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“Very Nice”
Review of Hotel Moana

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Hotel Moana
Ranked #3 of 8 Hotels in Mal Pais
Bellingham, WA
1 review
“Very Nice”
Reviewed March 19, 2008

We've stayed at many of the hotels and houses in Mal Pais, and this was one of the best. It was nice to be able to rent a quad from the hotel. The staff were very good; courteous and nice. The rooms were exquisitely clean. Being up the hill somewhat off the road was nice for security and less dust, as they're re-doing the road in Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. The owners knew who the best taxis were and booked our outings for us. The room had a fridge and a safe, which was nice too.

Stayed March 2008
Helpful?
Thank DrDenis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Montréal
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 19, 2008

We reserved at the Moana Lodge at the last minute.

We did not know the Moana Lodge before we noticed the beautiful shots on the net. Their web site is very professional and accurate.

Are the photos better than reality?

Reality is in fact better than the photos...our stay at the Moana Lodge was over and beyond our expectations!

This was our second time in Costa Rica. We do love this country and for its "Pura Vida" style of living.

We had the Leopard like "casita" for 5 nights in a wonderful area, a very intimate and creative spot.

The owners Vicky and Aidan were perfect hosts - professional and distinguished - and the Moana Lodge is a very quite, tranquil and peaceful oasis located in the true nature with a panoramic view to the Pacific ocean.

We would strongly recommend the Moana Lodge to all our friends.

Indeed, nature, peace and tranquillity go with consciousness.

We sincerely hope that Costa Rica and the Moana Lodge will preserve their state of mind and protect themselves from negative tourists or jealous competitors.

Perfection and excellence are gifts originally given to everybody. But it takes the will and concern to be developed.

Thanks again Vicky and Aidan...you got it !

  • Liked — peace and tranquillity
  • Disliked — dusty roads...but this part of the Pura Vida living-style in CR
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Kaisen01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NY,NY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2008

Upon first arriving at the hotel we were a little taken back due to the fact that the photgraphs on the web site make it appear to be a much nicer resort than it actually is. The location is driving distance to activities with very limited beach access and the beach which you can walk to is not one where youd like to go swimming. The hotel is located on a dirt road and you will be breathing in dust and dirt if you decide to walk to town so I suggest renting a 4x4 or a quad.

The hotel property itself is small. It contains a residential size swimming pool which tends to not be the cleanest at times. The rooms are grouped together in small garage size houses with two or three rooms per building. The construction is poor and the walls are paper thin. The windows dont have locks. The tile and wood work look to have been done by a novice at best. I will say that the room was kept clean and the maid service was good. There is no restaurant on site however there is a community refrigerator and bbq area.

All in all the property is a 2.5 star hotel. The owners although friendly seem to be novices in the field of running a hotel. They catered somewhat of a high school style drinking party every night which was very annoying. The music was blasted on the property and it was absolutely impossible to sleep until around 3am. Since most of your activities are done early in the day by 10 pm most people were ready to go to bed. This type of behavior was unacceptable especially by owners of an establishment. So keep this in mind when booking. I would not suggest this property to anyone who is not on a spring break type vacation due to the loud music which seems the be the norm every night. This hotel is more suited for the 18-23 yr old crowd.

  • Stayed March 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank stinky36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
moanamanager, Owner/Manger at Hotel Moana, responded to this review, March 21, 2008
As were a small hotel we rely strongly on word of mouth and what people say about our hotel on Tripadvisor and other such websites and we pay serious attention to this, as this is what helps us to continue as a business.
We as management always conduct ourselves in a professional and friendly manner, but were now accused of throwing booming loud parties till 3am with spring break teens here night after night.
This is so far removed from the truth that I decided to write to every guest that stayed here during March and ask them do the talking on this website on our behalf, and verify that this is complete fantasy.
Even in my heyday I would have found it quite impossible to run a hotel from 7am till 3am every night.
So please continue to read the reviews of people that have actually stayed here and have taken photos of the hotel, which you’ll see are very similar to what you find on our own website.
And as far as where Stinky36 says we're located on the dusty road this is also untrue we're set back up a hill 50 meters off it and on a private drive. Not being on the road unfortunately doesn’t help us with attracting many walk-in guests but it does keeps the dust at bay for those that found us on the internet.
We'd just like to take this opportunity to thank our guests that have come out and spoken the truth regarding this matter,
Thank you,
Aidan and Vicky
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kineret
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 15, 2008

We’ve just arrived home from a magnificent stay at Moana Lodge.
We only had 8 days in Costa Rica so we chose to base ourselves in one place rather than traveling around and trying to do too much so we picked Mal Pais and then Moana Lodge due to the great reviews and photos I had seen of the hotel on Tripadvisor. I was a bit unsure at first as the hotel doesn’t feature in any guidebooks, but we needed of worried, as we loved this hotel. It affordable and charming, but what made it so special, was the small details in everything, from the wonderful use of wood in the furniture and rooms to the African artwork to the ever changing breakfasts options, everything has been so well thought out.
The staff was great, and they never stopped working in this part of paradise. Any information on tours and places to eat were laid on by Aidan, Vicky and Felix, who were a great help. It was wonderful to have staff in a hotel genuinely willing to help you enjoy your stay, which Im sorry to say I find is becoming less and less common in my experience of hotels over recent years.
The roads were in fair condition when we were there, but they got dusty in Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. Moana though is set up off the road so it didn’t bother us, but we noticed it when we eat out and saw some of the other hotels on the road and thought how noisy and dusty they must have been. Mal Pais is truly a beautiful place, from the beaches to the jungle tree lines that run up the surrounding hills, which are packed with wildlife. It’s an untouched part of the globe but I wonder how long it can continue to remain that unspoiled.
During our stay we did a day trip to Montezuma and climbed the waterfalls and later eat in a wonderful romantic restaurant, Café De Artistas, scrumcious food and right on the beach.
All in all, the perfect holiday, and the perfect hotel, thanks to Tripadvisor, and thanks to Moana Lodge.
PS. The ‘cold Jacuzzi’ was perfect to sooth in.

Stayed March 2008
Helpful?
2 Thank earthday22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Carolina
1 review
Reviewed March 11, 2008

The lodge was exactly what we were looking for...a terrific place to stay which has charm and ambiance. We wanted something nice in a less developed area which also had plenty of activities nearby...and we found it.

The rooms and grounds are excellently maintained and the place has a very cozy feel. Everything was spotless and cleaned daily (rooms, grounds and pool alike). Aidan, Vicky and their staff were all pleasant and nice people. Everyone was eager and willing to help out with whatever issues arose. They also had good sound advice on local restaurants and adventures and can also help you book any activities with the local groups.

You are served local, fresh cooked breakfast every morning in the common eating area and this gives you a chance to meet everyone, trade adventure-stories and plan your days. Always felt out of the loop if you missed breakfast. Finding food is no problem...within a few kilometers North or South, there are enough local restuarants to meet most anyones desires. There is even a little soda (bar) right across the street call "Piedras del Mar" and we ate there often since it was so easy...just make sure you get there by 8 o'clock.

We rented ATVs while we were staying at the lodge and they were lots of fun. Since you are a kilometer or more from most beaches or restaurants, we recommend that you get some sort of transportation (car or ATV). Beware that ,during the dry season, the roads can get pretty dusty...if you get the ATVs you will need bandanas and goggles. Still, we had a blast zipping around the area.

There are plenty of activities near the lodge...surfing, hiking, wild-life viewing, sunning, horseback-riding, ATV riding, jungle canopy zip-lines, etc. We did a zip line for my birthday and it was an awesome thrill. The waves were 6-12 feet during our stay and the surf was incredible...you can rent boards up the street from a few different places and Aidan can help you set up a surf lesson, if necesary. Playas Carmen, St. Teresa and Hermosa are all right up the road...I liked Hermosa the best but it all depends what the wind, swell and tides are doing. We stayed so busy during the days that we were in bed by 10 pm most night due to exhaustion but were up at 6 am ready to do it all again!

Montezuma is also a short stint from the lodge. There are two routes to get there...the North and the South. We recommend the southern (or scenic) route. This was much less travel and more relaxing...it takes a bit longer but is well worth it. There is a really cool vine tree on the way and there are a few waterfalls just outside of the city...not to mention that cruising through the jungle is very cool.

All in all, we had a fabulous time during our stay at the Moana Lodge. Everything was just as we hoped it would be. We definitely plan on returning there during our next visit to Costa Rica. It was a pleasant and relaxing vacation...thanks, in no small part to, to Aidan, Vicky and his friendly staff!!! Cioa

  • Liked — The cozy lodge feeling and fresh breakfast.
  • Disliked — The dust during the dry season.
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank WorldofAdam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
orlando,fl
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 6, 2008

very remote, good place to go on atv's, breakfasts good, few good restaurants, 2 familys in our group came up missing money; the manager has a key that can access your safe. The day this happened, both the owner and his fiance were off the property. The guy on duty we felt asked too many questions about who was with who. One person missed 3 100.00 bills

  • Liked — dirt roads for ATV's
  • Disliked — security
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank retiredbum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
moanamanager, Owner/Manger at Hotel Moana, responded to this review, March 13, 2008
This claim of theft we found very skeptical from the outset. After a satisfactory and indebt check on revising the running of the day in question, and studying the emails the accusers sent back and forth we found too many holes found in their claims that simply didn’t add up.
And as owner and manager I fully dismiss the allegation against our front desk manager with wholehearted conviction.
I have good reason to reject their claims as these guests left on a sour note and made disgraceful and hurtful comments towards my wife on check out because the hotel was unable to accept Travelers Cheques in payment. They then had to pay by credit card which incurred an extra 4.7% extra charge. This resulted in them saying that they would reverse the charge on the card for their stay when they returned home, quote ‘I’m not going to pay a single dime for my holiday’.
The first mention of any theft taking place was made 10 days after the guest left the hotel. Then two days after that, there was a second claim of theft made. The thefts supposedly took place during the day when they were in the hotel. This is quite impossible, as our manger never had reason to enter the rooms and open their safes. He could not have done so without being seen by the guests as the rooms in question are off the pool where they spent the entire day.
The woman who claims to have had $300 stolen decided to pay her bill in cash on check out, so I have to ask why wasn’t the missing money noticed then, or reported to the police, or us?
Furthermore, what they’ve also omitted from their review is that the claimed amount in writing in an email to us, was short $400 not $300. The figure of the missing $400 adds up close to what her bill was, $442, which would account for the four missing $100 bills.
Regarding the amount of the second theft, we were never given one, nor did they ever report this to us directly, which seemed very odd.
After speaking to many people and piers regarding these guests I am sorry to say that all the evidence and experience I had of them convinces me that they just want to find a way out of paying for their stay. We wait to see if the room charge made by card will be returned as threatened.
I do not wish anybody to go through what we experienced here with these people and they shall never be welcome to return to Moana.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 2, 2008

I recently stayed at Moana Lodge for five nights, and our experience there exceeded my expectations! I rely heavily on Tripadvisor in choosing accomodations, and shortly before I left for Moana, a couple of reviews left me slightly unsure about a few issues; namely the location of the lodge, access to restaurants, amenities, and a swimmable beach, and certain "rules" that previous guests had problems with. Having stayed at Moana however, I now realize that none of these things were an issue for me or my travel partner.

Upon arriving at Moana Lodge, we were greeted by Vicki, one of the two friendly owners. She showed us around the property and then to our beautiful deluxe room, which we stayed in for the first two nights. The deluxe room was stunning -- everything from the bed to the bathroom area was tastefully decorated. From our porch, we had a great view of the lush gardens and even the ocean in the distance. For the remainder of our stay at Moana we were in a standard room; though more simple than the deluxe room, it was still very nice. The only real difference was that the room was smaller, with regular beds (as opposed to four poster) and there was no mini fridge (but there is a fridge in the common area). Not a big deal at all -- besides, we didn't spend much time in our room anyway.

Breakfast every morning was something we always looked forward to. It was always delicious and a great start to our day. The food in general in the area was a great surprise to us, as there were so many options of places to eat, each offering a variety of different cuisines. I really didn't imagine I would eat as well as I did during our time in Mal Pais/Santa Teresa. For a quick, cheap, simple meal, Piedra del Mar is right across the street from Moana. While the food is average and the service isn't great, the location is stunning -- right on the beach with a great view of interesting rock formations. For something a little more interesting, I'd recommend Beija Flor which is about a 5 minute walk from Moana (left as you are leaving the driveway). It is a little more expensive by Costa Rican standards (though still relatively cheap for what it was), but it was one of the best meals I've ever had... including meals eaten here in Canada. The guide provided in your room at Moana was very helpful in selecting places to eat. We also found that asking other tourists was a great way to find tried and tested dining options.

The location was perhaps our biggest hesitation in choosing Moana and though it wasn't directly on a swimmable beach (though I never tried), I had no problem with the location -- and we never even rented a car or an ATV. We walked everywhere with the exception of a couple cheap taxis when we were too tired to walk, and it was never a problem for us. In fact, I found this a great way to see the area and to check out local dining options. We spent most of our days at Playa Carmen, which was at most a 15 minute walk away. You can walk there along the road, or better, along the beach, so I can't complain about that. We were planning to rent an ATV, but after spending a day there we decided it wasn't necessary. Sure a car or ATV would come in handy if you plan on travelling around more, or if you don't like to walk much, but we really had no problem getting around by foot!

As for the rules that previous guests mentioned, we never had a problem with them. The rules pertaining to outside alcohol and the pool/jacuzzi hours were never an issue with us, and we didn't find the owners to be uptight about enforcing them either. On the contrary, I found the atmosphere at Moana very relaxing. Some people had complained about the jacuzzi being cold, but honestly, I probably wouldn't have used it had it been hot given the daily temperatures and humidity in Costa Rica. I found the jacuzzi to be very refreshing, with a great view of the gardens and even a bit of the ocean.

Overall I was very impressed with Moana Lodge, and I would recommend it to friends. Vicki and Aiden, as well as all of the staff, were very welcoming and friendly. They seemed genuinely interested in what we were up to, and were helpful in providing advice about the area. We planned a couple of activities and the staff were able to make all of the arrangement for us, which is a bonus when you are on vacation. The hotel and grounds are beautiful and well cared for, and I fell in love with the surrounding areas of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa.

My advice for anyone thinking about visiting Moana Lodge is to read their website and do your research. Everything you need to know is provided on the website -- from location, area beaches, amenities, payment options, currency, etc. I believe the site was very accurate in providing all of this information. so be sure to check it out before you go. So long as you have done your homework, you shouldn't run into any surprises!

All in all, having seen and heard about many other accomodation options in Mal Pais/Santa Teresa, if you are looking for a little more luxury in an otherwise basic community, Moana Lodge is a great value and a great place to stay! Loved the hotel, the people, the food, and the area. I will be back!

  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank WanderingFever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Moana

Property: Hotel Moana
Address: Mal Pais, 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Moana 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Moana is a small luxurious ocean view hotel nestled amongst a rich backdrop of wildlife and jungle. Inspired by Africa for its choice of décor, the beautiful rooms offer tranquility and comfort to all of our guests. Enjoy being served breakfast while you gaze out over the Pacific Ocean. Later hang out at the wonderful pool area and fall asleep on a suspended day bed while the waves crash in the background, paradise awaits! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Moana Hotel Mal Pais
Hotel Moana Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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