pool which was really convenient. When the baby was sleeping/napping we would take the monitor and go out to the deck, or pool or hot tub. It's great to have those options when you're travelling with a baby and not be confined to your room.
The room - we had the deluxe room and it was AMAZING. I'm not sure words can describe exactly how nice these rooms are. They have a gorgeous 4-poster king size bed with a sheer canopy, huge stone fireplace with this very unique carved wooden rocking couch in front. The deck is large, with a beautiful view of the park (and Poas volcano on a clear day). It has a jacuzzi (NOT a hot tub) made of ceramic tile and stone on one side, a hammock on the other and a table and chairs in the middle. There is also a hummingbird feeder, and hummingbirds were there all the time. Then there's the bathroom. Oh my what a bathroom. It was bigger than some hotel rooms I've stayed it. It is all done in stone (well, concrete made to look like stone, but whatever) with a huge skylight, big wooden vanity with neat ceramic sinks and what I'm pretty sure were living trees and shrubs. The main room housed the vanity, a second jacuzzi, and a waterfall. Off the main room were a toilet room and 2 showers - one a regular/rain shower and the other a regular/waterfall shower. The waterfall shower was kinda cool but not really functional. More of a novelty. Same with the actual waterfall, it was beautiful and super cool, but also kinda loud so after taking a few pics we turned it off. The bathroom was so big that we basically used it as the babies bedroom, just put the pack and play in there.
Restaurants - there are 3 restaurants at the peace lodge and 1 in the park, but they are not all open for every meal. Breakfast is only served at tortillas, lunch is served at tortillas, the big trout bar and colibries (in the park) and dinner was only served at Poas vista. Each resto has set times, and my only, only issue was that if you wanted to eat between 4:00 and 6:00 pm there was nothing open. Pretty minor complaint. Breakfast was not included, but reasonably priced - most expensive menu item was $12 and you get a good big breakfast for that. The pancakes were to die for. We had lunch at the big trout bar once and colibries once. Both were good, the serving size at big trout bar was kinda small though, but I think that was just what we ordered. Colibries is a buffet and was delicious. The other park guests and tour groups also eat here so I think it can get crowded, but it wasn't d when we were there. We had supper 3 nights at Poas vista and really enjoyed it. Like the rest of the hotel, the restaurant is gorgeous and the service is impeccable. The first we walked in the waiter looked up and said "you must be Ms. Williams, we've been expecting you", then took this wooden placard with our name on it and asked us which table we wanted. From there, it keeps getting better. We got to know all the wait staff and them us. They took the time to talk and get to know us, to play with the baby and give us advice for our trip. They are truly the nicest people we have met so far in Costa Rica (and there are ALOT of nice people here). Our last meal there, they all hugged us. It was pretty amazing. So Rinald, Danny, Melvin and Byron - thank you so much for everything, you guys are pros! We also got to meet Carole, the customer care rep (a fellow Canadian) and what a lovely lady! Every night when we left the restaurant the baby would cry and bang on the door to go back and play with his new friends! Oh, the food was also great! Some other reviewers/posters have commented that it is expensive and it is a little pricey (especially when you consider you have to eat there or go into town before dark), but considering the caliber of restaurant we didn't find it that bad. Entrees ranged between $20 and about $35, which is about the same as we'd pay in Canada at this type of restaurant. Service is included in your bill (10%) but you can add an extra tip if you like.
I guess the final thing I should say is that this is not a cheap hotel. It is this good for a reason! We had a groupon so we got a killer deal, in fact I think it was the cheapest we stayed at on our visit! However, if it is within your budget, or if like us you find a deal, I would very very highly recommend staying here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located less than one hour from the San Jose (Juan Santamaria) Airport, the Peace Lodge is the perfect place to begin or end your vacation. You don't need to spend your first or last day in a city hotel. Please come spend them in the rain and cloud forest with us and still be close to the airport. We are also only 20 minutes from the Poas Volcano, another "must see" attraction in Costa Rica. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Peace Hotel Heredia
- Peace Lodge Costa Rica/Heredia