We spent our last three nights with Colin and his staff and were terribly dismayed when it came time to leave. We truly wish we had just skipped the tourist trap of Arenal Volcano and spent those days here in wonderland. We met some amazing people during our stay and came home more relaxed than I have ever been after a vacation.
We were initially BLOWN AWAY by the grounds and spent an hour wandering around while our room was readied. When the staff informed us the room was ready we realized our heavy bags had been brought upstairs for us! Unexpected but much appreciated after the long ride in. Our room had a bottle of wine, fruit, local chocolates and a hand colored note thanking us for choosing Banana Azul for our honeymoon. Incredibly thoughtful!
The rooms are gorgeous and absolutely perfect, as long as you're a bit adventurous and aren't hoping for things like a tv. Who watches tv on vacation anyways?!? Yes, the porches are "shared" (there is a divider between patios but it doesn't fully section it off) but we had some great conversations with our neighbors that way! The walls are thin, it can get a little loud during the really good storms (or if your neighbors fancy a romp!) and for utmost comfort if its warm you will want to sleep with the French doors open. They have no screens so you will wake up to a creepy crawly or 7, just use the mosquito net and get over it. :-) There aren't nearly as many of them that close to the water. Go 100 yards into the jungle and thats a different story!
There was no AC, but other than on one day for 2-3 midday hours, we found the fans were perfectly efficient in keeping the air from becoming stagnant or too hot.
Remember, this is the Caribbean, you are not going to get the Hilton anywhere. The service, while incredibly courteous and sweet, does take longer than we are used to. If you feel the staff seem indifferent realize it is likely just cultural differences and not a personal attack.
The couples relaxation massage in the beach hut is worth every penny. I laid in the sand, a useless pile of goo, for hours after she worked her magic. They time most of the strokes with the crashing of the waves, makes for an amazingly relaxing effect.
The "typical" breakfasts were delicious, well presented and we really enjoyed having the two options of hot items to choose from. On our last morning I really wanted to serve my new husband breakfast in bed. I snuck downstairs to inquire and the woman working was so amazing! With a grin she shoo'ed my robe clad self back to our room stating she would take care of everything and boy did she! She arrived with a beautifully displayed tray of delicious goodies, a fresh ice bucket for our champagne, yummy hot coffee and cold OJ for mimosas! The hubby loved it!
The two dinners we had were very good and I had an amazing steak that was actually prepared rare (hard to find in CR, the waitress was so grossed out lol.) One of our lunches was brought on a small serving tray beachside for us, so relaxing!
**The ONLY and I repeat ONLY negative aspect we had was regarding laundry services. About half of the laundry we had washed came back ruined with multiple large bleach stains. They were big, enough that there was no way they didn't notice during folding. We only brought clothes we didn't care too much for so other than one of my hubbys favorite shirts it wasn't too much of a big deal. Our packs were lighter for the return trip! :-) Pura Vida.
The town of Puerto Viejo is so laid back, we had a blast partying the nights away with the locals dancing, playing pool and dominoes and just chatting with new friends!
There is far too much good to say about this Hotel so I will end with JUST GO. IT IS AMAZING.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Banana Azul hotel is a small and simple hotel north of town on Playa Negra. The small boutique hotel has been created with care using local products and a philosophy that emphasizes relaxation. We cater to adults, 16 years and over. Blooming gardens adorn the property, as does several freely-hanging hammocks, providing the perfect spot for afternoon napping or leisurely reading. A meandering pond inhabited by fish and turtles flows through portions of the property adding a lighter element to the ongoing natural soundtrack of waves crashing against the shoreline. The hotel consists of 22 beautiful guest rooms with private baths, fans (some with A/C), and free WiFi. Most rooms are on the second floor of the main building, and open onto a large veranda with sweeping ocean views and of the garden. Banana Azul offers its guests a quaint restaurant that serves a complimentary filling breakfast, variety of lunch options and refreshing drinks throughout the day and a relaxing three entre dinner option in a romantic atmosphere at night. Caribe Fun Tours is on site to assist with tours and transportation needs and can assist with a variety of package options including visits to the Arenal Volcano, canopy tours, snorkeling trips, and even rafting excursions. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Banana Azul Hotel
- Banana Azul Puerto Viejo
- Hotel Banana Azul Costa Rica/Limon