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Hotel Vista de Olas
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Mal Pais
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed February 17, 2013

Roger and Hiedi were nice to deal with on email before the trip. Although not the most responsive of all the people we dealt with from other places. We did feel some things were misrepresented. Olas is very, very, very far from anything. If you don't have a car you are not going to get anywhere so you must take cabs or rent and ATV. The rooms are very basic. No place to put your stuff, non of the nice things that make a hotel feel comfortable and easy to be in. We could not have spent a long time there - no place to really hang out - the rooms are far from the pool and very isolated and just not nice spaces to relax in. No kleenex, no cups or glasses, no soap, no clock or extra pillows. There is no hot water in the bathrooms which are outside and although they look nice on the website they are dirty and buggy and not lit at night. The safe on the floor - not easy to access or use and we were told if we lost the key it would take 3 weeks to get a new one! The outside porch had one chair - not great for a couple. No face cloths and old dirty towels. The air conditioning was not great if you like it cool at night. What they do have is a great view. You will see monkeys and it is peaceful and quiet at the room. The pool is very nice but busy and noisy at night. The dinner is terrible, only really one choice and it is over priced, as is the wine. Not great service for dinner or at the hotel in general. We spoke to many guests who were also unhappy and felt that there were things that were misrepresented and not cared for. We overheard a nice couple complain about the price of dinner for what it was, to the waitress who offered nothing nice to say to make them feel better. In fact she said there was nothing she could do about it and frankly, they were just providing feedback. There is no internet access as we were told there would be. We bumped into people in town who stayed there as well and it sounds like guests have noticed that when Roger is drinking he is most unpleasant. Breakfast comes with the room but it is not good. We stayed in 5 places in CR and this was by far not up to the standards we found in other comparably priced places. We met people on our other travels who stayed in the area and loved their experiences so there are lots of other options. Choose carefully. Oh...and on our way home we met people who knew the people who wrote the previous review. Apparently, it is all true and the poor couple who experienced this interaction were lovely people to deal with as guests at another small hotel where we stayed in San Juan. Mal Pais is a great place to visit, cool surfer vibe, great places to stay and eat and the most gorgeous beaches I have ever seen.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Sharon Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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350 - 356 of 519 reviews

Reviewed February 16, 2013

We stayed here for our 10th anniversary (1/30 - 2/3/13). This was an amazing place to stay! Hotel was more than expected. Very laid back. Great owners and staff. Roger arranged anything we asked for and made our stay very enjoyable. He also helped tremendously when friends we met there had a medical emergency. Heidi was very sweet and accommodating. Mikey and Swen were such great guys! Very knowledgeable, funny, friendly, hard-working, and willing to help with anything.

Our villa was beautiful and was cleaned every morning. Beds were comfortable. Views amazing! Restaurant was great. Service was awesome. Staff were eager to please and checked with us often.

Can't say enough about this place and overall experience! Can't wait to take our kids here!

Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank ReneeG123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2013

My girflriend and I spent a week at Vista de Olas in February 2013 and couldn't have been more happy with our trip. While at Vista de Olas I proposed to my girlfriend and we are actually currently considering also having our destination wedding at Vista de Olas. Roger and his staff are tremendous and were more than happy to assist us with dinner reservations, outtings, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, ATV trips, etc. Roger even arranged it so the resort covered the tab on all of these adventures, so we didn't have to deal with the total bill till the end.

My fiance and I's typical day included getting up at 5AM, having a quick cup of coffee, going down to the beach to watch the sunrise, play in the ocean for two hours, return to the resort where Roger's staff made us a tremendous breakfast every morning. Every breakfast would include coffee, juice, local fruit, eggs, ham, french toast, etc.....it was insane! Next, we'd ask Roger what he recommended we did, have him arrange the details while we got ready, and then went out an tackled another adventure in the Coasta Rican sun. Come back to the resort, have a few cocktails in the infinity pool and watch the sunset on the ocean with Roger's tremendous view of the Pacific. Do yourself a favor and please view some of the pictures I'm uploading of Vista de Olas' view from their resort.

If my fiance and I have don't celebrate our wedding at Vista de Olas we'll definetly be back to visit Roger, his family, and his great staff in the future!

Room Tip: All the villas are tremendous!
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank paul e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

Given the fact that Costa Rica seems to be really dependent on Tripadvisor I decided to let my voice be heard and commend the hotels that did a great job and warn travelers against the hotels that were simply the worst.
Unfortunately, Hotel Vista de Olas belongs to the last category for me.
My wife already described the unpleasant encounter with Roger, the owner of the place (see “the owner’s unprofessionalism and inappropriate behavior tainted our stay” review). As to not repeat the review she gave, I'm going to discuss some other parts of our experience that were definitely not as bad as our encounter, but still deserve attention:

1. Air-conditioning

Whenever we turned the air-conditioning on in the morning before we left for our day activities, we would find it turned off by the time we got back in the afternoon, leaving us with a room of over 90 degrees Fahrenheit every day (we also were shown our room the first day in those conditions). The air-conditioning did not work properly either when it was turned on. We could never get it cooled down by the time we were ready for bed. One night the air conditioner made a loud noise as if it was about to explode. We didn't mention this to the staff, we just figured it wasn't going to get repaired in our four nights of stay.

2. Grill your own meat and fish.

You pay between 12 dollars for a chicken sausage and 24 dollars for a filet mignon that you have to grill yourselves. They tell you how long you have to let them on the grill and then it's up to you. We grilled about half of our food right, had one fish turn out to be overcooked and one meat item to be too dry. Given the price you pay for the meat or fish, I feel that you should at least have something that tastes good.
That is probably also why Restaurant Vista de Olas on tripadvisor has far worse ratings than the hotel.

3. Open air shower.

Looks beautiful in the pictures online, is beautiful in real life too (except for the dead tarantula in the side gravel - but it's outside after all). There is no hot water, though.
Cold water showers are ok, but it definitely does not make you stand under the shower and look at the stars very long (and is that not a little bit the point of an open air shower, looking at the stars while enjoying your shower?). We asked a member of staff whether there was warm water in the showers and if ours was just defect. There just wasn't hot water according to him.
We asked other couples about their shower and they said they had bouts of hot water coming through, but that it was just cold water in general.


4. Pool open to everyone (not only guests) starting at 4pm.

First day when we got there the pool was pretty crowded and all the 3 pool chairs where occupied with towels, the bench near the unheated whirlpool as well. We were told that everyone from town can come and hang out at the bar in the pool starting at 4. I think this is not very thoughtful in respect to their guests who pay to stay at the place and use the pool. We only once were able to secure a spot at one of the chairs, the other times we just had sit on the ground while people from town were having a great time watching the sunset form their chairs while not paying anything else than their bar tabs. Having the pool available for anyone from town, also means goodbye to a nice quiet night at the poolside with the other few couples that stay at the place. People from town can also stay to eat and sit at the three tables overlooking the ocean and pool, resulting in you having to sit with your wife/husband on the awkward round table that seats about 20 people.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for sharing the nice view with other people, I just think that there should be at least poolside launch chairs and nice dinner tables reserved for guests that pay well over a 100 dollars a night to stay at the place.

5.The ATV tour.

Roger's boys took us on an ATV tour to the butterfly garden and the waterfalls at Montezuma.
Roger's boys are nice kids. They seem to have a good head on their shoulders.
The only thing I would say, though, is that when guests are asked to pay 60 dollars each to go on the tour, please don't take off on your ATV's by yourselves leaving the guests alone.
We were dropped off at the butterfly garden (which didn't seem to have a lot of butterflies and the owner of the place charged us for letting us fill up our water bottle), the boys said they would just stay outside while we went in the garden. We got out of the garden rather quickly, because there wasn't a lot to see. The boys were not waiting there for us and their ATV was gone. After having us wait for about 15 to 20 minutes, they returned from wherever they had gone off too.
Once again, his boys were wonderful teenagers and we had a fun time with them, but if you charge 60 dollars a guest, you can't just take off, have some fun by yourselves and leave your guests behind.

6. Conclusion

What a beautiful place. Nice pool right at the sea side. The hotel room could be better, bbq set-up needs to be revised and guests need to be given a priority above random people who come to enjoy the views. It was a true shame the owners’ inappropriate behavior ruined our stay.

Roger explained to us that everybody gets highly intoxicated sometimes. I must agree with that if it’s not during business hours. As a hotel owner, you are unfortunately dealing with clients all the time and so you can’t really get highly intoxicated and be extremely rude towards your clients.

For future guests: don’t deal with the owner if he’s intoxicated. He gets extremely inappropriate in that condition. I’m never going back to this place. It has quite some potential, though, when in good hands. And if you don’t deal with him when intoxicated, you might not have any problems at all, except for the ones I summed up above.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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16  Thank Diego_dm2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

My husband and I spent 8 nights here for our honeymoon and had a truly memorable experience. We wanted to pick a place where we would be able to relax and have an adventure at the same time, and this area of Costa Rica was perfect for that! The hotel arranged for airport pickup on the way there and back which made it stress free (just be aware you are charged). They also arranged for any activities you want to do, which makes it so easy. Our package included an ATV tour which was a ton of fun, and horseback riding on the beach, which I've always wanted to do. My husband also booked a surfing lesson and we did zip lining.

I highly recommend either renting a car or ATV since the area is hilly dirt roads, and the road to the hotel is the worst of all (which I heard they are looking into working with the government to fix). But if you have the right vehicle it's fine. Also, you'll want to get out and explore since the hotel is very quiet until it opens to the public at 4pm (which I also see as a bonus because if you want to do nothing by the pool you have the place mostly to yourself and then get to socialize wth others later). Also, the area is full of great restaurants and beaches. I was pleasantly surprised by the food quality at the local places, especially Koji, Habanero, and Al Chile Viola. We even went back to Montezuma on our own for a day trip.

The hotel room itself wasn't as nice as I expected, specifially the quality of the mattress and sheets, but I was so tired by the end of the day I slept fine. The outdoor shower is very cool (once it started working correctly - I thought it was just off/on cold and no pressure, but realized when another couple complained that it wasn't working right and is actually very nice once it does). Just know where are lots of insects in the bathroom area, but that is to be expected for this area outside and didn't bother me. Also, I thought we would have a better ocean view, but we spent most of the time at the ocean, so no biggie and you can still see it! The room was cleaned daily which was nice because we made it pretty sandy.

Another note - the wifi did not work once while we were at the hotel and we tried daily from different areas. So we had to update friends/family when we were in town at the restaurants/bars with wifi. So if you need to do work while there, it could be a problem.

I would say definitely look into this place as an option, just know the attitude is very laid back, you will need to ask for what you want, but they will accomodate whatever it may be with a smile. If we come back to the area I may look at other places. But for a first timer to this area you cannot beat the amazing view everyday and the ease of arranging activities this hotel provides.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JordanW02
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

This was one of the best vacations i've been on. Roger & family make you feel so comfortable! The views from the villas/ pool are breath taking. I highly recommend staying here!!! Thank you Roger! We will be back for sure!!!!

Room Tip: We stayed in villa 3 & loved it!
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank stephaknee4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

I stayed at Vista de Olas for four nights for a belated honeymoon recently. The first few nights were nice enough; if you want to feel like you are at a Southern California surf hotel whilst in Costa Rica, then this place will do the trick. The views are stunning, the location wonderful. My husband and I noticed early on, however, that during the mediocre BBQ dinners, Roger would drink heavily starting in the afternoon/evening, and would go on presumably until after we had vacated the pool area, usually around 8.
The last night of our stay, I knew that we would be leaving early the next morning and wanted to pay the bill for our meals and excursions (luckily I used Living Social, so I was not responsible at that point for paying for the stay itself). At around 8:00, I asked Roger's wife for our bill. About 20 minutes later, she came out with a surprisingly large tab. I made the horrible mistake of asking Roger to help me break down the costs, and at this point he got irate, dropping profanities every other word, and insisting that he had already given us a good deal by doing us the favor of redeeming our Living Social voucher. He implied that we were cheap and ungrateful to inquire about our bill charges. Roger seemed to be escalating severely on his own, without provocation from myself or my husband, and I tried to keep the situation calm by letting Roger yell and vent without interfering.
After my debit card declined (I had forgotten that I had already taken out a good portion of the day's allotment of cash from an ATM), I payed with cash, giving Roger 130,000 colones ($260). Because I didn't have smaller bills, I should have gotten about 4,000 colones in change. Roger said at this point he would go get change. He stayed away for about 20 minutes, and when he returned he told us he could not remember how much cash we had given him because he was, in more polite terms, too drunk, and thus did not know to how much change we were entitled. I reminded him what I had payed him, sort of laughing it off, but also getting concerned at this point that the night would get messy in regards to Roger dealing with this transaction. He repeated this three more times, saying each time that he couldn't remember how much cash we had given him. Finally, he threw the change at us, making a nasty comment about us not leaving a tip (for what? Having to BBQ our own meat and eat preserved veggies at the hotel RESTAURANT?).
Shaken up, my husband and I went back to our villa. A few minutes later, we heard a knock. I assumed it would be Roger or someone to apologize for Roger's behavior. How wrong I was. It was Roger, claiming that we had not payed him anything. At this point, having endured an hour of Roger's drunken escapades with patience, I could not believe what was happening. When Roger showed us his empty pockets and asked us where the money was, I shut the door in his face. I don't know if he was trying to extort more money from us, or if he was legitimately so drunk as to forget that we had already payed him. Either way, it was unbelievable and unacceptable.
At this point, Roger started yelling obscenities at me and a staff member, Randal, came down from the pool to see what was happening. He told Roger to go upstairs, which he did, whilst still yelling insults at me the whole way to the pool area. My husband and I then discussed our options; we felt that Roger had exhibited the kind of aggression, which appeared to be the result of excessive alcohol consumption, that could have escalated into him physically attacking us. The property is remote, and, not having a cell phone that worked, we actually considered walking the 25 minute steep downhill unlit trip to town because we felt so unsafe at Vista de Olas. In the end, we barricaded our door with luggage and furniture to at least make us feel that if Roger decided to enter our room for further confrontation, we would be able to hear it well enough in advance to flee out of the open-air bathroom.
Having traveled extensively, this is by far the worst situation in which I have found myself. I'm sure that a stay at this hotel could have, and has for most visitors, gone smoothly. The key is: DO NOT APPROACH THIS MAN FOR A BUSINESS TRANSACTION IF HE APPEARS AT ALL INTOXICATED. It would be slightly more acceptable for a business owner to do this if they were a sociable, happy drunk. Roger, however, is a mean and aggressive person when drunk. He is the exact opposite of the constructed image of a care-free, laid-back surfer that he tries to exude when he is sober.
Roger, if you want to reply to this, here's a hint: grammar and spelling are easier to tackle when sober. I've noticed you have had some problems with these base elements of sentence construction in past replies.

I would not wish this travel misadventure upon my worst enemy. This hotel is awful, despite its gorgeous physical setting. It is the overwhelming negativity, irresponsibility, and lack of professionalism of the owner that make this beautiful place, as another reviewer noted, a sad waste.

A final note: Roger charges 7% surcharge on all credit card transactions. As far as I know, this is not legal and seems to be a method of discouraging guests, for whatever reason, from paying with credit card. This man wants cash, and as inconvenient as it is, I'm glad I was able to give him what he wanted, rather than get suckered into paying an additional 7% for this nightmarish experience.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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27  Thank jmk286
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Vista de Olas

Address: Vista de Olas Dr. | Mal Pais de Cobano Apto.#93, Mal Pais 5361, 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 Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Mal Pais
#2 Romantic Hotel in Mal Pais
#4 Family Hotel in Mal Pais
Price Range: $166 - $282 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Vista de Olas 2.5*
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Vista de Olas is a refined hotel in Mal Pais perched on top of a peaceful hill. From this vantage point our guests are treated to sweeping views of Mal Pais and watch the most memorable sunsets. The hotel offers 6 sumptuous, secluded deluxe villas with ocean view, AC, open-sky bathroom, and private porch. Hotel amenities include fast WLAN, a luxurious infinity pool and jacuzzi, pool lounge, and the best BBQ restaurant in Mal Pais. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Vista De Olas Mal Pais
Hotel Vista De Olas Costa Rica/Mal Pais

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