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“Great Hotel, But...”

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Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Cocles
Certificate of Excellence
Escazú, San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Great Hotel, But...”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2014

My wife, infant son and I just came back from a 3 day stay at Hotel Le Cameleon and overall it was a great time, mas o menos!

The Good

The superior room is great. Comfortable bed, A/C, nice layout, high quality furniture and bedding, nice showers and most importantly thick walls so you can get a good night sleep (trust me, this is rare on the Atlantic Coast)!

The pool is nice and the grounds, although small, are gorgeous, just plant life everywhere. A nice (albeit simple) breakfast and really nice restaurant staff made the stay enjoyable.

The staff (more or less) are really nice and hospitable. Fred, the general manager, "gets" it. He is a gem of a man and if you have any issues, just ask for Fred!

The Bad

The only issue we had when we were there is that we had 2 nights in the "superior" (read: STANDARD) room and then we opted for one extra night in the "Junior Suite" (which is the next level up and almost twice as pricy). So we move to the junior suite and um...it was IMO a downgrade, not an upgrade. It's bigger, for sure, probably about 5 feet longer. However, it's on the first floor, so people walk right by the window by your bed (which is odd), the bathroom is smaller and outside the A/C unit is loud as hell, even with the patio doors closed.

So, for twice the price, we were in a room that was IMO worse. I asked to move back to a Superior room (even though I'd still pay for the junior suite room) so they could offer the junior suite "upgrade" to someone else. For some reason, the front desk staff kind of fought me on this, saying they're full, they have a group coming, it can't be done. I tried to impress upon them that I was OK paying the higher price for the smaller room, so they could offer the new guest a free upgrade (who wouldn't like hearing that news?) but for some reason they kept saying no no no. Finally I just said "let me talk to Fred please". To his credit, Fred understood and right away moved us to a Superior room. I was worried that maybe I explained myself poorly to the Front Desk staff and that's why they didn't get it, so I said "sorry for the misunderstanding" but they just looked at me like I was a terrible, terrible troublemaker and not a paying client. That was just weird and kind of ruined the stay a little bit (not a lot, but I felt the other staff I spoke with were less than nice on this issue).

The Ugly

There's nothing ugly about Le Cameleon. It is gorgeous. If I had to nitpick (so I guess I will?):

- There are maybe two parking spaces, there's places to park across the street, but the hotel itself doesn't have much parking. Not a big deal.

- The hotel does need a bit of maintenance - a few chipped pieces of wood, a loose pool ladder, some cracks in the roof of the hotel room. Nothing major, I mean we're in the freaking rainforest, but it does need a wee bit of work.

- The beach club restaurant is nice, but down by the beach that part isn't really thought out too well. There are three mattresses for "booths" but those are ripped up and there aren't many umbrellas to cover the hot sun.


So there's a few things that we didn't like, but overall I think it's awesome. If you think of it as a luxury hotel, you'll be disappointed, it's not luxury (there's no concierge, sparse amenities, etc.). But if you compare it to what's around there and just go to enjoy a relaxing time surrounded by beautiful plant life and nice staff, you'll be very happy.

When we go back to Puerto Viejo we will definitely check to see if there's space at Le Cameleon...provided it's a superior room of course ;)

Room Tip: As if I haven't beaten the horse to death - get a Superior room if it's just a few of you.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Michael D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Frederic S, General Manager at Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 1 July 2014
Hello Michael,

Thanks for you valid comments. I am glad that you are planning on coming back; BTW September is a great sunny month to visit our region while the rest of the country tends to be rainy, to say the least.

Sorry about the misunderstanding with the room swap; I am glad that it could be fixed swiftly. I would have hated if you had left only to learn later on that there was a problem that could be fixed so easily. You obviously did the right thing by fetching me. The whole thing was a good talking point for our customer service coaching sessions

The block you were in was closed for most of the month of June and got totally refurbished. Day beds on the beach are being fixed too. We also have plans to upgrade the Junior Suites in the close future. In fact, since I took over a few months ago, I have been working on fixing all the little details that were lacking. As you pointed out, luxury is pretty hard to achieve in this part of the country but we are striving to make our guests' experience as pleasant as possible; we are the only upscale hotel in the region which brings high expectations from our customers. We are aware of that and together with my team, we are really going to extra mile to fulfil these expectations.

We do have a concierge service: Since April, CostaRicaEscapades.com have been operating from the hotel's shop, besides the reception, I am a tad disappointed that it was not made clear to you.

Let me know when you and your family are coming back this way, I am very exited about showing you how much we have been improving in such a short period of time.

Thanks again for choosing us and for posting your feedback. I am looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Fred Spahr
General Manager
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627 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (68)
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 May 2014

We spent 4 nights there and had a wonderful stay. The Front Desk staff were extremely helpful and always has suggestions for where to eat or what to do in addition to what we had planned. My one critique is that the front of the hotel is not very well light up; as we arrived in the evening, we had a difficult finding the hotel initially.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Melissa H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SylviaMendes, Front Office Manager at Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 19 May 2014
Hello Melissa,
I would like to say thank you so much for the comment. We so glad that you spent a nice time with us. We feel happy that our staff complete your expectations and helped you with information. Regarding the light in front of the hotel, now we are working of get more lights in this area so the tourists can find better the hotel.

So one more time, thank you so much for your comment.

Best Regards,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rabat, Morocco
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 April 2014

My family and spent 2 nights there 2 days ago. Honestly, the boutique hotel is beautiful, as well as it's on the beach and its restaurant. The beach is gorgeous as well as the swimming pool.
Service is good and people are friendly.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank travelerafrica2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SylviaMendes, Director de Recepción at Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 30 April 2014
Google Translation
Hola,
Que bueno que usted y su familia la pasaron bien aqui en nuestro hotel, esperamos que no sea la ultima vez que los veamos. Siempre seran bienvenidos.

Saludos!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Turrialba, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 April 2014

Was driving through Cocles yesterday and stopped by to say hi and give a quick inspection. To my surprise, Le Camaleon continues to maintain it's quality and chore concept, including that impossible white. The property has slight deterioration in minor aspects like rotting wood planks on walkways, fainting tile around pool and flora that has suffered from major dry spell but all of it's relatively minor and the most important esthetic aspects were well kept. The beach side of the property and reception were looking good, staff seemed to be attentive and highly active. I ran into a few men busing food out to the beach-- they saw me entering through the back way but instead of approaching me suspiciously, they asked how they could help. I identified myself and my intentions, they reacted energetically and invited me to have a look and come back with my friends and family. WOW!! Manager: treat those boys to few beers AT LEAST. I noticed they were engaged with customers on the beach, jovial attitude, energetic and generally looking happy to be working for you. That is a tell-tale sign of what's going on in general, from experience. I received the same response when I approached reception, and the same when I ran into a rushing staffer on her way to handle something. Someone is going a great job of managing people here, so KUDOS TO YOU SIR/MADAM. Took a look at rooms, they looked just like on the website, no exaggeration. MOST IMPORTANTLY, Le Camaleon enjoys a privileged location, with a splendid beach setting and just far away enough from the sometimes tumultuous Cocles Beach but close enough for easy ventures (on bike, cab, walking) to surf with life guard supervision and into Puerto Viejo for food, drink, music and bare-foot dancing on the beach. It has a/c, it's service oriented (not a strong suit of the Caribbean) and has great location -- three reasons that position it as one of the best options in the deluxe lodging category for the south Caribbean. For travelers that want a taste of the Costa Rica Caribbean vibe, but require a certain level of amenities and lodging ambiance, this is the spot. Enjoy, but venture out, explore the local scene, head south to Manzanillo, purchase a gift or memoir for vendors in Puerto Viejo, rent a surf board in Cocles...

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank InsideScoopCOSTARICA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Frederic S, General Manager at Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 19 April 2014
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a comprehensive review.

I am very glad that you appreciated the kindness of our staff. We are going to great length in order to train and manage our staff. According to the level of satisfaction of our customers and the comments that we get, it is indeed worthwhile. Nonetheless, We do feel quite fortunate to have such a great team of genuinely nice workers.

We are actually putting much efforts on the maintenance of the property as well. We are in the process of upgrading our public areas, gardens and all the guestrooms; Not an easy thing to do when you are surrounded by the jungle.

As it did for you, Le Caméléon's concept continues to please and surprise our guests and makes our work environment quite interesting since here "EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY" as stated by our motto. By changing uniforms and decors everyday, we almost feel as if we were providing chromatherapy to our customers.

Thanks again for your nice comments, we hope to see you again very soon.

Frederic Spahr
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
71 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2014

The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is very low key and carries a strong hippy vibe. Le Cameleon is quite different with its minimalist-ultra modern motif. We enjoyed our stay here, it was very clean and the food at the restaurant was good. Breakfast was included and on mornings where we didn't want to make the walk out to the restaurant the staff would bring us room service. The walls in the room were a bit on the thin side, but nothing we haven't experienced before. One big note: when they clean their chairs they use bleach. I accidentally sat on one of the chairs while it was still wet and it ruined my dress. Overall, the Caribbean side of Costa Rica won't be on the top of my list of go-to return spots... but Le Cameleon was nice.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MBOC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Frederic S, General Manager at Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 11 April 2014
Hola MBOC,

Thanks for your nice comments about the hotel, we are glad that you have enjoyed your stay with us last year.

Regarding the region, it is true that Puerto Viejo is not for everyone, we try to make it clear on our website. The region is very distinct from the rest of the country in terms of culture, language and because it has a laid back / reggae twist, hence the rarity of upscale hotels in the region.

I am very sorry about the incident with the bleach. Anyhow, it is a little hard to investigate since you were here a year ago. I don't know if you had spoken with reception then but nobody in our actual staff recalls such an incident and housekeeping re-ensured me that they dry the chairs after using bleach on them (at least now).

We really appreciate your nice comments about our service and our food and thank you for staying with us.
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Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 April 2014

My Wife and I spent our Honeymoon at Le Chameleon... We decided to stay 3 Weeks at Le Cameleon, and it turned out to be Heaven on Earth, the perfect place for a Honeymoon..
The Owner of the Hotel had a Vision, and we must say it is one of a Kind. The all white Rooms with the constant changes of Colour themes within the beautiful Jungle, just like a Chameleon are just unique. The WHOLE Staff made our stay soo SPECIAL, we will never forget this Honeymoon!! Thank you so much Fred, Silvia, Alma, Nery, Javier, Misael, Virgilio, Mauren and whole Team for making our stay unforgettable! We were very Sad that we had to leave, if were up to us, we would have permanently stayed.. The Beach Club of Le Chameleon is just across the Road, a Beautiful Area awaits with Lounge Area, Bar, Hamocks, an amazing Beach, all the Ingridients for a perfect Beach Club. There is even a Resident Sloth residing in the Trees there.. The Location of the Hotel is perfect, thats also one of the resons we choose Le Cameleon. We definatley recommend everyone to rent a bicycle (20meters from Le Chameleon is the Bicycle place..) and explore the Area, Puerto Vijejo is close by and we spent alot of time there in this beautliful layed back town. Great Restaurants and amazing people await. Punta Uva und Manzanillo Beach are also a must see. There are simply so many places one can see/visit. During our 3 Week stay we almost did a Tour/Excursion every day. A must see is the Jaguar Rescue Center and the Caribeans Chocolate Tour... Back to this amazing Hotel: We will always remember our beautiful stay at Le Chameleon and we will definatley be back. Thank you once again Team Chameleon, lets stay in Touch! Nat y Dani

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Danny I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Frederic S, General Manager at Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 6 April 2014
Gruetzi Nat & Dani

First of all thank you for choosing to stay with us for your honeymoon. I am glad you had a fantastic stay here at Le Caméléon and that we were able to exceed your expectations.

It is so nice to receive such a detailed review; we really appreciate the time you put into it. It was a pleasure hosting you, we felt like you were part of the family. Our Concierge, Alma, got good practise from you as Costa Rica Escapades opened our new tour desk on the same day you arrived.

Thanks again, we really look forward to seeing you again soon!

Sincerely,


Fred Spahr
General Manager
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Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 March 2014

Overall stay was excellent. The hotel staffs were very friendly and approachable. Rooms were Modern and had a colour theme to it which was unique, just like a Camelon. The Breakfast was included and had a variety of options each morning. The hotel is in proximity to pretty much everything, beach, the jaguar rescue center, market town & bike rental locations. I had an amazing stay overall.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank montez w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Frederic S, General Manager at Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel, responded to this review, 3 April 2014
Thanks for staying with us and taking the time to send us your nice comments. We hope to see you again soon.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel

Property: Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel
Address: Across the Street From Beach, Cocles, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca 7300, Costa Rica
Phone Number:
Region: Costa Rica > Province of Limon > Puerto Viejo de Talamanca > Cocles
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Cocles
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel offers upscale beach accommodations within the tropical forest of Puerto Viejo, Limon. The 23 Rooms sit around the pool surrounded by lush tropical gardens, across the street from its Beach Club. The all-white minimalist rooms are decorated with a touch of bright colours and have all the comfort expected in order to have a restful night after your day at the beach or for your afternoon nap after touring the region. All the rooms feature A/C, Satellite TV, WiFi, Rain Shower, Mini Bar, phone, Ipod/Iphone docking station and Yves Rocher amenities. You have a choice of King size, Queen size or two Full size beds. With its laid back attitude and Caribbean lifestyle, Puerto Viejo has it all: long walks on the pristine beaches, exotic flora and fauna in a wildlife refuge. Ask our tour desk about our tour options ranging from snorkeling or diving among the many reefs, world-class surfing ,kayaking horseback ridding, deep sea fishing, zip lining, cultural visits to indigenous communities and more. Should you prefer to hang around the hotel, we offer private yoga classes, Spa treatments in our 'tree-house' Spa, Nunu gastronomic restaurant, lap pool and cool water Jacuzzi, reading/lounging areas surrounded by wildlife and of course La Sula Sea Lounge with its day-beds, hammocks, lounge chairs, bar and restaurant service right on Cocles Beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel Costa Rica/Cocles

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