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Hotel Punta Islita, Autograph Collection
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Reviewed September 4, 2006

Punta Islita, although on the Pacific, is the Caribbean resort we havge been looking for. It is isolated, quiet, luxurious, beautiful and totally relaxing. Flying in, you realize how totally isolated it is and, even though they are build around the hotel, it will remain so for many years to come.

We have been there twice, both times for five days. One reviewer compared it to Lapa Rios. They have nothing to do with each other. Lapa Rios is an ecoresort which specializes in animal watchin and local flora and fauna. Punta Islita is a beach resort, meant for beach, pool, tennis, spa and sun, sun, sun. Twice that we have been there there have been weddings - a picture perfect setting for one.

We have only stayed in the two bedroom suites. They are very private, quite lovely and each has its own small dipping pool (about 5' deep, ten feet long and 5' wide). The views from these rooms is the stuff that dreams are made of. We actually looked at five or six of these rooms and all are perfect.

The food is good, not great, although it was better this year than last. Remember, this is Costa Rica, not St. Martin. Costa Rica is not known for its great food. The dinner up top, generally accompanied by local entertainment, is romantic. We asked them to seat us outside the big room on the grass by the pool; they put up tiki torches and it is really lovely. If you want something not on the menu they will try to do it for you. I thought breakfast was excellent. Lunch, either up top in the main restaurant or down by the beach, is exactly what one wants - salads, burgers, veggies. Don't expect an active night life. This is a great place to relax, talk with new friends, have a leisurly dinner, watch the stars from the hammocks outside of each room and go to sleep.

We found the service to be accommodating. Because the rooms are on a hill descending down a long hill, they will send a van to pick you up to go to the beach or to the main house. It is rarely more than a few minutes. The rooms are kept immaculately.

The spa is wonderful. Getting a massage on the beach (in a private hut, but with the sound of the surf pounding against the beach is incredible. They actually do a wonderful couples massage with two excellently trained and fabulous masseuses.

The have a nice small gymn, free internet access and a great store featuring local crafts. A visit to the wonderful, picturesque town and the couple of local restaurants is worth the trip - if you can get youself going from the absolute relaxation of the place.

The beach could be cleaner; there is too much litter, mostly due to locals and the stuff that comes in off thewater. It isn't as bad as most public beaches in the U.S. but it is somewhat jarring, especially in a country which is immaculate.

The hotel will provide excellent day trips to see local animals and habitat. They do have a small zip line, horseback riding, tennis, deep sea fishing and, soon, a small golf course.

All in all, this is a true Costa Rican resort hotel. it is not the Four Seasons, which is wonderful, but it is a Four Seasons and could be anywhere.

We cannot wait to go back to Punta Islita.

Stayed: August 2006
8  Thank PSGumby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2006

My husband, son, and I have just returned from another wonderful stay (our sixth) at Hotel Punta Islita. Our other visits have included vacations with another family and a romantic week without our son, and we have had the opportunity to sleep in just about every type of accomodation they have available. We now consider the hotel to be our "home away from home," and the entire staff as part of our family. Their sincere desire for guests to have a fantastic experience is evident. I love Hotel Punta Islita's concept of involving the local community in all facets of their operation, and the boost they have given to the local economy is apparent.

Other reviews and the hotel website show the fabulous setting and describe the many ammenities, and I want to add that the 1492 Restaurant is one of my favorite places in the world! The ambiance and view are wonderful, and we have been pleased at the quality of food, the service, and the prices. They went out of their way to prepare a birthday feast for my son, and the rice pudding cake that came with candles and local music, was delightful. We spoke with the new head chef, Guillermo, and learned that he will be making some great changes to the menu. The Borrancho Club at the beach offers other delicious dishes, and Jose at the nearby restaurant, Cambute, makes excellent casadas (typical Costa Rican meals) and a delicious black bean soup--try it with the egg and a little rice.

We can't wait to return to this tropical paradise! I know we will be doing so for years to come.

  • Stayed: June 2006
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8  Thank DebbietheTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2006

A really great, romantic hotel to relax and chill out. Very quiet in the evenings (bar closes at 10pm!) and there's NOTHING else to do.

Recommend flying as flights can be booked 3 or 4 days in advance in CR during the green season, and the flight to SJ is approx $95pp, taking only 30 minutes (vs 4-5 hours by road).

Food was very reasonable from a fairly wide (but unchanging) menu and drinks not too pricey.

Be prepared to met wildlife! We had monkeys in the trees, snakes on the path and a scorpion in the bedroom (apparently not too dangerous and quickly despatched by the security guard!)

Pool area is beautiful and staff throughout are extremeley friendly and helpful.

Overall - a fantastic place to finish you tour of Cost Rica and thoroughly chill for a few days

  • Stayed: June 2006
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7  Thank MartyMcFly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2006

My new wife and I stayed at Punta Islita for the first four nights of our honeymoon. It was an experience of a lifetime! The drive from San Jose was rather long, but it was worth it. Upon arriving we were shown to our deluxe room, which was just beautiful. The bedsheets were beautiful, clean and comfortable. Many little details added up to an indulgent atmosphere, which we regretted leaving behind. The restaurants (1492 and Borrancho) are alright, not much to write home about. Knowing that cuisine is not this country's forte, the coffee is unbeatable and goes with everything. We upgraded to a deluxe suite for the last few nights of our stay and it was stunning. I especially enjoyed the large indoor tub surrounded by windows and the stone privacy wall. It had an outdoor jacuzzi but the water was not heated. Not a problem, in fact it was a welcome sight after a day of hiking in the humid weather. Be ready to kill a few spiders too. I will return many more times to Costa Rica and stay in this hotel. A tip for those planning to visit this beautiful country: bring your own hot sauce and chile salsa. It is very hard to come by. Also try the restaurant El Cambute. It is up the road from the resort and the food is really tasty. And lastly, if you are there with your sweety, try the spa, they gave us a nice chocolate massage, followed by some alone time in their huge hot tub with some bubbly and Hersheys Kisses.

10  Thank tkc100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Austin, Texas
114
Reviewed June 10, 2006

My entire family just spent 7 days at this fabulous resort. We stayed in the Flor Blanca 2-bedroom villa which may be the best suite at this resort (I recommend requesting it if you go). The views from our villa were incredible. The rooms are high above the ocean and the walk is about 10 minutes, but from our villa the views of the ocean were magnificent and we could hear the waves crashing on the beach. The resort is in a very remote, secluded location, so if night life, a slew of restaurants and shopping is your thing, this would not be the place for you. But if beautiful scenery, wildlife, peace and quiet, and outdoor activities interest you, then this is the place to go. There are a ton of activities available. Our favorite was horseback riding. The scenery was to die for, and unlike horseback riding tours in the US, we were able to trot, canter and gallop the horses on many occasions. Some of the paths were a little intimidating, but exciting!! Other great activites are ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), deep sea fishing, kayaking, canopy tour (zip line), morning nature walks, sunning and swimming (ocean or pool). My daughters took surf board lessons and had a great time! If you go to this resort, request Chris as your tour guide. He was fantastic and extremely knowledgeable about every bird, tree, monkey, fruit -- just about every blade of grass in the area. We caught 7 yellow-finned tuna on our fishing expedition (only kept one of them) and the chef at the restaurant cooked our fish and served us a fabulous tuna salad for lunch and sushi for dinner. We saw some of the most beautiful birds during our nature walks (including Tucans and Scarlet Macaws), as well as monkeys, some very interesting crabs, iguanas, and others critters I don't know the name of.

There are two restaurants at the resort and we found the food to be very good. At breakfast every morning we were able to feed papaya and mango to the local Iguana resident. One evening we were able to observe Tucans from the upper restaurant, which is completely outdoors (both restaurants are outdoor, covered, both next to a pool and the lower restaurant is also by the beach). I am posting pictures of the beach. I didn't find the beach to be "dirty" as stated by another visitor to Punta Islita below. The beach certainly was not very deep, but we rather liked the grassy area and had a lot of fun playing frisbee here. There was a rocky area on the beach, but there was a large part that was not rocky and perfect for swimming. A couple of days, the waves were really big and the swimming was great fun!!

The staff at the resort were great and very responsive. The only problem we experienced was a non-working TV. However, twice we called and reported the problem and someone was at our room within 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the satellite was down so the problem was out of their control. Staff were available at our whim to drive us anywhere at the resort if we didn't want to walk, and they picked us up within 10 minutes of calling. We walked most of the time because we seemed to always see something interesting (like a beautiful bird, an iguana, a bull frog, some scary looking spider, a hermit crab, or just to enjoy the spectacular views), but on the 5 or 6 occasions when we were just too exhausted and did call for a car, one was there within minutes.

Our biggest dilemma every day was whether or not to leave the room. We would have coffee at 6:00 a.m. (daybreak is at 5:00 a.m., sunset at around 6:00 p.m.), and it was difficult to motivate ourselves at times to leave the spectacular views experienced from our suite. But, we did schedule activities 5 out of the 7 days we were there, and all were fun and exciting and we arrived back at our suite exhausted every evening and would take a nice dip in our private pool.

Punta Islita was a wonderful, memorable experience and I would go back in a heartbeat. Costa Rica is a great country overall, I might consider retiring there.

  • Stayed: June 2006
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14  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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