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“Eco hotel? Hardly!”
Review of Hotel Si Como No

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Hotel Si Como No
Ranked #7 of 46 Hotels in Manuel Antonio
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed February 26, 2009

My husband and I stayed here for 2 nights as part of a 2-week trip in Costa Rica. We chose Si Como No based upon TripAdvisor and guidebook recommendations that really stressed the "green" nature of the hotel (specifically mentioning that only one tree was chopped down during the construction). That may well be true - but that´s where their commitment to the environment stops.

As a standard hotel for the unadventurous American tourist, this is not a bad option...rooms are clean, staff are friendly, location is good - however, the "eco-friendly" label they are so proud of seems to be more of a marketing ploy than anything else.

We saw no recycling bins or solar panels, and the staff were not aware of any gray water recycling programs. Toiletries are provided in small plastic bottles and are replaced daily - whether the bottles are empty or not (for some, this may be a luxury, but we found it very wasteful). Sheets are changed daily unless you place a pre-printed notice on the bed - we only discovered this little piece of paper (hiding behind the tissue box on the bathroom shelf) on our final evening after the linens had been changed. The two pools are chlorinated (as opposed to salt water), the bars have large TVs switched on the entire day, rooms have fairly large fridges and tea/coffee makers (again, some may feel this is a bonus, but loading a room with electrical appliances is not exactly green). Cocktails came garnished with plastic frills and other silly and wasteful decorations (why not a beautiful piece of fruit?) served on a paper napkin instead of a coaster. On the day of departure, they print a bill and leave it in an envelope outside the room - and then when you take it to the reception desk to pay, they print another copy of the bill and give you another envelope - pointless and wasteful. And the list goes on.

Taken individually, none of these "complaints" is serious, but it is precisely these kinds of things that distinguish a normal hotel from one commited to the environment. In short, the hotel is nice enough, but their over-use of the eco label is a joke.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Fassia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
D_QCostaRica, Assist. Mngr/Sales at Hotel Si Como No, responded to this reviewResponded March 3, 2009

Management response:
While we respect our customers´ opinions, the employees and management of Si Como No want to assure all our loyal guests and future guests that we earned the 5 Green Leaf rating from the CST program because of our demonstrated commitment, policies and operational standards to green practices. That rating is from an objective, outside source and is the result of more than 16 years of hotel operational processes and equipment, employee training and commitment to being a sustainable green business having as minimal impact on the environment as possible. We believe our record supports our positioning:

1) In 1995, Si Como No became the first area hotel to install solar energy panels to heat shower water. The solar system is easily visible on building roof tops.
2) We were the first area hotel to install a waste treatment plant.
3) We use bio-degradable soap dispensers in the showers and the small plastic bottles for lotion that are refilled to reduce waste and eventually recycled.
4) We are the leader in waste recycling in our Canton de Aguirre, with three recycle centers on property that efficiently separates guest garbage daily. Each room also has a receptacle for recycling.
5) There are no televisions in any of the resort's 56 rooms. There are only the two in the bar. After all, we are sports fans.
6) The minibar fridges are small, and are certifed as low wattage as is our lighting. Use of the coffeemakers is optional. Most guests take their coffee in our restaurants.
7) We are long standing members of the Titi Conservation Alliance, which has planted over 30,000 trees along the Naranjo River, as well as carried out education programs for school children of 6 rural schools in the area.
8) For the past six years we have owned and operated one of the only wildlife nature refuges in the area. We offer a variety of nature tours and education programs for visitors, university students, as well as local primary schools for the last 6 years.
9) Our employees participate actively in area conservation programs such as the Manuel Antonio National Park Board and the Corcovado Foundation and the Santa Juana Sustainability Project.
10) We use recycled plastic straws as paper straws collapse. We normally use coasters instead of napkins with our beverages unless we run out.
11) Salt water pool treatments also produce chlorine, and in tropical locations, fail to meet pool sanitary standards for high occupancy hotels.

Again, with respect to the guest that questioned the legitimacy of our green operations, our having earned the 2008 Honoree of the Rainforest Alliance Award and being a UN World Heritage member with top CST Certification is not a joke. The international NGOs and thousands of thoughtful guests who have recognized and supported our efforts as certified leaders in Sustainable Hospitality, probably don't think our efforts are a joke either. Had this particular guest been interested in finding out if our green credentials were just marketing hype, they might have asked to speak to any member of the management team during their brief walk-in stay at Si Como No.

Jim Damalas
Gen. Mngr. Green Hotels of Costa Rica

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1,179 - 1,185 of 1,475 reviews

Reviewed February 21, 2009

I cannot praise the staff enough. EVERYBODY was friendly, helpful and absolutely wonderful. Rooms were clean, large with beautiful views. Depending on where your room is, the stairs and hills can be an issue, but I have many health problems and although I felt a bit of a strain, I managed just fine. There seemed to be benches to rest just when I needed them. Don't miss the massages! If you can get out early in the morning, the monkeys are beyond a joy. They are hysterical to watch!! The town "bus stop" is right outside the hotel, so if you miss the hotel shuttle to Manual Antonio, the bus runs every few minutes between Quepos and the beach for 2.10 calones (about 40 cents)! Si Como No far exceeded my expectations and I will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with friends
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Thank hope2156
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2009

Beautiful grounds, plunging down a steep hillside to the Pacific. The room, clean and comfortable, offered a spectacular view. Be warned if you have trouble with stairs. Everything is a climb to everywhere. Amenities were so-so. The so-called jacuzzi was a) not hot and b) dangerous, since it had no handrails to climb in and out. The pools are just average. But the food in the restaurants is definitely abov CR's rather low standards.
The beach, a dizzying drop from the cliff, is inaccessible. But the hotel has a free shuttle to the public beaches, which are fine (if you want to change into a swimsuit, it's 300 colones to change in the bathroom of most restaurants) The best beach is in the national park, but that's long uphill hike on foot. There's a bathroom but no food service and no changing room. Forget a guided tour to the rain forest, by the way. It's a dull walk and you see little or nothing.

  • Stayed: February 2009
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Thank eal222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2009

This hotel is nicely located near Manual Antonio National Park. The room was spacious, clean and comfortable, air-conditioned, and has an excellent view of the ocean. The king bed was luxurious and firm. There is a small bar area where you can find all tempting snacks, alcohol and other beverages. That means the fridge does not leave much space for your grocery. The hotel has excellent amenities. There are one adult and one children's pool, a THX-equipped cinema (because there is no TV in the room), and 2 restaurants. We only had breakfast in one of the restaurants and it was excellent. There is no lack of monkeys and iguanas around. Unfortunately, we saw no toucans though. The reception area provides free WiFi internet access to guests. Overall, we enjoyed our stay there.

  • Stayed: November 2008
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Thank Patty1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2009

We were a group of 15 celebrating our father's 75th birthday. We were 5 couples and 5 children ranging from 17-24. We took 8 rooms. Not one member of our group had a single complaint about the hotel. We loved our rooms and the great views of the Pacific Ocean. We were there for 7 nights and ate dinner at the hotel for 5 of the nights. We all thought the food quite good. The grounds were beautifully kept. It was easy to use the shuttle to get to the beach and the staff were very helpful in booking excursions. Overall, a spectacular place to vacation.

  • Stayed: December 2008, traveled with family
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Thank gmlawyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2009

We had room 44, which has a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. We were actually only in Manuel Antonio for a few days at the end of a longer vacation, but I was impressed by its views and by the room, and by the wonderful people who work there. They are friendly and helpful in the best low key way.

The little wildlife preserve across the street is owned by the hotel and offers guided tours. The preserve is small and keeps crocodiles in enclosures and has a butterfly enclosure also in which they breed butterflies. These are interesting but it is not a rain forest. It's more like a little zoo. The evening tour of frogs and snakes was worth doing. As with all the nature guides we had in Costa Rica, this one was knowledgeable and nice.

As for the reviewers here who were horrified to find a moth in their shower: I would suggest they avoid visiting tropical rainforest environments in the future. Insecticides are not part of the program here and should not be. Our room, and the rest of the hotel, was meticulously clean. That's enough.

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1  Thank rosalindfranklin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2008

We went to Costa Rica to celebrate my 40th birthday on the advice from multiple friends who have all been there. After deciding on the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area, I researched many, many hotels. Si Como No had consistant good reviews. It was also written up in a recent Parents Magazine article and the author raved about it as being great for couples as well as for families with kids. She was definitely right. The hotel was really nice but the food was amazing. The breakfast buffet is included in the price of the room and it was great. Yes, the restaurants were pricey but the meal we had at Claro Que Si was the best of the whole trip. (make sure you try their homemade flan...it's amazing!!) The swim up bar at the adult pool served 2 for 1 drinks every night from 5-6pm. We met many other couples and often sat in the hot tub with our giant fruity drinks and chatted about where we were all from. We were there right at the end of the "green" season so it rained every day from 4:30-6:00pm but we didn't care because we were in the pool or hot tub anyway. The concierge set us up with the Canopy Safari zipline tour (which I highly recommend) and a snorkling tour on a catamaran. Unfortunately there was a big storm the day before we went snorkling so the water was too murky to see anything but sailing was fun and the buffett lunch and rum punch they served made everyone happy. The only downside of our stay was the smell of our room. It smelled very musty but we didn't want to make a fuss so we didn't say anything because we thought they might all smell like that (we found out later that they don't). We probably should have asked to move rooms but we were only in there to shower and sleep so it wasn't that bad. Next time we go back we will definitely take the kids because the family pool with the water slide was great. Although we ended up going out every night, the movie theatre in the hotel looked cozy and fun. The families with kids certainly seemed to like it and they showed a different movie each night. The nature preserve across the street that is owned by the hotel was really nice as well. Make sure you go on one of the evening nature hikes. We saw some of the coolest animals.

  • Stayed: November 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank buffy6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Si Como No

Address: Manuel Antonio Beach, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Manuel Antonio
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Spa Hotel in Manuel Antonio
#6 Green Hotel in Manuel Antonio
Price Range: $171 - $366 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Si Como No 3.5*
Number of rooms: 58
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Si Como No Resort & Wildlife Refuge is a central-Pacific coast resort in the jungle-covered hills just above Manuel Antonio National Park. It’s barefoot luxury with a pura vida vibe, perfect for families and couples who love the beach, tropical adventures, spa, pools, superb dining and four-star accommodations. This award-winning eco-design nature resort & spa offers its guest its own signature version of "barefoot luxury." Panoramic views are yours to enjoy from beautiful balconies looking down from the most idyllic hilltop in the area. Enjoy nearby beaches, Manuel Antonio National Park and the hotel’s private Wildlife Refuge and Butterfly Atrium, adjacent to the property. Renown for warm, friendly service, guests can choose from two excellent restaurants, guided nature and adventure tours plus shopping, fabulous nightlife and our own private cinema. And for Costa Rica weddings and honeymoons, this is where life memories are made, one tropical sunset at a time. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Si Como No Hotel
Si Como No Costa Rica
Hotel Si Como No Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio

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