The design is interesting, I liked the tropical/rustic motif with the wood everywhere ambiance. There is a beautiful garden across a long Koi pond/channel with fish and turtles. You can tell the owners pay close attention to manicuring the property.
The food was a little disappointing. Limited nightly dinner menu, with super limitations if you're vegan or vegetarian. But I liked the bar and bar tenders who were cool.
Unfortunately the thematic 'Ocean View' rooms force you to conform to the hotel's design. The rooms have cathedral ceilings with fiberglass skylights that must've been facing east because you wake up to sunlight on your face. The rooms immediately begin to heat up from then on in a greenhouse effect. though. Their website's advice that a fan would suffice assumes a bit about the guests' heat tolerances. The wall mounted fan and floor fan, and opening the balcony doors only puts a dent in it.
In addition they assume you don't mind an open air lattice ceiling high between your toilet and a common area, so no squeeze room for feeling uptight about not wanting to take a dump while people can hear or possibly smell it. There is also no controllable bug barrier between outside and the bathroom cool in that I spotted a bird-sized moth to photograph, not cool in that my fiance was surprised getting out of the shower with a few dozen fat black ants that clustered in the folded towel on the shelf. You can however seal the bedroom from the bathroom.
I like how the balcony looks over the reception/bar area but again the privacy is lacking. The only thing that divides your room's balcony with your neighbor's is a hanging bamboo divider that doesn't extend even to the balcony's edge. This is a cool concept for if you know your neighbor but otherwise no. Our second to last day I woke up to a staff member walking right in off the balcony while we're naked and partially covered in sheets. "Water the plants?" Awkward.
After a few nights we inquired to switch rooms to the ground floor or to a room with AC. No dice, they were booked. My fiance explained that she was having difficulty dealing with the heat in our room and asked if we could leave a night early without incurring charge in order to get relief somewhere with AC. The guy was surprisingly rude about it saying 'um, no', and then in a sassy tone said 'you came to the Caribbean, HONEY it's hot' in a condescending tone. Only after she became visibly irritated and walked away was he willing to actually attempt empathy, or really to save face. So ultimately we were 'set free'. 5 minutes later when we were packing to leave a gang of maids let themselves into our room without knocking, which further reinforced our desire to go.
Overall the place is cool looking and laid back, but with the potential for awkwardness and discomfort that we didn't appreciate.
- 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