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Review of Hotel Fonda Vela

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Hotel Fonda Vela
Ranked #14 of 20 Hotels in Monteverde
Reviewed November 16, 2008

My girlfriend and I stayed in Fonda Vela for one night during Oct 2008. It was the only hotel during our 2 weeks stay in Costa Rica which we didn’t reserved upfront.
Since it was only for one night we decided to take the standard room and were surprised when the guy at the front desk offered us the junior suite for the same rate.
There are two kind of junior suites in the hotel and after seeing them both we decided to take the new one (the other suite was built entirely of wood). The room was huge and amazing! There was also a sitting area near a huge window which overlooks a beautiful garden. We reserved our Canopy and hanging bridges tours from the hotel front desk which were very kind and helpful. We took the Canopy tour of Aventura which was great and the hanging bridges tour of Salvatura which we enjoyed less. We heard from other travelers that they enjoyed the hanging bridges of Aventura. We ate breakfast and dinner in the hotel restaurant and enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. Dinner was served in a smaller room with a fireplace and was superb.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank World_Traveler_TV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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524 - 530 of 733 reviews

Reviewed August 21, 2008

While our room was lovely, there was a terrible and toxic-smelling odor as soon as we walked in the door. The desk staff immediately said that it was from a wax that they used on the wood floors and that it would go away. It didn't, although it lessened somewhat by the next day. We think that the wax also contained a strong insecticide. It caused our throats and eyes to burn. We would never stay there again on a subsequent trip.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Petitbois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 20, 2008

I quickly reviewed the comments of other travellers.
its clear, that if you go there, you have to get into the Junior Suites (e g 37 to 41). Here is our review

a) family run hotel with good atmosphere
b) very nice and clean rooms
c) but no pool
d) well kept graden with its own natural hike
e) a high quality breakfast buffet
f) a bit outside of St Elena but very close to the Quakers Cheesemaking place where you can pick up wonderful ice cream freshly made
g) we had dinner on two nights ' was acceptable quality.

we can recommend the place

ps, true, the internet connection is out of order ....

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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Thank FOL-1003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2008

We just returned from a trip to Costa Rica and unfortunately found Fonda Vela to be the worst hotel of our 10 day stay.

The hotel front staff were very friendly and helpful, however, we were very disappointed with our room. The beds had very old bedspreads and a strong musty smell permeated everything. We found a cockroach in the bathroom within minutes of our arrival and dead insects in the carpet remained there during our two nights there. Our room, which was huge - a plus - was located in the lower level of a 4 room block. Unfortunately the sound insulation seemed non-existent, the follow travelers above us seemed to move furniture constantly and walk around for hours, resuming their noise at 5:30 am the next day.

The view from the restaurant was very pleasant but the food was only OK, the two computers in the reception area were broken, with no attempts made to repair them. We had read rave reviews about Fonda Vela and can only assume that people stayed in the newer superior suites. Don't book their standard rooms!

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank Vero2you
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2008

We (two adults and two small children) enjoyed our stay at the Fonda Vela in late July. There are ups and downs to it, but overall it was pleasant. Here are some highlights:

Large, Clean Rooms: The newer junior suites are nice, quiet and secluded. It's truly a peaceful place, with forests (a family of white faced monkeys was just outside our room). The room was clean, large and comfortable. The bathroom had some mold/stains in the grout and the shower doors leaked water onto the floor (which you'd think they'd notice and fix), but it didn't harm us.

Grounds: Beautiful and well kept.

Staff: Really grumpy and not very pleasant. They were determined to speak English, though our family (though anglo looking) speaks Spanish. Everyone frowns also. I had a feeling that in Santa Elena, they were tired of tourists and didn't really want them there. We are extremely polite/sensitive travelers, but the only place where the staff was nice was at Pizzeria de Johnny (highly recommended).

Check-out: Was painful. I had pre-paid through CentralAmerica.com (smooth process) and had about $100 in restaurant bill. The front desk clerk swiped my credit card and immediately said it was declined by the bank. He "tried" three times and even showed me the receipt that says contact bank. However, it seemed fishy, because it was "denied" within a second. It's a good card and I had alerted the credit card company before my trip and had no problems anywhere else. I called the card company collect and they said it had never even been run by them. When I told the clerk the credit card company wanted to talk with him, it miraculously worked. My theory: The hotel didn't want to pay the credit card fees and hoped I would just pay with cash. Anyone else face this here? (I hope I'm wrong).

Restaurant: Terrific setting, sunsets, fireplace, table setting, etc. Not very good food. Very basic and unprofessionally presented. Bland (and I'm not a snob at all; I've eaten throughout Central America). Also, servers again were uninterested, looked bored, and just seemed to not like their jobs very much.

Pizzeria de Johnny: I can't say enough about the food and service at this place. We ate there for lunch and dinner. Fantastic and reasonably priced. Great setting with a stream running just outside the doors. Go there!

The roads: Terrible. Worse than I ever imagined, BUT, worth it for the photos, stories, scenery, etc. We drove it; Don't need a 4-wheel drive but do need the clearance of a truck or small SUV.

We had a good time there.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
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Thank KCTravelers50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2008

I have to say this property did not seem worth the price. It was exactly as it was advertised which was rustic and in the forest but I thought it would have some sort of charm to it. We expected our rooms to be old and look like a summer cabin which it did. The room was comfortable and clean but for what we got I feel like it should have cost $60 a night. Every other hotel we stayed at did not charge us for internet but this one did. Their food was pricey and the staff not that helpful. This was the third place we stayed on our honeymoon and was definitely the worst. Staff and charm are everything to us when we travel. We don't expect a lot from our accommodations but if it doesn't have those two things then we know we won't be back. The place is a long walk to any restaurants or stores and the restaurant on site is limited in its food and times that its open. Overall I would not recommend this place.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with family
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Thank dmusca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2008

We recently returned from our third trip to Costa Rica and really enjoyed our stay at Fonda Vela. We stayed in one of the new junior suites and thought it was very comfortable. Our room was light and bright with large windows that looked out onto the garden area. Some of the older rooms are darker with wood paneling, so I was glad we had reserved a newer suite.

We had two big beds, a nice sitting area, and a t.v., although we didn't watch it. Our room also had a small refrigerator, which is always a big plus; unfortunately it was broken and they didn't offer to fix it - that's the only problem we encountered at the property. The bathroom was pretty basic, but it did include a bathtub, which seemed like a luxury in CR.

We really liked the grounds; they have trails that run throughout the property, and we saw several gorgeous birds here, including keel-billed toucans and an emerald toucanet. The food at the restaurant was very good, much better than at many other hotels in Costa Rica. It was very cool in the evenings when we were there, and we enjoyed sitting by the fireplace in the dining room. The service was wonderful. The lemon butter fillet I had was excellent, and we even enjoyed fresh Monteverde ice cream for dessert.

We found the front desk to be very helpful in arranging tours; they booked a guide for us for a morning hike at the Monteverde Cloud Forest - we were even lucky enough to see the elusive quetzal, and also saw howler monkeys, coatis, and a sloth. They also booked a ziplining tour for us through Original Canopy Tours and a night hike at Hidden Valley - both were excellent.

Fonda Vela is in a good location and taxis are easy to get - I liked it that it was set outside of Santa Elena, so it's a quiet property. A taxi to the Cloud Forest cost us $8, and when we went to Pizzeria de Johnny, it was $5. We had some rainy weather and had to wear a jacket in the evenings, but it was nice to be in the cloud forest and see everything it had to offer. If you come to MV from Arenal, be sure to do the Jeep, Boat, Jeep - it saves you time on the terrible roads because you cut across the lake. This hotel doesn't have the typical tico feel of other Costa Rican hotels because the area was settled by Quakers, but what it does have is warmth and hospitality and good service. If we returned to MV someday, we would stay here again.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank volcanogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Fonda Vela

Address: 1km past the Monteverde Cheese Factory and 2km before the Monteverde Reserve., Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica > Province of Puntarenas > Monteverde
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 20 Hotels in Monteverde
Price Range: $127 - $211 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hotel Fonda Vela 3.5*
Number of rooms: 42
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Fonda Vela Hotel is located in beautifulMonteverde, famous for its Resplendent Quetzals,Three-wattled Bellbirds, an abundance of orchids anda gorgeous cloud forest. The climate is refreshing,often referred to as "The Eternal Spring". The views ofthe Gulf of Nicoya from the hotel’s 1400-meterelevation are spectacular. Monteverde is an idealdestination for relaxing and enjoying the wonders ofthe tropics. A visit of at least two nights inMonteverde is recommended. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Fonda Vela Hotel
Fonda Vela Monteverde
Hotel Fonda Vela Costa Rica/Monteverde

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