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“Wonderful experience...despite Groupon!”
Review of Hotel Costa Coral

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Hotel Costa Coral
Ranked #6 of 6 Hotels in Tambor
Reviewed April 26, 2012

I purchased a Groupon package through Exotic Escapes, and like several other reviewers, was left at the airport with my daughter with no transportation. After finding a taxi for the trip (2 hours, then a 1 hour ferry, then another 45 min cab), we arrived at this beautiful resort to find that Exotic Escapes had never paid for any part of our trip (nor were they answering their phone).

The hotel was completely apologetic and accommodating. We were given a room with a discount that matched our Groupon deal (actually, when all was said and done, we ended up spending less). The staff was friendly and professional. The grounds were well maintained, and the restaurant was very good with a lot of variety. For those who are complaining about the $80/day credit, my adult daughter and I split several entrees and still could not finish the generous portions. Sure, if you eat surf and turf for two at each meal, you will have to add your own cash-you have to expect that. The waitstaff is attentive and thoughtful-think of drinks brought to your chair at the pool.

The atmosphere of the area is relaxing and the wildlife-monkeys!-were amazing to watch.

We definitely will return...without the Groupon package. By the way, after being home for three days and writing 4 emails, Groupon has apologized and agreed to refund my money.

Room Tip: I don't think there is a "bad" room. We were in room 1, where the patio looked out ont...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank Angie_Florea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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43 - 49 of 81 reviews

Reviewed April 26, 2012

Upon arrival to the airport the Costa Coral shuttle was no where to be found. We found ourselves abandoned in a country, thousands of miles away from home, where we didn’t speak the language. A man Costa Rican man let us use his phone to call the hotel and then talked to them himself because the man at the hotel barely spoke English. Through this we found out not only was there no shuttle to come pick us up (the airport is 4 hours away from the hotel) but also that, the hotel claims they didn't receive the money from Groupon (obviously a lie, Groupon is very reliable). Because of this we would get the first night at the hotel free and the rest of the nights 50% off. They acted like they were doing us a great favor. Also all the excursions, spa, food credits, even the welcome drink would not be available to us. But what choice did we have? We were stuck there with no place to go. We had to except the offer.

We had to take a cab, ferry, then another cab and by the time we got to the hotel it was well past dark.

The room was fairly nice but small and there was no lock box as promised on the website. This made us nervous because these people were already stealing our money. Also the lock on the door was just a twist lock on the knob, like you would see on a bedroom door.

When we asked people at the “help desk” simple questions they would straight lie to you. Questions like, What time does the bus come? How much money do we need to take on the excursions? Do they take credit cards? Things people running a hotel obviously should know. It was like they were incapable of just saying "I don’t know, but I can find out" or even just saying "I don’t know." Instead would make up an answer then very confidently tell you it was for sure what you needed. On one occasion three people were standing at the desk. Two were American, so there was no communication barrier at all. A blond lady that was management was even at the desk. They all three assured us specific details about the excursion we were going on the next day and ALL of their answers were wrong.

The people working there were very friendly but not only were they not helping us, they were sabotaging our trip every step of the way.

The location of the hotel isn't convenient. It is 30 mins away from pretty much anything you would want to do. If you do deiced to stay in this secluded location there is a hotel next door that is on the beach, WAY nicer, cheaper, and a friendly helpful staff.

My advice if you are already stuck in the situation like we were- try to relocate to Montezuma, a cute little town w lots of fun stuff to do and nicer beaches. If not move to the hotel next to Costa Coral.

If you choose to stay at the Costa Coral it would be in your best interest to rent a car. The transportation to and from the airport that was supposed to be provide by the hotel cost us at least $300 and at least 6 hours. The staff will NEVER help you with any transportation and if you ask them about a good way to get anywhere they confidently tell you totally incorrect information. In fact, never listen to any advice the hotel gives you especially the American women.

As we expected, Groupon had no idea of the scam Costa Coral was pulling and refunded the 550 dollars we paid for the Groupon. Obviously we spent at least twice that on transportation, food, and excursions out of pocket.

Costa Rica is a wonderful place and we will go back. WE WILL NEVER go back to Costa Coral and we, as well as anyone else that had purchased the Groupon scam when we did would strongly discourage anyone else from staying there. Everyone there was very angry at the hotel.

Locals told us that at first they were honoring the Groupon but had lost too much money on their "too good to be true" package and stopped.

Room Tip: They won't give you a choice.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank casey Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2012

I called based on a Groupon ad and was told that I could book directly through the person on the phone. (Exotic Escapes Victor) We bought 2 packages, 8 nights with transfers from San Jose airport, $80/day food credit and $400 credit for excursions.
Our plane arrived 45 minutes late and the shuttle driver left us. We found out later he arrived at the ferry 1 hour 45 minutes prior to its departure time. He could have waited the additional 20 minutes for us to get through customs. We called the hotel and were told we would need to find our own transportation to the ferry. $120 cab ride. They did meet us on the other side and take us to the hotel. We were told that the $400 could only be used at the hotel for massages or horseback riding. Not the list of activities advertised. The food in the restaurant was not bad but not $80-$100 a day type food. The seafood soup was mostly vegetables and not good at all. I had steak one night which I ordered rare. It arrived completely cooked. I expressed that it was way over cooked and the next time I ordered it I expected it to be cooked correctly. It was the next time. Carlos in the restaurant is very nice.
We had a reservation confirmation for room #5 next to the pool for the 8 nights. When we arrived we were told it was taken , we were given room #7 (A family room with 3 beds and no patio. After complaining I was told they would move us after 4 days to the type of room we had been promised.
The employees seem to be very nice & try to be helpful but I believe they are stuck in the middle between tourists who have been promised certain things and owners who are not living up to what was promised.
Overall the vacation was nice & we enjoyed ourselves BUT the offer and what you are promised is a LIE.

Room Tip: If you aren't given rooms 1-6 next to the pool you are getting a significantly lessor room. Room...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank steve s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2012

YOU ARE NOT GETTING WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE PAYING FOR. Here is why. The $200 to $400 hotel credit which when you speak to them implys that you can use it for anything including food is not true. You can only use it for horseback riding or a massage at the resort. The massage is done next to the pool with no privacy and limited hours. They market and verbally tell you on the phone that the hotel credit can be used for off site excursions. That is not true. If you got the continental breakfest free voucher, that is a muffin with coffee. Sorry. On to the $80.00 for food a day. The $80.00 a day includes the tax which is 23% of the bill. 10% service tax and 13% federal tax. Look at the menu on their website and run the numbers you are done by lunch with the $80 in many cases. And the day you check out you cannot use the $80. Okay here is were things get really exciting for you Groupon people. If you prepay for excursions you cant use them then you have to pay out of your own pocket once you are there. Then they tell you they will reimburse you. There is a major reason for this but I wont go into that because if you still book here now on my previous comments based on this great travel package you are an idiot. They supply a full can of bug spray for you to kill the bugs in the room which come out at all hours. What a great hotel!
And dont forget the power going out for all you love birds. If it rains the power goes out (only in the hotel nowhere else in Tambor).

If you are going to Tambor rent a car, preferably a SUV. The amount prepaid up front is a lot but Tambor is in the countryside.

Best beach in the area is Santa Teresa, not Tambor It reminds me of Laguna Beach CA in the old days. There is a great pizza restaurant on the beach in Carmen.

Driving in the Tambor area is extremely risky. I didnt say dangerous. I prayed every time I got behind the wheel. There are no rules for driving there.

The Ticos (natives) are different. Americans you can tip til you are blue in the face but it doesnt get you what you want any faster. Ticos dont live for money. They live to enjoy the moment.

The Costa Coral has major issues which will not be resolved over night. Whoever owns the place needs to take a look in the mirror and ask themselves how many peoples vacations do they want to ruin before they decide to move on. It is not cheap to vacation in Costa Rica.

Not including this disaster of a hotel, Costa Rica is pretty cool place to visit.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Canyoufeelit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2012

I recently purchased a Groupon deal with my girlfriend for a three night stay at Hotel Costa Coral. The deal included a $200.00 credit toward the hotel and $80.00 per day for food. The hotel staff at Costa Coral was very misleading about any and all information regarding this deal. The very first question I asked was whether the $80/day food credit would roll over if we didn't use it all on a given day. The front desk staff told us "yes," but this was a lie and we were not permitted to roll the money over. We were repeatedly given false information throughout the trip by the hotel staff.

In the end we were unable to use any of our $200.00 hotel credit because the "spa" (if one even exists) was closed the entire time and we were not allowed to use the credit towards the very expensive hotel restaurant (even though we were initially told we could use it for food - another lie). Also the trip excursions listed on the Costa Coral website are IMPOSSIBLE to schedule and WAY overpriced. My girlfriend and I became fed up with arguing and stressing and booked a zip-lining excursion by ourselves after driving in to Montezuma. We were able to book the zip-lining for $40.00 less that the hotel's "discount" price.

All in all the hotel staff are completely incompetent and have no idea what they are doing. They will repeatedly lie to your face about any question you have. This place is not managed well. You will be ripped off and overcharged if you visit this hotel. Beware.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Dave B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2012

My husband and I purchased this trip on Groupon. I just wanted to give some guidance for future travelers. When arriving to San Jose, you can either rent a car, take the shuttle or fly to Tambor. Rental cars are expensive upon arrival, so if you plan on driving book prior to your trip. The shuttle picks up from the San Jose airport around 1pm and drives 1.5-2hrs to the Puntarenas Ferry. There you will buy tickets for the 5pm ferry to Paquera (about $1.70/person; or $24 for car & person). It's about a 70min voyage. Hotel Costa Coral will pay for a taxi to pick you up from the ferry and drop you off at the Hotel (about 45min drive). Or you can book a flight from San Jose to Tambor with natureair. Their website has departure times and cost http://www.natureair.com/tambor-flights.aspx.

The beach behind the Hotel is brown sand...looks like mud, but the water is clean. I would recommend taking the excursion to Tortuga Island if you want white sand beaches (incl. snorkeling). Santa Teresa, and Malpais look similar to CA beaches and are beautiful as well.

If you purchased the $60 excursions, my husband and I, were not able to use them. We spoke with 6 other guests and they ran into the same problem. I'm not sure where the disconnect occurred between the owner of Hotel Costa Coral and Exotic Escapes, but we're trying to get reimbursed for the money we paid toward excursions.

The spa is currently under reconstruction so only select massages are available.

All excursions must be booked the day prior and usually begin around 8am-9am.

If you do not rent a car, you will be taking a taxi just about everywhere you go. The taxi is approx $60-75 for roundtrip to the excursions. The horseback riding and ATV tours depart from the hotel.

Excursion Breakdown:
ATV/QUAD tour: 8am for 2hr @ $65/quad; or 4hr @ $100/quad
Canopy tour: starts at 9am, 1pm, or 3pm for 2.5hrs @ $40/person
Horseback riding: 8am @ $60/person
Tortuga Island and snorkeling: full day is 9am-3pm @ $45/person incl lunch. (FYI...you enter the Curu National Wildlife Refuge to get to the boat. You DO NOT have to pay the $10/person at the gate if you booked your reservations at the hotel.) If they give you any trouble at the gate, have the guy call the hotel.

The only excursion we did not do was the horseback riding. All other excursions were a blast!

The employees at the hotel are incrediby nice; and all the locals we came across were very welcoming. The food served at the restaurant was pretty good. The only meal we didn't care for was the Seafood Platter (overcooked).

Look at tipping guidelines, exchange rates and red tide months before traveling.

I hope I've prepared you future travelers; and enjoy your time in Costa Rica!

Bring bug spray and sunblock!

Sara

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Sara K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2012

At first sight I was really disappointed. We got a groupon deal to stay and with 60% off it was still very expensive to stay here. When we arrived and saw the standards in the rooms, i'm convinced they artificially inflated the prices as it can't really be that expensive to stay there!!

The rooms are very VERY old fashioned and small, but clean and the bed was comfortable. They have pretty naff bed throws and horrible sofas in the rooms, and horrible old furniture that really needs updating. We basically just lived in the bedroom as the room with the fridge and sofa isn't exactly comfortable to hang out in..the bedroom was so small we used this room as the changing room. The bathroom was fine but we had problems with the hot water.

The staff here were great, especially in the restaraunt. As there is not really anywhere else to go in Tambor we ended up eating here most nights. The menu looked pretty good at first sight but after eating most things on the menu we were disappointed most evenings. The nicest thing was the coconut chicken, the other dishes were average. If you want to eat nice food, go to Montezuma! The breakfasts were much better..the fresh fruit, banana break or big breakfasts were lovely.

The pool area was nice and clean..the best part of the hotel, though the pool is small. It was fine to cool off in but not much more. There are only about 9 rooms in the hotel in total but if it was ever full the pool will be very crowded.

The hotel is on the main road through Tambor - a tiny little town with nothing going on in it. We had to get a 40 min sweaty bus ride every day to Montezuma which is where all the action and nice beaches are. The beach near Costa Coral is black sand, and it's a narrow beach so not very nice to spend the day there..so much so we did the 40 min bus ride almost every day!

I wouldn't recommend it to my friends to stay here, but if for some reason you want to stay in Tambor (i don't know why you would - we didn't realise how isolated it is!) it's one of the only two decent hotels there.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank tripmyadvice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Costa Coral

Address: | Center of Playa Tambor, Tambor 5361, Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Tambor
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 6 Hotels in Tambor
Price Range: $45 - $55 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Hotel Costa Coral, located in Playa Tambor, is a 5 minutes walk from the beach. Costa Rica is busier then ever and is under new management. We are a clean, boutique hotel, with a beautifully landscaped garden & pool area. Our wonderfully appointed restaurant is adorned with balconies & beautiful. We offers fresh local cuisine, with the finest ingredients, our food is prepared with heart and soul. We are a great place for your home base as you take advantage of the many activities within a 30 min radius. We look forward to serving you. ... more   less 

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