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“How do they provide such brilliant service in such a remote place?”

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El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bajos del Toro
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“How do they provide such brilliant service in such a remote place?”
Reviewed 31 March 2014

First the disclaimer: this is not your place if you require unadulterated luxury, a swimming pool to sit round, 24-hour room service by uniformed waiters, 200 channels on your TV and finger-touch climate control.

But if you are looking for a completely relaxing time being pampered in memorable surroundings by people who clearly care, it is for you, and it is worth the trip to get to it.

The setting is spectacular with breathtaking views, extremely comfortable rooms, your personal outdoor hot tub, privacy with the only sounds the breeze in the trees and birds singing, hospitable staff who clearly enjoy their work, great food cooked largely from the lodge’s homegrown ingredients, a spa in the forest, and an ambience which reflects the place’s name.

Well-trained people are in abundance – Emilio and Orlando among the eco guides, Jenifer in the spa, Francisco and Alonso in the bar and restaurant. There were others whose names I did not catch.

Some notes which capture the place:

• Well organized with great attention to detail. At the gate, maybe a kilometer from the lodge, they take your name and when you arrive someone is waiting outside to greet you (in our case our eco concierge Emilio), take you through the few formalities and then walk with you up to your cabin where your luggage has already been delivered by golf cart. They take plenty of time to familiarize you with it, which is needed as it is not quite a standard hotel room. The only other place I have experienced a welcome so well done is at Four Seasons hotels.
• The cabins are very comfortable and perfectly appropriate for the product – an eco lodge. Bed and bed linen are as high quality as is the rainfall shower in the spacious two-sink bathroom. Waking up to the view enjoying your morning tea or coffee takes a lot of beating.
• The multi-lingual staff take the time to know your name and restaurant service of the delicious food is very efficient. The menu is relatively small but I do not think it would feel repetitious if you stayed for a week. It is healthy because of the amount of fresh fruit and veg provided. Foodies would like the flavours. Hearty eaters would like the portions.
• Outdoor activities on site range from lovely hikes to water falls to zip lining, rappelling and horse riding. Even if hiking on the property you should take a guide as they point out lots of flora and fauna you would certainly miss –fabulous birds and tons of interesting plants. White water rafting is about an hour away or you could just relax on the two leather rocking chairs on your terrace..
• The rooms do get chilly at night and you definitely need to wear layers, maybe even in the main lodge which may be a little cool for people used to strict climate-controlled environments. We were there at the end of the dry season in late March so it was a cooler time of year and it is 5,000ft up in the mountains.
• This is for people who love the outdoors and generally want to follow a healthy life style in a friendly and beautiful environment. It is very comfortable but do not expect Four Season type facilities e.g. there is no pool. There is, however, an excellent spa with a good range of treatments.

To sum up: The place is about a two hour drive from San Jose airport. For safety and to enjoy the experiences try to do it in daylight as you are on mountain roads. You drive past coffee plantations, cattle farms and towns and villages reflecting the diversity of Costa Rica. It is unconditionally worth it when you reach the destination.

Undoubtedly this is not for everyone and you should do your research first. I do not know how they manage to provide this level of service in such a remote and beautiful place.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Stuart G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 1 April 2014
Gracias Stuart for sharing your thorough impressions of El Silencio Lodge & Spa with the Trip Advisor community! We are honored to have a chance to showcase Costa Rica's intense hospitality and bewitching scenery. Thank you so much for such a vivid description of our property's character and our staff's efforts to make the experience unforgettable. Please do return very soon!
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Newport Beach, California
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 March 2014

My husband and I really loved this place. The location was scenic and peaceful. Each private bungalow had your own balcony and jacuzzi, which we used often! They perform turn down service each night, with a nice heated water bottle in the bed to keep your toes warm. Really nice touch.
There was some nice hikes around the property, especially the one to the 3 separate falls (each one got better and better). The restaurant served excellent food and wine and were very catering to my gluten allergy. We did a couple tours including horseback riding, and a night hike. The Horseback riding was spectacular and I highly recommend it. The night hike was disappointing. The guide did not really find anything and it seemed he didn't really know where to look. Not a lot of animals in this area, but it is the perfect stop for relaxation and serenity. We got a massage at the spa, and I wanted to bring the masseuse home back to the states, as she was superb (her name was Jennifer too). You can drink the water on this property, and they are very eco-friendly, which we appreciate. Definitely would go here again.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank LittleJenny2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 27 March 2014
Please receive a warm Pura Vida greeting! Thank you so much for exploring our little cloud forest corner of Costa Rica. Your observations about the Night Hike are noted and we are reviewing it to either improve the experience or remove it from our tour catalog. I am delighted to learn that you fully enjoyed our restaurant and spa offerings and thank you for highlighting them in your review. Warmest regards!
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Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
Reviewed 24 March 2014

We started our Costa Rica vacation at El Silencio and it was a great choice. The place was so relaxing and really helped my husband and I get out of work mode and get ready for our vacation. The service is outstanding. You can really tell that the hotel went above and beyond to find the best people for its staff. The wait staff always remembered our names when we went to the restaurant and remembered that I have a lactose allergy so always had soy milk available for me. The food was excellent! They give you so much great food and most of the ingredients come from the hotels own gardens and trout pond! We did the hike to the waterfalls and that was beautiful and only ran into one other couple on our hike. We also did the rapelling/zip-lining tour and that was a lot of fun. It was just the two of us with 2 guides. We also did a couple's massage and it was one of the best massages I have ever gotten. I would definitely recommend El Silencio for any couples that want to just relax and enjoy their surroundings!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Linds784
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 27 March 2014
Saludos! Thank you so much for your review and for giving us a chance to set the tone for your Costa Rica vacation. We are always thrilled when we fully succeed in providing a fun, peaceful sanctuary to fully disconnect from a daily routine. On behalf of the team: Gracias!
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New York City, New York
1 review
Reviewed 23 March 2014

Went here for our honeymoon. I don't usually expect too much from food at a hotel, especially if there aren't other options available nearby, but we loved all the food at El Silencio for every meal. It was incredible. I think we remarked on every dish we ate. To spend 3-4 days at a place and look forward to every meal is great. Perhaps it is priced a little high but at least it is all delicious.

The other great part was the quality of the rooms. You get your own mini-lodge and I think everyone gets a private jacuzzi and a balcony which overlooks the other side of the forested valley the resort is located in. The rooms are tended to every time you leave for a meal or for a trip, so they obviously coordinate very closely for the maid service to come through. The little hot water bags placed at the foot of the bed in the evening were a nice touch.

The rooms are pretty large and have comfy beds and sofa. There are dark blinds in the lodges so you can close them up and sleep in in complete darkness, which for us meant that we got a full 8-10 hours a night which for me is pretty rare. So relaxing. There's no distractions, no TV, or wifi in the rooms so you really just unwind.

The staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. You can pay in dollars if you want. There is a hummingbird garden on the property as long as trails where you can overlook the surrounding ridgeline or go see 3 different waterfalls after a short hike.

We also did waterfall rappelling nearby and did a trip to a local pulperia where we made tortillas with the matron of the household.

Most places I'm pretty ho-hum about but this place is definitely one of the most relaxing places I've ever visited.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Ben T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 24 March 2014
Greetings Ben! Thank you so much for your thoughtful review. I am incredibly pleased that you enjoyed a magical honeymoon, completely attuned to Costa Rica's nature and culture. You are correct, every single one of our Suites (and Private Villas) feature their own heated whirlpool and viewing deck. I will gladly relay your comments about Las Ventanas Restaurant's menu. Our Chef will be very pleased! Saludos and many happy anniversaries!
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Neptune Beach, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 March 2014

el silencio is amazing in every way from the tree planting, local sustainability, flower petal welcomes in the rooms, waterfalls, delicious local food, eco-design, private soaking tubs, hikes, everything was superb and sets a high bar for anywhere stayed after! (they even went and bought soy milk especially for us, and we of course didn't ask or anything, because they only had cows milk and they wanted us to have milk for our coffee!! and we don't even drink coffee!!! they are soooo thoughtful and considerate!)

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank 25kelly25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 21 March 2014
Dear Kelly -Wonderful to hear from you. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with the Trip Advisor community. Our staff is generously attentive and will certainly go above and beyond to help guests feel comfortable and pampered. Warmest regards!
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Dundas, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 March 2014

An oasis in the cloud forest, this lodge exceeded our expectations in every way. Our cabin, nestled in the mountain, was exceptionally clean, spacious, well appointed and comfortable, with its own outdoor jacuzzi and breathtaking view of the forest and sky. Evenings were cool (I could have used a fleece lined jacket) so the jacuzzi, portable heater and water bottle (lovely surprise when tucking into bed) were most welcome. The food was outstanding: organic, local, delicious and very reasonably priced. We enjoyed a romantic, private dinner in front of the fireplace one evening. The service, ambiance, food quality, wine and music were impeccable! We felt entirely indulged. The couples aromatherapy session was reasonably priced and the service was excellent. Our personal guide, Emilio, was highly skilled, knowledgable, articulate, accommodating and friendly in every way for each activity we enjoyed: hiking, horseback riding, cultural tour. Unexpected bonuses like complimentary hot chocolate and cookies in the afternoon, a plate of home made chips and salsa (no charge) served with an afternoon beer and a small bottle of aromatic oil given after the aromatherapy were delightful surprises. We were highly impressed by the 5 leaf eco rating attained by the lodge especially since we felt we received great value for our money in every way, and many such places use the eco-friendly concept as an excuse to charge a premium. We highly recommend the lodge and all of the people on staff for the outstanding experience we enjoyed.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank DDKDundas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 21 March 2014
Greetings and thank you so much for your thoughtful review and colorful description of your stay and the little surprises that made it special. Your highlighting of our staff's amazing hospitality is much appreciated. Please do return to our outstanding oasis very soon!
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Manhattan
Level 4 Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2014

My wife and I traveled to the cloud forest at Bajos del Toro Amarillo and the El Silencio Lodge as our second stop on a two-week trip to Costa Rica. We arrived at the El Silencio Lodge on March 1st, and stayed three nights. It was my wife’s first trip to Costa Rica and my fourth. We also stayed at Hotel Manatus, Hotel Punta Islita, and Hotel Grano Del Oro, all of which I have also reviewed.

El Silencio is managed by Grupo Islita and is one of their two sister properties. Grupo Islita is dedicated to giving back to the communities where their hotels are located, and hotel management companies worldwide could and should look at them as an example of how to put Sociology, Ecology, and Profitability into proper perspective. It works absolutely perfectly at El Silencio. The entire experience there was STUPENDOUS! It has become one of our favorite three lifetime vacation destinations, and we are now thinking of building a second home there!

We flew into San Jose from Tortuguero and were then transferred to El Silencio by private car in a trip that lasted approximately 2.5 hours because one of the roads that would have shaved an hour off the trip was being modernized. This didn’t bother us at all because we knew that travel by car in Costa Rica can be daunting at times. (The ride back to San Jose was only 1.5 hours because we left early in the morning to catch a flight to Punta Islita, and we were able to use the new road before it closed to traffic at 6 am.)

Most of the hotel employees are locals from the community, and it was a great pleasure taking the time to speak with each one of them. Our eco concierge, Orlando, was fabulous even though he was relatively new to his position having worked his way up at the hotel. We enjoyed him taking us on the medicinal plants tour, the night melody tour, an early morning bird watching tour, and an extended guided hike to the three beautiful waterfalls found on the property’s miles of hiking trails. I also thoroughly enjoyed learning all about and tasting Costa Rican coffee with Benny. It was great!

The hotel property is completely self-sustaining, with trout/tilapia farming, chicken farming (for the eggs!), and all organic produce grown on site. This contributed greatly to the food being amazing! Also contributing to the experience was the expert wait staff at the restaurant. There was no request that was too difficult, and Martin (the motor cycle bandito!) and Francisco always welcomed us warmly. They anticipated our every need without ever being intrusive. Just wonderful! We also were served by one other individual, but sadly I have forgotten his name, might it have been Carlos? He suggested a final evening dinner next to the fireplace, and he was as knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of Costa Rica as any of the guides I have met in the country. Bravo!

A brief note about the menu and how responsive Groupo Islita is to suggestions. I read many reviews about the prix fixe menu being expensive and “forcing” too much food on you. This was completely corrected during our stay. You could pay $35 for a complete meal, or pay $10 for an appetizer, $20 for a main course, and $5 for a dessert. You could mix and match as you pleased and eat as little or as much as you liked. My wife and I enjoyed ordering multiple appetizers for lunch one day, splitting each one. We found the pricing of the food to be an excellent value considering the quality.

I must mention the hotel manager Arnay, since he is running such a tight ship. I think what makes this possible is his attention to detail and willingness to learn about any problems or hear any suggestions that might make a stay at the property more enjoyable. Without fail, Arnay would ask us if there was anything that could be improved upon. In all honestly, neither my wife nor I could come up with anything to improve. Well, maybe one thing. It is a cloud forest after all, and it does get cool, especially at night. If you are sensitive to cold at all, be sure to pack a fleece or warm sweater. It will help keep you warm when you are strolling around the grounds. The portable heaters, the hot water bottles at night, and lovely hot tub are probably all you will need as far as staying warm in your room. Speaking of the room, it was the perfect size and perfectly maintained. Don’t forget to call down for hot chocolate in the afternoon! It was so lovely to sit on our porch sipping hot chocolate while gazing at the clouds descending the mountain while hummingbirds flitted from flower to flower. Again, just stupendous!

Onto the Spa! Wow! It was great. My wife did a facial and I had a mani, pedi on the first day. Perfecto! So perfect in fact that we both had massages the next day. And the next day. Best Thai massage ever! Thank you also to the young lady who did my manicure. She told me about the pejibaye palm (peach palm) and said it was her favorite food. I made a mental note to try it one day and sure enough, there was pejibaye soup on the menu for lunch the next day. It was so delicious, I had it again in Punta Islita and San Jose. Truly wonderful and indescribable!

What else can I say? A special thank you to Maria of Groupo Islita for suggesting that we stay at El Silencio! We will definitely be back and can’t recommend the property highly enough.

Thank you again to all!

Roberto and Juanita

Room Tip: Rooms are lovely. We stayed in room #1 which was close to everything.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Robert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MariaJBIslita, Outreach Manager at El Silencio Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 19 March 2014
Dear Roberto and Juanita! It is wonderful to see your thoughtful post on this forum. Thank you for your honest and insightful account of your experience at El Silencio Lodge & Spa. I am genuinely delighted that your stay was superlative and full of special moments that capture life's feel-good intensity. I certainly hope you "join the neighborhood" in the near future. Orlando was your Eco-Concierge and he fully enjoyed guiding you through our magical cloud forest. Our warmest regards!
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Additional Information about El Silencio Lodge & Spa

Property: El Silencio Lodge & Spa
Address: El Silencio Lodge, Bajos del Toro 21203, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Alajuela > Bajos del Toro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bajos del Toro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — El Silencio Lodge & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Silencio Lodge & Spa is a unique luxury cloud forest hotel set in Costa Rica's pristine Bajos del Toro region. Flanked by two national parks, this all-suite and private villa hotel combines upscale comforts with an intense natural immersion experience. Outstanding features include farm-to-table cuisine, a wellness spa, an adventure park, and authentic cultural experiences. Zip-lining, rappelling, horseback riding, waterfall hiking, oxcart painting, Tico cooking lessons and more can be enjoyed by couples and families (minimum age: 8). ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Silencio Hotel Bajos Del Toro
El Silencio Lodge & Spa Costa Rica/Bajos Del Toro

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