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“In Between”
Review of Villa Caletas

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Villa Caletas
Ranked #2 of 41 Hotels in Jaco
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
TN
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“In Between”
Reviewed April 11, 2008

First of all this review is long and late in coming because we had some money issues with Villa Caletas that have just now been resolved.

My husband and I were married at Villa Caletas back in November and stayed a total of 3 nights. There is no denying that the grounds and view are absolutely breathtaking. Just Beautiful...

The first night I stayed by myself in a standard room while my husband stayed down at Claritas in Jaco. The room was nice and opened to a small patio enclosed by lush greenery and a fountain. Thought the room was fine, and after seeing some of the other rooms that had views overlooking the ocean..would definitely recommend a stay in one of those instead. My whole stay I never had a problem with bugs or hard mattresses. Bugs are definitely around, but as others have stated you are in the rainforest and these accomodations bring the outside in instead of closing you off from everything.

The second and third night we stayed in a master suite which we loved. We walked down 152 steps and at the end of the trail was the door to our room. It was very private and had a panoramic view of the ocean. No other rooms were below us, it was just all foliage and ocean. The room was really seperated into 3 different sections and each section had glass french doors that opened out onto the patio with pool. One section housed the bed and bath, one section had a living room setup with couch and the last section had a jacuzzi which was great to sit in and enjoy the view.

We were there mid November and apparently the rainy season, or green as its often referred to, was coming to an end. The day of the wedding it lightly showered about 1:00 then cleared off at 2:00 and was beautiful. All of us were sweating during the ceremony which was around 4:30 to view the sunset. We were extremely blessed because the next day it did rain for most of the day. So if you're planning a wedding you may want to consider the end of November or even December to make sure rain won't be in the forecast. We did get in the pool and it was a bit chilly but we paid for it and were going to use it.

As for the rest of the facilities we did eat several times at the ampitheatre restaurant and enjoyed the atmosphere and food. Food is definitely expensive but it was our wedding/honeymoon and we had planned for it.

The last comments I have pertain to the lack of communication from the wedding coordinator at Villa Caletas. When I first called Villa Caletas (they never responded to the email request I made off of their own website) I explained that I wanted to have the wedding there and was immediatedly referred to the "wedding coordinator". She was to make all the arrangements for of course the wedding but also the accomodations for my husband and I and also my parents. The whole process was very trying and at times it was as the saying goes "like pulling teeth". Getting information from her was sometimes impossible. I'd eventually pick up the phone and call her and she'd tell me yes i'll send you pictures of locations, flowers, etc and she would never email me or it would take weeks when she had just said she'd email the next day. Very frustrating. The biggest frustration however was the whole process of handling our money. We had to give our credit card number to put down a deposit on the wedding and pay for the accomodations up front. This was also given to the wedding coordinator who was to handle all the charges. After signing all their required paperwork, copying it and emailing it back with authorization...
literally months went by and no charges were put on our card. I kept emailing and asking why they hadn't charged our card because obviously we also wanted the peace of mind that our wedding and accomodations were for sure taken care of. And of course emails were not answered. Finally when the charges were put on our card they were always several dollars over the amount we had authorized. When I asked about this I was told that Visa was charging me an exchange rate. However, once we actually got to Costa Rica and used the card all over the country, all of our receipts and charges matched dollar for dollar everywhere else and were never overcharged even a penny. The only thing we've been able to determine through my bank and visa is that Villa Caletas took more than they were authorized to. Lastly, we checked out of the hotel and paid all of our bills....Four days after we left Villa Caletas and were all the way up in Tamarindo, Villa Caletas charged our card for an additional $710.00. Of course we didn't know about the charge until we got back to the states and received the bank statement. It has taken months to get this straightened out and I called the wedding coordinator back in January and emailed her as well, and nothing happened. No response. Even asked her to email me who I should talk to in the resort and again no response. Had to file a chargeback with Visa and finally called down to the resort and spoke with someone who was able to put me in touch with the right person. All in all its been nearly 4 1/2 months since the charge and it's just now been resolved. Since that money was already budgeted for other things to do with our reception back in the states, you can imagine the headache we've dealt with.

Would we do it again knowing what we know now? Only by paying with colones and hiring a wedding coordinator. The money issue has been a nightmare and really clouded our experience. If you choose to stay at Villa Caletas it is beautiful and I would recommend you watch your charges. Oh and also, my parents used their credit card and their charges matched dollar for dollar & penny for penny. Thought that was very interesting that we got charged an "exchange rate" but they didn't. They used visa also.

Would also recommend hiring a wedding coordinator outside of the resort. I forgot to mention that her office is not even at the resort, it's in San Jose which is about 2 hours away. We never once met her during our stay...all conversations were by phone to san jose. She wasn't even there for the wedding to make sure things went right.

We hired our own photographers and they were excellent. There names are Carlos & Pamela Fuster and their website is www.costaricaweddingparadise.com

  • Liked — The View
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SAHTN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Calgary
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed March 29, 2008

We stayed three nights at the Villa Caletas in Costa Rica mid-February 2008. We researched several hotels in the area on the web and this one was highly recommended. We booked our reservation on-line.

We rented a 4x4 from Payless and drove from San Jose to Villa Caletas. The turnoff from the highway is well marked. It is a very long, winding road to the hotel that is lined with beautiful stone and greenery. With the elevation of the hotel being almost 1,200 ft the view became more and more spectacular, both mountain side and ocean side. We were stopped at the security gate where they confirmed our reservation and then were directed to the main reception house.

Your first impression upon arrival is the resort looks like a stone estate built in the 1800’s. The reception was very nice and well decorated with dark, heavy woods and ornate art and antique pieces. The view from reception was spectacular. Check in went very smooth. The bellmen graciously offered to carry our heavy luggage to our room. Getting to our room and most of the rooms at the resort is via stairs and stone pathways. The poor bellmen were sweating by the time we reached our room. We tipped them well!

The resort is small and quaint and has a total of 35 rooms/suites. Our suite was number 10. We entered through a private solid metal gate and down a short walk to the deck adjoined to our suite. The view was absolutely spectacular. Our room was very nicely decorated. It had a small living room, bedroom and bathroom. It was very clean. The entire space was smaller than we anticipated but after settling in, we were not fussed by the size at all. The room had a coffee maker, safe, phone and television. The area around our villa was very lush and green. It felt very secluded which we loved. The only moving creatures we saw around us were the big spiders, geckos and two beautiful macaws that made their daily visit.

The infinity pool at the hotel is small but the setting is very beautiful. Service at the pool was good. The staff is very friendly and attentive. The hotel has a small bar and amphitheatre which overlook the ocean. Great place to watch the sun go down and relax. There is a spa and Jacuzzi available but we never took advantage of it.

The hotel has a beach 1.5 miles down a very steep windy, gravel road. The shuttle travels back and forth every hour. We opted to walk down. It was very hot and at times we were slip-sliding on the gravel but we enjoyed the peacefulness and beauty of the jungle. We saw toucans and macaws. When we reached the bottom, we headed straight for the bar and had an ice cold beer. There were nice umbrellas and loungers set up on a ridge overlooking ocean. There is sand there and lots of rock outcrops so it is not your typical beach.

We ate breakfast at the hotel each day at the Terraza overlooking the Nicoya Gulf. They have a very good menu selection including selections for the health conscious guests. The portion sizes were more than generous. Prices averaged $10.00-12.00. The service at breakfast was just a bit slow. They have a server for water, server for coffee, a server that takes the order and a server that brings the meal. With four servers at a table, it actually became confusing as to who was doing what and who we should ask for what. Getting the bill always seemed to take the longest. We ate dinner three out of our 4 nights at the resort. They had a good menu selection and our meals were all very good. On Valentine’s Day we ate at the formal restaurant, Mirador, we weren’t disappointed. We were given complimentary Champaign and heart shaped chocolates. Service was a bit slow because the restaurant was very full and very busy.

We arranged for a cab at reception and went into Jaco one night for dinner. We had been to Jaco during the day and wanted to experience it at night. We had our own vehicle but opted to take a cab so we could enjoy some Costa Rican fun. We walked around trying to decide where to eat and settled on a casual restaurant which was very busy. The food and service was good. We flagged a cab back to the hotel with no problem at all. Traffic in Jaco seems to shutdown around 10:00 pm.

We really enjoyed our stay at the Villa Caletas. The staff are all very friendly and helpful. The service overall was very good. It is much, much smaller than any resort we have ever stayed at and we loved it. We would recommend this hotel to anyone looking for a higher end accommodation however if you are looking for a lot of activities and things to do staying closer to Manuel Antonio may be a better choice. The view from the Villa Caletas alone is worth the stay!

Stayed February 2008
Helpful?
2 Thank EnosCalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indiana
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2008

This hotel was in a beautiful location. We booked the room last minute since we were staying at the Delfin Beachfront (don't recommend it they were out of water almost our entire stay and had rude staff.) The room was supposed to be ready at 2:00 p.m. but wasn't ready until after 4:00 p.m. We didn't mind, we enjoyed the infinity pool until our room was ready.

I can understand some of the concerns from other reviewers but we had a great time there. The restaurant had good food but it did seem like no one knew what was going on.

Upon arrival, they greeted us with tea and a cool cloth to wash our faces and sympathized with us about our other hotel and not having water. After our previous hotel, no water and the staff ignoring us, we felt like we were in heaven.

I would definitely go and watch the sunset. It was gorgeous and we got some great pictures.

  • Liked — The beautiful view and spacious room
  • Disliked — It wasn't directly on the beach.
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank ajmorin1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2008

While the location is great and the rooms and facilities are nice, this first-class hotel wanna-be mostly features obnoxious American tourists and even more rude and inept service from its staff.

The biggest problem is the false expectations the advertising and PR create that Villa Caletas is an intimate, eco-friendly, Costa Rica experience.

First, there is nothing intimate about the tourist trap feel of the guests who populate the hotel. The advertised 33 rooms have swollen to over 56 according to the Executive Chef (be prepared to involve an executive level manager any time you want basic service here).

Worse, this is the hot spot for tourists from all over the area to come watch the sunset each night. This would be fine, but from 4:30 to 8 PM, the population on the hilltop quadruples. Don't think that paying $300/night earns you any respect or priority seating; we were constantly told that there were no tables to be had in the bar or either restaurant until after 8:30 - room key or not.

There is nothing "eco" about the facility - short of the standard "place your towel on the floor" notices that are standard in most hotels around the world. And, finding any kind of true jungle adventure from the hotel is impossible. The unhelpful to the point of rude concierge had nothing to offer but big package tours.

If you are looking for a first class, all the frills adventure, you might do better at the Los Suenos Marriott down the hill, and come up to Villa Caletas one night for the sunset.

To be fair - our biggest beef was the horrible "Mauifacation" of the area in general. All along the stretch from Quepos to Puerto Leona, chain hotels, condos and housing developments that make you feel like you are in Orange County populate the coast. The Costa Rica you imagine is down south (way south - but Manuel Antonio still retains some charm - or up north.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — horrible, rude service
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Xtriton1989
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2008

The hotel is nice, but here's a sampling of problems you will encounter:

1. They rarely answer the phone
2. The reservation process took over 2 days
3. I tried to cancel my reservation a week ahead of the stay and they refused to cancel
4. Cherry on the cake: I had called and ultimately emailed (because of point 1 in this review) the hotel to cancel the reservation. I had asked for them to call me back. The result? They emailed back their refusal. No apologies. No explanation. No call

If you plan on paying one of the highest hotel rates in CR, I believe some degree of service should go with the stay.

Don't even think about organizing an event there. A logistical nightmare.

  • Disliked — Customer Service
  • Stayed March 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank AlwaysTravelHappy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2008

I have just left this hotel while on our three week honeymoon of Casta rica, and i wanted to make sure this review was online asap. We arrived as part of a trip organised in the UK, to find that the rooms were not ready (at 4pm) and there was a large wedding party here. They had booked the main resturant with the view of the ocean (one of the major selling points for chosing this hotel) so we had to enjoy the sunset away from any resturant, drinks or food. When i suggest that is was not really fair the receptionist was rude and suggested that as we were one couple and they were a large party what should i expect. This was not a good start to the honeymoon. if you are coming or thinking about coming here just remember you will be treated as a walking ATM with poor service and no desire to make your stay special. If you are a large wedding party then the view and hotel will be exceptional and you will have a great time.

  • Liked — views when we got to see them
  • Disliked — Reception and being treated as just another punter
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank EwenUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 9, 2008

What happened here? I stayed here a year ago, and it was different!! I remember the manager they had, Maurizio, he was great, he was on top of everything, unfortunately he is no longer there and you can notice it, The view is great, the rooms need to be updated, the service and the food.......they really have to work hard to improve it.

  • Stayed January 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank vicdef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villa Caletas

Property: Villa Caletas
Address: 2 km after Punta Leona | Herradura, Jaco 12358-1000, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Jaco
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Jaco
#2 Romantic Hotel in Jaco
#2 Family Hotel in Jaco
#2 Luxury Hotel in Jaco
#2 Spa Hotel in Jaco
#4 Business Hotel in Jaco
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Villa Caletas 4*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Villa Caletas, a luxury romantic boutique hotel inspired by tropical Victorian architecture with a touch of neo-classical influence shining like a jewel among resorts, prized not only for its location, design and décor, but also for its outstanding facilities and first class service. Villa Caletas expresses a truly unique combination of mountain and seaside resort. Nestled 1150 feet above the Pacific Ocean, this unique hotel overlooks the Nicoya Gulf to the crescent beaches of Jaco, Herradura offering spectacular 360-degree panoramic views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villa Caletas Hotel Jaco
Caletas Hotel Herradura
Villa Caletas Costa Rica/Jaco

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