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“Tranquil retreat”

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Cristal Ballena Boutique Hotel & Spa
Ranked #7 of 12 Hotels in Uvita
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Granville, Ohio
Level Contributor
25 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Tranquil retreat”
Reviewed February 7, 2014

We stayed here because the other place we booked was a disaster! This place was wonderful. The room was immaculate. The view was spectacular. The ground were beautiful. I have to say that I dine in many fine restaurants, but I have rarely eaten food this well prepared. The staff is caring and friendly. They love to try out the English on you while you are trying out your Spanish on them. This is one of the nicest places I can remember staying. I do not have one negative comment.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank patty c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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268 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed January 28, 2014

I love the views and sunset. You can see a spectacular pacific ocean sunset. This is a very relaxing hotel, great rooms and very good food.

The pool is awesome and in all the surround of the hotel you feel the Costa Rica experience: nature, sun and sea. My room also was great. The only thing that it was missing was the coffee maker in my room. But since the breakfast and coffee was great, I did´n notice a lot.

Anyway, I think it was little bit expensive comparatively with other option in the country. But if you want to go to Ballena zone or Playa Uvita, you can confidently stay in this great hotel.

Definitely I can recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: You can ask for a suite with ocean view. If you have luck, you´ll enjoy the sunset.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank leopoldorojas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sequim, Washington
Level Contributor
40 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed November 18, 2013

Hotel Christal Ballena is a very nice small hotel that is suitable for couples or families. The room I stayed in had two beds and each were canopy beds with mosquito nets if you chose to use. Most, if not all rooms had a view of the ocean (off in the distance). Very quiet, nice pool and grounds. If you wanted to walk down the road and across the street you could get to a beach, otherwise hanging out at the pool was a pleasant experience. I would definitely recommend.

Room Tip: Stay on the upper floor
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank pennynurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Costa Rica
Level Contributor
45 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed September 2, 2013

Hotel Cristal Ballena is an oasis of tropical elegance in the beauty of Uvita in Costa Rica's South Pacific. The hotel is just 10 minutes from the Ballena Marine National Park, and 20 minutes from the surf town of Dominical. With the new highway, it is a quick scenic 3.5 hour drive from San Jose, and only 1 hour south of Manuel Antonio.

Junior Suites and Master Suites are spacious, comfortable and clean, with spectacular views from this hilltop hotel out over lush forest to the coast and sparkling blue sea. Junior Suites have 2 queen beds, a lounge area with chairs and a loveseat, desk, minibar area, closet, security safe, cable TV, a/c, ceiling fan, large bath, and an ample terrace or balcony. Master Suites have all of the above but are even more spacious with the best views of all! Rooms are situated in an elegant 3-story building. The only downside is if you are on the bottom floor and you have "galloping" children above you; luckily children go to sleep early! Try to get a top floor room if you can.

The breakfast buffet is massive and greatly varied! You'll eat like a king here! The restaurant serves up delicious, creative lunches and dinners with nightly specials. Reasonably priced.

We didn't use the pool, but loved its ocean-like expansiveness next to the restaurant. You can spot birds and other wildlife right from the restaurant terrace!

We spent the weekend at Cristal Ballena to take advantage of humpback whale migrating season (August & September). We went on a fantastic whale watching tour with Bahia Ballena Tours at Playa Uvita -- I highly recommend them, especially the guide Marco Monge who is exceedingly knowledgeable about whales, dolphins and natural history of the national park.

Cristal Ballena's owners are hands-on and you can tell the hotel has a personal touch. Owner Waldemar Steiner made the rounds to greet guests at dinner on one of the nights we were there. Such a pleasure to meet our charming host!

I would go back to Cristal Ballena in a heartbeat!

Room Tip: Go for the top floor Master Suite if you can. Spectacular views! And, no galloping children above yo...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Gringa-tica28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nacogdoches, Texas
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 19, 2013

The Cristal Ballena is a good launch for the south coast. A fairly quick drive from San Jose by way of San Isidro General. A cool and beautiful drive. It is easy to get to Golfito, Boruco, Dominical, & Quepos from this hotel. The Whale's Tail and Marine Park are a must for at least two days. When the tide is out it is a beautiful beach and the water is clean, clean. The hotel is nice, but I would not say five stars. I don't know why it is so expensive. The pool is really great and there is a nice hiking trail on the grounds. The reason I can't give it a full excellent rating: We found the food to be below par for the cost - we had shrimp the first night there and they were cooked until they reached "rubber bouncy ball" stage and we did not eat there again, the bed was very, very "firm", there were loads of ants outside on the patio (too many for an expensive resort - even in Costa Rica), the staff was fairly indifferent - not rude or anything, but one had to go get a drink at the bar, no one ever came and asked if you wanted anything, even refills finally they said to book a massage treatment they only needed two hours notice - more like 24 hrs...maybe...I didn't get one! Other than that, it was a good place to launch day trips from. It is a very popular place for Europeans and we met some neat people. The owner was also fun to chat with. A better view, but much steeper drive, could be had at Whales and Dolphins. Great restaurants in Uvita proper. Each one we ate at was delicious.

Room Tip: If you want a massage, book it when you get there. I think all the rooms are good!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Kim C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
37 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2013

Fantastic Weekend. The price is right as well as everything else.

Arriving here, the hotel looks a little dated and you wonder what you have got yourself into.. However, you will be pleasantly surprised. The rooms are all very modern and updated with King size four poster beds, 30+ inch TV's, mini bars (which are extremely expensive) and great covered decks with recliners.

Views are spectacular across the pacific and the jungle. Breakfast is buffet style and provides everyone a choice of fresh fruit, pancakes to bacon and eggs, all with fresh tea, coffee and juices. There is a full restaurant and wine list too if you want dinner here. Dinner is from a great menu, that would find in any other restaurant in the area. However, food is served on hot plates..... very rare for Costa Rica.

All in all - a great weekend away. We were luckily enough to be there for one of the owners 80th Birthday's. A great evening and a very nice bunch of people too.... Will definitely be back..

The p

Room Tip: Ask for ocean and pool view......
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank MrBrinxxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hermosa Beach, California
Level Contributor
90 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed April 11, 2013

My husband and I stayed at this hotel after staying at a "Lodge" in the southern part of the country. This hotel was like a palace! Wonderful air conditioning, nicely appointed rooms, and a truly incredible chef at the restaurant. Definitely a gem in an area that seems hardly developed at all.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank SoCalGirlSouthBay_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cristal Ballena Boutique Hotel & Spa

Property: Cristal Ballena Boutique Hotel & Spa
Address: Ballena Beach | 7 km (4 miles) al Sur de Uvita, Uvita, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Uvita
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#3 Green Hotel in Uvita
#6 Spa Hotel in Uvita
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Cristal Ballena Boutique Hotel & Spa 3*
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel Resort Cristal Ballena is located in the midst of its own 12-hectare grounds, very close to the unique "Marino Ballena" Marine National Park and mountains covered in rainforest. The hotel features 14 Junior Suites, 3 Master Suites, along with 2 Family suites. Due to its excellent location, our guests can enjoy breathtaking ocean views from the big balcony. Our stylish, spacious Suites are equipped with four-poster bed, AC, ceiling fan, WLan, TV, telephone, minibar, safe, coffee maker and hairdryer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Cristal Ballena Osa Peninsula
Cristal Ballena Boutique Hotel & Spa Costa Rica/Uvita

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