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“A good hotel for a couple of nights”

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Hotel Punta Islita, Autograph Collection
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Punta Islita
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Philadelphia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A good hotel for a couple of nights”
Reviewed January 25, 2007

A nice resort with a lot of activities, but awfully secluded. Of the three places we stayed during our honeymoon, we found this one to have the most activities, but the least amenities. For the price and time, we would recommend staying at a number of other places.

Punta Islita is a relatively expensive, very secluded resort. As opposed to many other resorts in CR, Punta doesn't have many things to do outside of the resort. There is a small town nearby, but only restaurant (of which you'll have to pay $10 per person for a roundtrip 3 minute shuttle to it -- it's called Monkey Bar.

Our personal favorites of the resort were the variety of activities and the views from the resort (surfing, atv's, horseback riding, canopy tours, to name a few). However, the resort is poorly manicured in some places (the golf course), the beach is not as inviting as others in CR, and the spa is only okay. For the prices, the rooms were not great and definitely need updating (the exposed mini-bar, the antiquated tvs that were not even near the bedroom, and the uncomfortable sofas are some suggestions).

In summary, this place is good for a few days in Costa Rica, but there are definitely other spots we would have rather spent more time (Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, Arenal, Tamarindo, etc). It's a good family spot, but not a great honeymoon place. Also, for the record, the staff was very friendly (although very busy).

Stayed January 2007
Helpful?
5 Thank Txhoya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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clson
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2007

Our family of four (kids 9 and 11) stayed four nights in January. Unlike Bosque del Cabo, where we stayed first and which we were totally blown away by, this place did not quite live up to my (very high) expectations.

The pluses - Excellent service. Adrian, the manager, could not have been better. The restaurant and bar staff, tour arrangers and leaders, all were top notch. The maid was very thorough and left adorable "towel and flower" rabbits for my children. The beach area - large, lovely, uncrowded, sufficient shade, exciting but gentle waves perfect for body surfing or boogie boarding, nice bar, restaurant and pool (although the gravel path up to the restaurant and toilets was deadly on bare feet!). The beds and bedding - very luxurious. The sunset horse back riding tour - dramatic, the horses take you up to the top of a steep hill to a sunset viewing point. And not to be missed - Pepe, the very cute resident skunk and the resident iguana. The food was fine - lots of seafood. My kids liked the pizza at the beach restaurant particularly (it was good).

The negatives - the layout and design of the hotel. The beach area is quite separate from the hotel, a long hot walk down the hill and across and along a dusty road. Not integrated at all. We did it a couple of times and then used the shuttle, which was ok. Would have been much better if the hotel had been built where the golf course (unused as far as we could tell) is and integrated with the beach area. The hotel area itself also had design flaws - the first night, before we asked to be moved, we were in a small room just off the main entrance, which is also the trade entrance, and to which noisy trucks pull up and rev their engines at early hours. In both the upper hotel and the beach area, the toilets were not convenient to the pool (or beach). In the upper area, you had to walk through the middle of the restaurant to get to them - not ideal in a wet bathing suit. The second unit we moved to was much, much nicer than the first and had a plunge pool which was lovely, but the units are built down a steep hillside, down paths with numerous steps - not recommended for anyone who is not fit - we were all out of breath each time we climbed up from our unit to the restaurant/pool area (and a real challenge for the staff who don't have the option of wheeling carts with luggage or cleaning supplies - everything must be hand carried up and down the hill.)

So overall - we had a good time, but it wasn't special enough to make us rush back - especially given how remote it is. There are too many other places we want to explore.

  • Liked — The service
  • Disliked — The layout of the hotel, the distance to and lack of integration with the beach
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank clson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 20, 2007

We stayed just a few nights on our honeymoon at Punta Islita, and it was by far the most luxurious place we stayed. When we drove up we were met by someone who provided cool washcloths (very welcome given the heat) and showed us around before bringing us to the bar for a complimentary welcome cocktail. Our room had a 4-poster bed with curtains, and a private outdoor hot tub. The rooms are gorgeously decorated, and most have great views. I recommend the romantic dinners by the beach, which you have to book by around 2-3pm that day. They set up a fairly private table right by the beach, complete with tikki torches and a delicious menu. The beach is very pretty, and about a 10-15min walk from the rooms. The whole place feels very isolated.
I think most people fly into Punta Islita, which is by far the easier choice. We drove in our rented 2WD sedan, and weren't sure if we would make it at times. It took us an hour to get the last 15 kilometers along an unpaved road, with embedded large rocks, that was quite steep at times. You also drive through a couple of (shallow) rivers. One of them is no big deal, but the other is a good foot deep at low tide. You definitely want to check the tide tables, because it's impassible even to 4WD cars at high tide- they told us at the hotel that several cars got stuck the day before.

  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank CABayArea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, Ca
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2007

Punta Islita is one of the most relaxing places we've ever been, situated on a hill side with outstanding views of the Pacific and if your in a casita a private heated plunge pool. This is an SLH property and a total bargain. The food is great, the staff is attentive, and the atmosphere mellow.

We have been all over this beautiful country and Punta Islita is one of our favorites.

Michael McKeon

  • Liked — Small Villa with private pool. No neighbors.
  • Disliked — No negatives
  • Tips/Secrets — Book directly with the resort
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank mikey3600
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milwaukee, WI
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 15, 2006

This is one of the most beautiful places on earth! We stayed for our honeymoon 11/23-11/27 in a whirlpool suite. Our view was amazing from the deck and whirlpool. We enjoyed our time speaking with Mario (bartender) by the beach pool, walking around the cliffs at low tide and playing in the Pacific.

Our two issues were not BIG but issues none the less. First is the breakfast which is only continental and disappointing compared to the other locations we stayed at (Tabacon, Hotel Presidente and Peace Lodge). The other being we bought an very expensive bottle of wine and they did not have the proper glasses to serve it in. The reason we mention it is because there were many empty tables with dirty red wine glasses and it seemed like they did not want to clean a pair out.

Other then that, this place is amazing and we will return for sure. Do the spa, several times if you can and make sure to visit the town of Punta Islita and the eat at Cambute. Surfing lessons were great too.

  • Liked — The Bed, view, room and beach and wine selection.
  • Disliked — Continental breakfest
  • Tips/Secrets — Enjoy the spa, eat at Cambute and enjoy a sunset at the Monkey Bar
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
5 Thank eastley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2006

Simply wonderful! We knew we were at a special place when we arrived at the tiny airstrip "terminal" and admired the beautiful floor mural, a mosaic butterfly signed by no other than Jane Goldman, the very artist whose marine-themed paintings adorn Boston's Logan Airport walkways. We were told that Punta Islita embraces a responsible tourism model based on art projects that actively involve members of the local rural communities. This was evident in the colorful displays found in the Islita village, the community that is directly adjacent to the hotel. The outdoor art collection is an actual museum and we really enjoyed visiting the workshops of the local women artists. We even got to talk to one of the community leaders (in my very broken Spanish).

Our Casita was simply the best suite-type accommodation that we have ever enjoyed. Wonderful unobstructed views, a private mini pool, terrace, and gardens. Just perfect!

Overall, I would say that Hotel Punta Islita now ranks as one of our favorite vacation experiences... one that we will surely repeat. The connection we felt to the place was really special... I encourage anyone who visits to go beyond the "I am here to be served" attitude and take the time to really know the people. You will feel pampered, but more as a friend, and less as a mere customer.

Insider's tip: Make sure to book the main suite (Palappa?) at the hotel's incredible Casa Spa... Trust us on this one!

Myers

  • Liked — The private mini-pool
  • Disliked — More closet space would have been nice.
  • Tips/Secrets — Book the main suite at the hotel's Casa Spa
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank dmmyers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
washington, dc
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed October 26, 2006

My wife and I stayed at the Punta Islita from Oct 16-21 for our honeymoon, and we were both EXTREMELY impressed with the resort itself and the staff. I'll do a quick review here, and will try to post pictures as soon as we can uplode them. The most important thing to note, however, was that despite us going there during a 3 day long rainstorm, we really had a blast and owe much of the fun we had to the wonderful staff. Here's a few of the things that most impressed me, with one very small thing they could improve on:

Casitas- We had the Casita with the plunge pool, and it was well worth it. They had fabulous, roomy rooms with a living area, a small kitchennette to make wonderful coffee in the morning, and a huge canopy king size bed that was very comfortable. The plunge pool was awesome, and the patio with a hammock and comfortable chairs was a great place to sit, drink beers, read books, and just watch the tropical rains come down. The few was fantastic!

Restaurants- The main restaurant for dinner and breakfast was great, the seafood was always fresh and the steaks were cooked perfectly. We really enjoyed our "romantic dinner for two." The beach grill was a great place for lunch, and while always simple menu items (burgers, fish sandwhiches, fish tacos) they were exactly what we wanted for a quick lunch. In terms of prices, we were pleasantly surprised that, while definitely "expensive" by Costa Rican standards, the food was really not all that expensive by luxury resort standards at all. In fact we later stayed at a smaller hotel that was in no way as nice as the Punta Islita but was considerably more expensive.

Tours- Because of the rain we didn't get to do as many of the tours as we would have liked, but we were able to do horseback riding and turtle watching. Both were AWESOME, and I especially want to thank Chris who guided us on both tours, he was really great. The horseback riding was perfect, we went through the jungle, ran through a stream, and ended up on the beach where we raced up and down the water, it was really the best horseback riding experience we ever had and we've done a few other guided rides before. The turtle watching was a once in a lifetime experience, as soon as we got to the beach after dark we saw two turtles coming in from the ocean and got to watch both lay their eggs in the nests, cover them up, and return to the ocean. It was especially impressive that the tour is so ecologically friendly, some of the proceeds go to volunteer projects to protect turtles and Chris (the guide) was always careful to not interfere in any way with the turtles and to use a red "glow" light so we could see them without disturbing them. If you get the chance to do this, we highly recommend it.

Staff- As I said before, we were really impressed with the lengths the staff went to in making sure we had a great time despite the storms. From the bartenders helping us relax to the busboys, waiters, tour guides, musicians, and front desk, everyone was very helpful. On our departure, our flight out was cancelled because of the weather, and the front desk staff made sure Sansa processed our refunds and got us a hotel employee as an emergency driver to take us to our next stop in Manual Antonio. The driver and the drive were both awesome. Despite some tough conditions (high water crossings) we both felt very safe riding with him and really are indebted to the hotel for making a tough situation work out. Marvin, especially, deserves praise as a great front desk employee that went out of his way to help us on numerous occasions.

The only small complaints I'd like to make is in regard to one night when there was a power outage. The power outage was in no way the fault of the hotel, but in retrospect the management probably should have sent some employees around to each room to pass out candles and make sure the flashlights had charged batteries. Instead I had to hike up the hill, without lights, in pouring rain to ask the front desk for candles and batteries. Really just a small thing, and in no way did it hinder our vacation, but I thought I'd point it out in case management reads this just so they'd know it might be a good idea if they ever lose power again.

All in all, it was a fabulous start to our honeymoon, and we'd go back in a heartbeat! I HIGHLY recommend it for a honeymoon or anniversary destination, its so secluded, yet has so much to offer and is so romantic!

  • Liked — The view, tours, romance. And the spa was awesome (forgot to mention that in the review)
  • Disliked — nothing, it was great
  • Tips/Secrets — consider flying into the airport on the way in and getting a driver on the way out, its great to see both aspects!
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
9 Thank maverickdog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Punta Islita, Autograph Collection

Property: Hotel Punta Islita, Autograph Collection
Address: Punta Islita 50201, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Guanacaste > Punta Islita
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Punta Islita
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hotel Punta Islita, Autograph Collection 4.5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel Punta Islita is the only beach resort in Costa Rica to offer a full menu of complimentary tours, activities, and experiences. These include favorites like canopy zip-lining, horseback riding, monkey quests, and sea-turtle spotting. Plus unique experiences like creating art with local community artists, traditional cooking lessons, golf clinics, and more! Set in a secluded ocean cove in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Its award-winning planet-friendly, people-positive model offers a unique opportunity to fully engage in intense eco-adventures and authentic cultural experiences. The property features Deluxe Rooms, Suites, and fully-outfitted Private Villas. Ideal for honeymoons, relaxation getaways, family vacations, extended stays, or destination weddings. COMPLIMENTARY SHUTTLE AVAILABLE FROM LIBERIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (LIR) PLEASE CONTACT US TO SCHEDULE ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Punta Islita Hotel
Resort Punta Islita
Hotel Punta Islita

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