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“The best holiday we've ever had...”
Review of Hotel Moana

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Hotel Moana
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Mal Pais
Reviewed January 23, 2012

Howdy all...

Myself & my girlfriend recently had a two-destination holiday from Dublin, Ireland. Three nights in New York visiting family, followed by 8 nights in The Moana Lodge in Mal Pais on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. The whole holiday was well planned out in advance, we both like to do a good mix of activities and love to immerse ourselves into the locale of wherever we are, it seems to work for us. We flew from San Jose on a local flight to the tiny airstrip at Tambor, about a half hour flight, then 20 mins in a taxi, (arranged by hotel in advance), on to the hotel.

Anyway, this hotel was perfect in every respect. From reservation stage to check-out it was a dream, Aidan & Vicky, the young couple who own & run The Moana Lodge, could not have done more for us. The hotel itself is a series of beautiful cabanas/villas located about half a mile from Santa Teresa which is perfect distance for peace & quiet. Our room, which is built on stilts over the jungle canopy facing the sea, was picture postcard perfect. The most amazing sunsets, sunrises every day. It can be quite hot but we had great AC, and the beds were the best we've slept on in a hotel.

The Moana has a lovely small pool area with beds beside it hanging by ropes from the roof of the cabana beside the pool...very chilled out area.

We ate breakfast every morning in their restaurant area, The Papaya Lounge. Now, it's a bit of a hike up a couple of flights of steps but it's worth it for A) the view & B) the food. There are no windows so totally uninterrupted view over the jungle towards the sea. In the early morning you can hear the Howler Monkeys, hilarious. But really the breakfast is the star here...would gladly eat their Huevos Rancheros every morning for ever...loads of great Costa Rican cafe con leche too...

There are plenty of options to eat locally, casual pizza options in Mary's nearby, or nice informal seafood in Brisas del Mar in Santa Teresa, (go for seafood mixed grill), but we mostly ate in the the hotel. Again, a few steps to climb but the restaurant takes on a new vibe in the evening. As it's dark for dinner, you get the moonlight on the sea with the view, great chill-out music being played, excellent pre-dinner cocktails, (the bartender for most of the times we were there was Mike - if you do one thing ask him for his special Capiroska!). The food is really good, I can't recall all our dishes but definite highlights were their calamari with chipotle aioli; yellowfin tuna; bowl of clams, (they should bottle the white wine sauce that goes with this), and plenty more that I just can't remember. They also have a small observation deck above the restaurant, we brought our drinks up there after dinner a couple of times...

The receptionist, I think her name was Melanie, was really helpful. We did the zip-line canopy tour just down the road from the hotel - great fun, loved it. We also did a day trip to Isla Tortuga which included snorkel-diving & lunch - a definite must-do. You catch the boat from Montezuma and while you're there do the short hike up to the waterfalls there, well worth diving in the rock pools under the falls. Excellent restaurant on beach just outside Montezuma called Playa des Artistes I think. Melanie also arranged yoga classes, evening fishing trip, horse riding, surf lessons and we rented a quad bike, (strongly recommend), for the duration we stayed there.

Santa Teresa is excellent for surfing, we're not great surfers but the waves were safe for beginners & experts while we were there. There's a great little pizza bar on the beach in the village, beach is called Playa Carmen, they make legendary Mojito's there. The beaches go on for miles & miles and the jungle literally meets the beach - no Sheratons, Hiltons or the likes...The best part about this is we didn't have to haggle with the various tour operators, Melanie did all of this and as the hotel seems to have a great relationship with all these operators we got a great deal the whole way and didn't have to worry about it until we checked out...

I've gone on way too long here but I really can't fault any part of our stay at The Moana Lodge, great accommodations with spectacular views, super food in the most beautifully located restaurant we've ever ate in and all this was somehow equalled by the personal, caring and attentive service of a small but really caring staff. We're already planning our return...

Room Tip: We had a sneaky peak at the honeymoon suite/penthouse while it was being cleaned one morning after t...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank MickD75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 22, 2012

Moana Lodge beats everything in Mal Paid / S Theresa. Stunning views, great service and rooms/restaurant that are just out of this world. Me and my girlfriend stayed in the Junior Suite, and we just didn't want to leave. Moana is luxurious, but still personal and the suites (at least ours) are very privately secluded with great views. In fact we were in Costa Rica for 12 days and I had been planning to propose the whole time, but the other places we stayed at just didn't get us in the right mood, but it made a lot of sense here. To top it off, on our engagement dinner Aidan went out of his way to fix us a better table even though we hadn't reserved. Many thanks for that Aidan, much appreciated!

Room Tip: Choose the Junior suite, it has an outside shower with view over the bay, but no-one can see you.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank FreddieKStockholm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2012

We stayed here the second week on January 2012 and enjoyed this location immensely. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful. Arranging trips and tours through the front office was a pleasure. The most noteworthy fact is it's location. It sits on a hill overlooking Mal Pais and the Pacific. If there is a negative it the fact that you have to climb quite a few steps to reach your room and the restaurant but the trade off is well worth it. I noticed one reviewer did not like the location from a standpoint of distance to town and walking down the roads, etc. If you stay here plan on renting a car or as we did an ATV and you can get anywhere easily. Be sure to ask Mike to make you a catica at the bar. After a long hot day, it is the best.

Room Tip: We stayed in the Jr. Suite which was wonderful.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank RicknMobile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2012

What a great place to stay for 9 nights! My husband and I went to Mal Pais and area to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and chose the junior suite at Moana. We were greeted by Mike and Vicky and it was all great from that point on. Everyone on the staff was always very friendly and helpful. Our suite was always clean each day. The grounds of the Moana are very beautifully kept and the setting is just right. The pool area, although a little shady for me, is a very cool setting. Sitting on our balcony each evening and watching the sun disappear into the Pacific was magnificent. Waking each day to the lodge's tropical environment started the day out perfect. We were greeted my howler's one morning and always a menagerie of birds. Then off to a wonderful breakfast each day before hitting the area for a new adventure. We also had dinner in The Papaya a few times and in addition to the incredible views from the top, the food was delicious. The best we had our entire trip. Mike and Dannie in the restaurant were great. I miss them already.

If you want to have a very comfortable suite to spread out and spend a few perfect days, this is the place. Rent an ATV, or quad as the locals call them, and go explore. It's a lot of fun!

We won't bother to look around for another place to stay when we return one day. We found the perfect spot for us the first time.

Thanks to all of you guys at Moana! It was great!

Room Tip: Get the suite if you are going to stay a few days or so. They are very roomy and it's great to...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank catz9886
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2012

We finished a 9 day trip through Costa Rica by staying two nights at Moana Lodge. What a place! We stayed with friends who had been there before, so we benefitted from their recommendation. The surrounding landscape was really nice, and the room was very clean. Pool area was cool too. But perhaps the best part of Moana was its restaurant. It's located at the highest part of the property, so while eating, you've got views of Mal Pais and the Pacific. It offered the best breakfast too (gallo pinto). Internet access was nice. The staff is very welcoming and hands-on. Mal Pais was a great place, and when we return, I won't bother researching other hotels.

Stayed: December 2011, traveled with friends
Thank Patrick M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2012

This was our second stay at Moana Lodge in 4 years. The hotel has grown, with the addition of the beautiful restaurant with amazing views, and the additional rooms. Owners, Vickie and Aidan, still run this place with great attention and detail. The included breakfast was the best we had in our travels in Costa Rica. If you are going to be anywhere near Mal Pais, this is the place to stay. Don't even bother looking at other places, you found the best hotel in the area. Rooms are excellent, food is excellent, views are excellent, and owners are excellent.

Room Tip: all the rooms are great, if you want to spend a bit more for a room with a view, go for it.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank avidtravel11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2011

We stayed here 4 nights at the end of our vacation and it was excellent! Nice room, friendly staff and superb restaurant with a view....WOW. You have to do a few steps to get to the restaurant but it's a good exercise before having delicious breakfast ( can chose out of 4! ) or diner. And you need to try out the cocktails !
Enjoyed every minute

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank WendyWolf7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Moana

Address: 1.5 kilometers to the south, Playa Carmen, Mal Pais 60111, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Mal Pais
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#2 Family Hotel in Mal Pais
#4 Romantic Hotel in Mal Pais
Price Range: $75 - $201 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Moana 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Moana is a small private luxury ocean view hotel. Located in the magnificent tranquil region of Mal PaÌs Beach on the Pacific Coast of the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. During your vacation with us you'll encounter high quality modern hotel suites and rooms that blend comfort with style leaving you with an unforgettable personal experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Moana Hotel Mal Pais
Hotel Moana Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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