My husband and I just returned from five nights at Gaia, and we have many good things to say about the hotel. We had a wonderful time and were impressed with the hotel but did not find it up to five star standards.
Room: Our room was spacious and beautiful and had a great view of the rainforest. The room was kept very clean, and the turn-down service was lovely. We were surprised not to find slippers and an ironing board and iron in the room, as we thought they were required in five star hotels. The biggest inconvenience, however, was the shower / tub combo. I have never visited a five star hotel without a separate tub and shower, and Gaia's combination of jacuzzi tub with shower was particularly dangerous. I slipped getting in or out of the shower three separate times, even though I was being very careful and we had towels on the floor to prevent us from slipping.
Staff / Excursions: The staff was exceptionally friendly, knowledgable, and professional. They helped us book a variety of excursions and even did research to help us with unusual excursion requests. They really could not have been more helpful. The cart and van drivers were also great. William, the naturalist / guide that works with the hotel, is amazing. He is so knowledgable that we wish he could have been the guide on every tour we took! We learned so much from him and saw every monkey and sloth in the jungle. :)
Food: We were pretty unimpressed with the food, and we are food lovers. Breakfast was by far the best meal, and the service in the morning seemed more coordinated. Tapas were also good, as were the cocktails (thank you Stephen!). Although the menu items always sounded great, we were disappointed with the quality of the food when it arrived, even when we did receive what we ordered. My order was confused on a number of occasions, and the waiters did not seem to communicate with each other at all. Gaia needs to hire a captain or experienced waiter to make the service in the dining room more coordinated -- it was so confused as to be quite comical by the time we left. Room service was good except that they did not bring water. This made no sense to me, unless the hotel is trying to get you to buy the water from the mini-bar. That is pretty tacky, especially since water has been free at every five star hotel (and even some with fewer starts) where we have stayed.
Pool / Grounds: The reserve is beautiful, and we recommend taking the morning tour. The pool, however, is poorly designed. There is very little seating, and you actually have to wade through the pool to get to some of the seating. There is pretty much no pool service whatsoever, which was quite a shock at a hotel claiming five stars. There was no one to bring your towels to your chair, take drink orders, etc. I am not even sure how that would be accomplished with him having to wade through the pool to get to you. Not well thought out. We found it more relaxing to lay and read in our room instead, but this option lacks the sun and scenery.
Would I recommend staying at Gaia? Definitely. It is a beautiful hotel with an excellent staff. We stayed in a medium-sized room that was pretty much right for the price. I just think if you spend a lot of money on one of the more expensive suites and expect a five star experience, you are destined to be disappointed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Gaia Hotel, Manuel Antonio's only 5-star resort and dining. Bask in our infinity-edge pools, dash Aveda bath salts into your Jacuzzi and relax enjoying the jungle and ocean views. Rooms feature A/C, cable, flat screen TVs, portable phones, home entertainment units, internet connectivity, coffee-maker, mini-bar, safety box, hairdryer, 24/7 room service and full spa services. Your personal valet sees to your needs, and our Nature Guide hosts an exclusive tour of our 12-acre Nature Reserve. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gaia Hotel And Reserve
- Gaia Hotel & Reserve Costa Rica/Manuel Antonio