Three Resorts in Costa Rica
I had an event for work in Costa Rica so we decided to go a few days early for vacation. Most of the time when we travel, it's an intense tour of the country and we try to cover as much ground as possible. Since the primary purpose of this trip was work, we spent the extra days in Costa Rica doing something we rarely ever do on vacation which is relax! So for this trip report, I'm just focusing on reviewing the places we stayed. We loved each resort and I have no hesitations about recommending them to others! Isn't that good when you can say that after a vacation?
My work event was in San Jose so we wanted to stay close to the city. We visited two resorts in the Jaco area which is the closest beach area to San Jose (about 90 minutes by car). We found it easy to rent a car and drive in Costa Rica but be sure to have cash for the tolls!
I found this resort through TripAdvisor. I was impressed with the reviews and that 72% of the reviews were in the "excellent" category! That's really good.
This resort is nestled 1000 feet over the Costa Rican coast and rain forest. It's a boutique style hotel with only 43 rooms and suites. I was very impressed with the amenities of the hotel given the small size. There's a spa, infinity pool, full service restaurant, bar, fitness center, and beach access. While this hotel allows kids, it definitely has an adults/couples vibe.
If you are looking for a place to relax by the pool, take in the views, get spa treatments, and enjoy beautiful sunsets, this is the place for you. It's reasonably priced ($100-200/night for the basic rooms) and the service was excellent. I think the one downside is that because the hotel is pretty remote, it's not as convenient to leave the property for activities or meals.
Los Suenos is a quick, 10 minute drive from Hotel Villa Caletas but it's located right on the beach as opposed to overlooking the coast. The reason we switched hotels halfway through our stay was because I wanted to use Marriott points to offset the cost.
In my opinion, the biggest difference about Los Seunos was that it felt much more like a typical American resort. It's quite a bit larger so there's multiple restaurants, pools, sitting areas, etc. There's also a large spa on site and a golf course just down the road. Another major difference is the hotel seemed more kid friendly. In fact, it seemed almost everyone there had kids. This can be a pro or con depending on what you're looking for in a vacation spot. :) Los Suenos is situated near a marina so you could easily charter a boat for the day to fish or sail.
I would recommend Los Suenos over Hotel Villa Caletas if you prefer 1) American-style resorts; 2) Have kids; 3) Want to have easy access to activities. In comparison to Hotel Villa Caletas, Los Suenos is generally more expensive.
Another important thing that we didn't know in advance: the actual beaches (in the Jaco area) are not that attractive. We didn't see anyone laying out on the actual beach or swimming in the ocean. It's pretty to look at though!
And last but not least, the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San Jose. We were there for six nights so it started to feel like home to us! Honestly, I didn't expect much from this hotel prior to the trip. I don't know why... I think I just assumed since it was in a city that it wouldn't be anything special. But, I was so wrong! We LOVED this hotel.
The hotel is in a gated area which makes it feel very exclusive and resort-like (even though San Jose is a big city) and it's just 15 minutes from the airport. The hotel is on a 30-acre coffee plantation and has three pools, five restaurants, multiple sitting areas, and a spa. I loved the architecture and grounds. It felt like a little oasis in the city. Even though I don't think many tourists spend much time in San Jose, this hotel would be a great base to then take day tours/trips to other parts of the country. The staff at the hotel were so kind, helpful, and welcoming. If you find yourself in San Jose, stay here!