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“How things are these days at Casa Chameleon”

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Casa Chameleon Hotel
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Mal Pais
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“How things are these days at Casa Chameleon”
Reviewed January 11, 2010

I recently stayed at casa Chameleon in dec for 5 nights. It was part of my honeymoon and I had booked it about 8 months earlier. It is the most beautiful hotel that I have ever seen, and I almost cried when I got there, it was lovely! However the hotel has recently changed hands and the owner is different. When we were there there was one guy working there,and only two nights was there a chef. Apparently the regular chef had left and they were having trouble finding a new one. The one meal on the first night that we had was good but in no way was it worth 60 usd per person! I was quite disappointed after all the amazing reviews, I am a diehard foodie so was really looking forward to it! The same chef also cooked us breakfast the next day which for 12 dollars was good. Unfortunately he wasnt around for the rest of the mornings so when we did order breakfast once the manager of the hotel cooked it for us, and it was not really good at all! think cold scrambled eggs without any salt or pepper served with cold crepe filled with banana,jam and nutella. Not so nice. Therefore everytime we wanted something to eat we had to actually leave the hotel and drive into Santa Theresa 10 minutes away, there was really nothing available at the hotel, lunch was not available, nothing. If we wanted something to drink from the bar we had to ask Hua to come down from the main house where he was most of the time and serve us which didnt seem such an easy setup. There was no honour system and I certainly didnt feel like I could go and help myself to anything in the fridge! There was also a problem with the money transfer for the payment of the hotel which despite numerous emails to the booking agent in san jose, asking for confirmation of the payment before we left to get married in guatemala ,saying that we couldnt do anything about any problems after we left, and getting vague answers of "dont worry, it will turn up, we have never had a payment not turn up!, "suprise,suprise, they wanted us to pay again, 660 dollars that had not turned up!!! my husband dealt with it, and of course we didnt pay again,j ust eventually left it up to the hotel to sort out. But, it was a bit annoying and time on the phone to our banks ect,ect...All in all, I was disappointed when we left, based on the feeling that the service hadnt really been good, because there was no one to cook for you or to serve you drinks. We ended up getting beers and wines and juices and storing them in our fridge. It was much more of a self catering holiday then I thought it would be. And you have to have your own transport, the hotel is high on a hill and the closest town about 10 minutes drive away, on foot is simply not possible if you want to be mobile and get into town for food,ect. If Casa Chameleon got in a full time chef and a bar man, I would think it would be alot better. But it is absolutely gorgeous there, just dont expect to be really spoiled there, like I though I was going to be!! Of course this was a month ago, and hopefully things have gotton smoothed out and better!

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank ESavage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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374 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    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 (62)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Arlington, MA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2009

This place is amazing...we stayed here on our honeymoon (along with 2 other places) and I have absolutely no complaints. The view from our villa was amazing and I loved waking up with the sunrise and the sounds of nature. The concierge Dave could not have been more helpful and the hotel dog Randall was great company at breakfast. I would love to return sometime in the future...HIGHLY recommended.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank jeeves06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franklin, TN
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 21, 2009

We spent a wonderful 5 nights at Casa Chameleon in June. It is unlike any place we have ever been before. Unbelievable views, great weather, very nice people everywhere you go. The concierge, David, is just the best. Any time we needed anything, he was always right there on the walkie talkie to help us. We enjoyed many dinners from Mario and each one was fantastic. We did not rent a car, but had no problems getting taxis to wherever we wanted to go. It is no problem to walk down the hill from the hotel, but you would not want to walk back up - very steep! Several times, we walked somewhere and then David would schedule a taxi to pick us up at a certain time. It worked out great for us. One tip: keep the doors closed to keep the bugs out of your room, especially at night. This place is not so easy to get to (big plane, small plane, long car ride) but it is SO worth it. As I write this review, I am wishing I was back there right now. Its just a wonderful, unique experience!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank tennesseeteacher88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2009

We're frequent travelers with a love for warm weather climates and we can truly say that Casa Chameleon is a spectacular and magical place.

I am a professional travel photographer and have visited many wonderful tropical locations. Casa Chameleon is something extremely special.

Casa Chameleon is pure magic. It’s a gorgeous, romantic property that holds only three guests at a time, in three amazing villas. The property is a tropical paradise in every sense of the word. It's everything you could ever want in a vacation destination. There are three “cabinas” or standalone villas that are privately nestled into the property. We stayed in Villa Palma. Casa Chameleon has done everything to allow guests to experience the wonderful tropical views wherever you are. Villa Palma was extremely spacious, inviting, and comfortable. The terrace is so relaxing -- very large with reading chairs, a table setup, and hammock.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by David and Adam and brought to Villa Palma with breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding dry forest. The ‘dry forest’ is dense with wonderful trees, dozens of birds, and if you’re lucky enough, monkeys. Looking out from your private terrace, you’re greeted with the beautiful ocean and coastline.

The refreshing swimming pool is located centrally near the outdoor kitchen. There are lounge chairs, towels, umbrellas, and hammocks. The pool is romantic, with a waterfall and views straight to the ocean.

The dining area is beautiful. This isn’t a “restaurant” and there is not a set menu -- lunches and dinners are arranged in advance at your convenience and created and cooked to order by a private chef. Prices are perfectly in-line for the incredible meals. The “rancho” also houses the water/wine/beer/soda selection and is done on an honor system. You write down what you’ve taken and pay for it (in cash) at the end. This is also true for the meals (you pay for them in cash upon checkout). While there were two other couples at Casa Chameleon, the design of the property makes you feel like you have the place to yourselves. The other couples were never with us at the pool or any meals, and we only saw them passing through once or twice.

The chef for Casa Chameleon was Mario. He cooks (or shall I say, masterfully creates?) breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Definitely eat on property as much as you can—his meals are beyond spectacular. We live in Manhattan and his meals were as good as or better than any of the restaurants we’ve eaten at in the city. Breakfasts range from eggs, pancakes, bacon, fruit, homemade breads and jams, all done on request. Dinners are a superb experience with everything cooked to order, from fresh fish to steaks. You may eat meals in your room on the balcony or in the dining area. We chose to eat in the dining area because we enjoyed the company of David and Mario. The meal is custom tailored to you. If you prefer pork, beef, fish, pasta, healthy, fried, anything at all -- Mario excels at all of it. And not only is he a master at the meal, but also at the desserts.

There is also a beautiful outdoor yoga studio which overlooks the Ocean. With white flowing drapes, it’s like what you’d see in a movie.

The beach is a two minute car ride down a hill to the shoreline. There are many beaches and all are equally beautiful. Watching the sunsets here is amazing. While it’s possible to walk to the beach in a few minutes or so, the hill is fairly steep and probably a difficult walk up – we’d recommend you drive. There are really interesting rock formations if you just walk left on the beach. You’ll have to walk around some trees and other rock formations, but worth it to watch a sunset from here.

For walking around the property, there is a beautiful teak deck or stone path. Bobbie and Anthony planted all of the trees and flowers just a few years ago when they constructed the property and truly it has grown and become a beautiful tropical escape. Every room is completely private and you never have to leave the property.

During our stay, David was our your host. He can set up any kind of activity, tours, surf lessons, give directions, restaurant recommendations, confirm flights, etc. Truly he is so much more-- a relaxed friend who wants to ensure you love your experience in Mal Pais as much as possible. Adam also works with David in the afternoons and can guide you on the right path. He was fantastic as well and great to chat with.

Bobbie and Anthony are the owners who may also be on property in the main house. We had the good fortune to have them on property for a few days during our stay. Their warmth, hospitality, and friendliness were unparalleled. It was such a pleasure getting to chat with them. It was like catching up with long-lost friends. We're so glad we had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with them.

What you will come to find is that all the people in Costa Rica are tremendously friendly and kind. Bobbie and Anthony too can act as guides, give recommendations, or enthrall you with their stories of the area.

Casa Chameleon is a spectacular, very special property, unlike anywhere we’ve stayed before, and as a professional travel photographer, we’ve been all over the world. Casa Chameleon in Costa Rica compares to places like Bora Bora in its combination of romance, beauty, diversity, and adventure. The idyllic setting, the meals, the people as well as the numerous places to explore in the area will ensure you have a wonderful vacation. We cannot say enough good things about it, and will surely be back.

[For more information on activities and the town, we will post under the Mal Pais forum.]

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank pttraveler3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
76 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed June 16, 2009

My boyfriend and I went for a vacation in Mal Pais not knowing at all what to expect. Based on tripadvisor reviews we called ahead to Casa Chameleon to see if their were any available openings...from there, everything happened perfectly. This little hideaway up the hill is everything you could ever need, rich with color, and life, and taken care of by great staff, the accommodations are absolutely perfect (and very luxurious) We want to build our home just like their luxury suite. Worth going all the way to Costa Rica for this hotel alone. Then you get the country as well....Magnificent!

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank chichinyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, MA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 9, 2009

I'm happy to be the 100th reviewer of Casa Chameleon. It's really as good as everyone says. We traveled to Mal Pais on our Honeymoon in December, and spent 5 days in luxury at CC. After our original honeymoon plans were canceled, we had to scramble to find a place to stay. Fortunately for us, CC had a villa available, and since it was over Christmas & New Years, it was an all inclusive week, which meant Chef Mario would be preparing 3 meals a day for us. Let me tell you, if you can swing it, there is no better way to visit CC.

All the arrangements were flawlessly taken care of, from our pickup at the "airport" to surf lessons at the beach to a day trip to Curu wildlife reserve to driving directions to Montezuma. David & the rest of the staff made sure that everything we wanted to do was made available to us. David is like the best host/concierge you could ever imagine. His laid back attitude, opposition to wearing shoes, and impeccable service really just fits Costa Rica, Mal Pais, and Casa Chameleon perfectly. When we were without a car, David even gave us a ride to town. Bobbie & Anthony, the owners, were also very accommodating and have put together a great place. Even though we didn't meet them, they were nice enough to send us a follow-up email after our trip to make sure everything went well.

Chef Mario's services were truly the icing on the cake. Since it was an all inclusive week, Chef Mario prepared three meals a day for us. We usually ate breakfast and dinner up by the kitchen, and had Chef Mario pack us a lunch to go. I think we ended up eating all but 1 meal up by the "kitchen". We had one breakfast on our balcony, which was great. The food was really some of the best, most gourmet, most beautifully presented food we've ever had. This was the first time we've ever had a professional chef at our disposal, and it was one of the best experiences of our whole trip.

Casa Chameleon itself is a beautiful property. It's lush, the grounds are perfectly manicured, the pool area is great, and the atmosphere is exactly what you'd expect from a small, hidden treasure on the coast of Costa Rica. The villa we stayed in (Villa Palma) had a great view of the ocean, a large balcony with a great napping/reading hammock, and the best rain shower I've ever seen. We really didn't spend much time in the villa, as the rest of the property is setup for relaxing and lounging. The pool area has a couple straw huts to find some shade under. The "rancho" is a great area for dining and reading. The workout area is great for some early morning yoga. You can walk to the beach, but beware, the hill is a killer on the way back.

The only additional helpful tip I'd offer would be to rent a car. Unfortunately, when we arrived, all the cars in town had been rented. We really lucked out and had two other great couples staying at CC who were kind enough to let us tag along on their day trips in the car. Without them being so welcoming, it would have been a bit tough to get around.

All in all, a great trip. We'd highly recommend visiting Casa Chameleon to anyone. Looking forward to visiting again. We'll post some pictures soon.

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank ShniGW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Costa Rica
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2009

Having been to this area before, when I started to search online for hotels for this trip, I was amazed that so many of them look GREAT on their website, but are far from that quality in reality. On top of it, their prices are ridiculous for what you actually end up with. This is completely the opposite case with Casa Chameleon! The photos on the website simply cannot do this lovely, small hotel justice due to the expansive layout amidst the lush, well kept landscaping on the hillside. A beautiful wooden and stone raised deck takes you on a private walk through the property to find one of 3 luxurious suites - all with ocean views (ours had it's own pool as well) decorated in simple elegance with organic materials. The staff was amazing - took care of every need effortlessly, the food prepared by the private chef was out of this world, and the peace we enjoyed for our few days there was incomparable to any other hotel we've ever visited. If you're looking for where to stay in Mal Pais - stop - you've found it, and you will not be disappointed!

  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank costaricamacha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Casa Chameleon Hotel

Property: Casa Chameleon Hotel
Address: Punta Barrigona | Province of Puntarenas, Mal Pais, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Mal Pais
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Mal Pais
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Casa Chameleon Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chosen as one of the "Best 101 Hotels in the World" by Conde Nast Publications' Tatler Travel Guide, Casa Chameleon hotel Mal Pais is a favorite with honeymooners and couples looking to relax and unwind in an enchanted adult only environment. Casa Chameleon is vacation as it should be: a warm welcome, rich privacy, authentic experiences, and endless adventure. Regardless of which Casa Chameleon Hotel you find yourself enjoying, you can count on handcrafted cultural experiences and endless adventure. At each Casa Chameleon property, it is our priority to help you slip seamlessly into the best of local tradition and cuisine-from cooking fresh-caught seafood side by side with our in-house chefs to paddling the coastline to sipping a nightcap in your private pool. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Casa Chameleon Mal Pais
Casa Chameleon Hotel Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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