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Reviewed April 3, 2012

Made a best decision to stay at Ocotal Beach Resort than near by resort...It was family spring break with my wife and two girls, we enjoyed each and everything this resort offers. This resort has amazing view of pacific ocean from each and every room, private beach, pool and fitness center. Clean rooms, good food and have received 5 star service by each and every employee including diving staff. My daughter learn scuba diving and she went twice in ocean with Leo and little one went to snorkeling as well. I have to say ignore some negative reviews...yes this is not Four Season or Riu property in same token you are not paying $600 to $900 per night (it has a better view and same service), Wanted to say thank a lot to Andrea for arranging excursions and helped to find nice resort in Arenal area for last two nights...made our life easy on memorable vacation. Can't wait to go back again next year to finished my daughters diving course and get PADI license as they have best instructors in Costa Rica. Thank you Ocotal Resort!

Room Tip: For couple 400 is best and for family bungalow with semi private pool.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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8  Thank Jakul59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 2, 2012

We loved out stay at the Ocotal Beach Resort! The breakfast was GREAT, as were the pools, bar, patios, iguanas, and fitness center (which is not a common amenity at beach-side hotels in the Costa Rica, but much appreciated). The tennis court could use a redo, and there was a line of termites in our hotel room for the entire stay (yes, it was very gross). But otherwise, absolutely no complaints about the location, sunset views, and amenities. I highly recommend it if you get a good deal and have a rental car (otherwise, taxis could add up fast...it's far from "town").

Room Tip: Every room has a view, but I recommend anything in the "300s"
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank TKM1986
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pat P, General Manager at Ocotal Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 6, 2012

We greatly appreciate and Thank You for such wonderfull comments on our Resort. As far as the tenis court in poor conditions we are actually refurbishing and painting the court after the rainy season this year.
Again, Thank You so much and we hope to see you back very soon!

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Reviewed March 27, 2012

Initially read good reviews on this hotel and so booked it for one week. Just before leaving, checked again and read a couple of negative reviews. Made me a bit nervous, but too late to change. Am glad I did not change! We had a truly wonderful trip and the staff there did all they could to make it a wonderful trip. Service was great, the food was also good. The room was thoroughly clean each and every day. Security was outstanding. I felt safe at all times. The hotel is not the Four Seasons, but a wonderful Costa Rican hotel that I would not hesitate to stay at again and in fact, plan to return next year and will try to stay there again. We had a car, but I heard that a taxi to town was only $3 if you did not have one.

Room Tip: We stayed in the beachside rooms. They were close to the pool and snack bar. Could catch the shuttle up the hill (steep) for breakfast, etc. if you do not have a car.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank mary19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pat P, General Manager at Ocotal Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded April 6, 2012

Thank You so much for sharing your beautiful experience in our resort. El Ocotal and all it´s staff are very greatfull to read about your stay and the important details you have highlighted.
Again, Thank You so much and we hope to see you back next time your travel plans bring you to Costa Rica!

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Reviewed March 27, 2012

Avoid this place like the plague. Yes, views are amazing, but you can't enjoy them much when basic needs like food and sleep aren't met.

I've traveled quite a bit, and know what to expect. I don't mind staying in a 2-star, and I don't mind paying 4-star prices, but I have a problem paying 4-star prices for a less than 2-star experience.

My husband and I stayed March 3-10. Here are the main points:

1) FOOD: We both got sick from the food for most of our stay.

The food is very scarce, not fresh, odd-tasting, lacking selection, and most ingredients listed in the very limited menu will be missing. They use every trick and filler in the book to stretch supplies and reduce costs, and creative substitution is rampant (e.g. Asian-style sauce alongside the vegetable rolls will be replaced with balsamic vinegar). Dishes, food and drink will become unavailable from one minute to the next - we had to miss several meals because the restaurant/snack bar were closed unscheduled and without notice - had to fork out $50 a pop to eat at Father Rooster next door. Not a good experience when you pre-paid for all your meals! Overall there is a feeling that they're constantly running out of food, serving you whatever's in the kitchen sink, and never replenishing supplies.

Food safety is the biggest issue - there is none. As mentioned, we got sick (I've been all over the Caribbean, and never got sick before) - other guests I spoke with also got sick. There is no freshness, and most of the selection is fish/seafood - enough said. Most bottled drinks, if you manage to get your hands on any, are expired. The coffee is some of the stalest ever, which says a lot in a country like Costa Rica.

I would love to compare the food situation with that of most Cuban all-inclusives, but sadly this was much worse, for much more money - there is very little food, it all tastes off and about a day past its best-before date, and I never got sick in Cuba. I grew up in a third-world country, so I know about food shortages - that's what this reminded me of. It won't seem so bad the first couple of days, but after you get acquainted with the menu you'll be dreading every meal.

2) ROOMS: Ant infestation and paper-thin walls = no sleep.

We killed thousands of ants everywhere in our room one evening - yes, on the bed too. We asked to be moved the next morning, and were told no problem - just wait until noon when a room in the 400s will be vacated. We were assured by Aura they would come get us when the room is ready. Having already experienced the unreliable service, we went back several times over the next few hours to ask about the room - and were assured of it every time. Long story short, we wasted most of the day waiting around for the room, and finally were told by someone else there was no such room available. Then, seeing the desperation in our eyes, he reluctantly suggested room 501, which they clearly never use. We quickly agreed, took the keys and carried all our stuff to 501. We then discovered the safe had been removed the room. We decided to opt for antbites and no sleep over the possibility of having our passports stolen. Walking us back to our old room, the man let slip that they had been aware of the ant problem (with the main nest being in the next room) - they put us in this room knowing this full well.

The walls are only for decoration - even with earplugs I was awakened at all hours by crying babies, coughs, etc. that seemed to be happening right in my room - even yawns will make it through the walls. Early one morning, the phone in the next room was ringing off the hook. It suddenly stopped as soon as I dialed reception.

3) SERVICE: Inconsistent, mostly awful.

As others have said, sometimes the service is shocking. Wake-up calls go unfulfilled - bring a battery-powered alarm clock, because the heavy windstorms sometimes knock out power. No apologies for miscommunications or lack of service. Experience is ruined mostly by the few individuals with poor ethics, but the others don't make an effort to make it right or apologize. Most staff speaks very little English, so don't expect them to understand basic requests like food, drinks or missing toiletries.

A few examples:

I was in the middle of an important conversation with the front desk, and a Spanish-speaking German guest came in. All staff, including the one I was talking to, suddenly crowded around him and started making small-talk with him.

We were famished one day and went to the restaurant for lunch. There was only one other party in the restaurant. After being ignored by the busy-looking staff running around for about 25 minutes, we decided to give up and left. On the way out, they tried for a good 10 minutes to make us sign a bill. They refused to understand that they had not served us, and that there was nothing to sign for. It was very frustrating.

Another day, for lunch, we went to the snack bar. There were other guests there eating several freshly brought dishes. The bartender told me the snack bar was now closed. I asked where we could get our (pre-paid!) meal - he said at the restaurant. I told him the restaurant wasn't serving food. He looked puzzled, and that was that.

OVERALL:

It wasn't my first time in Costa Rica, so I've seen much better hotels for much lower prices. This hotel is a rip-off for the experience compared to all others in the area, so choose another. Former regulars I spoke with on the beach who did Ocotal for years and had enough of declining quality and increasing prices agree. The owner should be ashamed of himself for the way he represents an absolutely amazing country - I can't imagine the impression of Costa Rica that first-timers who don't know any better walk away with. This was our first and only awful vacation - I'm waiting to hear back from my tour operator about the rip-off.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank ak_toronto_1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2012

The negative reviews seem a bit harsh. Yes, there are a few cracks here n there and like any beach resort, you're going to see sand and dirt tracked everywhere. Room rates at the nearby Four Seasons start at $700/night. If you're paying $150/night, set your expectations accordingly.

Ocotal's best features are the views and the staff. Not everybody speaks fluent English so it make take a little longer to make yourself understood, but everybody is very friendly and does their best to accommodate you with a smile. There isn't much to do at the hotel itself other than splash around in the pools, but Playas del Coco is a short $6 cab ride away. Father Rooster's next door is a good dining alternative, and they make a killer cup of coffee

As for all the comments about the condition of the rooms, who travels to Costa Rica to spend the entire time in a hotel room? Bring ear plugs since the walls are paper thin, but other than that, the rooms are perfectly adequate for the price.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Joolz604
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pat P, General Manager at Ocotal Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2012

In deed we are not the nearby Four Seasons. Nevertheless our views, infrastructure, location, friendly staff and the love and care we deliver with every client we recieve has given us the recognition and respect among other hotels of the area.
Comments like yours are very helpfull, encouraging and highly appreciated.
Thank You so much!

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