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Hotel Dorothy in La Fortuna (soon to be Hotel Sueño Arenal)

Toronto, Canada
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31 posts
3 reviews
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Hotel Dorothy in La Fortuna (soon to be Hotel Sueño Arenal)

I just returned from a two week trip with my wife and her brother. We spent the first week in La Fortuna and stayed at Hotel Dorothy, a quiet clean budget hotel on the edge of town, with a nice communal area great for meeting other travellers and includes a delicious full free breakfast every morning. Three years ago we stayed there and it was the perfect budget hotel and the owner, Noel, was amazing. Now things have changed for the worse...

Noel no longer runs the business and instead rents it out to the new manager, Nancy. She used to be the cleaning lady when we were there three years ago and her lack of professional management has sadly turned this once awesome budget hotel into a sour place to stay. To begin, Nancy would tell us that to take a taxi to a certain destination would be very far and very expensive and would be better off using one of her tour connections to save money, yet when we would go into town, the taxi drivers all quoted cheaper fares than what she told us. That was when our guard went up.

Also I should mention, Noel and a friend picked us up at the airport to drive us to the hotel (they charged $40 per person). On the way we stopped for a bite to eat and Noel and his friend both ordered two beers each. When it came time to pay, they took a step back and murmured something about giving us some beers back at their hotel. So we paid and when we got to the hotel suddenly they were nowhere in sight and returned late that night and made no mention of paying us back for the beers and it was a little awkward to bring it up so we let it be. I know that may sound like I’m making a big deal about this but we were on a shoe-string budget for this trip and four beers costing each $3 Canadian is $12, which for us is a one night stay at a budget hotel for one person. The point is that they expected us to pay for them like as if money was no object for us.

Anyways, back to Nancy... We told her we would like for her to arrange transportation from La Fortuna to Jaco through Interbus. The day before we had to leave, she told us that she made some calls and all the companies were full and that she would have Noel drive us for $40 per person, which is a little steep considering his car is a little tiny beat up piece of junk, with holes in the floor that let in the smell of exhaust and the wind-shield wipers don't work. (It was raining everyday while we were there.) So we said we would think about it. We went into town and found a tour company beside "La Parada Soda" who offered to take us for $30 per person and had a nice brand new van to take us in. Another example: a trip to the Baldi hot springs, she was charging $25 per person, yet if you go into town beside "La Parada Soda", they charged $18 per person. What I'm trying to say is: shop around town first before settling with Nancy, because 90% of the time she was not telling the truth.

Since I'm on a roll, I should also mention that my wife's brother got eaten alive by bed bugs in his room for two nights and had to switch rooms (thankfully my room and other travellers we talked to did not have bed bugs so it may have been an isolated incident but I thought I should mention it). We told them about the problem and thankfully, they removed the mattress from the room and scrubbed the room down. Overall, it really is sad, we really enjoyed our stay when Noel was running things, but now things have really turned for the worse. To finish, I would also like to mention that when we were tallying up our bill at the end, she charged us $12 per person for accommodation, so we told her "But you quoted us $10 per person over email" and she just grumbled and made the correction.

So I'm hoping this helps anyone deciding where to stay. I'm not saying don't stay at Hotel Dorothy, I'm just saying it really isn't the same anymore and Nancy strikes me as an unexperienced 20 year-old who thinks everyone is just a bunch of dumb gringo's. She needs to learn to treat travellers with respect and give us a fair chance in a new country and not be so greedy so she could retire at the age of 30. Okay, I'm done. Hope this helps! : )

Pensacola, Florida
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12,945 posts
54 reviews
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1. Re: Hotel Dorothy in La Fortuna (soon to be Hotel Sueño Arenal)

thsnks for posting...

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
31 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Hotel Dorothy in La Fortuna (soon to be Hotel Sueño Arenal)

No problem, and if there's anything else anyone wants to know about La Fortuna, Jaco or Montezuma, just let me know.

Pura Vida!!!

: )

La Fortuna
3 posts
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3. Re: Hotel Dorothy in La Fortuna (soon to be Hotel Sueño Arenal)


Whem you ask about the transfer sevice from the airport to la fortuna , you where told that interbus ($39) per person was a good choise for you to travel, from the airport to la fortuna , but at the time you was to arrive there where no shuttle at that time ,that you will have to spend the night in san jose, you said you did not want to spend the night in san jose , so you ask for me if i had transportacion to pick you guys up at the airport the same day ,nancy told you that all i had was my personal car, and i love my nissan (the junk car) , so you agreed for me to pick you up at the airport at your arrival time for the same fee as interbus ($39).p/p.

What you did not mencion was that and the way to la fortuna i when all the way to make you guys trip a pleasent one , we stop in palmares for the fiesta that was going on ,you had a chance to take pictures from the awsome catholic church, we went to the park where your wife and brotherinlaw had a blast taking ,pictures off the place ,from there you wanted to stop for a bite at the restaurant where you had a worderfull view,you ask me and my friend if we wanted something to eat i said no, but i will drink a beer or 2 , i did told you that when you get back to the hotel it will be a fine for me to buy you back a few beers , i was there every night having beers,i ask you more that once if you guys wanted a beer , you never said yes (but thats no problem)just send me a adress where i will mail some money for you to buy 4 box of beers no problem.

And the rest off the trip i stop for you all to take pictures off the sunsets and different views ,stop for you guys to go to the bathroom any time you wanted i never did complain ,i am a tour guide so i did my best to make you happy i talked about costa rica culture answer all your question , you never complain them , i know the car was not a BMW but it did the jod to get you there in time and safe .

So it is not true all what you are saing about hotel dorothy and nancy ,as for me she is doing a great jod ,i am the owner and i know best , if you have someting to say ,to improve the services , you are welcome ,but do not lie it is not fear,. she work verry hard for her self and her family and nobody is perfect.

As for me i want to thank you verry much for everthing and it will be a pleasure to send you the beer money ,all i need is a adrress and a name for western union

thank you

noel samuels

La Fortuna
2 posts
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4. Re: Hotel Dorothy in La Fortuna (soon to be Hotel Sueño Arenal)

I am in shock!

1. When i recommend a red taxi driver to take you to any place, you can see the “maria” machine and you can see how much it´s the cost for the service. I never do something wrong when I want to help the people. Sorry if you never have enough!!!

2. When you did the reservation for the transportation you mentioned Noel, I said to you, Noel is fine and I send you the price for the shuttle: www.interbusonline.com which is $39p/p. Then you ask me if we have available Noel´s shuttle services and I tell you: No, Noel just have his own car and he can pick you up if you want at the airport at any time you need when you arrive to the airport, because Interbus don´t offer a shuttle at the time you need (but Noel have to drive more than 100km just for arrive to the airport and later back to here) so, I told you, you have 2 option: Spend one more night in San Jose and take the Interbus the next day or coming with Noel but for the same price with Interbus and you where so happy of see to Noel!

Maybe that Noel´s car do not looks like limousine but he was so excited to see you and he wait for you at the airport and he stopped the car few times and explain you many interesting thinks about Costa Rica by the road. He took you to the bathroom and to the restaurant and you were very happy with Noel when you did a deal: You buy him some beers and he gives you free ones at the hotel but you do not drink when you arrive here.

3. I tried to do the reservation with Interbus but at 5pm-6pm it´s so difficult to find 3 places for earlier the next day, I tell you were available just in the afternoon at 2pm. You leave from here to Jaco with a illegal bus driver and I am do not going to put nobody in dangerous with any company without insurance or policies… that is the reason you paid $10 less p/p. Good for you!!!!

I never ask you if you want to go with Noel. NOEL PROPOSED TAKE YOU TO JACO, NO ME!

4. I cannot sell all the tours at the same price of others companies because Baldi do not charge to everybody the same, anyway I give you the discount for $7p/p because Baldi was charging $32p/p. I just try to help you!

5. For me it´s no strange only you have bugs if you was all day in the forest.

6. The price for the rooms is $12p/p; I made a mistake when I answer your reservation. Sorry for that! I charged you just $10p/p for 2 rooms with private bathroom, hot water, fan, breakfast included, internet and coffee free!!!

7. I really try to offer you the best things, always try to help you and you cannot tell me I don’t have experience here, I have 8 years of work with tourism, the only thing here is you leave confused but thank you very much anyway. I hope everybody that been here before read this and comment WHO SAY LIES!!!

5. Re: Hotel Dorothy in La Fortuna (soon to be Hotel Sueño Arenal)

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